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French bulldog becomes top US dog breed

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in three decades, the U.S. has a new favorite dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club.

Adorable in some eyes, deplorable in others, the sturdy, push-faced, perky-eared, world-weary-looking and distinctively droll French bulldog became the nation's most prevalent purebred dog last year, the club announced Wednesday. Frenchies ousted Labrador retrievers from the top spot after a record 31 years.


“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” says French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa. City-friendly, with modest grooming and exercise needs, she says, “they offer a lot in a small package.”

Yet the Frenchie's dizzying rise — it wasn't even a top-75 breed a quarter-century ago — worries its fans, to say nothing of its critics.

The buzzy little bulldogs have been targeted in thefts, including last month's fatal shooting of a 76-year-old South Carolina breeder and the 2021 shooting of a California dog walker who was squiring singer Lady Gaga's pets.

There’s concern that demand, plus the premium that some buyers will pay for “exotic” coat colors and textures, is engendering quick-buck breeders and unhealthy dogs. The breed's popularity is sharpening debate over whether there's anything healthy about propagating dogs prone to breathing, spinal, eye, and skin conditions.

The British Veterinary Association has urged people not to buy flat-faced breeds, such as Frenchies. The Netherlands has prohibited breeding very short-snouted dogs, and the country's agriculture minister aims to outlaw even owning them.

“French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” says Dr. Carrie Stefaniak, a Glendale, Wisconsin-based veterinarian who's on the Frenchie club's health committee.

She has treated French bulldogs with breathing difficulties, and she stresses that would-be owners need to research breeders and health testing and to recognize that problems can be expensive to treat.

But she's no Frenchie foe. She owns two and has conditioned them to run agility courses and take hilly hikes.

“These dogs can be very fit, can be very active,” Stefaniak said. “They don’t have to be sedentary dogs that can't breathe.”

The AKC's popularity rankings cover about 200 breeds in the nation’s oldest canine registry. The stats are based on nearly 716,500 puppies and other dogs newly registered last year — about 1 in every 7 of them a Frenchie. Registration is voluntary.

The most rarely owned? English foxhounds.

The rankings don’t count mixed-breeds or, at least for now, Labradoodles, puggles, Morkies and other popular “designer” hybrids. The AKC's top 10 were: French bulldogs, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, poodles, bulldogs, Rottweilers, beagles, dachshunds and German shorthaired pointers.

With roots in England and then France, French bulldogs became chic among American elites around the turn of the 20th century, then faded from favor.

That changed, rapidly, in this century. Social media and celebrity owners (ranging from Leonardo di Caprio to Megan Thee Stallion to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) gave the dogs fresh exposure. Still more came last year, when U.S. TV audiences watched a Frenchie named Winston take second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and then win the National Dog Show hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia.

Last year, about 108,000 newly registered French bulldogs surpassed Labs by over 21,000.

As a longtime breeder and a veterinarian, Dr. Lori Hunt sees Frenchies as ideal companions but their popularity as “a curse, not a blessing.”

“They're being very exploited” by unscrupulous breeders, she said. The Westlake, Ohio-based vet has seen plenty of Frenchies with problems but rejects arguments that the breed is inherently unhealthy. Some of her own do canine performance sports.

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by Anonymousreply 35March 19, 2023 6:10 AM

Some other breeds are prone to ailments ranging from hip dysplasia to cancers, and mixed-breed dogs also can get sick. But recently published research involving about 24,600 dogs in Britain suggested that Frenchies have “very different, and largely much poorer" health than do other canines, largely due to the foreshortened, wrinkly face that encapsulates the breed's je ne sais quoi.

With such findings in mind, the British Veterinary Association has said it “strongly recommends” against buying flat-faced dogs and has campaigned to scrub them from ads and even greeting cards.

The American Veterinary Medical Association is exploring ways to improve flat-faced dogs’ welfare, President Dr. Lori Teller says.

To animal rights and welfare activists, the French bulldog frenzy puts a snorting, panting face on problems with dog breeding in general.

"A lot of the breed characteristics that are bred into these dogs, they’re for looks, not necessarily health and welfare, and Frenchies are probably one of the most exaggerated examples of that,” said Dr. Lorna Grande of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, a professional group affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States.

"It is a welfare issue. These dogs are suffering,” she says.

The AKC notes that its Canine Health Foundation has donated $67 million since 1990 for research and education on many breeds, and the kennel and Frenchie clubs say there have been advances. A new breathing test made its U.S. debut on Frenchies, bulldogs and pugs at a show in January.

Prospective purebred owners should explore breeders' history and health testing, accept waiting for a puppy, and ask themselves whether they're prepared for the responsibility, the AKC says.

“Research what goes into owning a dog," says spokesperson Brandi Hunter Munden, "and really take an assessment of your lifestyle to make sure that you’re really making the best decision, not just for you, but for the animal.”

by Anonymousreply 1March 15, 2023 5:15 PM

They can barely breathe ☹️

by Anonymousreply 2March 15, 2023 5:31 PM

And they're very expensive. Lady Gaga's dognapping isn't the only one. Wasn't a breeder recently killed during an attempted theft?

by Anonymousreply 3March 15, 2023 6:22 PM

They're very cute.

