Contrary to popular belief, the French Bulldog hails from Nottingham, England, where it was the breed choice of lace makers and craftsmen in the city. Used to hunt and kill vermin in the workplace, the Bulldog was portable enough in size to be transported back and forth from house to factory, making it both convenient and versatile. With the Industrial Revolution, demand for the specialised work of artisans diminished in favour of mechanical production, forcing many lace makers to seek employment in France. Arriving with their small dogs in the 1860s, the French immediately took to the Bulldog and attributed 'French' to the beginning of its name. Popular amongst the artistic and eccentric of Parisian city dwellers, the French Bulldog grew in favour, retaining its name on its return to England as well as its concrete reputation.
A compact dog of reduced proportions, the breed boasts several distinctive features, including a broad, well-defined muzzle, prominent eyes, upright, bat-like ears and a straight or corkscrew tail. The coat is typically short and loose-fitting, common in colour variations of cream, brindle, fawn, black and white, usually with piebald or spotted markings. A descendent of the Toy Bulldog, the breed falls within the 'utility' branch of canines, sharing its classification with non-sporting breeds including the Dalmatian, Akita and Poodle.
Despite its bullish appearance, the breed possesses a steady and easy temperament, displaying loyalty and devotion towards its master and family, whilst acting fearlessly to safeguard its loved ones in the event of perceived threat. Compatible with children and other house pets, providing they demonstrate the same gentleness, the French Bulldog is well suited to the home setting, making a great addition to active or relaxed family life. Typically, a fully grown French Bulldog will weigh 9-13 kg, with a life expectancy of roughly 10-12 years.
Optical disorders and cherry eye are particularly common with the French Bulldog, as are skin infections and breathing difficulties. Ensuring a balanced diet is administered is essential and feeding human foods is not recommended as the Bulldog gains weight easily, which can be detrimental to its general health and happiness. Spinal defects and joint and heart disease are documented in the breed, as well as heat stroke and intolerance.