Oh dear, we're not doing very well. We're posting late in the day again. Our excuse?... We were helping family move house! Apologies!
It's the letter H today so we thought we'd tell you about the history of Frenchies and where they originated from!
How did the French Bulldog come about?
In discussing the history of the French Bulldog, we should note the importance of three countries: England, France and America. England provided the foundation for our modern Frenchie: the old bulldog. Breeders in France developed the smaller bulldogs into a distinctly “French” type and American breeders set the standard that prescribed the all-important “bat ears.” The ancestral type was not our modern bulldog but the bulldog of 150-200 years ago: a strong, athletic dog, high on leg, and capable of being used in that barbarous activity called “bull-baiting.”
Society folks noticed these cute little bulldogs and before long they were a la mode. Most of the British wanted nothing to do with these French bulldogs so it was the French who were guardians of the breed until later in the 19th century. They developed a more uniform breed—a dog with a compact body, straight legs, but without the extreme underjaw of the English Bulldog. Some had the erect “bat ears’ while others had “rose” ears. Wealthy Americans traveling in Francefell in love with these endearing little dogs and began bringing them back to the USA. The Yanks preferred dogs with erect ears which was fine with the French breeders as they preferred the rose eared specimens, as did the British breeders.
Society ladies first exhibited Frenchies in 1896 at Westminster and a Frenchie was featured on the cover of the 1897 Westminster catalog even though it was not yet an approved AKC breed.
At that show, both bat eared and rose eared dogs were exhibited but the English judge put up only the rose-eared specimens. This infuriated the American fanciers who quickly organized the French Bull Dog Club of America and drew up a breed standard allowing only the bat ear. At the 1898 Westminster show, the Americans were outraged to find that classes for both bat-eared and rose-eared dogs were to be shown despite the fact that the new breed standard allowed only the former. They pulled their dogs, the American Judge refused to participate in the show, and the club organized their own show, for bat-eared dogs only, to be held at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria.
This was the famous first specialty of the French Bulldog Club of America — which, incidentally, was the first breed club anywhere in the world to be dedicated to the French Bulldog. The winner of that first Specialty was a brindle dog named Dimboolaa, seen here.