I want one but I can't afford one.

by Anonymousreply 4March 15, 2023 11:52 PM


by Anonymousreply 5March 16, 2023 12:09 AM

Dried mucus everywhere.

by Anonymousreply 6March 16, 2023 12:11 AM

Those dogs drool too much.

by Anonymousreply 7March 16, 2023 12:16 AM

They're very popular in NYC because they are good apartment dogs.

by Anonymousreply 8March 16, 2023 12:16 AM

They’re ugly and it just shows how much people will do to fit in.

They have major issues with respiratory, spine and hips.

by Anonymousreply 9March 18, 2023 6:53 PM

In addition to their many health problems, they have almost no personality variance. They are all the same.

by Anonymousreply 10March 18, 2023 7:00 PM

R10 you’re right, never thought about that

by Anonymousreply 11March 18, 2023 7:02 PM

Bella is a mutant freak for fat Fraus

by Anonymousreply 12March 18, 2023 7:08 PM

Frenchies are ugly.

Golden doodles are everywhere now.

Those dogs are truly adorable, beautiful and have fantastic, easy-going personalities.

I covet one desperately.

by Anonymousreply 13March 18, 2023 7:10 PM

Their owners should be bitch slapped on sight!

by Anonymousreply 14March 18, 2023 7:10 PM

Very sad...they are not healthy dogs and often need multiple surgeries to survive.

by Anonymousreply 15March 18, 2023 7:12 PM

Perfect as the DL mascot dog. They're MAJOR cunts!

by Anonymousreply 16March 18, 2023 7:12 PM

Aren’t these the ones that some Georgia sports team has as a mascot and they have to euthanize it every couple of years because they end up not being able to get enough oxygen in their system? And then they just slap on the same name to it so no one knows how often they replace it, like the proverbial little kid’s goldfish?

by Anonymousreply 17March 18, 2023 7:22 PM

r17 Yes

by Anonymousreply 18March 18, 2023 7:24 PM

R18 Can’t PETA do something to stop this?

by Anonymousreply 19March 18, 2023 7:26 PM

[quote] Aren’t these the ones that some Georgia sports team has as a mascot and they have to euthanize it every couple of years because they end up not being able to get enough oxygen in their system?


Georgia's mascot is the English Bulldog, not the French Bulldog.

by Anonymousreply 20March 18, 2023 7:29 PM

How popular are adorable chihuahuas I wonder?

by Anonymousreply 21March 18, 2023 7:31 PM

They are pretty stubborn and hard to train. And spend 24 hours a day trying to tell you that they are the alpha. Not the huge labrador retriever who puts up with him. (My son's Frenchie Charlie.)

by Anonymousreply 22March 18, 2023 7:31 PM

A cautionary tale.

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by Anonymousreply 23March 18, 2023 7:32 PM

Human ownership of pets is not environmentally sustainable and it’s selfish to the animal.

by Anonymousreply 24March 18, 2023 7:36 PM

Doodles are the most popular breed, but the AKC doesn't recognize them. Please don't get one. Nobody reputable would breed them and the dogs are absolute idiots.

by Anonymousreply 25March 18, 2023 7:37 PM

R20 What difference does a Channel make?

by Anonymousreply 26March 18, 2023 7:39 PM

They also require c sections because they are not built for birth. To get these puppies you have to cut open the mom. It’s very very cruel to breed them.

by Anonymousreply 27March 18, 2023 7:43 PM

Most self-declared dog lovers seem like narcissists. They don't care that French bulldogs and pugs have medical problems from centuries of selective inbreeding. Nor care that pitt bulls have aggressive temperaments and are easily set off being breed as fighting dogs. They don't care about anything except having a companion that looks cute and worships the ground they walk on.

by Anonymousreply 28March 18, 2023 7:55 PM

My cousin has a golden doodle, and it's the most brainless dog I've ever met. My other cousin has a French bulldog, and it's the most annoying dog I've ever met. I prefer terriers.

by Anonymousreply 29March 18, 2023 9:04 PM

I like terriers too, specifically Airedales.

by Anonymousreply 30March 18, 2023 10:00 PM

It's rather fitting that in the land of the fat and home of the stupid would a dog breed that requires a dog carriage, become the most popular breed in the country.

Yorkies make for perfect apartment dogs, and can easily walk up/down 3-5 flights without assistance.

by Anonymousreply 31March 18, 2023 11:47 PM

terrible animals. often very difficult to train. tons of energy but cant breathe enough for you to get them enough exercise. some dog trainers refuse to work with them. don't buy one.

by Anonymousreply 32March 19, 2023 12:26 AM

r30 Great choice

by Anonymousreply 33March 19, 2023 12:55 AM

They do seem to have the sweetest personalities. Hope that isn’t bred out by popularity.

by Anonymousreply 34March 19, 2023 1:08 AM

Save your money and get a golden retriever. There is not better, cuter, or sweeter dog out there.

by Anonymousreply 35March 19, 2023 6:10 AM
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