The French Bulldogs has become America’s most popular dog – dethroning the Labrador’s 31-year reign. Bred to be active and lively with an easy-going demeanor, Frenchies took world by storm. But if you’re a parent, you may be wondering if they’ll get along with kids.
French Bulldogs are excellent companions for kids of all ages. There’s a reason why they’ve become the most popular dog for households in America. According to the ATTS, Frenchies have one of the most stable dog temperaments with a passing rate of 96.2%. Combined their reliability with their playful nature, patience and affection, French Bulldogs often thrive with kids in the home.
There’s more to the French Bulldog than just a pleasant temperament and good looks. Read on to learn the top reasons why they’re ideal dogs for kids. Plus, we discuss the potential dangers of raising these dogs with your children.
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Is the Frenchie’s Temperament Good For Kids?
From looks alone, the French Bulldog looks far from a threat. After all, they’re small dogs with a vibrant smile – nearly all the time. But when you examine the temperament of the breed, you’ll understand that kids and Frenchies are a match made in heaven.
The dog breed’s temperament, in our opinion, is one of the most crucial factors in determining the kid-friendliness of the breed. Kids can be rowdy, noisy and often times, unpredictable. It’s a huge reason why dogs need a temperament that’s stable.
And according to the ATTS, the French Bulldog has just that. In a temperament test, these dogs scored a passing rate of 96.2%. For reference, the average among all breeds is just 83.4%! With that said, it’s hard to get a Frenchie to show aggression.
How We Measure a Frenchie’s Temperament
The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) is credited for this data. Established in 1977, the ATTS is a non-profit organization that’s evaluated tens of thousands of dogs through many decades – and still continuing!
Their methods of measuring temperament is simple, though it tells us a lot. First, the Frenchie is put on a 6-foot loose leash. The dog enters the field and is given a number of external stimulants. From there, 3 ATTS judges will evaluate their responses.
After evaluation, the judges will give a pass or fail score. Majority rules for the final score. And according to the test society, a dog can fail if they show any signs of panic, anxiety, aggression or aloofness (with no recovery).
Since the organization started in the 70s, they’ve tested just 52 French Bulldogs. Although the sample size isn’t large, what’s impressive is that 50 Frenchies passed the test! In only two rare occurrences did this breed fail.
The fact that French Bulldogs were able to remain calm and relaxed in the face of uncertainty says a lot about the breed. Children can make unpredictable decisions during play, so a breed that’s more likely to brush it off tends to be more suitable.
The French Bulldog’s Kid-Friendly Temperament
It’s easy to see why French Bulldogs have become popular family dogs. They have a temperament that’s very appealing for young kids. But at the same time, they’re ideal for adults or seniors due to their easy-going and laid back nature.
Frenchies are people-loving dogs that are exceptional at adapting to their environment. They can thrive in an apartment, in the suburbs or in rural regions. As a result, they also do a great job at adapting to the chaos that comes with kids.
A socially adjusted Frenchie is a delight to own. The saying, ‘clown in a philosophers coat’ aptly describes them.– Mjosa (Dogz Online)
Most dogs are social creatures, though the French Bulldog can take this to another level. In fact, they’re famously known to be velcro dogs, that is, they’ll stick by your side and follow you wherever you go. The same applies for kids.
Male and female Frenchies can also differ in temperament. For example, male French Bulldogs tend to be more playful and confident. On the other hand, females will likely be more timid. But of course, this tends to vary depending on upbringing and socializing.
Depending on the personality of your child, either gender will work better. Female Frenchies may be a bit more snappy and can “aggressively” respond to rough play, so a calmer child may be better in this case. However, males tend to deal better with rougher play.
4 Reasons Why Frenchies Are Good With Kids
French Bulldogs can be a joy when it comes to playing with kids. With the proper training and socializing, these dogs were practically built to be their playmates. That said, here are the top reasons why Frenchies and children are perfect for one another.
Here are 4 reasons why a French Bulldog is a “match made in heaven” for kids.
1. Frenchies were bred to be companions
Like I mentioned, these dogs were made for this role. In other words, the only job of a French Bulldog is to be a friend and companion to their humans – nothing else. They didn’t need to hunt, herd or retrieve. They’re just lap dogs with a positive vibe.
If you think about it, Frenchies are just toy versions of bulldogs. Back when bulldogs were widely popular in England, some started breeding for smaller size and friendlier temperaments. They still had all the top traits of bulldogs, though with a touch of liveliness.
However, during the Industrial Revolution, many lace makers emigrated to France with their toy bulldogs. Soon after, they exploded in popularity. They were perfect because they were some of the best canine companions for the many lonely lace makers.
