The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.
Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.
Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dogs ability to perform its traditional work.
Absolute soundness and proper muscle tone is a must. Head properties should remain free of exaggeration so as to not compromise breathing and/or obstruct normal vision.
It is generally accepted that the French Bulldog was developed in France, using the Miniature or Toy Bulldogs brought over from England by English lace workers. What specific breeds were crossed with the English dogs is not known, but they did introduce the "bat ear," which is not a characteristic of the English Bulldogs.
During that period, the Bulldog primarily belonged to Parisian market porters, butchers and coachmen. It soon won over high society and the artistic world with it unique appearance and character, and rapidly became popular. The first breed club was formed in Paris in 1880. The first registration dates from 1885, and the first standard was established in 1898, the year the French Kennel Club recognized the breed.
The French Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1965.
The French Bulldog's appearance is that of an active, intelligent, muscular dog, powerful for its small size. It is short and compact, stocky, with good bone, a smooth, short coat, distinctive bat ears, and a naturally short tail.
Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Significant lack of breed type.
The length of the body, between the point of the shoulder and the point of the buttocks, slightly exceeds the height, measured at the withers.
The French Bulldog is an affectionate and sociable companion. It is lively and playful, but not boisterous.
Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness.
The head is characterized by a shortening of the muzzle, as well as a slight to moderate backwards slope of the nose. The head is strong, broad and square, with skin that forms nearly symmetrical folds and wrinkles without excess.
The top of the skull is almost flat between the ears. The forehead is slightly rounded. The stop is well defined, and there is a furrow between the eyes that does not extend onto the skull. No prominence of occiput.
The length of the muzzle is about one-sixth of the total length of the head. Although the muzzle is proportionately short in comparison to the size of the dog, it is distinct and allows for comfortable breathing. It is broad, deep and well laid back, with symmetrical folds of skin coming down on to the lips. Cheek muscles are well developed. The thick, broad flews hang over the lower jaw at the sides and meet the underlip in front, completely covering the teeth. The flews are black. The deep, square, broad underjaw is undershot and well turned up. The tongue must never show when the dogs mouth is closed.
The jaws are broad and powerful. The lower jaw projects in front of the upper jaw, and turns up. The arch of the lower incisors is rounded. The gap between the upper and lower incisors should not be so large that the upper and lower lips do not meet.
Serious Faults: Muzzle too long or, excessively short. Tongue visible when the mouth is closed.
Eliminating Faults: Heavy wrinkles that affect breathing and/or obstructs normal vision. Muzzle so short as to affect breathing.
Disqualification: Torsion or lateral deviation of the jaw, resulting in the tongue being visible at all times.
When the mouth is closed, the teeth and tongue do not show. A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in an undershot bite.
Serious Faults: Teeth showing when the mouth is closed. Pincer bite.
Disqualifications: Torsion or lateral deviation of the jaw, resulting in the tongue constantly being visible. Scissors bite.
The eyes are clearly visible, striking, rather large, round, dark, and have a lively expression. They are set wide apart and low in the skull well away from the ears. Neither the white of the eyes nor the haw shows when the dog is looking forward. The eye rims must be black.
Serious Fault: Light eyes.
Disqualifications: Eyes that are two different colors. Wall eye.
The nose is turned up slightly (snub nose), and has broad, symmetrical, well-opened nostrils, with a well-defined line between them. The upturned nose must allow normal breathing. The nose is always black, in all coat colors, never brown or blue.
Disqualification: Nose color other than black. Completely closed nostrils. Respiratory distress.
The breed typical bat ears are broad at the base, with a round top. The elongated ears are set high on the head, but not too close together, and are carried erect, with the orifice to the front. The ear leather is fine and soft.
Disqualifications: Cropped ears, or ears that are not carried erect. Deafness.
The short, powerful, slightly arched neck is free of dewlap, and broadens towards the shoulder.
The shoulder blades and upper arms are short and thick, covered with visible musculature. The shoulder must be well laid back.
The short, stout, straight, muscular forelegs are set fairly wide apart. The upper arm is short, thick, muscular, and slightly curved. The elbows are close and tight to the body. The forearm is short, straight, and muscular. The wrist is solid and strong. The pasterns are short, strong, and slightly sloping. The forefeet are round, compact, small (cat feet), and may turn out slightly. The toes are tight. The nails are short, thick, and black.
Fault: Light-colored nails.
The compact body is deep and broad through the chest, with a broad back. The chest is well let down slightly lower than the elbows. The ribs are well-sprung resulting in a barrel-shaped ribcage. Viewed from the front, the forechest is broad, and square-shaped. The loin is short, broad, firm, and arched.
The line of the back rises progressively, but not excessively, from the withers toward the loin. Also called a roach back, it is breed typical. There is moderate tuck up.
The back is broad and muscular, firm without slackness. The croup is well sloping.
Serious Fault: Straight backline, from withers to loin.
The strong, muscular hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs, causing the loins to be above the shoulders. The legs are straight viewed from the side and from the rear. The thighs are firm and well-muscled. The strong hocks are well let down and there is moderate angulation at the hock joint. The rear pastern is short. The hind feet are round and compact, turning neither inward or outward.
Fault: Light-colored nails.
Disqualification: Weak, insufficiently angulated hocks.
Naturally short, ideally long enough to cover the anus, set low, rather straight, thick at the base, and tapering at the tip. A kinked, knotted, broken, or relatively long tail that does not reach beyond the point of the hocks is admissible. It is carried low. Even in action, the tail must not rise above the horizontal.
Disqualification: Docked tail. No tail. Ingrown tail.
Short, smooth, close, glossy and soft. The skin is firm. There is no undercoat.
Disqualifications: Long, wire-haired, or woolly coat.
Acceptable colors include: fawn; brindle; fawn and white; brindle and white; and any other color that does not constitute a disqualification.
Fawn: Solid coat. From light fawn to dark fawn, sometimes presenting a paler coloring, with or without a black mask, although masked subjects are preferred. Sometimes accompanied by limited white.
Brindle: Fawn coat moderately characterized by dark brindling, creating a tiger-marked effect. Strongly brindled coats must not cover the fawn ground color. A black mask may be present. Limited white is acceptable.
Fault: In fawns, a deep, black line extending along the spine. White stockings in brindles and fawns.
White dogs, with black nose and eyelids, are permissible.
COATS WITH WHITE
Fawn with moderate or significant white (Fawn and White): The white is ideally distributed over the entire body. Some fawn spots on the skin are acceptable.
Brindle with moderate or significant white (Pied): The white is ideally distributed over the entire body. Some brindle spots on the skin are acceptable.
Fault: Excessive ticking.
Serious Faults: Excessive depigmentation of the lips, nose, eyelids, all of which must have some pigmentation.
Disqualification: Albinism. Any colors not noted in the standard, to include, but not limited to, black, black with fawn markings (black and tan), all dilutions of black, mouse, liver, all with or without white.
HEIGHT & WEIGHT
(measured at the withers). Males: 10 to 14 inches. Females: 9 to 12 inches. A deviation of a half inch is acceptable.
Males: 20 pounds to 31 pounds. Females: 18 pounds to 29 pounds. A deviation of 1 pound above is acceptable when the dog is in good condition.
Eliminating Faults: Height under 8 inches, or above 15 inches. Weight over 33 pounds.
The correct gait is free, powerful, and smooth, with the legs moving parallel to the median plane of the body (double tracking.)
(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)
Heavy wrinkles that affect breathing and/or obstructs normal vision.
Muzzle so short as to affect breathing.
Height under 8 inches, or above 15 inches.
Weight over 31 pounds.
(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Significant lack of breed type.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Any colors not noted in the standard, to include, but not limited to, black, black with fawn markings (black and tan), all dilutions of black, mouse, liver, all with or without white.
Nose color other than black.
Eyes that are two different colors.
Ears not carried erect.
Completely closed nostrils.
Torsion or lateral deviation of the jaw, resulting in the tongue constantly being visible.
Weak, insufficiently angulated hocks.
Long, wire-haired, or woolly coat.