Tralinka French Bulldogs

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History of the French Bulldog

The History and origins of the French Bulldog have always been plagued by a variety of differing opinions. For the sake of argument, and in the need to simply put something here to explain where the French Bulldog came from, we’ve settled on the following explanation. It seems to be the most popular opinion…

Several hundred years ago all blood sports, including bull baiting and dog fighting, were officially banned in England, and overnight there suddenly became a number of dog breeds that had no purpose. Many breeders began redesigning their dogs to suit other functions, slowly breeding out their blood instincts, making them smaller and more people friendly. By 1860 the miniature bulldog had emerged as a breed in its own right, a mixture of the larger English bulldog breeds and terriers, pugs, and local ratting dogs. They became a family dog, and protector of the children and babies.  

These miniature bulldogs also became popular with lace workers of England, who relocated to France at the start of the Industrial revolution. Many English breeders of the miniature bulldog began exporting their “reject” puppies on into France, mostly those dogs with the undesirable upright ears, rather than the folded over ears that was the standard for all Bulldogs at the time. Such was the popularity of the dogs being sent into France, that by the turn of the century the Miniature Bulldog of England had all but become extinct. The French continued redesigning these imported miniature bulldogs, and soon they were diverging from their English forebearers and becoming a breed distinctly their own, initially called the “Bouledogue Francais”, which literally means “Bull Dog of France”. The Breed Standard for the French Bulldog didn’t become a separate entity until 1902, after the French Bulldog breeders of America staged a revolt when their upright eared miniature bulldogs were unfavourably judged in 1896. They formed their own breed club, and designed a breed standard for their “French Bulldogs”, as separate from the miniature bulldogs and other breeds, stating the upright, batlike ears as correct. Other countries followed suit after America, including France, and Germany, but it took England a little longer to recognise the French Bulldog as a separate breed (mostly after pressure from miniature bulldog breeders protesting against these “prick eared” dogs being allowed to breed with their own stock).

So, the French Bulldog has only emerged as a distinct breed just over a century ago and, as a consequence, there still exists a lot of variety within the breed. Shapes are still being defined, styles and bloodlines developed, and even a breed DNA test will identify any Registered, pedigree French Bulldog as being between 70-85% French Bulldog (their parent breeds still being detectable within their DNA).