What colours do French Bulldogs come in?

French Bulldog Breed Colours

French Bulldog Colours : A Guide to Recognised and Rare Colours 2020

The French Bulldog, famous for their clown-like charm, tall radar-like ears and a smushed up face, like many other breeds have become subject to ‘designer’ colours that they were not originally found in. So what are the recognised colours for French Bulldogs?

What are the Kennel Club Breed Standard colours for French Bulldogs?

The three recognised colours of French Bulldog in the UK are: Brindle, Fawn and Pied. The most popular colour is brindle. Fawn with pied is less common than the other colours. However Frenchies come in 16 colours across the World with different colours being recognised in the UK and the AKC in the USA.

Dolly is a fawn pied and I love her coffee stained elbow and ice cream swirl tail. Frenchies don’t often have tails so she’s lucky and it’s super cute.

French Bulldog Colour Guide 2020

Brindle coloured French Bulldogs

Brindle is a pattern made up of black and fawn hairs. Depending on the mixture of hairs coats can range from very light almost tiger colours to very dark and look almost black.  Brindle Frenchies can also have a cute white mark on their chest.  They always have black noses and dark coloured eyes.

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A brindle French Bulldog with white chest.

Fawn coloured French Bulldogs

Fawn is a lovely colour on a Frenchie. It can range from very light to actually very dark, with a reddish hue. Fawn Frenchies tend to have a black muzzle, black nose and dark coloured eyes. Fawn coats tend to be only made up of fawn hairs given them a very creamy, pure appearance. Small white dots of white are not uncommon, including a white chest. 

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A fawn French Bulldog

Pied coloured French Bulldogs

Pied Frenchies have totally unique coat patterns. They are predominantly white with patches of brindle or fawn. Patches can be on the head, body or both. You can get a white frenchie with no patches, but they should have a black nose and dark coloured eyes ( usually brown).

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Dolly is a fawn pied Frenchie with what’s called a double hood. Her patched on her face are vertically mirrored with a white stripe down the middle. This stripe was really wide as a puppy but got narrower as she got older.

A black pied French Bulldog
A black pied French Bulldog

What are the rare colours of French Bulldogs

The rarest colours are Blue, Lilac, Chocolate, Black & Tan and Merle which although are not recognised French Bulldog colours they are very popular, with the Blue Merle being particularly rare and often expensive.

You don’t have to look far to find Frenchies in Blue, Lilac, Chocolate, Black & Tan and even Merle. Yes, they are all adorable, but you have to wonder how these colours have been achieved and what interbreeding took place to get the desired end result?  

French Bulldogs are well known to suffer from breathing difficulties, ear problems, eye problems and spinal issues including degenerative myelopathy (DM) . What extra strain has been put on their health by cross and interbreeding to get these new colours? You could argue that Frenchies may well be healthier with the introduction of some new genes but I doubt it would be from these dogs. 

It is believed that the tricolour and tan genes have come from a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi. Crossbreeding with Boston Terriers and Chihuahuas ( can you picture that) is thought to have bought out the recessive gene to get chocolate Frenchies. These breed have their own undesirable health traits so mix those in with Frenchie genes and you have a potential pool of misery.

However, whilst researching for this article I found some breeders bringing back a longer nose to try and help with the breathings. As a brachycephalic breed, most French Bulldogs experience trouble breathing and need an operation to help. This is known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome – (BOAS). They are breeding Frenchie to Frenchie I should add, just selecting dogs with better form to breed from.

But back to colours, the fad colours are not accepted worldwide by any French Bulldog club or breed standard. They are not ‘rare’ colours either. That’s just advertising hype to get you to buy one, preying on your fear of missing out, or FOMO.

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A fashion bred Frenchie, notice the merle coat patten and blue eyes.

Breeding rare French Bulldog colours

These fashionable colours are bad for Frenchies, because in the past these colours were found to be linked to crippling health problems not usually found in the breed. The ‘rare’ colours have been linked to health conditions especially the ‘blues’,  with a condition called “colour dilution alopecia”. 

What is colour dilution alopecia?

This condition is so common in blue dogs of every breed that it is often referred to as “Blue Dog Alopecia”. This condition can result in hair loss and chronic skin inflammation. This inflammation can lead to skin ruptures, cracks and injuries, leaving the dogs afflicted by it prone to Staph infections, or even worse MRSA. You wouldn’t wish that on any dog. 

So, over a century ago French Bulldog breeders declared these colours to be undesirable. They did not want to see Frenchies bred to then suffer from such horrible conditions so banned the colours from deliberately being bred for . The French Bulldog Clubs included these colours in their code of ethics which members follow.

Now, with the popularity of French Bulldogs at its height  – No.1  – people are breeding ‘rare’ dogs just to cash in on the £4,000 price tag. They don’t care about the health and wellbeing of the dog. They are not registered breeders who are following a code of ethics. They want your cash and they’ll take it.

Leaving you with a colourful Frenchie that is likely to have a short life riddled with afflictions that are avoidable. On top of that, you’ll be lucky to get pet insurance and boy, vet bills are expensive. Operations on Frenchies are at least £5,000 a time, and an ill-bred one is likely to need many. 

“Don’t buy a Frenchie as a fashion accessory, buy a new handbag or a pair of shoes.”  

I saw this on an advert, and it’s right. A Frenchie is an excellent companion for life, not just a season. And they deserve a good one.

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Brindle Frenchie

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