FCI standard Nº 101
|Mr Ian Nicholson, Mrs Renée Sporre-Willes, Mr Raymond Triquet and Mr Claude Guintard.
Latest amendments : Société Centrale Canine. Official language (FR)
|Group 9 Companion and Toy Dogs
|Section 11 Small Molossian Dogs
|Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
|Tuesday 30 November 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
|Thursday 10 August 2023
|Monday 18 September 2023
En français, cette race se dit
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
En español, esta raza se dice
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
|Companion and Toy dog.
Brief historical summary
|Probably decending, like all mastiffs, from the Epirus and the Roman Empire molossers, relative of the Bulldog of Great Britain, the Alaunts (tribe of the Middle Ages), the mastiffs and small-type mastiffs of France. The bulldog we know is the product of different crossings done by enthusiastic breeders in the popular quarters of Paris in the 1880s. During that period, the Bulldog was a dog belonging to Parisian market porters, butchers and coachmen, it soon won over high society and the artistic world by its particular appearance and character. It rapidly became popular. The first breed club was founded in 1880 in Paris. The first registration dates from 1885 and the first standard was established in 1898, the year in which the French Kennel Club recognized the French Bulldog breed. The first dog of this breed was shown at an exhibition as early as 1887. The standard, modified in 1931-1932 and 1948, was reformulated in 1986 by H.F. Reant with the collaboration of R. Triquet (F.C.I. publication 1987), then in 1994 by Violette Guillon (F.C.I. publication 1995) and in 2012 by the French Bulldog Club committee.
|The type is of a small-sized molossian. A powerful dog for its small size, short, stocky, compact in all its proportions, smooth-coated, with a snub nose, erect ears and a naturally short tail. Must have the appearance of an active, intelligent, very muscular dog, of a compact build with a solid bone structure. No point is exaggerated compared to the others, which could spoil the dog’s general harmony, in appearance and in movement.
|The length of the body – between the point of the shoulder and the point of the buttocks – slightly surpasses the height at the withers.
The length of muzzle is about 1/6 of the total length of the head. Short face
Behaviour / temperament
|Sociable, lively, playful, possessive and keen companion dog.
|Must be strong, broad and square, covered by the skin of the head which forms symmetrical folds and wrinkles, without excess.
|Broad, almost flat from ear to ear, domed forehead. Proeminent superciliary arches, separated by a particularly developed furrow between the eyes. The furrow must not extend onto the skull. External occipital protuberance is barely developed.
|The head of the Bulldog is characterized by a shortening of the maxillary-nasal part as well as a slight to moderate slope of the nose backwards. The nose is slightly upturned (“snub nose”).
|Black, broad, snubbed, with symmetrical and well opened nostrils, slanting towards the rear. The slope of the nostrils as well as the upturned nose must, however, allow normal nasal breathing.
|Very short, broad, with concentric symmetrical folds.
|Thick, a little loose and black. The upper lip meets the lower lip at its middle, completely covering the teeth.
The profile of the upper lip is descending and rounded. The tongue must never show when the dog is not excited.
Jaws and teeth
|Broad and powerful jaws. The lower jaw projects in front of the upper jaw and turns up. The arch of the lower incisors is rounded. The jaw must not show lateral deviation, or torsion. The gap between the incisors of the upper and the lower jaw should not be strictly delimited, the essential condition being that the upper and the lower lips meet to completely cover the teeth. The lower incisors surpass the upper incisors. Sufficiently developed incisives and canines. Complete bite is desirable.
|Clearly visible eyes, striking with lively expression, set low, quite far from the nose and the ears, dark coloured, rather large, rounded, showing no trace of white (sclera) when the dog is looking straight forward. Rims of eyelids must be black.
|Medium size, wide at the base and rounded at the top. Set high on the head, but not too close together, carried erect. The ear is open towards the front. The skin must be fine and soft to the touch.
|Short, powerful, slightly arched, without dewlap, broadens towards the shoulder.
|Rising progressively, but not excessively, from the withers towards the loin. That conformation – also called roach-back – is typical for the breed.
|Broad and muscular, firm without slackness.
|Short, broad and arched.
|Cylindrical and well let down (slightly under the elbows); very well sprung ribs, so-called “barrel shaped”. Fore chest, broad and square-shaped, seen from the front.
