The French Bulldog is a dog breed that originated from a group of English bulldog fanciers who were not interested in dog-fighting. The English artisans, particularly lacemakers, bred a small bulldog that would weigh at least 16 lbs but not more than 28 lbs. As the Industrial Revolution grew in England, the lacemakers and other artisans took their skills (and small dogs) to France, where they could continue to ply their trade. The small bulldog earned quite a following in France, and by the late 1800s they were known as French Bulldogs or Frenchies. When wealthy Americans traveled to Paris, they were very taken with the little Frenchie and imported them to the United States. The breed was first exhibited at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1896.

Appearance

French Bulldogs are a compact, muscular dog with a smooth coat, snub nose and solid bone structure. Their physical appearance is characterized by naturally occurring ‚bat ears‘ that are wide at the base and rounded on the top. Their tails are naturally short, not cropped, straight or screwed but not curly.

Under the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club standards, weight is not to exceed 28 pounds (13 kg). In general, bitches range in weight between 16 and 24 pounds, with dogs between 20 and 28 pounds. The FCI does not set a hard and fast weight limit, simply stating ‚The weight must not be below 8 kg nor over 14 kg for a bulldog in good condition, size being in proportion with the weight‘.

Coat colors in French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs come in a variety of colors and coat patterns. Here is what the AKC standard has to say about color:

„Acceptable colors – All brindle, fawn, white, brindle and white, and any color except those which constitute disqualification. All colors are acceptable with the exception of solid black, mouse, liver, black and tan, black and white, and white with black, which are disqualifications. Black means black without a trace of brindle.“

The FCI standard disallowed fawn until the mid nineties. Color disqualifications under the current FCI standard are „black and tan, mouse grey, brown“.

All of this variety has a drawback, however – confusion over just what name applies to each color or color pattern.

In its most simple forms, French Bulldog coat color can be simply described as fawn, with a variety of possible marking patterns and dilutions possible. Fawn can range in shade from deep red to cafe au lait to pale golden cream. The differences in appearance from here are all due to variants in marking patterns, which range from brindle – black stripes in varying degrees of repetition and thickness overlying the fawn base coat, to pied – varying patches of brindle overlaying fawn interspersed with white markings, to black masked fawn – fawn in differing shades with a classic ‚masking‘ pattern on the face and dorsal area of the body. There are a myriad of variants of marking type, pattern, size and placement possible within these parameters.

Here are a few examples of common – and not so common – coat patterns and colors within French Bulldogs. All terms should be taken objectively, as there is a great deal of difference of opinion within the Frenchie community as to which term defines which color.

For more in depth exploration of coat color inheritance and genetics in French Bulldogs, refer to Malcolm Willis‘ ‚Genetics of the Dog‘

Black brindle – also known as seal brindle – so dark it may appear black, but closer inspection will reveal at least a few lighter colored hairs. This color pattern is sometimes referred to as reverse brindle in Frenchies. It refers to the fact that fawn is more predominant than the black brindling Tiger brindle is a term reserved for dogs with a coat pattern comprising a fairly regular pattern of alternating fawn and black stripes, similar in appearance to the coat of a tiger
     
Pale cream French Bulldog. Creams can range in hue from deep amber to rich butterscotch to palest gold. This color is generally considered to be a dilution of fawn, minus the masking gene. This color and pattern are referred to as black masked fawn. The base color of the coat can vary in shade from red to tan. The mask refers to the marking pattern on the face This color and pattern are referred to as black masked RED fawn, due to the rich red hues of the fawn base coat. We have seen fawns in all shades, from brick red to honey to lemon yellow.
     
This pattern is referred to as brindle pied. Brindled areas – areas where fawn is overlaid with black striping – are interspersed with areas of white coat. Markings can be slight, or predominant Ticked Pied. Dog has obvious freckled markings among the white areas of the body. Only the KCofE standard specifies ‚ticking‘ as a DQ, but this pattern still tends to be heavily penalized in show rings everywhere. Red fawn pied French Bulldogs. Paler versions are sometimes referred to as fawn pied, lemon pied or honey pied
     
This color can be referred to as either liver or brown – each is a disqualification within the AKC or FCI breed standards. Dog has NO brindling, and is a uniform reddish – brown, with self pigmented lips, nose, pads,etc. Eyes have a yellowish hue. This is referred to as blue, or blue brindle. Brindle markings on this dog have a „grey“ hue, and base coat color is a solid blue-grey. It has been debated whether or not this color is also what the standards refer to as ‚mouse‘. A Blue Pied French Bulldog. „Blue“ Frenchies are a result of the ‚d‘ or dilute gene. In this form, the dilute factor has caused the black hairs to become blue. Pigment on nose and pads is also a greyish blue in color, and eyes are often blue or yellowish gold. Again, this color has also been referred to as mouse.

     
 
Blue-Fawn A variation of blue, with coloring being seen most clearly in the masking points on the face. Typically they have green/grey eyes. It is said that they are usually produced by a fawn or red fawn parent. Black and tan French Bulldog. Undoubtedly the rarest of the disqualified colors, this is still an extremely striking marking pattern. It has been theorized that black and tan was initially designated a dq because it is a dominant marking pattern in canines.
AKC Standard