French Bulldog Owner’s Survey


The results of the survey provided me with an excellent opportunity to gain a better understanding of the astounding level of affection and outright obsession that people have for their French Bulldogs. What other breed could have owners say things like, “The worst thing about having a Frenchie is that they can’t talk – I’d love to know what they’re thinking!” in reference to their pets? or “I think that in order to own a dog, individuals should be required to complete a test on how to be a responsible owner!”

Despite the fact that I have tabulated the data as exactly as I can, it is important to note that these results should only be taken as anecdotal evidence.

General Questions

What’s the best thing about owning a Frenchie?

  • #1 – “Personality” – “I’ve owned other breeds, but none as engaging as my French Bulldog puppy!”
  • #2 – “Variety of colors
  • #3 – Tied – “Those faces!” and “How they can make you feel” (most comments were along the lines of this – “No matter how bad my mood, when I see that face I always cheer up!”)
  • #4 – Tied – “Smart” and “Clean“. One comment “This is not a dog. I’ve owned dogs before, and these aren’t dogs – they’re humans in furry suits.”
  • #5 – Tied – Loved by everyone” and “They always draw a crowd“. One comment “I live in Manhattan and I’ve seen cars come to a full stop so that people can ask “What kind of dog is that?”
  • #6 – “Big dog, small body“. One comment – “They’re not frail, even though they are small. They’re so muscular they look like weight lifters!”
  • #7 – “Low exercise level“. One comment – “I was very sick last year, and my baby would stay in bed with me for 8 or 9 hrs at a time, she knew it made me feel better, so she stayed with me.”
  • #8 – Tied – “Their ability to talk” and “The way they snort” ( which was also a winner in the “Worst Things” category!), and “they can read minds” all got one vote each

What’s the WORST thing about owning a Frenchie?

  • #1 – TIED – “health worries” and “Heat worries”. A LOT of people told stories of dogs “going down” due to the heat, and too many people had sad stories of losing their dogs too young from a health problem.
  • #2 – “Short Life Spans” – many people (myself included!) wished they could live forever.
  • #3 – None! – “There is NOTHING bad about owning a Frenchie!”
  • #4 – Stubborn/Hard to train – “My dog has selective hearing – he can hear me getting a snack from the other side of the house, but he can’t hear me calling him in the park from one foot away.”
  • #5 – Dog aggressive – “I want to get another French Bulldog, but my dog is very bad with others.”
  • #6 – Snoring/Snorting – “I wish she could sleep on the bed with me, but her snoring keeps me awake – she’s worse than my husband!”
  • #7 – They’re addictive! “You only mean to own one, and you end up with 10!”
  • #8 – Housebreaking – “My dog took a year to housebreak, and he’s still not reliable”
  • #9 – Tied – a few things that only had one or two votes each – Gas, Barking, Chewing – on a plus note, a few people said they wished they *were* a Frenchie, or they wished their Frenchie could talk!

One European breeder worries about his Frenchies being mistaken for Pit Bulls, which happens on occasion. This is a big problem in a country where pit bulls are banned, and stray pit bulls are automatically put to death.

How trainable do you feel Frenchies to be?

  • #1 – Very. Most people responded to this question with a Qualified “Very”. They felt that Frenchies were very trainable if you used motivational methods and were smarter than your dog.
  • #2 – Moderately. The second-largest group of people felt them be moderately trainable, given diligent training and lots of patience.
  • #3 – Not very or not at all. A few frustrated owners responded with comments like “Training? What’s that?” or “Well, they’re stubborn, but they sure are cute”.

Do you recommend Frenchies to your friends?

  • #1 – “Yes”. Again, most people responded with a qualified “yes”, citing examples like “only if they are an older couple” or “only if they deserve to own one”. Most people felt that you needed to do your homework if you were going to own a Frenchie, and many said “Only if they know the good things AND the bad things, especially health-related issues”.
  • #2 – Yes! – an unqualified yes, with a few responses like “Everyone should own one!”
  • #3 – “Never” – this varied from the person who said that “owning a French Bulldog broke my heart” to the person who said, “I wish I had the only one in the world”.
  • #4 – one person said “I only recommend them to my insane friends!”, and two people said they don’t recommend them to their “dumb friends”!

What resource has been most useful to you as an owner?

  • #1 – the Breeder of my dog, other breeders and exhibitors
  • #2 – The French Bullytin
  • #3 – The Eltinge Book “The French Bulldog”, the AKC Gazette columns, other “books and magazines”
  • #4 – the Internet (Since Survey was done via the internet this probably influenced this number)
  • #5 – The FBDCA
  • #6 – Shows and the Nationals
  • #7 – Veterinarians
  • #8 – 9 people named “Jan Grebe” as their most valuable resource! Poor Jan – her phone must never stop ringing!

