The French Bulldog is a wonderful, easy-care companion, easily recognizable by its signature skin wrinkles and charming disposition. They thrive under consistent, firm leadership and respond very well to discipline if caught misbehaving. They can coexist happily with children provided they are always led and kept in check. French Bulldogs do tend to drool and slobber, so be wary around newly fitted carpets and upholstery.
|Good With Other Dogs|
Stories From Real Life French Bulldog Owners
French Bulldog: Our Oliver
Adding a fur baby to our family was one of the best decisions we ever made. Our French bulldog, Oliver, brings us joy and laughter every day, as well as a few challenges. I had never owned one of these breeds, and am constantly learning about them, even after four years. Here is how it all began:
The Kids Need A Dog!
Both my wife and I were raised with pets, so it was only natural that we would want one for our children. When our boys were five and seven, we finally moved out of our cramped apartment into our first home. After talking to the boys, we both decided that our kids needed a dog. So, the search was on for the perfect pet.
Choosing The Right Breed
We had all kinds of ideas about what kind of dog we would like to have. Although we have a spacious backyard with chain link fencing, we decided that we wanted an indoor dog. I perused websites that discussed various dog breeds. These useful sites gave some general information concerning breed temperament and other issues. The ones that I thought were the most helpful were written by people who owned and raised the breed.
Our first instinct was to adopt a dog from our local animal shelter. We met a few larger dogs, but we wanted a small one. The director of the shelter said that the small dogs were adopted as quickly as they received them. She took down our information and said that she would call us when they got a little dog.
Finding The Right Breed
We never considered going to a pet store, because we are firmly against the cruel “puppy mills” that supply these places. I stayed in contact with the animal shelter, and talked to a couple of reputable dog breeders in our area. We watched the newspaper and Internet for pet ads.
Just when we were about to lose hope, my wife found an online ad from a respectable website. A lady who lived two hours away just had a litter of puppies, and they were for sale. I have seen pictures of French bulldogs, but I never saw one in person. We fell in love with the photos of these adorable twin Frenchies, and we knew that we had to see them. French bulldogs are expensive because they are usually from small litters. The price was steep, but it was an investment of love.
I called the owner, and we made an appointment to see the puppies that weekend. Until then, I looked on the Internet to read anything I could about French bulldogs. My wife pointed out that Martha Stewart is a Frenchie enthusiast, and owns two of them. We saw pictures of her delightful pets, lounging in her multi-million dollar living room. We figured that if Martha Stewart felt comfortable with this breed in her home, then it might be a good choice for us.
We wanted a pet that would be affectionate and good with our boys. Since we both work and the kids are in school, it should also be a breed that is not high-maintenance. I read many positive reviews about Frenchies, but knew that there are always anomalies within any dog breed. Finally, we made the trip north to make our decision.
The owner was a pleasant lady who welcomed us into her home. It was she, her husband, and their young daughter living in a beautiful little house in town. They had a fenced-in yard with plenty of room for their child and pets to safely play.
The mother Frenchie, Betsy, barked a couple of times, but was curious enough to check us out. She was a beautiful caramel color, and she looked happy and healthy. The owner, Susan, told us that this was only Betsy’s second litter, and that she had twins the first time, also. Susan’s mother owned the father, and she showed us pictures of him. He name was Bluto, and he was a snow-white Frenchie.
Betsy’s chubby puppies were beautiful and well-loved. They ventured past their mother to meet and sniff at our hands. The first one’s fur was a shade lighter than Betsy’s, and the other was a pure cream color. Both were male, and were alert and playful. We took turns holding them, and found that they were laid-back and liked to be cuddled. After careful thought and observation, we chose the cream one. His large, soulful eyes seem to bond with us.
As my wife and the boys got the puppy ready to go, I paid Susan and got the AKC registration papers and vet records. My youngest son, Jesse, was holding the pup, and smiled, “Dad, he wants to be called Oliver!” Where that came from, I do not know. We had considered many French-sounding names before the trip, but “Oliver” just felt right. As we said our goodbyes, Oliver was snoring in Jesse’s arms. So, Oliver it was! That was four years ago, and Oliver found a forever place in our hearts and home.
French Bulldog Temperament
When we were researching dog breeds, we always considered the sections about breed temperament. After many years of selective breeding and observation, canine experts can make general statements about how a breed usually behaves, how they react to people, and if they do well with other animals. I knew that Oliver was an individual, and might vary from the “norm” for Frenchie temperament and behavior.
