Fluffy FrenchieMay 29, 2021 2021-08-08 19:41
Typically, French Bulldogs have short, rough hair. However, there are some out there that carry a gene that makes them have slightly longer, fluffy hair. This gene is known as the LH gene and is present within the French Bulldog population naturally. However, it is quite rare, which makes fluffy French Bulldogs rare as well. Plus, to have longhair, the dog has to inherit two LH genes, as it is recessive. Carriers have the common short hair.
Still, some breeders have sought to breed dogs that have this gene, which allows them to successfully breed French Bulldogs.
In most ways, these Bulldogs are similar to those with short hair; they just look a little different. In this article, we’ll dive into their appearance, temperament, and care requirements. The adorable merle Frenchie below is Slater – check out his Instagram here!
Table of Contents
The Fluffy French Bulldog isn’t much different from other Bulldogs in terms of appearance. The only main difference is that they have slightly longer, fluffier hair than the average French Bulldog. According to the AKC breed standard, only dogs with short hair can compete. For this reason, the French Bulldog “officially” doesn’t have long hair, though they do naturally carry the gene.
While these dogs are often called “long-haired,” their fur is only moderately longer than a regular French Bulldog. It is more accurately considered “medium-length.” It isn’t going to touch the floor or anything of that sort. Typically, these dogs are fluffier around their chest, neck, and ears. Besides their slightly longer-than-normal hair, these dogs are very similar to other Frenchies.
According to the AKC standard, these dogs are heavily boned, sturdy, and very compact. They may be smaller than most breeds, but they are dainty lap dogs. Their head is relatively large and square-shaped. The eyes are typically dark in color, though lighter eyes are accepted if the dog is lighter colored.
This black beauty belongs to Kristen Amber Jones and Paul Jones.
They are well-known for their “bat ears,” which stand straight up on the top of their head. They are very erect and prominent.
The tail can be either straight or screwed. However, it should not be curly. Typically, the tail is short and carried low to the ground.
The only alteration allowed to these dogs is the removal of the dewclaws, which is often done for safety purposes. The declaw typically doesn’t serve an actual function. It can get hung on things and pulled off quite easily, as there is no bone in it. For this reason, some vets may recommend their removal.
Of course, Fluffy Frenchies are straight-up adorable. They are highly sought-after due to their soft coat and wide range of unique colors.
We do not know exactly when the long-haired gene first appeared in these dogs. However, it is likely that it has always existed and occasionally appeared in the breed throughout its existence. It is possible that many of the puppies with longhair were euthanized in days passed to prevent their genes from spreading throughout the population. This practice is generally non-existent today, though some very traditional breeders may still do it.
The French Bulldog breed was originally used for bull-baiting in England. However, these sports were outlaws in 1835, which left many Bulldogs without a purpose. They dwindled in popularity for a time but were then revitalized as companion animals. They have been bred as purely companion animals since the 1800s, so much of their previous aggression has been removed.
To reduce their size, they were interbred with terriers. This breed became popular in the 1850s and first appeared in dog shows in the 1860s.
Many workers around this time were being displaced by the industrial revolution. Among these people were lacers, who were proficient in making lace by hand. With machines, they were not needed anymore. Some of them left and settled in Normandy, France. They brought many of their popular dogs with them, such as the Toy Bulldog.
After some time, these dogs became popular in France. Breeders in England began sending them over to France, especially if the dog was considered too small or had other faults. Interestingly, dogs with erect ears were considered “faulted” at this point, so they were often sent to France as well. By the 1860s, most of the smallest Bulldogs were in France – not England.
As it was bred in France, the Toy Bulldog received a new name, the “French” Bulldog. Though it had been largely developed in Britain, the breed was unique from the Bulldog that was currently popular in England. These dogs were considered “high fashion” in France and sought after by the upper class, especially the women. They were seen in the royal court regularly. However, they were also common among the middle and lower class, likely due to their smaller size.
Records were not kept on the breed’s development. We don’t know exactly how it developed into the breed that we know and love today. More terrier stock was likely added to increase the prevalence of erect ears.
Personality and Temperament
As these dogs were bred as companion animals for the last two hundred years, they are very people-oriented. They like to be in close contact with people and do not do well when left alone for long periods. They are prone to separation anxiety for this reason and do not make suitable animals for those that are out of the house for much of the day. Younger dogs tend to have a more significant problem with anxiety, but many adults continue to have issues if not trained.
These dogs are not particularly noisy and rarely bark. They do not make good alert dogs for this reason. They are affectionate with their owners and get along well with just about anyone. They are dog- and cat-friendly as long as they are well-socialized.
