French Bulldog Breed Standard (October 2009)


A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics , temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Sturdy, compact, solid, small dog with good bone, short, smooth coat. No point exaggerated, balance essential. Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable

CHARACTERISTICS: Full of courage, yet with clown-like qualities. Bat ears and short tail characteristic features of the breed.

TEMPERAMENT: Vivacious, deeply affectionate, intelligent.

HEAD AND SKULL: Head square in appearance and in proportion to dog’s size. Skull nearly flat between ears, domed forehead. The skin covering the skull and forehead should be supple enough to allow fine wrinkling when the dog is alert. Well defined muzzle broad, deep and set back, muscles of cheeks well developed. Stop well defined. Lower jaw deep, square, broad, slightly undershot and turned up. Nose black and wide, relatively short, with open nostrils and line between well defined. Lips black, thick, meeting each other in centre, completely hiding teeth Upper lip covers lower on each side with plenty of cushion, never so exaggerated as to hang too much below level of lower jaw.

EYES: Preferably dark and matching. Moderate size, round, neither sunken nor prominent, showing no white when looking straight forward; set relatively wide apart and on the same level as the stop.

EARS: ‘Bat ears’, of medium size, wide at base, rounded at top; set high, carried upright and parallel, a sufficient width of skull preventing them being too close together; skin soft and fine, orifice as seen from the front, showing entirely. The opening to the ear canal should be wide and open.

MOUTH: Slightly undershot. Teeth sound and regular, but not visible when the mouth is closed. Tongue must not protrude.

NECK: Powerful, well arched and thick, of moderate length.

FOREQUARTERS: Legs set wide apart, straight -boned, strong, muscular and short.

BODY: Cobby, muscular and well rounded with deep, wide brisket and ribs well sprung. Strong gently roached back. Good ‘cut up‘. The body while broader at the shoulders should narrow slightly beyond the ribs to give definition to the relatively short thick strong muscular loin.

HINDQUARTERS: Legs strong, muscular and relatively longer than forelegs, with moderate angulation. Absolute soundness essential. Hocks well let down.

FEET: Small, compact and placed in continuation of line of leg, with absolutely sound pasterns. Hind feet rather longer than forefeet. Toes compact; well knuckled; nails short, thick and preferably black.

TAIL: Undocked, short, set low, thick at root, tapering quickly towards tip, preferably straight and long enough to cover anus. Never curling over back nor carried gaily.

GAIT/MOVEMENT: Free and flowing. Soundness of movement of the utmost importance

COAT: Texture fine, smooth, lustrous, short and close.

COLOUR: Brindle, pied or fawn. Tan, mouse and grey/blue highly undesirable. BRINDLE: a mixture of black and coloured hairs. May contain white provided brindle predominates. PIED: white predominates over brindle. Whites are classified with pieds for show purposes; but their eyelashes and eye rims should be black. In pieds the white should be clear with definite brindle patches and no ticking or black spots. FAWN: may contain brindle hairs but must have black eyelashes and eye rims. SIZE: Ideal weight: dogs: 12.5 kg (28 Ib); bitches:11kg (24 Ib). Soundness not to be sacrificed to smallness.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog..

NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Reproduced by kind permission of THE KENNEL CLUB


French Bulldog Characteristics from the FBCE

It is generally recognised that the French Bulldog of today is a descendant of the Toy Bulldogs of the 1850s. By 1890, a strain had emerged in France which later became known as the French Bulldog.

The Frenchie, as he is known, is active, intelligent, sweet-tempered and full of fun. He makes an ideal companion and is a discretely silent house-dog, disinclined to make friends with strangers. He has a retentive memory, unflinching gaze and is quite fearless. He seems to possess a special power by which he gains the unswerving affection of his owner.

His body should be sturdy and compact. An essential feature is his erect ear carriage. Equally important are his round, dark eyes. An overall balance is another essential quality of the breed. A unique feature of the Frenchman is that his tail is naturally short and undocked. His coat must be short and fine and Brindled, Pied (in which white dominates the brindling) or Fawn in colour.

A French Bulldog is very dependant upon human companionship. He should never be left alone for long periods or left in the care of young children. As far as is possible, his life should follow a well-regulated pattern. He flourishes in warm, comfortable surroundings. The Frenchie enjoys a daily walk of moderate length. In summer, this should be taken early or late - NEVER in the heat of the day. NEVER, EVER leave him alone in your car in hot weather. When travelling in summer, take plenty of water, towels and ice. If he overheats, cool his body surfaces, give ice to lick but do NOT give him large quantities of water to drink. If necessary, abort your journey.