Frenchies are wonderful pets and companions – just be ready for plenty of funny noises, farts, burps, and a wiggly nub of a tail that’ll melt all your problems away.– Tesignedingold (Chrono of Horse)
Frenchies have all the best qualities of a superb companion. They’re loyal, people-oriented, sociable and playful dogs. For these reasons, their transition into life with kids is almost effortless and a huge reason for their popularity.
French Bulldogs are happiest when they have loads of human interaction. In return, you’ll get a dog that showers your family with love and affection. What better way to keep your children company than with the loving Frenchie?
2. Frenchies may be small, but they’re durable
Most small dog breeds may be too fragile for younger children. Toy-sized breeds are even less suited for kids. However, French Bulldogs are some of the few exceptions. Thanks to their bulldog heritage, they’re built sturdy and durable.
At the same time, they’re not too big either. Larger dogs tend to be more durable but due to the size, can pose a danger to younger children. Even if you own a sweet and gentle big dog, there is still a chance he could accidentally knock over a kid.
According to the AKC, a French Bulldog is typically between 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. Though, they do have a bit of heft and can weigh up to 30 pounds. So, they combine the best of both words – small yet study.
However, just because they’re more durable than other small dogs doesn’t mean they’re fit to take on the “punishment” from rowdy kids. Parental supervision is still needed. Plus, you will need to establish house rules to protect these dogs.
3. Frenchies are quiet dogs
Compared to many small dogs, French Bulldogs are relatively quiet. Though the barking often depends on the individual, few Frenchies are known to be excessive with barking. In fact, according to The Good Housekeeping, they’re one of the quietest breeds!
That’s not to say French Bulldogs aren’t vocal, though. They love to talk and communicate with their owners. But instead of loud piercing barks, they’ll make all types of strange noises, such as yawns, gargles and a little bit of yodeling.
My Frenchie didn’t bark until he was a year old. He’ll make occasional grumble sounds, but plenty of snoring.– Jaxson S. (Frenchie Owner)
These sounds tend to be entertaining for kids. At least, they’re a lot better than barking, which can easily scare a child. The last thing you’ll want is an excessive barker that your kid is too afraid to approach. It’ll be tough to nurture a child-dog relationship.
And if you have infants or babies in the home, the lack of barking will be a huge plus. Because babies and loud noises don’t mix, having a quieter dog can bring more peace into the home. Trust me – having a dog that constantly wakes up the baby is no fun.
4. Frenchies are energetic, but not hyperactive
French Bulldogs are moderately active dogs. They’ll have the energy and liveliness to match that of a child’s. However, they’re not overly-energetic to the point where they’re going to be too rough on your children. Rather, they’re perfectly suited for them.
When playing, French Bulldogs will be at their happiest. These fun-loving dogs enjoy the quality time spent with their owners, including the kids. At the same time, they’re not as active as, say, the Border Collie and won’t overwhelm children.
According to Borrow My Doggy, Frenchies need about 1 hour of exercise a day. This can be as simple a couple strolls through the neighborhood or playing catch with the kids. But due to their short snouts, swimming is not a good idea.
They don’t demand high-intensity activities, so plenty of exercise options can be done with kids. In fact, we highly recommend getting the kids involved to further develop and nurture the bond between the Frenchie and children.
2 Potential Dangers of Frenchies with Kids
There’s no such thing as a perfect dog for children. While the French Bulldog comes close, they do have some issues that all parents should consider. As such, we review the potential pitfalls of raising Frenchies with children.
1. The Frenchie can develop “small dog syndrome”
Yes, Frenchies are small dogs. As a result, it’s possible they develop small dog syndrome. This refers to a set of behaviors often exhibited by small breeds to compensate for their petite size. For instance, small dog syndrome can lead to the following:
- Constantly jumping on owners or other dogs
- Barking or growling at other dogs and people
- Snapping back at rough play (from kids or dogs)
- Prolonged aloofness with larger dogs or people
- Unprovoked aggression or tendencies
Many small dogs tend to be fragile. So, they’re exhibiting “big dog behaviors” in order to “show off” and scare any perceived threat. They’re trying to protect themselves from potential injury, and might strike back at a young kids if they become a little to rough with the small dog.
Even so, French Bulldogs aren’t overly prone to developing small dog syndrome. They have a durable body that’s less delicate than others, such as the Chihuahua (notorious for SDS). That said, a Frenchie is typically more patient with rough child’s play.
However, French Bulldogs can be divas if they’re too spoiled all the time. Without clear boundaries, they are more likely to develop small dog syndrome according to PDSA.
