by Devon Conway
Is that a pig, a bat, or Stitch from the famous Disney Channel show, Lilo and Stitch? No, it’s a French Bulldog! According to the American Kennel Club, the French Bulldog originated in England in the mid-1800s, but migrated to France, earning their name. In France, the bat-eared, chubby, wrinkly-faced, compact pup earned a reputation as ‘city dog par excellence.’
Now, the French Bulldog is ranked the number one most popular dog in the U.K., overtaking the famous Labrador retriever, according to the U.K. Kennel Club, and the sixth most popular breed in America.
The rising popularity of Frenchie’s may be because numerous celebrities and professional athletes, such as Madonna, Michael Phelps, Martha Stewart, Dwayne Wade and Lady Gaga,own Frenchies. The popular pup does come at a high price though, ranging anywhere from $1,800, according to famous South Florida French bulldog breeder, Monek Carr.
“I breed all different types of Frenchies, from exotic to normal colored, like black or white. For exotic colors, I charge anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. I also breed mini Frenchies, who happen to be a little cheaper than normal sized Frenchies. Since Frenchies cannot breed naturally and must be artificially inseminated, they come at a higher price,” said Carr.
Car has recently started a waiting list for the puppies before birth because of the high demand. She has been able to make a living off of the demand for Frenchies in the Tampa area.
For Leah Brown, a senior at The University of Miami, owning a French Bulldog brings meaning and joy to her life, and adds some bragging rights on the lavish streets of Miami.
“I’ve always loved Frenchies and never really saw them out in public, only on social media,” Brown said. “I really wanted to be different and buy a dog that would catch people’s attention, so I purchased my sweet little blonde Frenchie named Ava about six months ago for two grand.”
Owning a French Bulldog does come with a lot of perks, but does the good outweigh the bad? Jensen Harper from Hyde Park Vet Clinic in Tampa notes that while Frenchies are super cute they come with numerous health issues that may not be as common in other popular breeds.
“French Bulldogs have more health issues that other breeds of dogs due to their short muzzles,” Harper said. “The types of issues they struggle with include heatstroke, elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and aspiration pneumonia.”
Despite these issues, Harper still vows that Frenchies make excellent pets, even to residents living in the hot Floridan climate.
“I think French Bulldogs make great pets as long as the owner understands that they have special health concerns related to their breed and are very susceptible to overheating, which is a bigger problem in a hot climate like Florida,” Harper said.
Harper insist that if someone is serious about purchasing a Frenchie, they do their research, consult their local vet, and make sure they are aware of all the potential risk, which she notes are worth being able to cuddle with a 30 pound ball of love.
“I was definitely nervous about the health issues I read about that are associated with French Bulldogs,” Brown said. “Whether or not it be allergies or breathing issues, I was nervous about the potential high vet bill that could come with owning a Frenchie. Despite this, I have never had any issues with Ava that required a high vet bill, only typical vet visits.”
Another issue with Frenchies is scams. Kelly Cummings, a mother whose daughter was in the process of saving money for a Frenchie describes her daughters’ pain when she was scammed attempting to purchasing a puppy.
“My daughter saved all her money for close to a year when she was scammed. She came upon a website selling a Frenchie for only $600 and decided to contact the ‘breeder’”, Cummings said. “Turns out, the breeder convinced my daughter to send the cash, then told her the dog would be killed if she did not send more money..”
According to the Better Business Bureau, fraudulent advertising links are at least 80 percent of the sponsored advertising links.
Despite health issues and scams related to purchasing a French bulldog, the good outweighs the bad.
“The best thing I ever did was buy a Frenchies. Ava brings joy and love to my life,” said Brown.
Devon can be reached at email@example.com