Although he has an easy care coat, it does need regular attention. His facial wrinkles and area round the base of his little tail must be kept clean. Particular attention must be paid to his bat ears. It is really important that the orifices are kept clear and thoroughly clean. Never let them dry out so that the inner surfaces come together.

The French Bulldog is a wonderful companion. His vivacity, comic ways and quaint clown-like appearance give him a unique character.

Finding a French Bulldog Puppy

There are approximately 1,500 French Bulldog puppies born per year in the UK, usually you must expect to wait 6 - 9 months before you can acquire a puppy from a reputable breeder. Before you purchase your puppy, contact either the French Bulldog Club of England or the Midland & Northern Counties French Bulldog Club. They will advise you of reputable breeders who may have puppies for sale. You can also contact the Kennel Club for a list of their 'Accredited Breeders' who may have French Bulldog Puppies available.

They will advise you of reputable breeders who may have puppies for sale. It is strongly recommended that you join The French Bulldog Club. Even if you cannot attend the Club Shows, Meetings or Fun Events, you can get a lot of help from the Club and its members living in your area.

The worst possible way to purchase your puppy is through a pet shop, a puppy farm, the internet or from one of the free newspapers.

Most reputable breeders do not advertise, they strive to produce good health, good temperament, and good conformation. they usually have a waiting list for their puppies. This is the kind of breeder who has very likely put a great deal of time and effort into breeding and raising quality French Bulldogs and will want to give them the very best of homes.

It's best to more interested in good temperament, healthy long-lived lines, and sound structure, rather than what colour your would like your puppy to be, however which ever colour you choose it must comply to the Breed Standard. There is no such thing as "rare " colours in the French Bulldog. If a Frenchies coat colour it is anything other than the colours given in the Breed Standard then it has an undesirable coat colour which is not recognised as typical of this breed. There may be underlying health issues in these undesirable colours which we know nothing about, especially in all types of blue, mouse, chocolate, liver and black & tan colours If you're interested in an adult French Bulldog, some breeders may have an individual available, or you can ask if your name may be added to the French Bulldog Welfare Trust which is the rescue network although very few Frenchies end up in welfare.

The best way to acquire a puppy is to be placed on a reputable breeders waiting list and the best way to get on to a waiting list is to come to a Club event or show and meet the breeders. Don't expect to simply call a good breeder and be greeted with cries of joy and an immediate invitation to come on over and pick any puppy you want.

Point of Contact List

The Point of Contact List is a compilation of Club Members / Breeders that are prepared to be contacted for unbiased help and advice on how to find a puppy from a reputable breeder. All have been a member of the Club for at least 5 years. It is hoped that this may well discourage people from buying Frenchie pups from the internet by giving them access to recognised breeders and the chance to put their name on a waiting list for a puppy. Members on the list are there at the discretion of the FBCE committee and no reason need be given for inclusion or exclusion from the list

DISCLAIMER Whilst the French Bulldog Club of England encourages good breeding practices it does not endorse or rate any individual breeders or their stock. Neither can it take any legal responsibility or provide any support for agreements entered into between a buyer and a breeder. No responsibility for quality, health or temperament or honesty is expressed or implied. The individuals must satisfy themselves as a purchaser and any guarantees or promises are between the buyer and seller.

A reputable breeder will

Ask many questions and most likely want references.

Expect you to ask him/her many questions as well

Expect you to have researched a little about the breed.

Will want to meet you and may want a home check carried out

Will probably have a sales contract and will explain everything to you in full before you agree on the purchase of a puppy. It may say something like - That you're buying a pet quality puppy, not show or breeding quality. That you'll take good care of the puppy and look after her,. That you won't sell her or give her to anyone else without contacting the breeder first. and that the breeder will have first right of refusal

Will probably have endorsements on the puppy’s Kennel Club registration certificate. Endorsed Registration means the French Bulldog is registered with the Kennel Club but her papers will specify that she cannot be bred. If you breed her, the Kennel Club won't register her puppies. Endorsed Registration can always be changed to Full Registration later, if the breeder agrees.

May want you to have your own vet check the puppy within the first few days it is in it’s new home

Will normally charge you the average price of a puppy which appears to be approximately £1200-1800.

Will expect you to keep in touch at least once a year.

Will be happy to provide you with references about themselves.

Will be a member of the either of the French Bulldog clubs in the UK as they will appreciate that contact with other experienced breeders /owners is invaluable.

In return you can expect

A healthy vet checked puppy (many breeders provide a veterinary health certificate)

A first vaccination certificate and written proof of regular worming

A guarantee with a full refund or the offer of another puppy if you need to return the puppy should your vet find anything wrong with it within an agreed time

All the relevant Kennel Club documents to be handed over at the time of the sale

The puppy to be insured for the first six weeks.

Friendly help and advice if you should need it

Help throughout your dogs life should you ever find yourself in a situation in which you can no longer keep your Frenchie. The breeder should be willing to take your Frenchie back any time and either keep her or find another home for her (this doesn't mean you get your money back if you bring her back in five years; what it does mean that if something unfortunate happens, your little one will have a place to go).

French Bulldog Health Scheme

French Bulldog Health Scheme

As breeders we all want to produce sound puppies and eliminate health problems or temperament issues and to improve conformation in our lines.

How many times have you heard people criticizing others for having bred a Frenchie with some undesirable conformational feature? And yet the people doing the criticizing might have bred dogs with terrible allergies, or bad temperaments, worst still with various congenital defects. Bear in mind that one does not just breed a topline, a bite, or fantastic head, but an entire animal. Assuming that there is no such thing as a “Perfect” French Bulldog, a breeder must make informed and sensible choices, and despite best intentions these choices sometimes turn out to have been the wrong ones. The trick is to learn from them and not repeat bad choices.

Many health problems in Frenchies are "constitutional", being unwanted side effects of the breed's basic short-faced, chondrodystrophic dwarf structure. Others are either polygenic or are developmental defects with no significant genetic component. These are the things that make breeding decisions difficult, and probably the wisest course in breeding is to avoid breeding animals who have or carry known genetic problems that are painful, disabling, lethal, or costly in vet bills; and only with considerable forethought and soul-searching. to breed dogs with less serious conditions but only to individuals who do not have those problems. We (the owners and breeders), the veterinary profession and the KC want healthier dogs and in breeds with some single-gene recessive diseases, DNA tests are available that will identify normal 'carriers' of the undesirable gene, allowing a breeder to screen potential breeding stock. But there is only one test for our Frenchies the DNA HC HSF4 test for Hereditary Cataracts. This is where the French Bulldog Health Scheme becomes a valuable tool, as one of the goals of the scheme is to enable breeders to make more informed choices in their selection of breeding stock from the results and knowledge obtained from the tests. The responsibility remains with the individual to test or not ,as participation in the scheme remains voluntary at the present time.

The majority of Frenchies currently live without any illness which is detrimental to their quality of life. We should aim to ensure to the best of our ability that every single Frenchie has the opportunity of a healthy life. We should be actively involved to promote Healthier French Bulldogs but the Scheme need yours support and participation to make a difference to the health of our breed. Penny Rankine-Parsons. KC Breed Health Co-ordinator.

How your French Bulldog can participate in the Health Scheme

The Scheme is open to everyone, you do not need to be a member of any French Bulldog Club to participate. It is administered by the FBCE Health Committee

All French Bulldogs must be K C Registered, Micro Chipped or have permanent tattoo identification and be over 12 months of age.

Please also refer to " French Bulldog Health Statement"

Bronze Level Certificate

Request a copy of the Health Report from Mr Trevis Tel: 01225 767336

or Email:

You will need to have your dogs KC Registration number, microchip number, KC Registered name & D.o.b. to hand. Once you have received the form, book an appointment with your Vet. When the vet has examined your dog he should complete and sign the form. He retains 1 copy for his records and gives you the other 2 copies. This Breed Specific examination covers ears, eyes, heart, breathing, skin, basic conformation, temperament etc. To apply for your French Bulldog's Bronze Health Certificate, you must send the pink copy of the form to the French Bulldog Health Co-ordinator for verification (address below)

Silver Level Certificate

To claim your French Bulldog's Silver Health Certificate he/she must meet the following criteria -

To have obtained the Bronze Health Certificate:

DNA test HC HSF4 for Hereditary Cataracts (clear result)

Putnam Patella test score (grade 0 or 1 acceptable at present)

Cardiologist Heart Test (normal (grade 1 acceptable at present)

All these tests are non invasive and do not require your Frenchie to be sedated. They are inexpensive, easily available and achievable.

Gold Level Certificate

For your French Bulldog to be eligible for the Gold Certificate, he/she must meet the following criteria -

To have obtained the Bronze and Silver level certificates

BVA Hip Score

Spine X-ray and evaluation (Contact the KC Breed Health Co-ordinator on how to proceed)