2. They may be overly-protective dogs
French Bulldogs tend to love the kids of the family. However this can sometimes develop into a harmful possessiveness. They’ll stick by the children’s side like good little velcro dogs. And while this may not be dangerous for your kids, it can be for others.
This behavior stems from the fact that Frenchies are clingy to the kids. In fact, they’re so clingy that they’re susceptible to separation anxiety. Combine this with a tendency to be territorial, and you may have an overly protective French Bulldog.
Frenchies can be quite possessive, and will often “Bully” the other dogs away from their food.– Tesignedingold (Chrono of Horse)
Depending on the dog, they may react to others with barking, growling or other aggressive tendencies. This is why adequate socialization and obedience training is so crucial for these dogs. Otherwise, visiting friends of your kids may be at risk.
Frenchies are not only possessive of their humans, but also their food. So, make sure to always give them space when eating. Plus, you should never free-feed your French Bulldog. It’s very important that kids understand this and keep their distance.
How to Train Frenchies For Kids
There’s a good chance that your French Bulldog and children will get along just fine from day one. Despite this possibility, both socializing and obedience training are crucial for a safe and pleasant experience in the home.
However, French Bulldogs can be stubborn learners. That doesn’t mean they’re not capable of learning, but they’ll require more patience, consistency and a firm hand. With that said, French Bulldogs are smarter than you think.
Preparing Kids for Frenchies
Even your children will require some training before trusting them to play with the dog. They will need to learn how to respect the French Bulldog. Simply put – kids need to understand what behaviors are okay and what are not.
The best method to do this is to establish ground rules for interacting with the dog. These rules will differ depending on the household, kids’ personalities and the dog. However, here’s a great starting point for parents:
- Ask for permission before playing with the French Bulldog.
- Do not hurt the dog: Never pull on the skin or ears. Be gentle with the dog.
- Never try to ride on the Frenchie’s back. This may seriously hurt the small dog.
- No yelling or banging, at or around the French Bulldog.
- Don’t run at the dog. Instead, slowly approach the Frenchie from the front.
- Give the Frenchie plenty of space when he’s eating.
To reinforce these rules, the best way is to show your children how to behave around the dog. After all, children are excellent visual learners – just like with dogs!
However, if your kids are too young to understand how to respect the family dog, they should not be playing with them anyway. Without mutual respect, it’ll be hard to develop a relationship and could be dangerous to both sides.
Socializing Your Frenchie with Kids
As previously discussed, French Bulldogs can develop aggressive tendencies towards other kids or dogs. This protectiveness is primarily because they love the family – and not necessarily because the dog is aggressive by nature.
However, the best way to curb this negative behavior is through socializing the dog. That is, by allowing the young puppy to meet as many kids (and other humans) as possible. The point is to help them understand that all kids are good, and not just the family kids.
The more a Frenchie is able to interact with all types of characters, the more stable he will be in adulthood. Socializing sets the foundation for dog temperaments, so that they would be better adjusted to living in society alongside humans.
According to the Humane Society, the best time for socializing a Frenchie is between weeks 3 and 20. During this golden period, your dog will be more fearless and carefree. Thus, they’ll be more willing to explore and satisfy their curiosity.
Socializing a Frenchie will children is a great way to get them to love and adore all kids. But, do not limit socializing to only kids. They’ll need to experience as many sensations, sights, sounds and of course, people, as possible.
Obedience Training is Essential
The final component in preparing this bulldog for life with kids is obedience training. They may require more patience and consistency than other breeds – largely thanks to their stubborn streaks. Even so, it’s far from impossible.
I recommend at least going through the 5 basic commands of obedience training: sit, heel, stay, down and leave it. If your Frenchie understands these commands, then it’ll be much easier to control them in situations that may be getting out of hand.
For example, if your French Bulldog is aggressively jumping on the child, you can tell them to sit or leave it. However, there will be no way to explicitly tell an untrained Frenchie what you want in that situation. Obedience will help you help them correct behaviors.
Training is a great way to build a relationship between kids and dogs.– Laura Garber (Woofgang Dog Training)
Obedience training also helps build trust between owner and dog, especially if you’re using reward-based training. But what may be more important is consistency, which is essential to building trust. After all, they trust you to consistently feed them daily.
After getting down the basics of obedience training, it’s a good idea to get the kids involved. It’ll give the children better confidence while interacting with the Frenchie. Plus, the family dog will learn to respect and respond to the children.
Do you own a French Bulldog and kids? Let us know your experience and any tips you’d suggest. Leave a comment in the section below!
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