Training and Exercise Needs of a Fluffy Frenchie
The long-haired variant of this breed needs similar exercise, and training needs to the short-haired variety. These dogs are people-pleasing, so they are pretty easy to train. They have an average intelligence as far as dogs are concerned. Don’t expect them to absolutely fly through training, but they are generally intelligent enough to learn most commands.
They can be a bit stubborn, mostly because they were not bred to work alongside people. They were originally bred as independent working dogs and then became companion dogs. They were never specifically bred for their obedience since it doesn’t matter terribly much in either of these situations.
Early socialization is recommended, but they are generally pretty friendly. They can get along with people, children, and other pets easily if they are introduced from an early age. These dogs benefit a lot from early socialization and easily learn to get along with others. Puppy training classes are recommended, as these usually fulfill this socialization need easily.
They don’t need much exercise. Daily, short walks are typically all that is required. They should not be exercised extensively, in fact, as strenuous exercise can result in heavy breathing, which should be avoided due to their flat face.
Health and Care
Exercise goes a long way to keep these dogs healthy. Being overweight can severely mess with their health and cause many problems, especially since these aren’t the healthiest dogs, to begin with. Obesity can quickly wear down these dogs, so it should be avoided at all costs. Do not free-feed them and ensure that they are exercised properly.
Many Frenchies love to run and play. They can even excel in agility or rally. Because they love food, they are easy to teach new skills and tricks to – and being active will increase their health and wellbeing.
These dogs should be supervised near pools. They have relatively short legs, which can make it difficult for them to swim for long periods. They have very heavy bodies and lack the legs needed to propel them through the water. Their flat face also makes it difficult for them to keep their nose above water, which makes swimming even more difficult.
Because they often love water, these dogs are prone to jumping into pools and then being unable to get out. If you have a pool, you shouldn’t let your dog near it without supervision. They are often stronger swimmers in their minds than in reality.
This adorable Frenchie belongs to Kristen Amber and Paul Jones.
Common Health Issues
Due to selective breathing, these dogs can be prone to health problems. It is important that all dogs undergo proper health testing before they are bred to ensure that their puppies are healthy and prevent the continuation of poor genes within the bloodlines.
Be sure to ask your breeder for health documentation of the parents before adopting any puppy.
Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome
The squished appearance of this dog’s face is actually due to a deformation of their skull that has been encouraged through selective breeding. Over time, this eventually led to Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome. Because of the shape of their skill, these dogs cannot breathe properly. This makes them tire very easily and is one of the reasons why they often seem to pant at the slightest bit of exercise.
This condition has many symptoms and affects all French Bulldogs. It is simply how they are bred. Sometimes, it can even lead to the death of dogs if they are not treated properly. Misinformed owners may leave the dog outside for too long of a period or push the dog to exercise too much, which can result in heat exhaustion and death.
In conditions where it is particularly hot, or the dog has other issues breathing, complications are even more likely to occur.
This condition can be treated. However, it involves an expensive and invasive surgery that involves taking out a portion of the dog’s soft palate. This increases the amount of air that can reach the lungs. Usually, this condition is not treated unless the dog has already experienced serious complications.
Due to their difficulty breathing, these dogs must be taken care of properly in hot weather. They should avoid overexertion. If your dog is breathing heavily, they may be in trouble, as this is often a sign that not enough oxygen is reaching their lungs. The dog should always have access to a cool place and should be hosed off with cool water if outside for an extended period.
Due to their compromised breathing system, these dogs often can not regulate their temperature effectively. Their coat is usually not long enough to keep them warm in cold weather. They can easily become cold in the winter but are also prone to heat stroke and exhaustion in the summer. Humid weather can be particularly difficult for these animals.
These dogs should remain indoors much of the time and have access to air conditioning.
These dogs are prone to patellar luxation, which involves the dislocation of the kneecap. Typically, the kneecap sits in front of the joint in the hind leg and is held in place by ligaments. It slides around in a groove as the dog walks, which allows it to protect the joint without getting in the way of movement.
In some dogs, this small bone can slip out of the groove and dislocate, causing it to “float” freely around the knee. If not treated, this can cause serious problems. The bone may get pressed up again another bone, where it can cause damage. Ligaments are often harmed as the kneecap slides around improperly.
These dogs cannot give birth properly. They often require artificial insemination and Caesarean sections to give birth. In fact, over 80% of litters are birthed in this manner.
This is mostly due to the very small hips of the dog. This makes it impossible for the male to mount the female correctly and often leads to the puppies being too big to fit through the birth canal.
