How Smart Are French Bulldogs?

Last Updated on January 28, 2022 by Marco C.

If you’re wondering which dog to get, intelligence will play a big part in that, which is why you might be wondering how smart are French Bulldogs. Intelligence is a very important part of a dog’s character, especially because of trainability and possible behavioral issues. In today’s article, we’ll be closely exploring the brain of the French Bulldog to see just how smart they are!

French Bulldog Intelligence

Frenchies aren’t too intelligent of a breed. The official ranking system is based on a study of 138 dog breeds. This included the French Bulldog, which came in at 109th spot. Interestingly, the top 10 spots were all taken by medium-sized or large dogs! The Border Collie is actually the most intelligent breed in the world, followed by the Poodle and the German Shepherd.

You might be wondering what does dog intelligence even means. This test actually defines how many repetitions it takes for a dog to learn a new command. In this sense, Border Collies are usually the first dogs to pick up a new command, while a Frenchie is usually the 109th dog to do the same.

Something that we must point out is the way this test is conducted. This test doesn’t only take intelligence into account, but obedience as well. More obedient dogs will score better on the test and compensate for any lack of intelligence. In this regard, it’s important to remember that French Bulldogs, just like all Bulldogs, are a bit stubborn. They don’t like learning commands and doing tricks.

This is probably one of the likeliest reasons for them to score so low on the test! However, a French Bulldog’s intelligence rating doesn’t define a single animal. There are certainly brilliant dogs amongst every single breed and separate families within that breed.

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French Bulldog Brain Size

The notion that larger dogs are smarter than smaller dogs because they have larger brains has been disregarded as a myth for a long time. However, a new study proves that dogs with larger brains are more intelligent than dogs with smaller brains.

When defining a ‘large brain’ – the notion literally means a large brain. There’s some confusion to this, as Chihuahuas, for example, have the largest brain of all dogs in comparison to their own size. However, if you compare only the brain to other dog breeds – their brain is pretty small. The same rule applies to the French Bulldog. Frenchies have small brains.

The study indicates that dogs with larger brains have better short-term memory and self-control. In short, larger dogs are more obedient and usually more intelligent. This doesn’t mean that there are no smart small dogs, just that they’re more rare.

The Link Between Behavioral Problems and Intelligence

There’s another study showing undesirable behaviors with smaller dogs, including French Bulldogs! According to this study, conducted in 2013, shorter and smaller dogs are more likely to display dog behavior that we want to avoid. This includes humping (people, things, other dogs, etc.), urinating and defecating within inside their home, as well as separation anxiety.

Even though there hasn’t yet been a study to connect this with intelligence, it’s possible that shorter dogs behave in a bad way because they’re usually less smart than larger dogs. Intelligent dogs show much more self-control, so it’s no wonder that smarter dogs can hold it in when they need to defecate or urinate.

It’s also known that smaller dogs are more difficult to train, and the French Bulldog is the perfect example of that. They’re stubborn and they don’t follow orders well – not only do they have difficulty learning them, but they also refuse to follow through with them.

This, however, poses more questions for veterinarians, anthropologists, and biologists as well. Elephants have much larger brains than humans do, yet they’re nowhere as near developed as we are. Why is it that larger dogs are more intelligent than smaller dogs, but elephants aren’t more intelligent than humans (despite having larger brains)?

Can Lack of Intelligence Pose Problems?

Well, lack of intelligence on its own isn't that much of a problem. It usually means that it'll take longer for you to teach your dog tricks and commands.

When we're discussing the French Bulldog, their intelligence doesn't pose a large problem. At least not a problem large enough to compare to their stubbornness.

Most owners with experience know this, but most Frenchies are very stubborn and self-willed. They will often outright refuse to do something very simple such as bringing the ball back.

This can be cute at first, but if you take your dog for a walk and you let it off the leash - you won't find losing ten minutes of your time because you couldn't get your dog to come back cute, will you?

So, when it comes to training, Frenchies being on the below-average side of intelligence isn't too much of a worry. What is worrying and what's something that you should prepare for is the fact that they're so stubborn! This might not be the right dog for you if you're not a patient person.

How Do Frenchies Compensate for Their Lack of Intelligence?

Something that Frenchies are well known for is their emotional side. They're usually very good judges of human character and the state of their owner.

These dogs are made to be entertainers and they need that attention. When you give it to them, they're definitely going to make a great companion.

To put it all in a nutshell, French Bulldogs aren’t intelligent dogs. Moreover, out of 138 dog breeds taking the test, they come in at the 109th spot, making them less-than-average when it comes to smarts. This is most likely because of their size and the size of their brains, according to some newer studies. Their lack of intelligence can make it difficult to train them and to teach them basic manners.

However, they’re very loving and lovable dogs, able to read their owner’s emotions easily and they’re always the heart of the party. So, despite them lacking in intelligence, French Bulldogs can compensate if you’re ready to put up with their stubbornness.

How Do Frenchies Compensate for Their Lack of Intelligence

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