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Breed of the month - French Bulldog

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Here’s what you need to know about these quirky little pocket rockets.

French Bulldogs, or “Frenchies” are short, stocky and remarkably sturdy little fellows big on personality – they share similar traits with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in that they’re a happy go lucky breed who thrive on human companionship, and will keep their ‘humans’ in stitches with their clownish antics. They’re not big on barking, and are not considered a destructive breed; unless they are left to their own devices too often. A bored or lonely French Bulldog spells disaster for your pot plants and furniture!

They are often described as intuitive and responsive to their owner’s mood and needs, and though intelligent, they can be stubborn when it comes to training. Frenchies get along well with children and are sociable creatures in general. A word of warning – they are noisy and ‘snufflely’ breathers, and renowned tooters (yes, this is a polite way of saying they’re fond of farting.)

Caring for Frenchies

In terms of grooming, French Bulldogs are easy to care for. Their short, smooth coat won’t require brushing, however, they do have a few ‘wrinkly’ spots on their face, around the ears and creasing around their tails, that will need to be kept clean and dry at all times. Despite their short hair, they are big shedders, so expect to clock some serious time pushing your vacuum or broom.

Frenchies are a brachycephalic breed, which essentially means they have a shirt, squished nose. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) says because of their short muzzle and nose, their throat and breathing passages are frequently undersized or flattened.  The breed is prone to Brachycephalic Syndrome, which is a combination of an elongated soft palate, malformed nostrils, tissue growth inside the airway, and occasionally a narrow trachea, collapse of the larynx , or paralysis of the laryngeal cartilages. Much as it sounds, this is dangerous and unpleasant for the pooch, so surgery to correct it may be recommended, or even necessary.  For more details on this issue the RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) have produced an informative website 'Love is Blind'.

Heatstroke is common

All Frenchies, no matter how well they breath, or how healthy they are, are at risk of heatstroke because of their facial structure, and can succumb to it very quickly. This means owners should take extra care to keep them cool; they should be indoors in hot weather, should never be left in a car for any amount of time, and will require access to plenty of cool drinking water (and a paddle pool for dipping if they enjoy a splash!)

Owners should also learn the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke so they can seek help quickly.

Excessive panting, flushed or red skin inside their ears are two keen signs to watch for with heat exhaustion; which can quickly turn to heatstroke, which can be fatal if not treated quickly by a vet.

Signs of heatstroke include weakness, staggering and fainting – a dog experiencing any of these symptoms should be rushed to a vet immediately for treatment (trying to get them to drink water can cause more problems, instead hose them down and pack ice around them for the journey to cool their body.)

Breed snapshot:

  • Height: 30cm 
  • Weight: 10-15kg
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

Read more: Hot weather and your pets

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