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French Bulldog - History and Breed Standard

Breed History

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Breed Standard

The IOEBA’s official French Bulldog breed standard is a detailed written description of the perfect “type” or “flawless” French Bulldog

A well written, detailed breed standard is a very effective tool that can be used to assists today’s French Bulldog breeders in the selection process and evaluation of French Bulldogs that are being considered in a structured breeding program or as possible future IOEBA conformation show participants.  

It is important that French Bulldog breeders understand and use the IOEBA’s official French Bulldog’s breed standard, as the offspring they produce will have an impact on the future of the French Bulldog for many generations. 

The goal of all reputable French Bulldog breeders should be to achieve perfection as far as correct breed type, health and temperament.

All IOEBA conformation judges are taught use the IOEBA’s official breed standards as guides to give themselves a mental picture of breed perfection by which they select future IOEBA conformation champions.

General Description :  The French Bulldog, despite of its name, is believed to be at least partly of British origin.  The French Bulldog is thought to be a descendant of the Toy Bulldog, which was bred during the nineteenth century and exported to France.  In fact, English Lace makers from the Midlands who went to work in France took small Bulldogs with them.  This stock is believed to have mixed with shortened-faced bull-baiting dogs from other European countries.  The French Bulldog breed was brought to England and first shown in conformation shows around 1900.  Their lifespan is between 10 and 13 years.

Head :  The head must be very strong, broad and square.  The head of the French Bulldog is characterized by a contraction of the maxillary-nasal part.  The head must be broad and have almost have a flat bulging forehead.
Fault:  Head too small in proportion to the body.

Ears :  The shape termed “Bat Ear” is correct.  The ears must be broad at the base, elongated, with a round top, set high on the head but not too close together, and carried erect with the orifice to the front.  The leather of the ear fine and soft.
 Fault: Other than bat ears (Short set high, natural or cropped). 

Muzzle : Short, broad, with concentric symmetrical folds coming down on the upper lips.
Fault: Incisors visible when mouth closed and/or tongue visible when mouth closed.

Eyes :  Dark in color, wide apart, set low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible, round in form, of moderate size, dark colored, neither sunken nor bulging.  Rims of eyelids must be black.

Nose :  Broad, very short, turned up, nostrils well open and symmetrical, slanting towards the rear.  The leaning of the nostrils as well as the snub nose must, however, allow for normal nasal breathing.  All nose colors are acceptable.  The nose should be a solid color.  Lacking pigment should be considered non preferred.  Fault: Completely pink nose (a small amount is acceptable).

Neck :  Should be thick and slightly arched without dewlap.

Chest :  Broad, deep and full. Rib cage barrel shaped with the belly tucked up.  Fault: A hollow or narrow chest (slab sided) should be considered a serious fault.

Back :  Broad and muscular with a roach back and slight slant close behind the shoulders; strong and short, broad at the shoulders and narrowing at the loins.

Shoulders :  Broad at the shoulders should be well laid back with significant angulation to allow for good movement. 
Fault: Straight shoulders.

Legs :  Forelegs should be straight and wide apart, neither bowing out nor turning in.  There should be significant bone substance.  Elbows should be relatively close to the body.  Lacking bone and substance is very undesirable.  
Fault:  Bowed or turned out resulting in poor movement or cow hocks are a disqualifying fault.

Feet :  Moderate in size, compact and firmly set on the ground, turning slightly outward.
Fault:  Weak  pasterns and/or splayed feet.

Height :  Males: 9 – 13 inches at the shoulder.  Females: 8 -12 inches at the shoulder.

Weight :  Between 10 – 28 pounds.  Weight over 28 lbs up to 33 lbs allowed in breeding stock or pets, but will be penalized in the show ring.

Color :  Any color is acceptable, including Merle, with no preference for one over another.   

Coat :  The coat should be rather fine, radiant, short and smooth to the touch.   Fault:  Long coat is a disqualification.

Tail :  Short, set low on the rump, close to the buttocks, broad at the base, knotted or kinked naturally with tapering at the tip.

Temperament :  Disposition should be outgoing and happy.  Well behaved, adaptable and comfortable companions with an loving nature.
Fault: Human aggression without provocation is a disqualifying fault.

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