The beginnings of the French Bulldog start with an ancient Greek tribe, The Molossians, who bred massive dogs for work and war known as the Molossus breed. From these dogs came other breeds such as the Bullenbeisser, now extinct. These dogs were the ancestors of bulldogs as we know them today.
From the mid 1800s, English Bulldogs were taken to France by lace workers from Nottingham, forced out by the Industrial Revolution, who in the main settled in Normandy.
They then developed Bulldogs into a smaller, distinctively, French “type” suitable for indoor, companion living.
French “type” dogs were then taken to America where they were bred to a standard for bat ears. American breeders preferred bat ears whereas French breeders opted for both bat and rose type ears. The French dogs were named Bouledogue Francais and became fashion symbols.
English supporters of the Bouledogue Francais formed their own kennel club in 1902 and the English kennel clubs added these dogs into their roster. By 1912, the name was officially changed to French Bulldog. The bat ears became the standard in England, America and finally, France and French Bulldogs as we know them, were created.