Underline and belly
|Tucked up but not whippety.
|Naturally short, ideally long enough to cover the anus, set low, rather straight, thick at the base and tapering at the tip.
A kinked, knotted, broken or relatively long tail that does not reach beyond the point of the hocks, is admitted. It is carried low. Even in action, the tail must not rise above the horizontal.
|Forelegs upright (and straight) seen in profile and from the front.
|Must be well laid back.
|Short, thick, muscular, slightly curved.
|Close and tight to the body.
|Short, straight and muscular.
|Solid and short.
|Short and slightly oblique seen in profile.
|Round, compact, of small dimension, i.e. «cat feet», turning slightly outward. The toes are tight, nails short, thick and black.
|The hindlegs are strong and muscular, a little longer than the forelegs, thus raising the hindquarters. The legs are upright as seen both in profile and from behind.
|Well muscled, firm.
|Short, tarsus solid.
|Quite well let down, neither too angulated nor too straight.
|Round, compact, turning neither inward nor outward.
Gait and movement
|The legs moving parallel to the median plane of the body, whether seen in front or from behind. Free, movement with good hind leg thrust.
|Smooth coat, close, glossy and soft, without undercoat.
|Fawn, brindled or not, with or without white spotting.
Coat with colouring :
Brindle : Fawn coat moderately characterized by transversal dark brindling creating a ‘tiger-marked’ effect, strongly brindled coats must not cover out the fawn ground colour. A black mask may be present. Limited white spotting is admissible.
Fawn : Solid coat, from light fawn to dark fawn, sometimes presenting a paler colouring of the inclined parts, with or without a black mask, although masked subjects are preferred. Sometimes accompanied by limited white spotting.
Coat with white spotting :
Brindled with moderate or important white spotting : So-called ‘pied’, the spotting being ideally distributed over the entire subject. Some blotches on the skin are admissible.
Fawn with moderate or important white spotting : So-called ‘fawn and white’, the spotting being ideally distributed over the entire dog. Some blotches of the skin are tolerated.
The nose is always black, in all coat colours, never brown or blue.
The all-white subjects provided the edge of eyelids and nose are black – are admitted but not bred for, because of a risk of deafness.
Size and weight
Height at withers
|Males: 27–35 cm. Females: 24–32 cm. A deviation of 1 cm above and below the standard is tolerated.
|Males: 9–14 kg. Females: 8–13 kg. 500 g more than the standard weight is allowed when the subject is typical.
|• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.
| Strongly flecked with black brindle with white coat.
Fawn and white coat strongly red speckled.
In fawn coats, deep black trace extending along the spine.
White stockings in brindles and fawns.
Light-coloured nails in brindle and fawn.
No roach back.
| Overtyped, exaggerated breed characteristics.
Muzzle too long or excessively short.
Tongue visible when mouth is closed.
Light eyes (hawk eye).
Horizontal topline from withers to loin.
Excessive depigmentation of the lips, nose, eyelids, the rim of which should never be entirely depigmented.
Arch back (camel back).
| Aggressive or overly shy dog.
Lacks type: insufficient ethnic characteristics which result in the dog not really resembling other subjects of the breed.
Completely closed nostrils.
Torsion or lateral deviation of the jaw, resulting in the tongue constantly being visible.
Dog with lower incisors articulating behind upper incisors.
Dog with permanently visible canines (fangs), mouth being closed.
Heterochrome eyes (wall eye).
Colour of nose other than black.
Ears not carried erect.
Taillessness or ingrown tail.
Dewclaw on hindquarters.
Long, wired-haired or woolly coat.
