A mini French Bulldog is not an official breed. It is simply a version of the standard French Bulldog bred to be much smaller than normal.
Teacup French Bulldogs will grow to less than 11 inches tall, weighing less than 28 pounds as adults. However, this will vary depending on the method used to breed them.
Sadly, the mini Frenchie is quite an unhealthy dog. It suffers from the same conformational issues as the standard Frenchie, but also has extra issues related to its size.
Read on to find out more about these problems, and how to find the healthiest teacup Frenchie.
Mini French Bulldog Quick Links
- What is a mini French Bulldog?
- Where do teacup French Bulldogs come from?
- Miniature French Bulldog appearance
- How big are mini Frenchies?
- Mini French Bulldog temperament
- The appeal of miniaturization
- Drawbacks of miniaturization
- Teacup Frenchie health
- Miniature French Bulldog puppies
- Finding a reputable breeder
- Mini French Bulldog rescue
- Are teacup Frenchies good pets?
- Similar breeds
What is a Mini French Bulldog?
The French Bulldog (often called the Frenchie) is one of the most popular small dog breeds.
According to the American Kennel Club in 2020, the breed ranks fourth in popularity among all dog breeds in the United States.
But, a growing number of French Bulldog fans are interested in an even tinier Frenchie – the Mini French Bulldog.
There is no official mini (or micro, or teacup) French Bulldog. However, there are some ways standard Frenchies get bred down to a smaller size.
History as a Larger Breed
The French Bulldog is not a member of the toy dog group. It’s one of the smallest members of the non-sporting dog group.
Where Do Mini French Bulldogs Come From?
As we mentioned, there is no toy version of the French Bulldog, so there is no official mini French Bulldog breed.
So, what exactly is a miniature French Bulldog? How do breeders create a miniature version of the Frenchie?
There are three ways to make a mini French Bulldog, each with their own pros and cons. Let’s take a brief look.
Method One: Crossbreeding
The first way someone may try to create a teacup French Bulldog is to crossbreed a standard French Bulldog with a different, smaller breed dog.
This method is the best way to create a healthy smaller dog. It widens genetic diversity in the gene pool.
However, mixed breed puppies may inherit any blend of traits from their two parents.
So, a crossbred teacup French Bulldog may be more like the other, smaller breed used, in temperament or appearance.
Here are some examples of common Frenchie mixes that might create a smaller breed.
French Bulldog Poodle Mix
The French Boodle is a French Bulldog crossed with a Poodle.
The Poodle’s longer nose and tail can reduce the severity of brachycephaly and hemivertebrae in a Boodle puppy, although there are no guarantees with mixed breed dogs.
Because Poodles can suffer from a whole different set of genetic health problems, it’s important that your breeder uses only healthy Poodle breeding stock.
French Bulldog Yorkshire Terrier Mix
The French Bulldog is also sometimes crossed with the Yorkshire Terrier, one of the smallest toy breeds.
This crossbreed can be a good choice if you are interested in a smaller-sized mini French Bulldog mix.
Remember that when looking at all Frenchie crosses it’s important to choose a responsible breeder who health tests both parent breeds and shares all test results with you.
Method Two: Introduce Dwarfism
The second method to create miniature or teacup dogs is to cultivate the genetic mutation for canine dwarfism.
In research by the OFA, over half of Frenchies studied already suffer from chondrodystrophy – a form of dwarfism.
This form of dwarfism creates an appearance that is popular with owners and breeders. Including oversized heads and narrow pelvises.
Sadly, this leads to a number of health issues in Frenchies.
Breeders may try to introduce a different form of dwarfism to make Frenchies even smaller. This means some dogs may end up with two types of this conformational issue.
Method Three: Breeding Small Frenchies
The final method for creating a teacup French Bulldog is to breed runts of litters to each other.
This method aims for the smallest puppies to pass their small size down to future generations.
Runts are the smallest animals in a litter. Besides small size, poor heath can be an issue with runts.
A runt’s larger and stronger littermates can prevent it from getting enough access to the mother’s milk, leading to malnutrition and a poorly developed immune system.
Repeatedly breeding the smallest and weakest animals in litters can lead to poor health in the offspring.
Alternatively, an unscrupulous breeder with a litter of “normal” Frenchies might try to monetize a runt which is failing to thrive by describing them as miniature and trying to make them sound special.
Teacup French Bulldog Appearance
The appearance of a mini French Bulldog will vary depending on the method used to create it.
Those used by mixing a standard Frenchie with another breed may look like a standard Frenchie, or like the other dog breed used. Alternatively, they could look like a unique mixture of the two breeds.
Those with dwarfism may have shorter legs than a standard Frenchie. Their already oversized heads and narrow hips may be further exaggerated, leading to more health issues.
