A few years back, I was on the hunt for the perfect dog. Since I live in an apartment, it couldn’t be too big. But I wasn’t the chihuahua type. Instead of a delicate prince or princess with a high-pitched yap, I wanted a unique pup with a bit of heft and a playful spirit. That’s when I stumbled upon the Fluffy French Bulldog.
What Is a French Bulldog?
Before we dive into the particulars of Fluffy French Bulldogs, let’s look at the base French Bulldog profile.
These dogs are smart, adaptable, and playful. Individuals of the breed form strong bonds with their human, dog, and even cat family members, and they radiate lovable, goofy vibes. Frenchies are more intelligent than many other breeds, but they can also be quite stubborn at times — though it’s tough to see their tantrums as anything other than adorable.
French Bulldog Size and Life Expectancy
One of the reasons many city dwellers welcome French Bulldogs into their lives is because they’re relatively small dogs, but they’re not dainty and yappy — a trait some folks find annoying. Most Frenchies stand between 11 and 13 inches tall, weigh under 28 pounds, and live 10 to 12 years.
French Bulldog Behavior
Frenchies fall into the middle of the pack when it comes to drooling. They’re not as bad as Saint Bernards, but it’s a good idea to keep a cloth around.
French Bulldogs are great with children and lovey-dovey. In most cases, they get along with other animals, but every so often, you’ll hear about a Frenchie who doesn’t adjust well to having a new four-pawed brother or sister.
A walk once or twice a day is enough exercise for French Bulldogs, but they are very playful. In terms of their bark quotient, Frenchies aren’t particularly vocal — which is another reason they’re super dogs for high-rise and apartment living. But be aware that housebreaking can take a little longer than you might expect.
What Is a Fluffy French Bulldog?
The overwhelming majority of French Bulldogs have rough, short hair. Some of them even awesome colors like the Merle French Bulldog. But every so often, a Frenchie comes along with a longer, fluffier mane, a trait that derives from the fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF) gene. Cynophilist call these rare pooches Fluffy French Bulldogs or long haired French Bulldogs, and individuals with two recessive FGF genes display the trait. Traditionally and colloquially, the genetic marker is known as the LH gene — which stands for “long hair.”
Are Fluffy Frenchies Purebreds?
Short-haired French Bulldogs can carry the recessive long-hair trait. Therefore, two short-haired Frenchies can spawn long-haired offspring. But whether the sub-breed is “purebred” is a matter of some debate.
Generally speaking, most Fluffy French Bulldogs are, according to most definitions, purebreds. Since French Bulldogs originally came about in the 1800s by crossing English Bulldogs with local ratter dogs in France, the LH gene most likely slipped into the gene pool early on. However, some Fluffy Frenchies are a mix of French Bulldogs and either Pekingese or long-haired Chihuahuas.
Thanks to advancements in canine gene therapy, people who show or breed dogs can get genetic profiles before welcoming new long haired French Bulldogs into their homes.
Fluffy Frenchie Medical Considerations
French Bulldogs, regardless of their hair length, are prone to certain medical conditions.
Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome
French Bulldogs have a less-than-ideal skull shape because of selective breeding. As such, individuals of the breed are prone to Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, which translates into breathing problems. Dogs suffering from the condition tire quickly, which is why many Frenchies pant heavily soon after a short burst of exercise.
The condition can be dangerous, so owners should be “helicopter parents” to ensure their fur babies don’t cross the exertion line or linger too long in excessive heat. If your pups must endure hot temperatures for a long time, hose them down with cold water occasionally. Failing to do so could result in death — and that’s not an exaggeration.
Frenchies that live in humid climates and suffer from Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome should spend most of their time inside air-conditioned spaces, where they can frolic and rest more comfortably.
It is possible to get corrective surgery for this canine medical condition, but it is costly and invasive.
Fluffy Frenchies are predisposed to patellar luxation. In healthy dogs, the kneecap is held in place by ligaments that sit in front of the joint in the hind leg. When the dog walks, the joint slides around in a groove, protecting the bones while allowing for movement.
When dogs have patella issues, the small kneecap bone tends to slip out of the groove and dislocate. If left untreated, the condition can cause severe pain and problems.
Due to their extra-small hips, female French Bulldogs of all stripes have fertility challenges. The majority have trouble conceiving naturally and are artificially inseminated. When it’s time to give birth, about 80 percent of Frenchies have Caesarean sections.
It’s not unusual for Fluffy Frenchies to have ocular issues, including cherry eye. A relatively harmless condition, cherry eye occurs when a dog’s third eyelid slides up into its eye. It’s not fatal, nor does it lead to blindness, but it does make the dog more prone to infection if injured.
