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What's a FrogDog?

French Bulldog

What's a FrogDog you ask? Well - "FrogDog" or if you prefer, "frog dog" is a common nickname for the French Bulldog or "Frenchie" (pictured above). The nickname results from the Frenchie's common practice of lying with it's back legs extended behind giving it the appearance of a swimming frog.

My wife and I share our lives with three of these fun-loving, fascinating little dogs. An interesting bit of artistic back history for the breed prompted me to appropriate the nickname "FrogDog" for use in showcasing my work. Hence, "FrogDog Graphix" was born and our "Frog" appears on my home page.

More about that bit of back history...

The French Bulldog first appeared in the United States in 1896 at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City. He was a small to medium-size dog, weighing under twenty-eight pounds with short hair and a muscular build. The Frenchie was basically a smaller version of the English Bulldog (now known simply as the Bulldog). However, his bat-like ears, small size and active personality differentiated him from his more phlegmatic cousin. The Frog Dog has a lively expression and roguish disposition which prompted his fans to describe him as "a clown in the cloak of a philosopher."

In the late 1800's the Bulldog was emblemic of strength and tenacity and appreciated by many, including seafarers. French seamen engaged in cross channel trade took a particular liking to the breed. It's thought that they preferred the smaller Bulldogs found in the South of England because they were easier to smuggle aboard ship and hide during the trip back to France. During the same period, the little dogs were popular with lace makers in the south of England. Besides being congenial companions who were willing to sit quietly in the lap while the tradesmen worked - with their higher body heat, they were also helpful in luring fleas from their owners. When the lace makers were displaced by machines in the industrial revolution, they emmigrated to France to practice their trade. They took their "toy Bulldogs" with them. So, thanks to seamen and lacemakers amongst others, many small Bulldogs found their way across the channel as pets.

After the small Bulldogs arrived in France, they became the favorites of "Ladies of the Evening". The friendly little dogs were popular with Parisian streetwalkers because their antics served as an ice-breaker with clients. Consequently, Frenchies then developed that artistic history I alluded to earlier. They were often depicted in brothels by artists of the day, including Henri Toulouse Lautrec. Eventually, American tourists discovered the little French Bulldogs and began bringing them home.

In the United States, in 1897, Frenchie fanciers met and formed the French Bull Dog Club of America in order to promote the breed's welfare and competitive show dog potential. The next year the club standardized the appearance of the breed and the Frenchies "bat ears", small size and variety of coat colors have remained essentially unchanged since then.

The French Bulldog's size and temperament make him an ideal house pet. He does equally well in apartments, although if possible he should have at least a small fenced area to exercise in. He seldom barks but is alert to strange sounds. He's affectionate and likes to be near his humans and especially likes children. The Frenchie is usually quiet, gentle, intelligent, trainable and most of all - always ready to play.