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Are French Bulldogs Smart?

When you think of “smart” dogs, you might first picture a German Shepherd helping the police take down some bad guys or a service animal Golden Retriever that can spot the early signs of their owner’s seizures.

But did a Frenchie come to mind?

Well, today I’m going to make the case for why Frenchies are smarter than you think (and perhaps some are geniuses).

Smartest bullies on the block

Did you know the French Bulldogs are the most intelligent of the “bully breeds”?

This means that Frenchies are smarter than…

…and more! 

What makes a dog “smart”

We can’t really have our dogs sit down with a psychologist for thorough IQ testing…

But there are still a few traits that we can observe that can hint at a dog being intelligent.

Traits of an intelligent dog

  • Good memory
  • Can show empathy
  • Responding to emotions & body language

It’s not all about IQ

But there are other factors that would make you think a dog is “smart” beside their raw intelligence.

With humans, we can perform what is known as an IQ test (intelligence quotient) to measure intelligence— with dogs, this isn’t possible.

These include…

  • Easy to train (eager to please their owner)
  • Love to work/train for extended periods
  • Can manage stress well
Frenchies have a lot of potential

Frenchies are pretty smart, but their stubbornness makes them hard to train & they’re highly motivated by treats. If it weren’t for this, I’m sure we’d see Frenchies ranked higher on dog intelligence lists.

French Bulldog Intelligence

While Frenchies probably won’t be on any “Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds” lists, they’re still one of the smartest bully breeds which makes them smarter than a lot of other popular dogs.

Evidence that Frenchies are geniuses

They are stubborn— not stupid!

Frenchies are too smart to just sit around and listen to everything you say…

“Are you gonna give me a treat? No? Then why am I going to do what you say?”

Not only are Frenchies stubborn… they can also be deceptive & know exactly how to get what they want how they want it.

Some Frenchies might get a treat out of you by giving you the cutest puppy eyes— but other Frenchies might just go and help themselves to the entire bag the moment you take your eyes off them!

1. They have the most expressive ears

Since Frenchies don’t have tails, all that energy & emotion has to go somewhere…

And it goes right to their ears.

I don’t know many other breeds that have as expressive of ears as Frenchies do.

You can tell so much about how your Frenchie’s feeling just by looking at their ears!

Frenchie Ear Guide
  • Ears down— submissiveness; sadness; scared
  • Ears back— happy; excitement; my Frenchie always puts her ears back and wiggles her butt when she sees me for the first time in a while (a few hours lol) 
  • One ear down— curiosity; I’m listening to you; what are you talking about?
  • Ears up— happy; content; the “default” Frenchie look

2. They have “human-like” eyes

Have you heard that Frenchies are little humans stuck in a Frenchie’s body?!

No, but actually— Frenchies have big colorful eyes that speak more than their bark could ever.

3. Their stubbornness

Frenchies aren’t stubborn because they’re stupid (far from it)…

They’re stubborn because they know one thing for sure:

If I’m not getting a treat, there better be a good reason for me to listen to you.

Frenchies know they’re being stubborn too… they’ll give you a mischievous look 

Compared to other breeds

It’s hard to say where each breed ranks as far as intelligence goes…

There are many different resources on the Internet. 

But where do Frenchies fit in?

BreedIs the Frenchie smarter?
English BulldogYes
American BulldogYes
German ShepherdNo
Golden RetrieverNo
Shih TzuYes
Boston TerrierYes & No (pretty similar)

3 Things to Know about Training a Frenchie

  1. You need to be patient— Frenchies are notorious for being stubborn; they are highly treat-driven though
  2. Start training & socialization ASAP— the earlier you start, the easier things will be down the road
  3. Watch their calories— use a low-calorie treat and be mindful of how many treats they’re eating; Frenchies put on weight quickly… and lose it slowly

1. You need to be patient

When training a Frenchie, you need to be patient— Frenchies are super stubborn but will usually do whatever it takes to get a treat.

Maybe you’ve been training your Frenchie for a few weeks— everything is going well!

“Wow, my Frenchie is listening to me even without a treat!”

But then suddenly…


It’s a Frenchie world, you’re just living in it

Your Frenchie won’t listen to a single thing you say.

This is a totally normal part of the Frenchie training process— just stay patient!

