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QUICK GUIDE: How to Choose a Healthy French Bulldog From a Responsible Breeder

According to the American Kennel Club's list of the most popular US dog breeds, the French Bulldog is among the top 4 most popular breeds. In the United Kingdom, French Bulldog is now the most commonly registered pedigree.  However, the French Bulldog still ranks among the top dogs with certain health disorders. A UK study shows that 72.4% of French Bulldogs in the United Kingdom has at least one officially recorded health disorder, the most common among them include:

1. Ear Infections
2. Diarrhea
3. Conjunctivitis, and
4. Skin problems

    Other health challenges that are common with Frenchies are:

    1. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)
    2. Dystocia (Difficulty birth)
    3. Corneal Ulceration
    4. Patellar luxation
    5. Spinal diseases, including intervertebral disc disorder (IVDD), and
    6. Hemivertebrate (malformed spine)

      Previously, we looked at how the surge in French Bulldog popularity has impacted the many health conditions of the Frenchie in the United Kingdom. This is because disreputable breeding operations are eager to cash in on a status breed's desirability at the expense of health.

      Therefore, if you are interested in owning a French Bulldog, we recommend choosing a reputable breeder who performs genetic health testing on their breeding stock in order to acquire a healthy French Bulldog.

      How to Choose a Healthy French Bulldog From a Responsible Breeder

      In order to determine whether a breeder is a reputable or a responsible breeder, go through the following 15 ATTRIBUTES OF A REPUTABLE OR RESPONSIBLE FRENCH BULLDOG BREEDER:

      1. They allow you to visit and willingly shows you all areas where puppies and breeding dogs spend their time. Those areas are clean, spacious, and well-maintained;

      2. A reputable breeder has dogs who appear lively, clean, and healthy, and don’t shy away from visitors;

      3. Keeps their breeding dogs as you feel a responsible person would keep their pets: not overpopulated, crowded, dirty, or continually confined to cages;

      4. Keeps their dogs in roomy spaces that meet the needs of their particular breed; for example, most small breeds will be housed in the home, sporting breeds will have plenty of space for exercise, etc. (National breed clubs can provide input on the specific needs of each breed of dog);

      5. Breeds only one or a few types of dogs and is knowledgeable about the breeds and their special requirements;

      6. Doesn’t always have puppies available but may keep a list of interested people for the next available litter or refer people to other responsible breeders or breed clubs;

      7. Meets psychological, as well as physical, needs of their dogs by providing toys, socialization, exercise, and enrichment as befits the specific breed;

      8. Encourages you to spend time with the puppy’s parents—at a minimum, the pup’s mother—when you visit;

      9. Has a strong relationship with one or more local veterinarians and shows you individual records of veterinary visits for your puppy;

      10. Explains in detail the potential genetic and developmental problems inherent to the breed and provides documentation that the puppy’s parents and grandparents have been professionally evaluated in an effort to breed those problems out of their puppies. (This will include testing for genetic diseases for which there are valid testing protocols available);

      11. Offers guidance for the care and training of your puppy and is available for assistance after you take your puppy home;

      12. Provides references from other families who have previously purchased one of their puppies;

      13. Is often actively involved with local, state, and national clubs that specialize in the specific breed; responsible breeders may also compete with the dogs in conformation events, obedience trials, tracking and agility trials, or other performance events;

      14. Sells puppies only to people he/she has met in person, not to pet stores or to unknown buyers over the Internet;

      15. Encourages multiple visits and wants your entire family to meet the puppy;

      In addition to the above attributes, they provide you with a written contract and health guarantee and allows plenty of time for you to read it thoroughly.  A responsible or reputable breeder will also ask you some questions and sometimes enter an undertaking with you which shows that they are still interested in the welfare of the dog even while under your care.

      So, if you saw a breeder who is all about the money, and doesn't give a damn about the welfare and health of the Frenchie, turn the other way.

      Have you had an experience with a breeder you think is not a reputable breeder following the above guidelines? Share your story with us in the comment box below.


      • Rose Marie K. Kimball

        Please be extra careful when choosing your frenchie. My boy has had numerous medical issues such as, soft palate surgery, heital hernia surgery and now his back has issues. He is only 8.5 months old and it is unfortunate that there are no laws that will prosecute people who sell puppies that have so many health issues.

      • Marsha

        Such great advice we have raised, shown and bred frenchies for 15 years and have seen a lot of back street breeders doing such injustice to this breed. Your advice is spot on and I hope new potential frenchie owners pay attention to your great advise

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