The French bulldog, the English bulldog's smaller cousin, originated in Great Britain. The "Frenchie," as he's affectionately known, resulted from deliberately breeding small bulldogs to create a toy-size canine. The two breeds still have many common traits, but there's no mistaking one for the other -- especially since the Frenchie has those stand-up ears.
The French bulldog is much smaller than the English variety. The American Kennel Club French bulldog breed standard disqualifies any dog from showing if he exceeds 28 pounds. The English bulldog breed standard calls for male dogs maturing at approximately 50 pounds and females at 40 pounds. While neither breed standard includes height measurements, height and weight are proportionate, so the Frenchie is much shorter than the English bulldog.
Many of the permissible colors in both breeds are similar, with the Frenchie appearing in white, fawn, brindle -- a striped effect -- and white and solid brindle. The English bulldog appears in red and other brindles, pure white, solid fawn, red or blond fallow as well as piebald. That consists of large white patches with black, brown or red.
The English bulldog is famously laid-back and easy-going. He's loyal, affectionate and smart. The Frenchie loves his owner, but there's the danger of him becoming too attached and suffering from separation anxiety. He's not a good choice for someone who doesn't spend much time at home. In general, Frenchies require more socialization than their English relatives. They can exhibit tyrannical "little dog" tendencies if they aren't properly socialized with people and other canines.
Other Pets and Children
If you have other pets or kids sharing your home, the English bulldog is probably a better choice of canine. English bulldogs love kids, get along well with other dogs as well as cats, and thrive on family life. The AKC refers to English bulldog temperament as "gentle and protective" toward family members. French bulldogs don't always tolerate kids or felines, and might react aggressively to strange dogs when you're out on walks or in the dog park.
Housebreaking and Training
Frenchies aren't the easiest dogs to housebreak, but the English bulldog should learn where to "conduct his business" fairly quickly. Neither breed is particularly athletic -- their short noses contribute to respiratory problems -- so don't expect to head out for long hikes or compete in canine sports with them. That doesn't mean they don't need basic training, such as sit, stay and the all-important coming when called. Overall, the English bulldog is probably more eager to please and easier to train.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.