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French Bulldogs

French Bulldog Breed Standard

General appearance –The French Bulldog has the appearance of an active, intelligent, muscular dog of heavy bone, smooth coat, compactly built, and of medium or small structure.  Expression alert, curious, and interested.  Any alterations other than removal of dewclaws is considered mutilation and is a disqualification.

“Compactly built” means a short bodied dog compared to dogs of most breeds of the same height.  Its legs and body should show strong, muscular development.

The expression should never be dull or sour but rather intelligent and bright.  This is a distinguishing feature of the French Bulldog.  Illustrated Breed Standard

Weight –The original standard written in 1897 called for a mature dog to weigh no more than 22lbs and a mature bitch no more than 20 lbs.  In 1911 the standard was revised and two weight classes were created-light weight of under 22 lbs and a heavy weight class of 22 lbs -28 lbs.  These classes remained the standard until 1991 when the classes were combined and the weight limit is no more than 28 lbs.

Gnosticfire’s personal preference is for dogs in the 20-25lb range as Frenchies are a companion breed and should thus be able to fit comfortably on your lap or beside you on the couch.


Health Concerns associated with the breed


Hip dysplasia

Patellar luxation

Hot spots

Atopic dermatitis

Elongated soft palate

Stenotic ares

Tracheal collapse

Cleft palate


Reputable, conscientious breeders work hard to minimize these issues through careful breeding practices involving health testing at the genetic level and through x-rays. While all health problems cannot be completely eliminated, they can be minimized.   When looking for a reputable breeder make sure they are conducting health testing.

Important Health Tests

X-rays on Hips and Spines (some breeders will have their vet evaluate the x-rays, but most will also send the x-rays in to O.F.A.-Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, and a certification number will be assigned)

Cardiac-should have an OFA number assigned an be able to privide you with that number

Patellas (testing for luxating patellas) should have an OFA number assigned and be able to provide you with that number

Eyes-CERF is a visual exam conducted by a certified animal eye specialist.  DNA for HJC (genetic testing for Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts).  HJC is an inherited disease which can cause early onset of blindness in French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.  HJC can be controlled and eliminated through careful testing and breeding practices


Other health tests



BAER (for hearing)



VERY IMPORTANT:  Frenchies like all flat faced breeds do not do well in the heat. Please keep them cool.  Because of their flat faces they can become overheated VERY QUICKLY and rapidly succumb to heat stroke.  They also DO NOT SWIM.  Because of the large head, the flat face and the short legs, they will sink and drown. Please do not leave your Frenchie unattended around bodies of water and if you are around water, please invest in a life vest for them. (small kiddie wading pools are A-OK however and a great way to beat the heat).



A reputable breeder:

  • Is knowledgeable about his/her breed and breed standard;
  • Is active in the breed in some fashion, perhaps in the conformation ring, or in the performance aspect, such as obedience, agility, hunting, earthdog.
  • Has done extensive genetic testing on the breeding stock used and is willing and able to discuss whatever faults his/her dogs have (and all dogs have them. No dog is perfect.);
  • The environment the dogs and puppies are kept in are open for your inspection and are kept sanitary;
  • At least the dam of the litter is on the premises and is available for your inspection, with pictures and information about how to contact the owner of the sire available to you;
  • Has provided proper medical care and nutrition to all his dogs and will provide you with medical records;
  • Can discuss the socialization of the puppies and can make recommendations for the continued socialization and training;
  • Will have a written contract and bill of sale. Will offer a health guarantee;
  • Will offer a genetic disease guarantee;
  • Will take back the dog at any time during the dog's life if you become unwilling or unable to care for it.
  • Will be available to you for advice during the life of the dog.

How to find a reputable breeder:

Start by contacting the national breed club and then the local breed clubs.

Attend a dog show and meet the breeders.  AKC Events Search

Look for websites with pictures of dogs being shown and ideally winning, with discussions of health testing.

AVOID breeders who are breeding poorly bred dogs from imported lines. These dogs are generally from countries that formerly made up the Soviet Union.   These puppies and their parents come from overseas puppy mills, are not to standard, have more health concerns and typically are more aggressive. The Wrong Puppy 

There are plenty of these BYB (back yard breeders) out there with these poorly bred import dogs claiming champion lines, that their dogs are to AKC standard, that the imported dogs are healthier etc. and then charging the same price as you would from a reputable breeder who HAS championed their dogs, HAS done OFA health testing and who's dogs ARE to standard! Would you buy a fake Rolex for the price of a real Rolex? I think not.

What their "catch phrases" really mean are:

Champion lines-somewhere down the line there may have been one champion, maybe 7 generations back.  But for import dogs, much of the paperwork is falsified in Eastern Europe so there may not have ever been a champion and the dog may not even be purebred!

To AKC standard- what this really means is that they filled out the paperwork to have the dog registered with AKC.  If you compare the dogs physically and temperment, they would not be anywhere near what our standard is.

Imported dogs are healthier-not when they are imported from European puppy mills!!!!  Many of these import dogs show aggression, allergies, demodex, weakened immune systems, spinal and hip issues. If you check out French Bulldog Rescue Network, you will see that many of the Frenchies in rescue are from imported dogs or their lines.


Why do French Bulldogs cost so much?

French Bulldogs from reputable breeders cost what they do for a number of reasons. None of it having to do with making money.  Our beloved little Frenchies are an artificial/man-made breed. They do not breed naturally or give birth naturally. To bring one of these little frogs into the world requires a veterinarian specializing in reproduction.  The costs associated with proving your dog in the ring, the OFA and genetic health testing requiring x-rays, DNA swabs and fee submissions, progesterone testing, temperature monitoring, high quality foods, c-sections are only just a few of the costs that go into this breed that we love so much.  And that doesn't include the time invested.  Please do not be put off by the expense of purchasing a Frenchie from a reputable breeder.  If you truly want something, save your money and buy a healthy, well bred dog from a reputable breeder who has put a lot of thought, money and love into what they do.