2. Start training & socializing ASAP

The earlier you start training, the better!

Start basic obedience training and socialization right when you get your puppy… It makes everything easier— you’ll thank yourself one day.

3. Watch their calories!

Frenchies gain weight fast! 

You need to be careful not to overfeed them when training

The key is to find a treat that is small & low-calorie enough for long training sessions, but tasty enough for your Frenchie to be motivated.

Check out the best Frenchie training treats that are tasty & low-calorie.

Frenchie Training Treats

My Frenchie's Favorite
Zuke's Mini Naturals
$8.99 $7.99 ($1.33 / oz)

Frenchies may be stubborn— but with a treat like this, they'll be doing whatever it takes to get another one...

With chicken as the #1 ingredient and only 3 calories per treat, this is one of my favorite Frenchie treats for both training & snacking.

  • Made with chicken
  • Less than 3 calories per treat
  • Made with natural, whole ingredients
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04/13/2024 12:04 am GMT
Best Value
Wellness Wellbites
$7.99 ($1.33 / oz)

The perfect low-calorie training treat.

With real beef as the #1 ingredient and no by-products or artificial ingredients, these are sure to have your Frenchie listening for more.

  • All-natural
  • Made in the USA
  • Created by nutritionists and veterinarians
  • Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids to support healthy brain & coat development
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04/13/2024 12:15 am GMT
Best Seller
Blue Buffalo Blue Bits
$13.99 $9.98 ($0.91 / oz)
  • Promote healthy skin & coat
  • Free of any artificial ingredients
  • Only made with real whole ingredients
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04/23/2024 12:35 pm GMT

What tricks should I teach my Frenchie?

These are just some basic obedience training tricks/commands… if you haven’t taught your Frenchie all of these, I highly recommend doing so ASAP.

Having a Frenchie that will “come” and “leave it” on command makes life so much easier as a dog owner.

Unfortunately, my Frenchie doesn’t always like to listen to me.

These tricks are essential…

  1. Sit— the most essential & simple command to teach
  2. Come— Frenchies have a mind of their own… this one always helps me
  3. Stay / Wait— if you have a clingy Frenchie, “stay” will help them not follow you when you leave their sight for a minute
  4. Leave it / Drop it— Frenchies can get into mischief, they’ll learn to stop whatever they’re doing with this command

1. Sit

Not only is “sit” one of the most essential commands to teach your Frenchie— it’s also the easiest!

Teaching your Frenchie to Sit

2. Come

Frenchies have a mind of their own and will sometimes go off and do their own thing…

That’s when the “come” command comes in handy— and if you have a treat, your Frenchie will instantly come.

Teaching your Frenchie to Come

3. Stay / Wait

This command always comes in use for me.

I have a clingy Frenchie and she always wants to follow me around the house everywhere I go.

So whenever I get out of bed at night to get a snack or something, I always tell my Frenchie to “wait”, and she knows I’ll be right back. (Unless I’m taking forever to come back, then she’s going to come looking for me)

Teaching your Frenchie to Stay

4. Leave it / Drop it

If you have a mischievous Frenchie, then this is a must-teach

One time my Frenchie was outside & managed to grab a bunny…

Yes, it was a horrifying thing to see my adorable little Frenchie being a meanie attacking this bunny… but at least she knew what we meant when we all started screaming “DROP IT!!!”.

Teaching your Frenchie to “Leave It”

How to make your French Bulldog smarter

You know what they say: “use it or lose it”.

  • Smart brain toys— provide mental stimulation
  • Healthy diet— one full of omegas and antioxidants
  • Lots of socialization— especially early on in life
  • Obedience training— your dog wants to make you happy!
  • Interact with them and show them lots of love & praise!
Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Tan Composite Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
  • Easy to clean
  • Safe materials
  • Mental stimulation
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05/21/2024 08:56 am GMT
OurPets Sushi Treat Dispensing Puzzle Toy
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Stimulates mental activity, reduces destructive behavior
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05/23/2024 08:25 am GMT
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Twister Puzzle Game Dog Toy
$16.99 $11.83
  • Safe and easy to clean
  • Promotes cognitive development
  • Suitable for advanced levels of play
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05/05/2024 09:32 pm GMT