Is a French Bulldog a smart dog?

Picture this: You’re sitting on your couch, cup of coffee in hand, while a pint-sized creature with distinct bat-like ears is nestled near your feet, looking at you with those big, curious eyes as if waiting for a signal, a command or even a simple word of encouragement. This is the daily life of a French Bulldog owner. As you spend time with this dog, a question pops up in your mind: “Is my French Bulldog smart?”

To answer that question, we need to understand what ‘intelligence’ means when we talk about dogs. It’s not about them solving complex algebra problems or reading novels, but about their ability to understand and follow commands, adapt to different environments, and their capacity for problem-solving.

Stanley Coren, a renowned professor of canine psychology, sorted dog breeds’ intelligence based on three types in his book “The Intelligence of Dogs.” These are: instinctive intelligence (what the dog was bred for), adaptive intelligence (how well the dog learns from its environment), and working and obedience intelligence (how well the dog learns and obeys commands).

When it comes to working and obedience intelligence, French Bulldogs aren’t exactly at the top of the leaderboard. They rank 109th out of 138 breeds in terms of their ability to obey the first command, according to Coren’s studies. But before you let out a disappointed sigh, remember, this doesn’t necessarily mean your Frenchie is ‘dumb.’

Whilst they might not be snappy at following commands like Border Collies or take a bow for their problem-solving skills like Poodles, French Bulldogs have their own set charm and intelligence worth cheering. They have an innate instinct to form an unbreakable bond with their humans. This instinctive intelligence is a trait that dates back to their origin years in England where they served as companion dogs for lace workers.

Consider this example: Usually, when you come back from a long, tiresome day at work, your Frenchie won’t take his time responding like asking him to sit or fetch a ball. Instead, he’ll dart to jump into your lap and smother you with slobbery kisses, and there’s nothing more comforting than that, is there?

When it comes to adaptive intelligence, French Bulldogs are quick to pick up the mood, environment, and situations. They can sense when you’re sad, happy, excited, or worried, and they will respond accordingly. If he sees you are upset, your Frenchie might just snuggle in your lap and keep you company until you feel better. This shows how empathetic and emotionally intelligent French Bulldogs can be.

Now, let’s talk about their playful and sometimes, stubborn nature. Molded out of the need to adapt when they relocated from England to France, these qualities became inherent and might sometimes be misunderstood as the dog being ‘less intelligent.’ But let me emphasize, it’s not about lack of smartness, it’s just about them showing their individuality. Just like humans, dogs have unique traits that make them who they are.

For instance, take a routine task as an example. You are trying to teach your Frenchie a new command – let’s say ‘roll over.’ You repeat the instruction, you show him how, you even have his favorite treat as a reward. But your Frenchie just looks at you, tilts his head, sniff out the treat in your hand, tries to snatch it, and walks away.

Is he not smart enough to understand? Not at all. More than likely, he understood perfectly but chose to outwit you and skip to the reward, anyway! This doesn’t show a lack of intelligence, but rather an abundance of creativity, wit, and, well, a bit of that amusing stubbornness.

Remember, just because dogs do not comprehend or respond the way humans do, we shouldn’t label them ‘less intelligent.’ French Bulldogs, with their loyalty, emotional intelligence, and mischievous charm, prove every day that they are smart in a way that’s unique to them.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a dog that will obey your commands at the snap of your fingers, then French Bulldogs might not fit those standards. But if you want a dog who can understand and reciprocate your emotions, keep you entertained with their antics, be your loyal companion, and outsmart you in the most affectionate way, then there’s no better choice than a smart and savvy French Bulldogs.