We know dogs as man’s best friend, and that’s for good reasons. A furry companion can boost your mood, lower your blood pressure, and even lower your risk of heart disease! With all of the benefits, you’re probably chomping at the bit to find an adorable puppy to call your own.
One of the most popular (and adorable) companion dogs is the French Bulldog. Wondering how they came to be so popular? Read on to learn about the fascinating history of French Bulldogs!
1. Spoiler Alert: They’re Not French
With a name like the French Bulldog, you’d think that the breed would have come straight out of France. In the grand tradition of animals with misleading names, French Bulldogs actually first showed up in England during the 18th century.
Toward the end of the 18th century, breeders were looking to create a small breed of dog that could serve as a companion. The French Bulldog is the result of breeding the bulldog with smaller breeds of dogs until the French Bulldog was born. They quickly became a popular companion to lace workers around Nottingham at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Frenchies were among the first animals to serve purely as a companion animal. The Industrial Revolution allowed people to provide the resources necessary to keep pets healthy and happy without relying on them for income in an agricultural capacity.
2. Their Distinct Appearance Was Cultivated in France
The same Industrial Revolution that allowed people to prosper also caused smaller home-based businesses in England to go under. The lace workers with whom Frenchies had become so popular had to leave England for Northern France in order to make ends meet. Naturally, they brought their furry friends with them.
Once Frenchies reached the shores of France, they became hugely popular among the French. Sadly, they fell out of favor in England, and the French adopted the breed. This is how the French Bulldog got its moniker.
It was also in France that the Frenchie began to look more like the adorable pups we know them as today. They were bred to have snub noses, large eyes, and those adorable big ears.
3. Frenchies Have Always Been Companion Dogs
Frenchies are one of the first breeds of dogs to have been bred purely for companionship purposes. Their temperament makes them the perfect companion animal for almost anyone.
Prior to their arrival, most dogs were bred to fulfill a certain job. For example, terriers kept vermin away from barns, shepherds managed flocks of livestock, and hunting dogs assisted their masters on their search for dinner. The bulldog itself was created to serve as bait for bulls.
The Frenchie, though descended from the bulldog, knows nothing of their brutal origins.
4. They Hit Westminster in 1896
French Bulldogs were popular during the 19th century, but it wasn’t until they started getting shown in dog shows that their popularity really began to grow.
In 1896, Frenchie enthusiasts introduced the breed at the 1896 Westminster Dog Show even though the American Kennel Club didn’t recognize the French Bulldog as an official breed. This forced the AKC to stand up and take notice of this tremendously popular breed and in 1898, the AKC officially acknowledged them.
5. The Breed Standard Was Established in 1898
Americans visiting France during the 19th century fell in love with the adorable little Frenchies and began to bring them back to America. Americans were especially enamored with the bat-eared aesthetic that Frenchies are known to have. However, when Frenchies were introduced at the Westminster Dog Show in 1896, there were two types of French Bulldog shown, one with bat ears and one with rose ears.
American French Bulldog owners were incensed by the rose earned Frenchies and founded the French Bull Dog Club of America. In fact, the FBDCA was the first breed-specific club ever!
The FBDCA quickly developed what became known as the breed standard. FBDCA members and Frenchie enthusiasts only considered bat-eared Frenchies good enough for shows. The rest, as they say, is history.
6. Frenchies Were Popular Among the Risque
The Frenchie wasn’t just popular among the working man. In fact, he had a lot of fans among many different groups of people.
During the 1890s, the Montmarre area of Paris was akin to today’s chicest neighborhoods in New York City. It drew several world-famous artists like Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir. It also made the area a popular spot for France’s belles de nuit, or ladies of the night.
Their favorite accessory, of course, was their little French Bulldogs with big personalities. Artwork created featuring these women also featured their favorite pets. Frenchies also showed up in post-Impressionist paintings created by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
7. Frenchie Popularity Took Off in the 1980s
Frenchies have a storied history, but how did they become so popular today?
As it turns out, the French Bull Dog Club of America experienced a revitalization during the 1980s, and that meant that more Frenchies were being registered than ever thanks to younger breeders. In 1980, there were 172 Frenchie registration, a number that soared to 5,500 in 2006.
Factor in social media influencers and celebrity pets and you have the recipe for the popularity of French Bulldogs today. Search the hashtag #Frenchie on Instagram and you’re bound to find millions of posts. It’s enough to make you want to go out and get one or two of your own, isn’t it?
Did You Love Learning about the History of French Bulldogs?
It’s no secret that French Bulldogs are among the most adorable of all the breeds of companion dogs out there. The history of French Bulldogs shows that these have been raised for a couple of centuries specifically for the purpose of becoming your best friend. If you think that you’re ready to open your home and heart to a French Bulldog, then you should have no doubts about it now!
Are you looking for the perfect French Bulldog puppy to bring home? Then you’re in the right place! Contact us today to learn how we can help make your Frenchie dreams come true!