Part Two: Avoiding Size Extremes
Breeder offers “unusual” or “rare” sizes of French Bulldogs, such as “toy or teacup”, or (more rarely in French Bulldogs) “King” or “Giant”.
Why is this an issue?
Responsible, ethical breeders adhere to a written breed standard for their breed. This standard, which varies slightly by country, is essentially a “blue print” for the breed. It is the written plans a breeder follows to attempt to produce a dog who exemplifies the original breeders’ intentions for the breed.
In the early days, French Bulldogs were decidedly smaller than they are now. The AKC French Bulldog breed standard from 1897 stated:
“The size for mature dogs should not exceed 22 lbs, and mature bitches 20 lbs.”
After several changes, the AKC French Bulldog breed standard inÂ 1911 was revised to read:
“A light weight class under 22 pounds; heavy weight class 22 pounds and not over 28 pounds.”
The modern day AKC breed standard no longer has weight classes, but the upper weight limit of 28 lbs remains in effect.
There is importance in this upper weight limit – as a lap dog, a weight much in excess of 28 lbs becomes unwieldy for most of us, difficult to fit comfortably on our lap, hard to carry with ease, less comfortable in urban surroundings.
A lower weight limit is even more important. When we compress our dogs, focusing on smaller and smaller dogs to the detriment of all else, we compress everything about them – their spinal cords, their breathing systems, their reproductive organs in bitches.
Hydrocephalus becomes more common – those “tiny teacup Frenchies” that you see with their big domed heads are actually, in many cases suffering from water on the brain, a potentially life threatening neurological condition.
As with “rare” colors, any breeder can produce a dog which is smaller than the breed norm, or larger. Doing so is no sign of rarity, or accomplishment, and most puppies are simply placed as pets, with no inflated price tag.
Breeders who attach a high price tag to size are attempting to cash in on a modern fad for “pocket sized” pets, ignoring health issues in the pursuit of a higher price tag for their puppies. They are building a market for what are, in essence, less desirable or imperfect puppies. In general, breeders who use this sort of hype to sell their puppies generally do so because they have no other accomplishments to list.Â A feat of marketing, to be sure, but it takes place at the expense of the puppies they produce, and the buyers who buy them.