The French Bulldog
If the story of how the French Bulldog went from ’way down on the list to right up to the front of the popularity line were a movie, it would be like the “Rocky” franchise – “French Bulldog” – Parts 1 through 20.
Over the past 20 years, the French Bulldog has been quietly, but tenaciously, climbing the ladder of popularity.
French Bulldog puppy, fawn color, black mask, age: 3 months – Attribution – Maria Tsveshko, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
About The Star
The French Bulldog appeared in Paris in the nineteenth century (around 1850 or so). The breed is likely the result of cross-breeding English Toy Bulldogs with Parisian ratters.
According to Wikipedia, “A ratter is any dog used for catching and killing rats and similar vermin.”
Some Reasons for Ratter Breeds
While the job of rat catcher has all but vanished from the countryside nowadays, the problem and profusion of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), which took hold in mainland Britain in the early 18th century, was huge.
The brown rat’s traditional eating grounds and lodging places are corn barns, poultry coops, and haystacks.According to The Field, which covered National Rat Week (sponsored by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries), the 1919 rat population in the UK was projected to number 43 million.
In the 21st century, if you are challenged with rodents, your first thought might go to cats or exterminators. However, you should also consider dogs. Why? Because certain dogs have a hunting gene in their DNA. Some breeds were developed specifically to get rid of rats.
For instance, the Terrier Group comprises the majority of these breeds. After all, their name comes from “terra” (Earth), so they are dogs bred to hunt animals that live in the ground. Most of these dogs are small and agile, with high activity levels and predatory instincts.
From Ratter to Companion
In addition to the Frenchie, some other breeds have “graduated” from ratter to companion. Among them are:
Yorkshire Terriers – Nicknamed Yorkies
Yorkshire Terriers came from the northern English countries of Yorkshire and Lancashire during the mid-1800s.
Yorkies are small because they were bred to fit into the tiny spaces in textile mills where they were required to go to exterminate rodents. They were also used by coal miners as ratters in the mines.
Now that they have retired as a working breed, Yorkies have become a fashion symbol, and a lap dog for the rich.
Yorkshire Terriers were recognized by the AKC in 1885.
Dachshund – Nicknamed Wiener Dog, Doxie, and Sausage Dog
The Dachshund originated in Germany at least 600 years ago. The name translates to “badger dog” because their original purpose was to hunt badgers, but they also hunted other rodents, like rats and rabbits. They even hunted foxes, and this little dog was not afraid to hunt wild boar!
The AKC recognized the Dachshund 1885.
West Highland White Terrier – Nicknamed Westie
The West Highland White Terrier goes back to Scotland in the 1700s. It’s believed they may go back even further. Rats and other rodents stole grains and carried diseases, so the Westies was bred to exterminate them.
They first appeared in dog shows in 1896, but the AKC didn’t recognize them until 1908.
The French Bulldog was No. 58 on the AKC’s Most Popular list in 2002!
It raced forward 24 spots in 5 years, arriving at No. 34 in 2007.
After that sprint, within four-years’ time (2011), that pooch had skipped up to the No. 18 spot!
And it only took 3 years to exit double digits, because, in 2014, the French Bulldog was sitting at No.9.
Within another four years (2018), it took the No. 4 spot – and held it for 2 years.
Two years ago (2020), it was having a sip of water and taking a breather in the No. 2 spot.
Now, for the first time in 31 years, a new breed has taken the American Kennel Club’s Number One spot: the French Bulldog.
Way to go, Frenchie!
The French Bulldog is the AKC’s No.1 breed for 2022!
I wonder whether anyone expected Frenchies to “make it to the top.”
Fully grown, the average, healthy French Bulldog weighs about 16-28 pounds, and they are about 12 inches tall. Their expected lifespan is 11 to 14 years.
Except for the large, erect ears (they look like bat ears, right?) Frenchies kind of resemble a miniature Bulldog. By the way, the “Bat Ears” are the breed’s trademark.
The breed is playful, aware, versatile, and utterly seductive.
Apartment dwellers appreciate French Bulldogs’ sturdy little bodies, and the fact that their short coats are easy to care for. Their wonderful temperaments is the cherry on top.
Shedding isn’t so much “an issue” because French Bulldogs are petite with a short coat. However they do shed enough to not be considered hypoallergenic.
On top of all that, they are so affectionate!
The Labrador Retriever took the title of Most Popular Breed in 1991 and held it until the French Bulldog took over that spot this year.
Clearly, the Lab is still very popular, since it only dropped down one spot – to No. 2.
Current Status of the Top 5
The French Bulldog moved up from No. 2 to No. 1.
The Labrador Retriever moved down from No. 1 to No. 2.
The Golden Retriever held the No. 3 spot.
The German Shepherd held at No. 4.
The Poodle is steady in the No. 5 spot.
Adding a New Family Member
If you’re thinking about adding a new family member, check this out.
abcNews, Article: Who’s top dog? Meet this year’s most popular dog breeds, byYi-Jin Yu, Wednesday, March 15, 2023
K9 of Mine, Article: 11 Top Ratter Dogs: Rodent-Wrecking Dog Breeds, by Kate Brunotts, October 18, 2022, https://www.k9ofmine.com/ratter-dogs/
The Positive, Article: 21 Dogs That Were Bred To Hunt Rats, Mice And Other Rodents, by
Friends Animals, Article: Portraits of popular breeds in our country and abroad: Prague Ratter, by Editorial staff, October. 9,. 2019, https://friendsanimals.com/blog/articles/2116-portraits-of-popular-breeds-in-our-country-and-abroad-prague-ratter
Wikipedia, Article: French Bulldog, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Bulldog
Image – French Bulldog puppy, fawn color, black mask, age: 3 months – Attribution – Maria Tsveshko, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons