French bulldogs are wrongfully at the top of breed list

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has finally released its long-awaited list of the most popular dog breeds of 2023. Taking over favorite breeds like the labrador and golden retrievers, or the beagle and German shepherd, is the French bulldog.

The AKC reports that “part of the French Bulldog’s appeal is their playful, smart, and adaptable nature,” and this is their second time “secur[ing] the No.1 spot as the most popular dog breed in the United States.”

The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1898, not too long after their creation. They originate from — you guessed it — France and are a mix of toy bulldogs and native mutts. Members of royalty were very fond of them, including Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia who had one named Ortipo and a statue of him “sculpted in quartz and bejeweled by Fabergé, now sits in a museum in St. Petersburg.”

The problem with this breed, however, is that they are bred purely for aesthetic pleasure and it is entirely unethical. Their top spot on the list of “Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2023” can be attributed to selfishness and the desire to impress.

A study conducted in 2021 by Canine Medicine and Genetics revealed that French bulldogs are “‘significantly’ more likely to suffer from a number of serious, chronic health problems than other dogs thanks to the ‘extreme’ bodies they’ve been bred to have.” These include allergies, skin irritations, an array of infections, inverted tails and breathing problems. If you have ever come across a French bulldog, these breathing problems are quite obvious.

I mentioned in a previous article that I once knew a French bulldog who had to be put down at the age of two due to constant and helpless seizures as a result of breeding. When he was not having an episode, he was an absolute horror to take care of. Did you know the breed cannot even reproduce on its own? These dogs have to be artificially inseminated and then given a C-section.

The saddest part about all of this, to me, is the fact that people continuously choose to buy French bulldogs when there are 3.1 million dogs who enter shelters every year, with only two million getting adopted. In 2022, a total of 378,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in these shelters.

I understand that with breeders, there is more trust, and a specific breed may be what someone needs for their specific lifestyle. However, lots of people get purebred French bulldogs just because they’re trendy and don’t necessarily require a lot of care.

In an article titled, “The very cute, totally disturbing tale of the American ‘it’ dog,” author Tove K. Danovich notes that “Frenchies have been marketed as the dog best suited to the lifestyles of the rich and quite possibly lazy. They don’t even need much exercise, for the simple reason that their numerous health problems can make too much exercise dangerous.”

She also brings up the fact that the French bulldog “is a breed that’s been broken to accommodate” people, which leads me to my conclusion that those who own them do it for more selfish reasons.

From their initial existence, Frenchies were made to exhibit wealth and status. In 2024, the case remains the same. I urge people to do research on the breed they are thinking about finding and to adopt rather than shop. A lonely 11-year-old labrador mix will probably love you just as much, if not more, than a French bulldog puppy who probably can’t even see straight. People need to start choosing their dogs based on factors other than how easily they can fit into a handbag.


Featured photo courtesy of MladenScekic, Pexels