Health Issues and Birth Defects

The questions pertaining to health issues and congenital anomalies took up the majority of the survey. People’s health ailments were categorized into broad categories; for instance, the phrase “Eye Problems” was used by many to refer to a wide range of issues, including “always watery eyes” and “persistent pupillary membranes.” In order to make these more broad terminologies more clear, a few examples from each topic area have been provided below. The following are the results, arranged from most commonly reported to least frequently reported:

  • Spinal – 33 (Mostly “Hemivertebrae” with no further elaboration, but a few cited “Butterfly hemis”, and 11 people reported degenerative disk disease, with one person reporting ‘dog jumped off of the couch and ruptured disc’, one report of ‘spinal meningitis-like illness’)
  • General “Breathing and/or Respiratory Problems” – 29 (14 cases of what sounded like non-diagnosed palate trouble, several reported labored breathing after exertion, 6 reports of cleft palate present at birth, several reports of “dog faints after playing”)
  • Eyes – 12 (runny eyes and constant tear stains were cited most often, with Entropion and Ectropion second. Three reported Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and one reported Juvenile cataracts, one reported PPM).
  • Reproduction Problems (Bitch)- 19( 8 reported “Bitch never able to conceive”, 2 reported prolapsed uterus, 4 reported open pyometria, 3 reported closed, 2 reported litters aborted naturally)
  • Reproductive Problems (Male) – 12 (Sheath infections, unable to breed naturally, no sperm count)
  • Skin Problems – Severe – 11( Four reports of dogs needing to be constantly on steroids to control skin infections and hair loss, one report of dog developing infected pustules and areas, one report of chronic hot spots, four reports of severe generalized demodectic mange)
  • Skin Problems – Mild – 12(Numerous reports of minor hot spots, occasional bald patches, “Hot pink” skin in summer, mild localized demodex or ‘puppy demodex’)
  • Hip/Joint Problems – 11(four cases of “severed HD requiring surgery”, several reports of “can’t get up and down stairs”)
  • Obsessive Foot Licking – 11 (Mainly reported as “Constant Foot licking”, Three reports of feet swollen and inflamed between toes, two reports of “excess tissue between toes”)
  • Dog Aggression – 9(Two reports of dog euthanised from severe aggression, one report of dog being put on Prozac to control aggression)
  • Food Allergies – 9(five reports of “severe food allergies requiring restricted diet”, two reports of constant gastro problems on commercial dog food)
  • Chronic Ear Infections – 9(With four reports of “Surgery to widen ear canal”, and six reports of “chronic yeast infections”)
  • Rectal Prolapse – 8 (Five reports of surgical correction, with three reports of surgery needing redone twice, two reports of animals being euthanized following “unsuccessful surgery to repair”.
  • Elongated Palate – 8 (6 reports of needing palate surgery, two reports of surgery needing down twice on the same dog, one report of sudden death with autopsy stating “respiratory distress due to severely elongated soft palate”)
  • Pinched Nares (Nostrils) – 8(6 reports of “surgical correction”)
  • Death Under or Due to Anesthetic – 8(Two reports of losing bitch and all puppies under anesthetic, 2 reports of losing bitch and saving puppies, 1 report of death during neuter, two reports of losing puppies from anesthetic during C section)
  • Heart Murmurs/Heart Valve Defects – 7(One characterized as a “puppy murmur disappeared at maturity”, one “severe valve defects”, several general “heart defects”.
  • Overheating – 6 (with two people reporting “death due to overheating” or heat stroke)
  • Constant Regurgitation – 6(Three reports of vomiting constantly after eating, one report of vomiting due to megaesophagus)
  • Allergic to shots – 5(One report of death within four hours of receiving shots, four reports of severe swelling and respiratory distress, and one generalized “allergic reaction”)
  • Teeth – 5 (one person said “teeth erupting from the roof of the mouth”, two reported “Teeth fall out when cleaned”)
  • Urinary Tract Infection – 5(Two reports of severe chronic infections)
  • Reverse Sneezing – 4(One case reported where “Dog faints after episodes of sneezing”)
  • 4 people who basically said “Everything – you name it, and my dog has had it.” One reported spending almost $11,000 on vet bills for a single dog, on everything from spinal problems to eye surgery to ear canal resection. Of these, only one said they would never own a French Bulldog again.
  • Stool Eating (Coprophagia) – 3
  • Anal Sac Infections- 3(One reported to require anal sac removal via surgery)
  • People Aggression/Rage Syndrome – 3 (Of the three, two reported having put the dog down due to aggression, which both characterized as “rage syndrome”.)
  • Total Immune Failure – 3 (characterized as “allergic to absolutely everything, constant skin problems, eye infections, staph infections”)
  • Bladder Stones, Luxating PatellasEpilepsy – 2 Each
  • Compulsive Behavior – 1(one bitch “snaps” at imaginary flies and has “spinning disorder”)
  • Canine Herpes, VWD, Lympho Sarcoma – 1 each

Conformation, Obedience and Related Questions

Do you exhibit, show or work your dog (in any of the following)?

