Official Standard of the French Bulldog


  • May 29, 2018
  • Submitted by Virginia Rowland, President, French Bulldog Club of America

AKC Board approved a new breed standard that will go into effect June 5, 2018.

Official Standard of the French Bulldog

submitted by Virginia Rowland, President, French Bulldog Club of America

From the May 2018 issue of ShowSight. CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE.

General Appearance: The French Bulldog has the appearance of an active, intelligent, muscular dog of heavy bone, smooth coat, compactly built and of medium or small structure. The hallmarks of the breed are the square head with bat ears and the roach back. Expression alert, curious and interested.

Proportion and Symmetry: All points are well distributed and bear good relation one to the other; no feature being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears poorly proportioned.

Influence of Sex: In comparing specimens of different sex, due allowance is to be made in favor of bitches, which do not bear the characteristics of the breed to the same marked degree as do the dogs.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Weight not to exceed 28 pounds; over 28 pounds is a disqualification.

Proportion: Distance from withers to ground in good relation to distance from withers to onset of tail, so that animal appears compact, well balanced and in good proportion.

Substance: Muscular, heavy bone.

Head: Head large and square. Eyes dark, brown or approaching black in color, wide apart, set low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible, round in form, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging. Lighter brown colored eyes are acceptable, but not desirable. Blue or green eye(s) or any traces of blue or green are a disqualification. No haw and no white of the eye showing when looking forward. Ears known as the bat ear, broad at the base, elongated, with round top, set high on the head but not too close together and carried erect with the orifice to the front. The leather of the ear fine and soft. Other than bat ears is a disqualification. The top of the skull flat between the ears; the forehead is not flat but slightly rounded. The muzzle broad, deep and well laid back; the muscles of the cheeks well-developed. The stop well-defined, causing a hollow groove between the eyes with heavy wrinkles forming a soft roll over the extremely short nose; nostrils broad with a well-defined line between them. Nose black. Nose other than black is a disqualification, except in the case of creams or fawns without black masks, where a lighter colored nose is acceptable but not desirable. Flews black, thick and broad, hanging over the lower jaw at the sides, meeting the underlip in front and covering the teeth, which are not seen when the mouth is closed. The underjaw is deep, square, broad, undershot and well turned up. Wry mouths and any bites other than undershot are serious faults.

Neck, Topline, Body: The neck is thick and well-arched with loose skin at the throat. The back is a roach back with a slight fall close behind the shoulders, gradually rising to the loin which is higher than the shoulder, and rounding at the croup. The back is strong and short, broader at the shoulders and tapering to the rear. The body is short and well-rounded. The chest is broad, deep and full; well ribbed with the belly tucked up. The tail is either straight or screwed (but not curly), short, hung low, thick root and fine tip; carried low in repose.

Forequarters: Forelegs are short, stout, straight, muscular and set wide apart. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short stubby nails.

Hindquarters: Hind legs are strong and muscular, longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders. Hocks well let down. Feet are moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short stubby nails; hind feet slightly longer than forefeet.

Coat: Coat is brilliant, short and smooth. Skin is soft and loose, especially at the head and shoulders, 
forming wrinkles. Coats other than short and smooth are a disqualification.

Color: Acceptable colors: white, cream, fawn (ranging from light fawn to a red fawn) or any combinations of the foregoing. Markings and patterns are: brindle, piebald, black masks, black shadings and white markings. Ticking is acceptable but not desired. Brindle ranges from sparse but clearly defined black stripes on a fawn background to such heavy concentration of black striping that the essential fawn background color barely shows through (“black brindle”). Only a trace of the background color is necessary; in a brindle piebald, a trace of the brindle patterning in any patch is sufficient. All other colors, markings or patterns are a disqualification. Disqualifying colors and patterns include, but are not limited to solid black, black and tan, black and white and white with black, blue, blue fawn, liver and merle. Black means black without a trace of brindle.

Gait: Correct gait is a “four tracking” foot pattern with the front track wider than the rear track. The movement should have reach and drive and is unrestrained, free and vigorous.

Temperament: Well behaved, adaptable, and comfortable companions with an affectionate nature and even disposition; generally active, alert, and playful, but not unduly boisterous.

Disqualifications: Over 28 pounds in weight. Blue or green eye(s) or any traces of blue or green. Other than bat ears. Nose other than black, except in the case of cream or fawn colored dogs without black masks, where a lighter colored nose is acceptable. Coats other than short and smooth. All coat colors other than those specifically described (e.g. solid black, black and tan, black and white, white and black, blue, blue fawn, liver and merle). Black means black without a trace of brindle. All other patterns and markings other than specifically described. 

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