Due to their facial structure, it isn’t odd for these dogs to have eye problems as well. Cherry eye is a common but often harmless condition that causes the dog’s third eyelid to slide up into their eye. Usually, this is only an aesthetic problem, though it does make it more prone to irritation and infection if the dog’s eye gets injured.
Other common eye problems like glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and cataracts are more common in this breed. Often, dogs are screened by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation to reduce the odds of passing down these genetic problems. You should ask if your dog’s parents have been screened before making your purchase.
These dogs seem to be more prone to skin problems overall. As we have discussed, bacteria can grow in the folds of their skin if they are not kept clean, which can lead to bacterial infections. One report found that over 17.9% of French Bulldogs has some sort of skin problem, which included eczema and skin allergies.
French Bulldogs are also prone to a variety of spinal diseases. This is mostly due to how they were bred in the 1800s to be smaller versions of the larger Bulldogs. This has led to issues with their back that persist in the breed today.
They are prone to “butterfly vertebrae” and spinal cord compression. These can be diagnosed with X-rays or more advanced tests, like CT scans.
Dogs with “screw” tails are more prone to defects, as their tail is a direct extension of their spine. The tight tail is a result of inbreeding defects generations ago. If a dog carries this gene, it is more likely that they will carry other genes that affect their spinal cord as well. Many breeders are moving away from this type of tail for this reason.
Grooming these dogs is fairly easy, despite the longer-than-normal hair. Their hair isn’t so long that it is prone to tangles, so you typically don’t have to worry about brushing them extremely often. Once a week is usually enough. Your dog may start shedding more during certain times of the year. You may need to increase your brushing routine during these times to prevent loose hair from building up.
The main problem these dogs have is all the wrinkles on their face. Moisture can sit in these wrinkles and cause bacterial infections. They should be wiped clean daily to prevent this problem. Keep your dog’s wrinkles dry to prevent any sort of moisture build-up.
These dogs may need an occasional bath if they get dirty. However, they don’t need regular baths, as these can reduce the natural, protective oils on their skin. Regular brushing will keep the natural oils distributed through their coat, which will keep them looking shiny and healthy. Only bathe them if they have developed a smell, roll in mud, or something similar.
Adopting a Fluffy Frenchie
These dogs can be difficult to find. Due to the rarity and recessive nature of the long-haired trait, they often must be purposefully bred. Often, it requires a lot of breedings before puppies end up with longhair. Even then, not all puppies in a litter end up with longer hair in most cases. For this reason, these dogs are often very expensive.
While long-haired French Bulldogs used to be considered un-wanted, they are now beginning to grow in popularity. Many breeders have figured out that they can charge a premium for these dogs, which has driven the price up.
There are some breeders that specialize in this breed, so you should be able to find a puppy if your heart is set on one. Due to their rarity, you may find yourself on a waiting list for a bit before a puppy is made available to you though.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $13,000 to $16,000 for one of these puppies. That is far more than other breeds out there. However, this is largely due to the rarity of these dogs.
Experience Level for Owning a Fluffy Frenchie
We generally recommend these dogs for somewhat experienced dog owners. They don’t require extensive care and aren’t particularly difficult to train or socialize. You don’t have to be a dog expert or anything of that sort. However, they do have many unique health problems that can cause problems.
In hot weather, they require careful management to ensure that they don’t get too hot and develop heat exhaustion. They require some unique grooming needs that are extremely important, such as keeping their wrinkles clean and dry. They are prone to drowning and need extra supervision around water as well.
While they don’t need much brushing, their other unique grooming requirements do mean that you’ll be taking care of these dogs daily.
They also are prone to separation anxiety, which requires some training to push through. These dogs can become destructive if left alone improperly, as they will often do anything to get to you, even if that means attempting to eat through the wall. We highly recommend that owners ensure they have enough time to take care of these dogs before committing to them. They are not a breed that mostly takes care of themselves and will need plenty of care and attention.
This level of attention is often easier to achieve if you’ve previously owned a dog.
The Bottom Line
While most French Bulldogs have short hair, it is possible for a purebred dog to also have long hair. This is often done through careful breeding over many generations, which makes these dogs quite difficult to locate. While there are breeders that specialize in their creation, this often means that the dogs are extremely expensive. You can expect to pay thousands of dollars for a single puppy.
These dogs have been bred as companion animals. They get along fine with just about anyone and enjoy spending time with people.
However, they are prone to quite a few health problems and are one of the unhealthier breeds out there. They also have some unique grooming needs to prevent infections. For this reason, we don’t recommend them to new owners. You should expect to pay above-average vet costs during one of these dog’s lifespans, as they will likely develop health conditions more often than your average dog.
When you are looking for a puppy, make sure that your breeder only bred health-tested parents!