In many ways, our dog is like a toddler. He still loves to explore things and test his boundaries. We have always used positive reinforcements to train Oliver; however, he gets "time out" in his spacious cage for unwanted behavior. This blend of positive reinforcement and gentle consequences has made Oliver relatively obedient. However, like a child, he has a mind of his own and can often be stubborn.
Even as a puppy, Oliver had a relaxed personality with short bursts of energy. He loves to play fetch with some of his favorite toys, and run in the yard with the kids. Because of the inherent breathing problems of the breed, he quickly tires out and is ready to take a snooze. He has never seemed territorial with us, and does not mind when we touch his toys or pet him while he is eating.
Oliver will bark when someone knocks at the door, but stops when he sees us welcome the person inside. As a puppy, he whined some when he was in his crate, but is generally a quiet dog. He happily yaps when he is playing. He is usually calm and lazy, with minimal barking or growling.
House Training A French Bulldog
Fortunately, we only have hardwood floors and tile in our home. It was not as easy to house train our Frenchie as it may be for other breeds. Their bulldog nature is often stubborn and lazy. There were times when we would take him for an hour’s walk outside, and he would run right into the house and do his business.
It took a lot of time, patience, and consistency to get Oliver house trained. When we took him out of his comfy cage in the morning, we took him to the yard the first thing. We gave him lots of praise and petting, and occasional healthy treats. As an adult, he rarely has an accident unless one of the kids forget to take him outside. We decided not to breed Oliver, so we had him neutered as a pup. He had only marked his territory a couple of times, and he has not shown any aggressive behavior.
Oliver’s Health Concerns
I was curious about the general health concerns that French bulldogs have so that we could remedy the problem quickly for Oliver. These dogs were selectively bred to have a crunched-up muzzle. While it may give them a “cutesy” look, it wreaks havoc on their breathing and sinuses. Since the beginning, Oliver has always grunted, wheezed, and snorted—which is typical. So far, our vet has not seen any major breathing issues with him.
Oliver has not experienced any problems due to his prominent eyes. They water sometimes, but he has never acted like he had problems seeing. At four years old, Oliver may be a little too young to exhibit joint and bone problems that are normal for his breed. He hops up on the couch in an instant, and can sprint for short distances.
Our vet warned us that French bulldogs often experience indigestion, burps, and terrible flatulence. We found that to be more than accurate with Oliver. Because of the breed’s facial construction, they gulp a lot of air while eating and drinking. We give Oliver a nutrient-balanced diet, but his occasional flatulence can clear a room. He got pancreatitis when he was two, and he nearly died from it.
We take our pet for a wellness check every six months, and for maintenance doses of flea and heartworm medication. Other than acute pancreatitis, Oliver has not suffered from any significant health problems. He is a happy, healthy, lazy dog!
Grooming Our Frenchie
One would think that a short-haired dog would never shed. However, Oliver can shed a lot—particularly between winter and spring. We take him to our groomer every six weeks for bathing, clipping his hair and nails. We only bathe him once a month, because he has dry skin.
When he gets a little itchy, the vet recommends emu oil. Frenchies, like most bulldogs, have a unique scent. We brush him every day to keep the shedding down, and add a little baking soda to keep his coat smelling fresh.
French bulldogs usually have a bad underbite and crooked teeth, like our Oliver. The vet checks and cleans his teeth yearly. We give him dental treats occasionally to minimize plaque and freshen his breath.
Playing Well With Others
When Oliver was a year old, we adopted a black kitten named Licorice. At first, Oliver was a little standoffish with Licorice, but his curious nature got the best of him. They have been together for three years, and get along fairly well.
Oliver can be jealous of our attention, and will sometimes growl at Licorice if she tries to hog the limelight. He also does not like for the cat to get around his food and water dishes. Other than that, they play together and will often snuggle with each other in the recliner. He has not shown any significant aggression when he meets strange dogs while we walk in the park.
A Day In The Life
Oliver usually sleeps at the foot of our bed, or sometimes with the kids. He is cold-natured, so he likes lots of covers. After snoring like a chainsaw all night, he is ready to go outside. Afterward, he gets a drink, eats a little kibble, and sees the kids off to school. The cat boxes his ears some as Oliver chases her out of his dog bed for a morning nap.
He will spend a little time with my wife as she does things around the house, and often goes to sun himself on the porch. Oliver is extremely curious, and will chase the birds and bark at the mail carrier. When the boys and I come home in the evening, he is all joyous barks and dancing. He goes outside to play with the boys, and returns to have a snack while we eat dinner. He is usually snoring on the sofa by the time the kids get ready for bed.
We consider Oliver and Licorice as part of our family. His unconditional love and adorable personality have endeared him to us forever. If most French bulldogs are like Oliver, I would recommend them as a pet for any family.