Genetics have reached their limit with the French Bulldog. No further breeding could produce a more impish looking creature. The Frenchie has a network of wrinkles on his forehead that makes him look constantly in thought, and his long, up pointed ears give his apple head the appearance of navy sonar equipment. He has a doughty expression with his pushed in snoot, yet no guile ever shines behind his wide-set eyes. In short, he’s a cutie.
Julene Griffin of Dickinson, North Dakota was a latecomer to the Frenchie craze. She needed a job she could do from home, and was drawn to breeding Frenchies for a number of reasons. They’re low maintenance, suited to life in any sized home, and content with a 20 minute walk every day. They’re calm and don’t enter into fits of scream barking, a trait too rare in other small dogs. Frenchies are also the American Kennel Club’s fourth most popular breed, and the more popular dogs are all big ones.
Julene’s Frenchies are far more to her than livestock, of course. No one could share a house with the little scamps and not become their greatest admirer.
“Frenchies won’t chase rodents or do any other jobs for you,” said Julene. “They’re not even good guard dogs. That’s not to say they wouldn’t notice a break-in and try to protect you, but they’re too small and sweet to do much good.
“Frenchies are simply companion dogs, bred to be your friend. They are clowns and love to play, but they’re not hyper. Even with so many in my house I can still lie down and take a nap whenever I like. They’re not yappy, either. I don’t want to say that terriers are, but Frenchies are certainly mellower.
“It’s amazing how instinctively Frenchies make friends. I once brought my dam Maggie to a family supper when she was six months old. Right away she dropped her toy at my three-year-old great-nephew’s feet and started playing fetch with him. The thing is, Maggie had never played fetch before — she was just born knowing that is what a puppy is supposed to do with a toddler.
“I never train my Frenchies to heel, but I don’t have to put them on leashes. Their breeding as companions makes them not want to walk too far away from me. They’re still dogs, of course, and will get into mischief sometimes. One summer day my family was preparing to grill some hot dogs. We decided to take a ride in the golf cart while the coals heated up, but when we returned we found my sire Frio standing on the patio table, licking his lips. He didn’t leave any hot dogs for us!
“I have two sires: Frio the bandit, and Spud. I currently have nine dams, who range in age from four months to four years. When the girls grow older they get spayed and go to their forever homes, so it’s a short career for them. All but one of my Frenchies have champions in their bloodlines, with the exception having a blue coat that isn’t recognized by the AKC.
“Bulldogs in general are known to have more health issues than other dogs, but my Frenchies are so well bred they’ve never had any problems. Still, every Bullington Frenchies puppy comes with a one year genetic health guarantee, vet’s certificate of health and wellness, and AKC Puppy Protection Policy which includes one month of free health insurance.
“Genetics alone don’t make a great Frenchie. I treat my sires and dams like royalty, so they can make happy, healthy puppies. I socialize all of the puppies by hand, and will teach them their names if they’re purchased before they’re old enough to go to their new homes. I can even send you photos and videos of your puppy as they’re growing up!
“When you have a Frenchie, you’re going to get stopped all the time. Everyone wants to pet them, and they want to be petted by everybody. A Frenchie just soaks up affection!”
Visit bullingtonfrenchies.com to learn more about the stout, dyed-in-the-wool pals.
By David Scheller