Other French Bulldog eye problems include corneal ulcers, glaucoma, and cataracts.
Nearly 20 percent of French Bulldogs have skin problems. Since their epidermis folds, bacteria particles tend to gather in the creases, which can lead to infections. Eczema and skin allergies are also prevalent among members of the breed.
Spinal conditions — including “butterfly vertebrae” and spinal cord compression — are common among French Bulldogs. The problem tracks all the way back to their origins and the fact that they were purposefully bred to be smaller versions of Bulldogs.
Frenchies with so-called “screw” tails are exponentially more likely to have spinal issues. Resultantly, breeders are removing individuals with the trait from reproduction pools.
Canine spinal conditions can be diagnosed with X-rays and CT scans.
The Cost of Adopting and Keeping a Fluffy Frenchie
To state it bluntly: Fluffy French Bulldogs are expensive — very, very expensive! They were seen as defective when they arrived on the scene, and breeders practically gave them away. But their rarity turned them into sought-after dogs, and now breeders charge anywhere between $13,000 and $16,000 for a single puppy. Moreover, it’s rare to get a Fluffy Frenchie quickly. Most people land on wait lists, some of which can be years long.
Fluffy Frenchie Temperament
French Bulldogs were bred as companion animals. As a result, they are very people-oriented and do not like to be left alone for long stretches. If you’re at the office 10 hours a day, you may want to consider another breed because Frenchies develop separation anxiety disorders.
Grooming Fluffy Frenchies
Grooming Fluffy Frenchies is a bit more involved than their short-haired brethren — but not by much. Since their hair isn’t Rapunzel-length — like Puli Dogs or Akitas — it doesn’t tangle easily, nor does it attract tons of dirt. Most people brush their Fluffy Frenchies once a week. When they’re shedding, twice weekly is a good routine.
Since Frenchies have smooshy, wrinkly faces, they need to be wiped with a cloth daily. The goal is to remove any dirt, moisture, and allergens from their creases.
Fluffy French Bulldogs have natural oils that keep their coats healthy and shiny. As such, they shouldn’t be bathed regularly. The only time you need to clean them with soap and water is if they’ve developed a smell, rolled in dirt or mud, or got hit by a skunk.
Six Facts About Long Haired Frenchies
In search of some fun and essential facts about Frenchies? I’ve got you covered.
Frenchies Have Fashionista Roots
Lace workers in the United Kingdom favored Bulldogs and would use them as lap warmers while working. When the industry moved to France, the tailors brought their pups with them. Upon arriving on the continent, the English Bulldogs were paired with small ratter dogs, and the French Bulldog was born.
French Bulldogs Cannot Swim
Whether fluffy or short-haired, French Bulldogs cannot swim. Portuguese Water Dogs they are not! Their bulbous heads and squat frame are to blame. As such, if you have a pool, make sure your Frenchie is never unsupervised around the water. If you take your fur baby to the beach, make sure they wear a canine life jacket.
Flying Can Be Fatal for Frenchies
As we discussed above, Frenchies are prone to breathing problems due to their short, pushed-in snouts. When faced with the stress of flying and the warm temperatures in cargo holds and some cabins, fatalities are not unusual. In fact, some airlines have banned French Bulldogs.
A Frenchie Famously Helped an Abandoned Orangutan
The Twycross Zoo in England once rescued a baby orangutan named Malone, who was abandoned by his mother. Due to a lack of companionship, which is essential in primates’ early years, caretakers were worried he wouldn’t make it. Thankfully, Bugsy, a 9-year-old French Bulldog, came along and saved the day. The canine stepped in as Malone’s full-time friend and kept his buddy alive! When Malone was big enough, he joined the orangutan habitat. But if it weren’t for the love and support of Bugsy, Malone probably wouldn’t have survived.
Celebrities Love Frenchies
Celebrities are big fans of Frenchies. Lady Gaga, Martha Stewart, Jonah Hill, Snoop Dog, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, Reese Witherspoon, and The Rock have all had a Frenchie at some point.
French Bulldogs Are Very Sensitive
Both male and female French Bulldogs are very sensitive. Scoldings wound them deeply, and it’s not unusual for Frenchies to mope around the house for days in the wake of one. When training, positive reinforcement is the path to success.
Fluffy French Bulldogs are rapidly gaining popularity. They were once considered runts of the litter, but their rarity has made them highly sought-after pups. They’re wonderful companions for people who live in smaller spaces, but folks who are weighing whether or not to welcome one into their home should consider a few things.
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