The French Bulldog, or Frenchie as it is commonly known, is a playful attention seeker who is strong, inquisitive and has a stubborn streak. They make great family pets and are endearingly referred to as the clown dog for their fun nature. Most Frenchie owners will also happily tell you that their unique, bat like ears are used for selective hearing only!
Whilst they can be an excitable ball of energy, Frenchies are a breed that does not require lots of exercise. They definitely won’t be a running partner preferring a leisurely pace of life with lots of places to nap. Frenchies rarely bark but do come with a host of other interesting and unique sounds. Most owners have countless stories, photos and videos of their infamous ‘zoomies’, unusual sleeping positions and their vocal repertoire.
The compact and sturdy nature of this small to medium sized dog, which is part of the utility group, together with its big eyes and expressive face, have added to their appeal. In the last 15 years, their popularity has increased enormously.
Famous French Bulldog Owners
The list of A– listers that own Frenchies is seeming endless, including actors, musicians, entrepreneurs, sport personalities and reality stars. And their dogs make regular appearances on their social media too. Some of the most high-profile owners include David & Victoria Beckham, Reese Wetherspoon, Hugh Jackman, John Legend, Marcus Rashford, Gok Wan and Holly Willoughby.
Actor and former WWE star Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, has a Frenchie called Hobbs who has featured in the film Hobbs & Shaw. Johnson jokes on his Instagram picture holding his dog that, “We walked Hobbs a mile down the road so he can get some fresh air and guess who gets to carry him all the way back home because he was too tired.”
Superstar Lady Gaga’s French Bulldog Asia has featured in fashion campaigns and on magazine covers with her. In 2015 Gaga praised her beloved pet as being “a natural in front of the camera” and said, “I really love getting to watch my best friend be a star.”
Love Island winners Olivia & Alex Bowen own two French Bulldogs, one of which had to have surgery to help with the breathing problems which are common in this breed. Since then, they have used their social media presence to raise awareness of Frenchie health problems.
The history of the French Bulldog
Despite their breed name, the French Bulldog’s origins did not begin in France, but rather in England.
Lacemakers in Nottingham in the mid-1800s had ‘toy’ Bulldogs who used to keep their laps warm. The Industrial Revolution threatened the then cottage industry of lace making. So, many lacemakers relocated to France, and took their trusty canine companions with them.
The lacemakers settled in the French countryside and over decades the toy Bulldog is believed to have been bred with pugs and terriers to develop their distinct features including their instantly recognisable bat ears.
Eventually those living in France’s capital discovered the breed and paved the way for the reputation of the Bouledogue Français as a city dog. They soon became synonymous with Paris café life and Montmartre. Artists such as Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec depict Frenchies in their paintings of Paris’ demimonde. By the end of the 1800s their popularity begun spreading to Europe and America. Today, their adorable expression and loveable nature means that French Bulldogs have adorned many advertising campaigns, Instragram reels and social media feeds whilst filling the hearts and homes of millions of people across the world.
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