The History of The French Bulldog – An International Sensation

With their squishy bodies, adorable boogly eyes and hilarious character the French Bulldog has stolen the hearts of many of us, myself included. For those who don't already know Bartock and Boog is named after our family French Bulldogs Bartock and Boog (One might say we have a fondness for strange dog names...we know). When a French Bulldog stumbles into your life you just know you can never be without one again and turns out our ancient ancestors were struck by the same Frenchie spell. From Ancient Greece, to socialites in America the French Bulldog is a well-travelled pooch.

The earliest known origins of the French Bulldog heritage is actually from ancient Greece. A tribe known as the Molossians bred large dogs for fighting in wars and helping with labour. These dogs are said to be the ancient ancestors of many dog breeds including the French Bulldog.

Thankfully, in 1835 the awful sport of dog fighting was banned in Britain and so the ancestors of the French Bulldog became "unemployed". They were resigned to a simple life and breeding became a little more relaxed. Without the need for large fighting dogs, dog breeding produced some smaller variations after breeding with terriers and Pugs. These smaller dogs became companions leading a much more pampered life then their predecessors. One dog in particular was called the “Toy Bulldog” and began to become its own breed in confirmation shows around 1860s. These toy bulldogs usually weighed around 16-25 (7.3-11.3kg) pounds, but there was also classes for even smaller variations weighing just 12 pounds (5.4kg).

Around this same time Laceworkers from Nottingham, began to settle in Normandy, France. After the Industrial Revolution these Laceworkers sought new lives aborad and brought their Toy Bulldog companions with them. They were an instant hit with the French, so much so that a trade in imported toy Bulldogs was created! Mini bulldogs could be found in caffes all about Towns all over France and famous French painter Toulouse-Lautrec even included Toy Bulldogs in his paintings of French Life.

After time in France the Toy Bulldog adopted the name “Bouledogue Francais” or French Bulldog. It is believed that over time more Pugs and Terriers were brought in to edit the look of the French Bulldog as we know it today. Features such as their big round eyes, long straight ears, and short tails are said to be features added later.

At the end of the 19th century the “Bouledogue Francais” made its way back to England. The English did not immeditaley adopt this “new” breed as they were concered it would inbreed with the newly classified “English Bulldog” they had worked hard to develop. Therefore, the Bouledogue Francais created its own kennel club and held their first show dedicated to their breed in 1902. In 1903 the English Kennel Club permitted the Bouledogue Francais into their competition as their own popularity increased.

Meanwhile the French Bulldog had also made its way to America. Travelling alongside wealthy Americans to and from Europe they became a must have for the social elite. They stole the heart of Americans and spiked in popularity. This celebrity continued to increase even more after celebrity French Bulldog owners such as the Rockefellers and J.P Morgans showed them in the public eye.

In 1912 the name of the breed was officially changed to French Bulldog and their popularity continued to grow. By the early 20th century the breed remained a popular choice and to this day they often take place in the top ten most popular breeds all over the world.

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