French Bulldogs are consistently ranked as one of the world's most popular dog breeds. French Bulldogs were originally bred in Nottingham in the United Kingdom in the 1800s. They were bred specifically to be companion dogs of the lacemakers. Because of the breed's history, they make an excellent companion for your children. French Bulldogs thrive with companionship and want nothing more than to be included and loved. Read on to learn our top reasons why French Bulldogs are excellent with children, and warnings you need to take heed of while raising children with French Bulldogs.
How do French Bulldogs' temperaments stack up?
The American Kennel Club describe French Bulldogs as playful, alert, dependable, and irresistible1. French Bulldogs look serious, however, they are comical, playful, and relaxed. They are comfortable in small apartments and on the farm as long as they have company. French Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. They do not like being left at home for extended periods of time and thrive with children. The American Temperament Test Society is a national not-for-profit organisation set up to provide uniform temperament evaluations of dogs. They scored the French Bulldog at 96.2%. The average score out of all breeds that have participated in this test is 82.3% 2 The French Bulldogs have scored very highly. The temperament test is conducted by a trainer walking their French Bulldog on a 6ft lead. They are then exposed to unusual stimuli including gunshots, people, lights, and noise. A failure occurs when dogs display unprovoked aggression, panic without recovery, and strong avoidance 3.Out of the 52 French Bulldogs that carried out this test only two have failed.
Here are our top reasons French Bulldogs make great family dogs.
1) French Bulldogs were bred to be companions.
As stated earlier French Bulldogs were bred by lacemakers in Nottingham, in the United Kingdom to be companion dogs. This occurred after bullfighting was banned and lacemakers wanted to breed a companion dog. French Bulldogs were bred from an English Bulldog and a French Ratter. Frenchies gained the English Bulldog's strong solid look on a much smaller frame and the French Ratter's playfulness and eagerness. French Bulldogs thrive when they are included in family activities. They love to be with their owners and are happy sitting on the couch, or going out and exploring. They are a gentle, loyal, and friendly breed and due to this, they are great with children. French Bulldogs also have energy levels similar to children. They like to have small bursts of playtime mixed with naps.
2) French Bulldogs have a solid frame.
French Bulldogs are short dogs but have very sturdy frames. They have thick necks and wide chests. They weigh between 16-28lbs (9-13kgs) on average but it is not uncommon for them to weigh up to 44lbs (20kg). This means they are a lot more durable than the majority of small and toy dog breeds. Care needs to be taken to ensure you limit your French Bulldogs from jumping and climbing up stairs as the breed is prone to IVDD. We recommend always supervising children around all animals to make sure they are treating the dog with respect and not being too rough. Care should also be taken around any water as French Bulldogs are not known for their swimming prowess. They are very front heavy and if they go under the water they struggle to come back up.
3) French Bulldogs are quiet dogs.
French Bulldogs do bark when provoked. The main reason your French Bulldog will bark is to let you know you have visitors at your door, or if they need something. However, they are a relatively quiet breed and rarely make noise unless it is for a good reason. This is due to them being bred as companion dogs and not guard dogs.
Things to be cautious about while having children around your dog.
1) Frenchies are a loyal and protective breed.
They tend to cling to the younger members of their family and provide "protection". They are even prone to separation anxiety when they are away from their loved ones. French Bulldogs are exceptionally loyal and would (may) follow their family to the ends of the earth. Care needs to be taken to ensure this protectiveness does not go too far and professional dog trainers are used if this goes too far.
2) Always supervise young children around your dog.
Care must always be exercised and you need to always directly supervise young children around your dog. This does not mean being in the same room as them but that you're actually watching them. If you are not able to supervise closely then they should be separated. One study found that 82% of children that were bitten were familiar with the dog involved. This is often due to childrens inability to read dog body language. Children can be rough and accidentally hurt your dog. This can cause the dog to react out of fear. The risk of children being bitten by dogs decreases by age as they both learn their boundaries4.
Tips to keep dogs and kids safe
1) Have your children always ask for permission to play with your dog.
This will allow you to decide whether you can provide the time to directly supervise your children interacting with your dog. Rough play or an accidental tumble may result in defensive growling or nipping. Your children must also be supervised to make sure they are safe.
2) Stay away from the dog at meal times.
You should teach your children to stay away from your dog while they are eating food or chewing bones. This avoids causing unwanted stress to your dog.
3) Never hop on your Frenchy's back.
French Bulldogs are prone to IVDD. Children climbing on dogs' backs place unwanted stress on their bodies and may injure them.
4) Do not make loud noises around the dog.
Loud noises startle all of us occasionally and may cause unwanted stress or damage to your dog's ears.
5) Do not hit or pull the dog's fur coat, ears, nose etc be gentle with them.
French Bulldogs are fantastic with children and the chances are high they will be the best of friends from day one. However care, and boundaries need to be put in place to ensure the safety of your dog and children.
1) French Bulldog bred information
2) ATTS Breed statistics
3) Description of the ATTS Temperament test
4)Schalamon J, Ainoedhofer H, Singer G, Petnehazy T, Mayr J, Kiss K, Höllwarth ME. Analysis of dog bites in children who are younger than 17 years. Pediatrics. 2006 Mar;117(3):e374-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-1451. PMID: 16510617.