First of all, we need to establish what it is that makes a good, reputable Frenchie breeder. They should be rife with knowledge about the whole process; but we’ll stick to the key points in this video! A sound knowledge of the breed itself is paramount to producing healthy puppies. You should be able to ask your breeder any query or concern you have about the Frenchie and get a confident, informative answer, and even if they don’t know, they should show willing to find out for you.
Alongside a keen interest in the breed itself, a reputable breeder should have a basic knowledge of genetics and the breed standards. And when I say basic, I mean basic. No cross breeding of family members should have occurred. This can be a typical path that backstreet breeders will take. They will breed granddaughter with grandfather, uncles with nieces ect if they think it’ll produce more ‘rare’ coloured puppies such as Blue Merles (which isn’t a recognised French Bulldog colour, don’t buy into the ‘rare’ label!) A responsible breeder will never breed simply for a desirable colour, Blue Merle Frenchie’s have an extremely high chance of being blind, deaf, or have other neurological issues due to being inbred. Some respectable breeders even go so far as to not selling puppies that are Merle or Lilac, because they know there’s a chance that that puppy carries bad genetics.
Now, in recent times, the breed standard of the French Bulldog has come under some scrutiny. The most serious medical and physiological issues that arise for a Frenchie comes from their breed standard of a short muzzle. Again, backstreet breeders are likely to capitalise on this. So rather than hunting for a Frenchie with the squishiest face, no matter how cute they are as puppies, you want to be looking for a lengthened muzzle that help to prevent common health issues. Now they best way to do that is to breed together French Bulldogs with exceptionally long noses to increase the chances that their puppies can live healthier lives. Some French Bulldogs breeders have even started to cross breed. The introduction of a completely new set of genetic information, including that of a long muzzle, is key to curbing the ailments of the Frenchie.
You want a breeder that is aware and conscious of these health concerns. Anyone that shies away from it or brushes it off are more than likely not bothered about the topic. As humans, we are gifted with a gut instinct, should you feel uneasy about a breeder, it is always best to walk away. You want to have 100% confidence in who you are dealing with, and that they’re concerned with more than just the money you’re handing over.
Another key subject you should be aware of is your puppy’s parents! Seeing your Frenchie pup with its siblings and their mum is arguably one of the most important aspects of buying a puppy. If you are able to see your new puppy in the whelping box it was born in, eagerly suckling, groomed and fussed by mum ect, chances are that they were bred ethically. Backstreet breeders will breed on volume, taking little care of the bitch, they even go so far as to having ‘show bitches’. A show bitch will not necessarily be used for breeding but will be healthy, clean and friendly. They will then take a litter of puppies from the biological mum and transport them to a separate home to show them to prospective buyers along with the show bitch. This gives the impression that it’s a perfect family of happy, clean, healthy dogs. But there are clues to spot this. A show bitch won’t show a keen interest in the pups, she will also be unlikely to let them suckle, or won’t even be lactating. In short, it’s a big theatrical performance.
Now, let’s say you’ve researched and located a reputable breeder that will give you a lively, adorable Frenchie pup, you have to be able to give them the best home. Again, in the early stages, it is best to ask a reputable breeder who they think the breed is perfect for. They will know the breed inside and out, meaning they can make sure suitable homes are found. French Bulldogs are small, friendly, affectionate and have relatively long lives. Now, these all sound like good traits! But only in the right environment. A Frenchie is not for you if you have to leave them alone for long periods, are precious about sharing the sofa with a dog or are expecting a baby at the same time! (Looking after a newborn AND a new puppy is a mammoth task, no matter how small the dog).
As much as you might prefer one breed over another, you have to be somewhat objective when looking at your suitability. If you have an outdoorsy job that allows for a four-legged coworker, a bigger, more independent breed may be more suited to you. However, if you can spend the majority of time with your Frenchie and enjoy leisurely strolls through the parks and country roads, they may just be the best companion.
We’ve touched a little bit on the fact that French Bulldogs can suffer with medical issues due to their physical features, and that’s why it is imperative to get a solid insurance policy for them. We are blessed with the NHS for all of our own medical care and so vet bills can take a lot of people by surprise! Which can end in the hardest of decisions being made… *Having consulted a colleague in the veterinary industry, I have it on good authority that* Whilst they are compact, robust little dogs, if they inhale food or water into their lungs or even overheat, that is more than likely a trip to Intensive Care. Now even just one night, depending on the medicine they need to recover, can cost upwards of £500.
Don’t be that person that thinks it’ll never happen to them. Don’t take that chance with your pup. You wouldn’t take that chance with your car, and at the end of the day, that’s a replaceable machine. So we ask that you don’t take that chance with the life of your new puppy.
I will leave you with a brief but vital conclusion to this video! At Fenrir, we aim to educate. If nothing else, we want to get the vital information out there. So, key points of a ‘Perfect Breeder’. Ensure that you see mum with her puppies, and that she looks healthy and cared for. Ask questions; questions about the breed, questions about any concerns you have, questions about breeding regulations, any question you can think of, just ask! Don’t fall prey to the lure of a cute puppy and disregard any red flags. Do your research, trust your instincts, and if you are truly concerned about any welfare issues, report any evidence to local authorities. Be objective about breed is right for you and your situation, don’t just get a ‘popular’ breed without really looking into the needs of the dog. And lastly, please get a good insurance policy. A French Bulldog can be your affectionate companion for over a decade, do them a justice and have their welfare in your priorities.