French Bulldog Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
French Bulldog Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Despite his glum expression, the French Bulldog is comical, entertaining, and dependably amiable.
As comfortable in an apartment as he is on a farm, he is more lively than you might suspect from his chunky appearance. French Bulldog puppies are especially frisky, and ball chasing is one of their passions. Adults are more dignified and can be champion couch potatoes, but also love to clown around and go for walks in cool weather.
Many Frenchies are friendly with everyone, while others are politely reserved. French Bulldogs will bark to announce visitors, but are otherwise quiet dogs.
Usually peaceful with other pets (though some French Bulldogs will hunt small rodents), males may bicker with other males.
The French Bulldog is quite stubborn and can be challenging to train, yet also surprisingly sensitive, remembers what he learns, and responds well to early, patient, persistent training that utilizes food motivation.
Snorting, snuffling, and flatulence go with the territory of short-faced breeds.
Swimming pool owners must exercise caution: Because of his squat build and heavy head, most Frenchies cannot swim and will drown if they fall into a pool.
If you want a dog who...
- Is smallish but very sturdy -- not a delicate lapdog
- Has large expressive eyes
- Has a sleek easy-care coat that comes in many colors
- Is usually polite with everyone, including other pets
- Typically loves to play games and chase balls
- Doesn't need much exercise
- Doesn't bark much
A French Bulldog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Snorting, snuffling, wheezing, snoring, some slobbering
- Gassiness (flatulence)
- Slowness to housebreak
- Quite a few potential health problems due to his deformed face
- High cost
A French Bulldog may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult French Bulldogs have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your French Bulldog to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the French Bulldog
If I was considering a French Bulldog, I would be most concerned about...
- Health problems. Unfortunately, these nice-tempered dogs are deliberately bred with structural deformities that detract from the dog's quality of life. They especially have trouble breathing. You need to protect them from heatstroke and if your summers get hot, your home needs to be air-conditioned. Along with respiratory disorders, Frenchies also suffer from spinal disorders, eye diseases, heart disease, and joint diseases. Read more about French Bulldog Health.
- French Bulldog sounds. Because of their short face, most Frenchies snort, snuffle, wheeze, grunt, and snore loudly. These sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking to others.
- Slobbering. Some French Bulldogs, especially those with heavy loose lips, slobber water when they drink. Some drool, too, especially after eating and drinking.
- Gassiness (flatulence). All short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere, after all. However, commercial diets make flatulence worse by including fibrous or hard-to-digest ingredients. French Bulldogs who are fed a homemade diet of real meat and vegetables have much less trouble with gassiness.
- Stubbornness. For such a small dog, French Bulldogs can be quite stubborn and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Food is a great motivator for this breed, but it often results in a fat Frenchie who only obeys if you're waving a cookie. I recommend a more sensible training method.
- Housebreaking. French Bulldogs can be quite slow to housebreak. Expect four to six months of consistent crate training.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.