  • 34 exhibited in conformation
  • 18 competed in obedience
  • 14 took part in therapy
  • 10 had either obtained or planned to obtain their CGC
  • 5 competed in agility
  • 2 worked their dogs in tracking
  • 1 competed in flyball

What’s the Best Thing About Frenchies as Show Dogs?

  • #1 – “Love to Show” – Comments about how happy and fun Frenchies are in the ring. “He can’t wait to get out there – he loves the attention”
  • #2 – “Low Grooming and portable” – many comments from people who had owned coated breeds and large breeds. “After showing terriers, it’s a blessing to have a wash n go dog”, “So nice to not have to haul around huge crates and tack boxes and blow dryers”.
  • #3 – “Meeting other Frenchie people, learning at ringside”. Many people emphasized how much fun they have at ringside simply watching the other dogs. “I’ve met some great new friends, and have learned a lot about the breed”.
  • #4 – “The attention they get at shows” – People love the questions they get from spectators, and many feel that Frenchies are an easy breed to place within a group.

What’s the Worst Thing About Frenchies as Show Dogs?

  • #1 – “Heatstroke worries” – Numerous comments about dogs passing out ringside in the summer. Overwhelming complaints about conditions at outdoor shows in the summer – “lack of shade”
  • #2 – “Judges who don’t know the standard” – Comments about dogs with obvious breed defects “wry jaws”, “cow hocks”, “crippled gait”, and “labored breathing” are being put up for points by judges who don’t know any better or don’t care.
  • #3 – “Lack of consistency in exhibits” – Comments that there is too much variance in the dogs being shown – obvious pets get points one day, oversized dogs taking the breed
  • #4 – “Stubborn, refuse to show, refuse to “use ears”
  • #5 – “Breed Politics” – More specifically, complaints about handlers and unethical behavior
  • #6 – “Out of place in Group Six” – Several comments about how difficult it is to defeat coated breeds like poodles

If you show in conformation, what improvements or changes would you like to see in how Frenchies are judged? ( For the sake of the judges who read this, this section has been broken down exactly, with comments selected from the results)

  • 34 people wanted to see “more knowledgeable judges and more judge’s education programs“. One comment – “I’m tired of paying to be judged by someone who obviously doesn’t know anything about our standard.”
  • 16 wanted to see judges “pay more attention to the health of the dog they are judging“. One comment – “How can a judge give points to a dog that can’t even breathe? Do they care about health at all?”
  • 12 wanted “less emphasis on handlers“. A comment: “A judge told me that I had a good dog and I should put a handler on him if I wanted him to win more often. Does a handler make him ‘better’?”
  • wanted “less attention to extremes – a more balanced dog”. One comment: “I hate to see too much of anything – too short aback, too big a head, too big or too small a dog. We should look for a balance.”
  • 3 wanted “more emphasis on temperament“. One comment “My dog has been growled at in the ring twice by the same dog, and the judge still puts that dog up for breed.”
  • wanted to see “weight called more often“, but 5 wanted either “less attention to weight or the weight limit tossed altogether“, & 2 wanted “classes divided by weight“.
  • 3 wanted to see “more attention paid to gait, and less to heads“. One comment “I am sick of hearing judges say ‘This is a head breed.’ like nothing else matters as long as they have a head”
  • 2 responded that they’d “like to see a clearer breed standard for judges to adhere to“. One comment “We can’t blame judges unless we give them a clear standard to go by”.
  • 2 people wanted to “toss the color restrictions“, 1 person wanted “more attention paid to it“, 1 wanted “classes divided by color“.
  • 2 people wanted to see “spike-tailed dogs rewarded, and non-spikes penalized“. One comment “A spiked tail is ideal, and should be rewarded more often.”
  • 2 people thought “nothing needed to be changed with judging” (I think they must have just beaten the next guy)
  • 1 person wanted to see “fewer judges who are completely blind, stupid or both“.

Background

Do you own a French Bulldog right now?

2 people responded who had owned Frenchies in the past but had none at this time, but all others owned Frenchies now.

How many do you own?

Ranged from 1 dog to a person who owned 20+. One person *did* post that they own 412, but I’m hoping this was a typo!! The average number owned was 2

How long have you owned French Bulldogs?

Again, we had a wide range of time spans, from less than a week to 23+ years. The average years of experience were 3.

Do you breed Frenchies?

12 people did not respond, 30 breed, and 72 did not.

Where did you get your French Bulldog from?

(Several People who owned multiple Frenchies obtained them from multiple sources – 1 person bought one (her first) from a pet shop, had 3 from a breeder, and had rescued one).

  • #1 – from a breeder
  • #2 – bred it myself
  • #3 – rescued/adopted
  • #4 – pet store
  • #5 – other source or did not answer

Where are you from?

The United States of America was responsible for collecting 78 percent of the replies, while the remaining 22 percent came from Canada, Israel, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Zaire, and five other countries.

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