Why do French Bulldogs Vary in Body Build?

Why do French Bulldogs Vary in Body Build

French Bulldogs have an adorable unseemliness that makes people’s hearts melt. But, when you look at the variety of French Bull dogs out there, you quickly begin to notice something. Some are very tall while others are short and stocky. Yet there are those that are thin and athletic in appearance. So, why do French Bulldogs vary in body build so much?

To answer this, first it’s important to remember dogs, like humans, can vary in shape, size, color and height even within the same breed. French Bulldogs are vast. Second, the variations in body build and size attribute mostly to intentional breeding with the goal of creating specific sizes.

However, there are standards for French Bulldogs to fit between in order to qualify as being part of the breed. But, this varies between America, the UK and France. The genetic efforts of these dogs means there’s really no true French Bulldog breed because the ones we have today are all hybrids.

Why are French Bulldogs so different in build?

The biggest reason why French Bull dogs vary so much in their body build is due to their long European breeding history. This became even more of a smorgasbord when American enthusiasts threw themselves into the mix.

French Bulldogs ; Their Breeding History

As with many dogs, the French Bulldog comes from the classic British Bulldog. The French then wanted to make them more “French” by crossbreeding some with terriers and others with pugs or French poodles. Between 1830 and 1850, the mini French Bulldog came into existence with growing popularity on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution.

These dogs shortly began attracting the attention of American dog-lovers who prefer the “bat ears” some French Bulldogs possess. This worked out well for French and British breeders since they preferred the “rosebud” eared ones. Through these robust French, British and American breeding efforts, we now have several sizes and builds of French Bulldogs.

Modern Appearance of French Bulldogs

These vast and tireless reproduction efforts have resulted in some French Bulldogs being tall, while others are miniature and some have a stockier build. There are even some French Bulldog breeders that intentionally engage and encourage dwarfism to produce the smallest dog possible.

Crossbreeding French Bulldogs with Other Breeds

People have bred Frenchies with breeds like Terriers, French Poodles, Bichon Frieses, Chihuahuas and Pugs in an attempt to create teacup sizes. Likewise, other breeders try to create stockier, muscular breeds with dogs like Beagles and Hounds. So, it would seem, the French Bulldog has suffered a kind of DNA abuse due to human tinkering, curiosity and desire.

Do French Bulldogs come in different sizes?

Because of a couple centuries of interbreeding and crossbreeding, there are three general sizes of French Bulldogs: standard, small standard and mini (or teacup). It’s important to note that the standard sized French Bulldogs are the only ones recognized as a registered breed with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Males and females don’t look much different and take on similar characteristics in regards to size, weight and height. Although people love to make classifications for clarification of variations, the sizes below are not official.

Standard French Bulldogs

The standard French Bulldog weights about 26 to 28 pounds. Males and females are both just under one foot tall. Of course, some may experience a little more height because of their ancestry.

Small French Bulldogs

Coming in between 14 to 22 pounds, small standard French Bulldogs, or Royal Franchals, are noticeably smaller than their standard counterparts. These will range in height, generally to just under 11 inches.

Teacup French Bulldogs

As the smallest you can get a French Bulldog, teacups (also called micro or mini) can weigh as little as nine pounds but no more than 14 pounds. These are so tiny they can be as small as nine inches tall or less. Therefore, these dogs retain their puppyish looks throughout their lives.

Are there any other factors that play into the body build variations of French Bulldogs?

Because of human meddling and crossbreeding experiments over the centuries, French Bulldogs often succumb to a genetic disease. This disease occurs because of past breeding practices or because people intentionally try to induce it.

Dwarfism as a Genetic Condition ; Breeding Technique

According to one study over 50% in all size variations of French Bulldogs experience a form of dwarfism called chondrodystrophy. What’s more, almost all French Bulldogs in existence are carriers of the gene.

So, any new puppies that come into the world are likely to experience dwarfism. This is either a result of the breeding or a technique used by breeders to produce small standard and teacup sized French Bulldogs.

Desire Drives the Market

There are mixed feelings about such intentional breeding techniques. Some people seek out these kinds of dogs and will pay a lot of money for one. The price for teacup French Bulldog can start around $1,400 and go up to $8,500 or more.

Therefore, people will breed these dogs as tiny as they can in order to accommodate the demand of people wanting one. Some people consider them adorable and chic while others see it as a form of animal cruelty. But this latter perception comes from the health problems they can incur.

Does a French Bulldog still qualify if it weighs more than 28 pounds?

No, heavy French Bulldogs will not qualify. According to the AKC, they can’t weigh any more than 28 pounds. Also, if your French Bulldog is teacup sized as an adult, it will also not qualify as an official breed.

However, if you’re looking to the French or the British Westminster Dog Show, then they do have certain conditions for qualifying teacup puppies. They actually have separate categories for them. This is because it’s the French and the British who first attempted to create such sizes back in the mid 1800s.

Is it normal for a French Bulldog to be very tall?

If you have a French Bulldog that’s freakishly tall, it could be that your Frenchie isn’t a pure blooded one. But, it isn’t uncommon for them to be as big as their English cousins from time to time. So, it could be a fluke expression in genetics too.

Most French Bulldogs never get much taller than 12 inches (one foot). But, sometimes there will be one or two who are true to their breed, but they’ll be taller than normal. This can happen regardless of gender too.

Final Thoughts

French Bulldogs are some of the cutest and most enchanting pups to have. They’re full of love, devotion and obedience. But, they have a long breeding history that can affect their size, this includes weight and height. Because people are crazy over miniature animals, breeders have gone to great lengths to make them a size that can fit in your hand. Although these are super adorable that make your heart want to leap from your chest, there are some health and ethical issues that come into the equation. So, when it comes down to it, the biggest reason why they vary so much in body build is because of their genetics and ancestry

Latest Post’s



Dan James

Dan James is the founder and editor of FrenchBulldogio, a canine enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a French Bulldog owner and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

Recent Posts