The French Bulldog, or the “Frenchie” as they are charmingly referred to, is the most popular dog breed amongst NYC dog owners. Due to their small stature, adorable face, and naturally social disposition, there has recently been a huge surge in breeding, with an increase of 245% in French Bulldog registration in the last ten years.
Where did the French Bulldog come from?
Interestingly enough, the French Bulldog originates from England. In the 19th century Bulldogs were widely used for bull-baiting, a cruel dog-fighting contest that became illegal in 1835 with the passing of the Cruelty to Animals Act. Later, Bulldogs were continued to be bred in two general categories: Molossers (Mastiffs and large hunting dogs) and smaller companion dogs. Companion Bulldogs, which today encompass English and French Bulldogs, were crossbred with Terriers and Pugs to keep them small and give them adorable features.
So Why Are They Called “French” Bulldogs?
During the Industrial Revolution many garment workers moved from England to Normandy, France, and they brought their companion Bulldogs with them. Soon after, these new arrivals became very trendy in Paris, as butchers, café owners, art dealers, and even the famous Impressionist painter Henri Tolouse-Lautrec, adored the breed. This is why these dogs gradually were adopted the name “Bouledogue Francais,” and for English speakers, the French Bulldog.
Due to the breed’s popularity in France, there were few of them left in England. Dog exporters in the UK took advantage of the opportunity and flooded the market with dogs for their European neighbors.
How Did They Become Popular in the US?
During this period, wealthy Americans of the Robber Baron era (think: Edith Wharton novels) were travelling to France, and they also fell in love with the breed. Americans, though, preferred the Bouledogue Francais with bat ears as opposed to the “rose” ears. This is why the breed typically has these features in the US.
To sum it up: if you’re asking the question, “Why are French Bulldogs so cute?” It was no accident. Humans made them that way.
Important Health Information About Frenchies
This may come as no surprise to you, but something to know about Frenchies is that they do have health problems. Their adorable short-face and body type—large frame on a small body—causes breathing problems. Veterinarians are currently warning dog owners about breeding their Frenchies with other breeds. Make sure you are extra mindful of your dog’s exercise habits and whom they breed with, if that is something you are looking to do.