French Bulldog

Grooming Advice

Reputedly descended from the “toy” bulldogs of the lace makers of Nottingham who went to France in search of work during the Industrial Revolution, this engaging and intelligent little dog is known for his trademark “bat” ears and his domed forehead. He is a sturdy chap, exhibiting a silhouette that is compact and sturdy with a short naturally undocked tail.

Quite the little clown, yet courageous and alert, he is essentially a lap warmer though not one either to allow strangers unheralded access to your door. He is a great watchdog and full of curiosity.

His coat is a fairly easy one to maintain, but for the show person where every advantage is sought, the perfection to coat is paramount. As this is not a “hairdo” dog, it is up to the exhibitor to ensure that what they do have, is absolutely bang on the money. No excuses with a coat that is not up to the level on a Frenchie.

The standard basically calls for a coat of fine texture that is smooth and lustrous, short and close. Relatively a low maintenance coat, nonetheless, the work for this coat begins many weeks before the show. It takes 89 - 91 days to grow a hair from the hair bulb till it sees light of day and then has to grow length. So, what you see now is what you did many weeks ago. Feed well and treat well and the results will be there.

I am an advocate of bath, oil and blow dry. It’s really as simple as that. However, it has to become a mantra. Repetition and repetition. The more you do the better it gets. We always shied away from bathing to much fearing that the coat would dehydrate and rightly so. However, we now have better products and techniques available and Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil allows you to rehydrate that coat so you can bath and blow dry. Blow drying gets out all the dead hair and fast. Of course one must use a cool dryer. Just watch that dead hair fly even after you think you have brushed this coat till there could not possibly be any dead hair.

So, the routine should be, starting with the bath, the shampoo of choice is selected according to what outcome you want for that particular dog. Mostly for the French Bulldog, one would use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo which is the shine shampoo. However for pied Frenchies, use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo for toning white areas and reducing unwanted warm, rusty tones even in the brindles. Use all the shampoos at a diluted ratio of 5:1 i.e 5 parts water to one part shampoo so as not to have froth and bubbles everywhere. You don’t need lots of bubbles - it takes too long to rinse and tends to put static into the coat, thus the coat looks fluffy! Heaven forbid! Rinse and then mix into a large container/bucket/jug (2 litres/ 1/2 gal) warm water and 1 teaspoon Seabreeze Oil. Saturate the coat with this mix and leave in, don’t rinse. This will give the coat that lovely healthy vigour and add protection.

Now blow dry, using a cool blaster dryer. This removes all the dead hair with the theory being, that the quicker it comes out, the quicker it grows back. Thus one can minimise shedding. You can reduce that horrid stage of looking motheaten or patchy. You will tend to “roll” the coat rather than dump the coat and be able to extend the show season for your dog. I swear by this routine.

You can mix a little Seabreeze Oil with water - 1 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon Seabreeze Oil - into a water spray for extra protection during the period when not showing the dog. It doesn’t take the place of the saturation routine after the bath, but does assist between times. Once every few weeks, it’s not a bad idea to give the coat an extra deep treatment with Plush Puppy Coat Rescue especially for a bitch that has had a litter or if the coat has got away from you and looks dehydrated and in desperate need of moisture. Mix a good dessertspoon of Coat Rescue with a cup of warm water to disperse the treatment evenly and thoroughly and leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse off. This is wonderful.

For mid week brushing and grooming you can’t beat an application of a good leave in moisturiser. Plush Puppy Revivacoat is wonderful for re hydrating the hair, keeping the scurf at bay plus retaining texture but still adding moisture. You can’t slather too much of this product on. It never gets greasy and is great for your breed which is ostensibly an indoor dog who loves lounging all over the sofas. All the mixes I have given for this breed,are with the lifestyle of this breed in mind.

Thus your Frenchie is about routine and persistence. You don’t have to sculpt nor shape but you do have to work at the condition. Being an indoor dog can often lead to dry, scurfy skin from air conditioning or heating etc and the above routine will minimise the problems.

On show day you can still do a bit of fluffing about. We all like to do something on the day even if it is to satisfy ourselves that we are doing something. Spray with the OMG Grooming Spray either using the Ready To Use version or, the Concentrate diluted up to 30:1 and poured into a spray bottle with a fine mist actuator such as the 250 ml/1 cup Plush Puppy Water Spray Bottle. This will help keep the coat close to the body. Use Plush Puppy Coverup Cream applied in thin layers to white areas needing cover. Apply with a barely damp sponge and allow 5 seconds or so between applying the next layer. Then dust with chalk or powder and allow to finish drying and brush with a soft brush just prior to ringtime.

Keep on hand, Plush Puppy Wonder Wash which is a no rinse instant cleanser. With Wonder Wash you spray the area then lather up with your hands and towel off for instant clean. Dogs do have accidents and for spot cleaning such as a mishap or for cleaning feet, this will really deodorise and cleanse. Wonder Wash does lather well.

Spray prior to ringtime with Odour Muncher which is also a deodoriser and a light fragrance. I love the dogs to smell beautiful. You can add a touch of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust sifted with the fingers sparingly to the topline or just a tiny bit onto a brush and flick the brush through the area you want to accent. This gives a lovely shimmer. Don’t overdo it - this dog is a dog not a Christmas Fairy! Then, last but not least, spray with Plush Puppy Shine & Comb. Hold the bottle about 12”/30 cm away and lightly mist into the air and allow the mist to fall on the topline.

Run your hands over the coat and look at that incredible sheen.

Thinking ahead and well ahead, is the answer for this coat. Your hard work is all done long before the show and is basically routine by the week of the show and for every show thereafter once the coat is at peak.

You have a darling dog. He is quite special. He is well behaved and adaptable and makes a very comfortable companion. In the ring, his free and vigorous gait and unrestrained action is a joy. His lovely even disposition shines like his coat as he presents on the stack. What an adorable breed! One finds it hard to go past a good one and even harder when it is presented to it’s best.

- Cheryl Le Court