Colour not in accordance with what is prescribed in the standard, namely black, black with fawn markings (black and tan) and all dilutions of black with or without white spotting.
Size and weight outside the standard limits.
|• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.
|If we know precisely that the Bulldog appeared in France in its modern form at the end of the nineteenth century only, its distant origins remain, they, very contested and continue to arouse intense but rewarding discussions among cynologists.
In fact, three schools compete. According to a first hypothesis, the Bulldog would be a miniaturized version of the English Bulldog obtained from crossings of this race with small Terriers. The sturdy Bulldog had indeed been selected for his valor in the fighting against his congeners and bulls, "entertainment" much appreciated by the British until the mid-eighteenth century.
But his size became a handicap when he had to reconvert as a watchdog and companion after a decree of the Parliament of London had put an end to these barbaric practices. Some breeders therefore selected smaller and smaller Bulls. Called English Toy Bulldogs, these dogs quickly became popular in the Nottingham area, so much so that lace makers, who, subject to the vagaries of the economic crisis of the nineteenth century, had to move to the Calais region, took with them their faithful companions, whose small, shell-shaped ears were not the least of the features. Crusaders with small Terriers, the English Toy Bulldogs then gave birth to straight-eared Bulldogs who, after long hesitation, ended up being recognized by the Kennel Club under the name of French Bulldogs.
Supported by Pierre Mégnin, the second hypothesis about the origins of the French Bulldog completes the previous one more than it contradicts. According to this enlightened cynophile, the butchers and forts of Les Halles at the end of the nineteenth century had for a long time elected for companion the Doguin, a type of dog smaller than the Dogue, thus less cumbersome, and especially more agile. This animal had earned a solid reputation among "combaters", owners of battle arenas and organizers of circus games between animals, bloody shows that, according to the writings of J. Dhers, passionate crowds: "We saw fighting in Paris, but especially in the South West region - Bordeaux, Toulouse and the Pyrenees. These fighting arenas were fairgrounds where the dogs were fought against each other, against the donkey and especially against the bear."
Towards the end of the second Empire) the Doguins were gradually replaced by Terriers Boules (not to be confused with the Bull Terriers), sort of small ratiers very short body, well muscled, with ears and cut whip, which, crossed with Toy Terriers, and presumably Pugs, were to give birth to the French Bulldog. It seems, moreover, that the Toy Bulldogs imported from Great Britain and the Bulldogs born in the district of Les Halles mutually enriched each other, which would have made it possible to fix the breed and to establish its official standard in 1898. The contribution Carlin blood; which was long disputed by "historical" amateurs; would explain the rather particular eyes of the Ball, as it is commonly called. As for his right ears, it should be seen the influence of the Terriers.
The last hypothesis makes the French Bulldog the direct descendant of the Dogue de Burgos, himself a close relative of the Dogue de Bordeaux. This is the idea defended by George R. Krehl, an English cynologist, after a rigorous investigation into the origins of this "Frenchie" came, according to the cynophiles of the Channel, denature the national race . His argument is based on the discovery of a cast bronze plate in 1625 showing small mastiffs, resembling the British Bulldogs but "capped" with bat ears like the French Bulldog, with a legend (written in French). French) identifying them as Burgos's Mastiffs.
Whatever the genealogy of the French Bulldog, there is little doubt that it was in the Paris of the Belle Epoque that this dog knew his first success, which should never be denied.
The butchers and runners of the slaughterhouses of La Villette were the first to raise the French Bulldog, soon followed by the coachmen, the cobblers, the merchants of the four seasons, even the town sergeants, who were passionate about the little Ball. We met at the cafe terraces to compare the most beautiful subjects; advice was exchanged, and above all efforts were made, often at the price of heavy sacrifices, to produce the largest puppies. A star of the Paris of the small trades, the Bulldog haunted the popular districts of Pantin, Belleville and Les Halles, and his physique, his small size, his surprising pace and his particularly endearing character began to impose themselves and to seduce the amateurs of more in addition to many dogs with flat faces.
