The Breed standard
  • A picture in words of how the breed should look.
  • A description of the breed’s temperament.
  • A pattern used by breeders in the attempt to breed typical specimens of the breed.
  • The tool used by judges when assessing the breed in the ring.
  • A tool to help us identify different types of dog.
  • A reflection of the reasons why the breed came into being.

The earliest breed standards date back to the 19th Century when different types or breeds of dogs were being developed. Their aim was to define the characteristics of the dogs and their desirable features.

The French Bulldog was bred to be a companion dog and a mouser. As a companion dog it needed to be loyal, affectionate, amusing, lively and entertaining. As a mouser it needed to be agile, quick, courageous, strong, intelligent and balanced. For both of these functions it needed to be small, compact, sturdy, with a smooth coat and good breathing. These remain the characteristics looked for in today’s French Bulldogs.

Every breed standard is prefaced with the following statement.

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare and soundness of the breed ………If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.

The emphasis is on Health, welfare and soundness. Health first and then Breed qualities.

Sturdy, compact, solid small dog with good bone. Short, smooth coat. No point exaggerated, balance essential. Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable.

Full of courage, yet with clown-like qualities. Bat ears and short tail characteristic features of the breed.

Vivacious, deeply affectionate, intelligent.

Head square in appearance and in proportion to dog’s size. Skull nearly flat between ears, domed forehead. The skin covering the skull and forehead should be supple enough to allow the dog to show facial expression.
Well defined muzzle, broad, deep and set back. Muscles of cheek well developed. Stop well defined. Lower jaw deep, square, broad, slightly undershot and turned up.
Nose black and wide, relatively short, with open nostrils and line between well defined. Lips black, thick, meeting each other in centre, completely hiding teeth. Upper lip covers lower on each side with plenty of cushion, never so exaggerated as to hang too much below level of jaw.

Preferably dark and matching. Moderate size, round, neither sunken nor prominent, showing no white when looking straight forward; set relatively wide apart and on same level as the stop.

“Bat ears” of medium size, wide at base, rounded at top; set high, carried upright and parallel, a sufficient width of skull preventing them being too close together; skin soft and fine, orifice as seen from the front, showing entirely. The opening to the ear canal should be wide and open.

Slightly undershot. Teeth sound and regular, but not visible when the mouth is closed. Tongue must not protrude.

Powerful, well arched and thick, of moderate length.

Cobby, muscular and well rounded with deep wide brisket and ribs well sprung. Strong, gently roached back. Good “cut up”. The body while broader at the shoulders should narrow slightly beyond the ribs to give definition to the relatively short, thick, strong, muscular loin.

Legs set wide apart, straight boned, strong, muscular and short.

Legs strong, muscular and relatively longer than forelegs with moderate angulation. Absolute soundness essential. Hocks well let down.

Small. Compact and placed in continuation of line of leg, with absolutely sound pasterns. Hind feet rather longer than fore-feet. Toes compact, well knuckled; nails short, thick, preferably black.

Undocked, short, set low, thick at root, tapering quickly towards tip, preferably straight and long enough to cover anus, never curling over back nor carried gaily.

Free and flowing. Soundness of movement of the utmost importance.

Texture fine, smooth, lustrous, short and close

Brindle, pied or fawn. Tan, mouse and grey/blue highly undesirable.
BRINDLE – a mixture of black and coloured hairs. May contain white providing brindle predominates.
PIED – white predominates over brindle. Whites are classified with pieds for show purposes, but their eyelashes and eye rims should be black. In pieds the white should be clear with definite brindle patches and no ticking or black spots.
FAWN – may contain brindle hairs but must have black eye lashes and eye rims.

To All French Bulldog Breed Clubs 8 January 2015

At its recent meeting the Committee reconsidered the proposed amendment to the Breed Standard colour clause, noting correspondence from one of the breed clubs regarding the listing of ‘Fawn Pied’ as a separate colour. Whilst the club’s concerns were appreciated, the Committee agreed that the wording as previously advised gave a clear, strong message about the accepted colours in the breed. Also, the other two breed clubs had confirmed their support for the proposed wording.
The amendment as follows is now being processed, to become effective from 1 February 2015.

Colour The only four correct colours are: Brindle; Fawn; Brindle Pied; Fawn Pied.

Brindle – Colour pattern caused by a mixture of black hairs and fawn hairs. White markings permitted provided that brindle predominates.
Fawn – Clear, self-coloured fawn with or without a black mask. White markings permitted, provided that fawn predominates.  Cream and red shades less desirable.
Brindle Pied – White predominates with brindle patches. [The brindle as defined above].
Fawn Pied – White predominates with fawn patches.
Any white should be clear with no ticking or spots.
Nose, eye rims and eyelashes black in all colours.
All other colours highly undesirable, including solid black, black and white, black and tan, mouse, grey/blue, liver/chocolate and all patterns of these colours (see Introductory Paragraph).

Ideal weight for dogs 12.5 kgs (28 lbs). Ideal weight for bitches 11 kgs (24 lbs). Soundness not to be sacrificed to smallness.

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 on the health and welfare of the dog.
NB Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

With kind permission of The Kennel Club