With a tough-on-the-outside, sweet-on-the-inside demeanor, unmistakable bat-shaped ears and distinctive bow-legged gait, the French Bulldog has gained so much popularity that he’s fast becoming the city-dwellers' dog of choice. He's small – under 28 pounds – and has a short, easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors. He doesn't need a great deal of exercise, fits comfortably into a condo, co-op or apartment, and is far less likely to bark than many small dogs. In fact, other than being a little pugnacious with other dogs, it would be hard to imagine a better dog for city living.
The French Bulldog should be on the short list of breeds for anyone who lives without a vast tract of suburban backyard. He's also a good choice for those who might have trouble giving a more active breed ample exercise.
The Frenchie will make you laugh. He's a charming, clever dog with a sense of humor and a stubborn streak. Bred for centuries as a companion, he's very fond of people, and becomes particularly attached to his family. In fact, sometimes he becomes a little too attached, which means he's not the best choice for someone who'll be away long hours every day. It also means he absolutely, positively cannot live in the backyard or garage, but only indoors as a member of the family. That's doubly true given that he, like all brachycephalic, or "flat-faced" breeds, has difficulty regulating his body temperature and needs to live in a climate-controlled environment.
The Frenchie can also be a little hard to housetrain and may not be safe with a slow-footed family cat. He also snores, which might seem like a minor problem until you've actually heard the dramatic sounds that can emanate from his small body.
For exercise, Frenchies jump on and off the furniture and do the “Frenchie 500” circuit through the house. A short daily walk of 15 to 20 minutes will help to keep them in shape. Schedule walks and outdoor playtime for cool mornings and evenings. Frenchies are sensitive to heat and can quickly succumb to heatstroke. This is not the breed for you if you enjoy hiking or jogging with a dog.
Breeders like to send French Bulldog puppies to their new homes when they are nine or 10 weeks old. Frenchie puppies can become unpleasant little tyrants if they don’t get to spend the optimal amount of time with their mother and littermates, learning the rules of behavior toward people and other dogs.
The French Bulldog does best in a family where someone is home most of the day. He’s not always good with small children or cats, and he can be aggressive toward dogs he doesn’t know. When a Frenchie is the right match for you, though, you’ll find it’s impossible to have just one.