Shortly after, the Ball was going to enter the brothels, where the tenants and half-mundane of the Belle Epoque adopted it for its eccentric appearance. Immortalized in 1901 by Toulouse-Lautrec in the canvas The Merchant of chestnuts, the Bulldog paced conquering the Champs-Elysees, the grand boulevards, the Bois de Boulogne. Mistinguett, Colette, Mac Orlan, King Edward VII, certain Grand Dukes of the Russian court succumbed in their turn to the charm of this little comical dog, whose muscular body and gaiety stubbornly evoked the fair hercules. This sudden infatuation, nourished by the All-Paris, was to contribute largely to the rise of the Bulldog, which, even today and although the breed is not widespread, enjoys a very high reputation, especially abroad.
It was in 1880 that began the real dog career of the French Bulldog, with the founding of a friendly that gathered every week about fifty amateurs and breeders in Paris. In 1885, a first provisional register was opened. In 1887, the French Bulldog participated for the first time under this name in an official exhibition. The following year, the statutes of the club were developed under the leadership of Mr. Marcel Roger, precursor of the breeding in France and first elected president. It was, however, ten years before the dog society was really interested in this breed. At the origin of this recognition, two men: the Baron Carayon de Latour, who liked to present himself in public with his Balls, and the American patron Gordon Benett, who, accessing the head of the club, was also to promote the implantation of the breed in the United States. The role of the second was decisive, if we are to believe Pierre Mégnin, who in 1922 was to pay him a vibrant and deserved homage: "Breeders of French Bulldogs, greet the memory of Gordon Benett, the American dog-dog who dedicated your dogs and made your fortune. He knew how to get them out of the rut where they were vegetating."
Those who practice it are formal: the French Bulldog is an amazing dog in every way. This animal, whose ancestors were fierce fighters, is now one of the most affectionate and sensitive dogs ever, one of the most sought-after dogs, too.
It is important to recognize, however, that the Ball has not very good reputation with the general public. His prominent eyebrows protruding from each other, his powerful masticatory muscles, his scowl look unjustly helped to make him look like an aggressive dog. In caricatures, in comics, the animal that bites the bottoms of the breeches, who barks without reason, is almost always a Dogue, big or small. However, many artists have lived in the company of these dogs they highly valued and they are pleased to describe, in one sentence or several pages, the exceptional character. So Pierre Mac Orlan, who had several, and who left us a beautiful formula: "The little French Bulldog is a dog if you want, but it is rather what is called someone."
The Ball seduces from the first meeting: the penetrating gaze of this little dog that comes quietly sniff the newcomer, then accompanies the four corners of the house, explains more than one love story. Naturally kind, he needs the presence of his masters, and he will often model his attitude on theirs. In the company of elderly or sick people, he will be able to remain calm; he will share with pleasure the sometimes turbulent games of children; with the guests, he will never be hostile and will show exemplary courtesy. As Colette has quite rightly said, it is a dog that only enjoys the company of the man, a dog who will always prefer a modest but warm home to a palace where he would be abandoned to himself.
It is still said of him that, like a human being, he is capable of vexing himself, bursting out laughing, or sulking if he is not given enough attention. What is certain is that the Ball needs to communicate. By the game. By caresses. Through the silent exchanges he weaves with his master. It is a dog that adapts very well to living in an apartment and can be taken on a trip; even if he does not tolerate heat enough. Only flaw perhaps, he does not like baths, but his short hair makes its easy maintenance.
True to its origins, the French Bulldog, especially the male, shows a surprising courage. A courage that is similar to recklessness. He is so curious and eager to meet the expectations of those with whom he lives that he can meet dangers he is rarely aware of, so much so that his master sometimes has to intervene to protect him from himself. But is it not in this, too, that lies the charm of this admirable dog, who had seduced the humble and aesthetes of the new century?