Teacup Frenchies bred from runts are the most likely to look like a shrunken version of the standard Frenchie.
But, it will depend on any health issues they have. Standard Frenchies have flat faces, small bodies, and come in a variety of colors.
How Big Are Mini Frenchies?
A standard-sized French Bulldog is between 11 and 13 inches tall at the shoulder and should weigh under 28 pounds.
Mini French Bulldog Temperament
Just like appearance, a mini Frenchie’s temperament will vary depending on the method used to breed it.
Generally, the French Bulldog is friendly, loving, and loyal. They were originally bred as lap dogs, so will enjoy curling up on the sofa with you.
Frenchies are also intelligent. Even though mini French Bulldogs are small, it’s important they are thoroughly socialized to guarantee the best temperament.
The Appeal of Mini French Bulldogs
Miniature dogs are quite the trend at the moment. Small dogs are great for people who are living in cities.
They generally need less space, less food, and less exercise than big dog breeds.
But, this doesn’t mean they have no care needs.
Small dogs like the teacup French Bulldog need plenty of mental stimulation. They need lots of exercise and training, and regular exercise.
However, they should not be overexercised, in part because of their flat faces. This can cause trouble breathing and easy overheating.
Drawbacks of Miniaturization
It’s easy to believe that mini dogs have no care needs. But, toy dog breeds aren’t actual toys.
They are still complex little animals with plenty of care needs. Miniature breeds need proper nutrition, exercise, and mental stimulation.
They are more fragile than larger breeds, so owners must always act with care when handling their pups.
These little dogs don’t always do very well in homes with kids or other pets, simply because they are so small and delicate.
Mini French Bulldog Health
Sadly, the miniaturization trend in dog breeding does come with certain health risks.
You may have heard of some recent health studies of the French Bulldog that have identified several inherited health issues common to the breed.
One large scale survey of French Bulldog health in the U.K. found that nearly three quarters of all Frenchies under a veterinarian’s care have at least one identified health disorder.
What are the most important health issues a potential French Bulldog or mini French Bulldog owner should know about?
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
The shortened muzzle of the French Bulldog can cause a set of chronic health problems known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.
Dogs with BOAS can suffer from breathing difficulties, gagging/vomiting, exercise induced collapse and a chronic lack of oxygen in the blood.
Flattened muzzles can also lead to skin problems if the facial skinfolds are not properly cared for, as well as eye problems because they can protrude and become vulnerable to injury.
The French Bulldog’s screw tail is associated with a serious spinal deformity known as hemivertebrae.
In hemivertebrae, the bones of the spine are malformed, leading to painful and debilitating compression of the spinal cord.
In serious cases of hemivertebrae, a dog may become incontinent or paralyzed. Surgical treatment for this condition is possible but expensive. In severe cases, euthanasia may be necessary.
A mini French Bulldog can suffer from any of the inherited health problems common to full-size French Bulldogs, plus additional ones related to their unusually small size.
Other Health Concerns
The two previous problems are linked to the conformation of the French Bulldog breed. But there are other issues that plague the breed as a whole.
Owners should watch out for the following:
- Eye problems, such as cataracts
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
You’ll need to look at our complete guide to the French Bulldog breed for more information on the health of this breed in general.
The canine dwarfism genetic mutation can also lead to health problems in the mini French Bulldog.
Dwarfism is a skeletal disorder that causes malformed bones and often leads to chronic pain in dogs. It is common in standard Frenchies, but can also be used to create smaller dogs.
Besides shortened and bowed legs, dogs with dwarfism can also suffer from problems related to their shortened spinal vertebrae, abnormal skull and facial bone structure.
Since normal-sized French Bulldogs already suffer from brachycephaly and hemivertebrae, breeding for extremely small size can worsen these conditions.
Problems Linked to Mini Frenchies
We’ve already mentioned that miniature breeds are more delicate than standard versions. This means they can easily suffer from bone fractures and other injuries.
Owners of mini French Bulldogs should also consider the following problems before getting this breed.
- Small bladders (potty training issues)
- Brain inflammation
- Fluid on the brain
- Psychological problems
- Liver and heart issues
Exercise and General Care
Small dogs like the teacup French Bulldog need a good quality food and regular vet check ups to keep them as healthy as possible.
All Frenchies need exercise. But miniature French Bulldogs may need less than a standard size version.
When exercising a mini Frenchie, be careful they don’t overheat. Brachycephalic dogs can easily suffer from heatstroke if they excessively exercise in hot weather.
Miniature French Bulldog Puppies
Because miniature breeds are quite the trend at the moment, mini French Bulldogs can be quite expensive.
Sadly, these dogs come with a large number of health issues. So, if your heart is truly set on a mini Frenchie puppy, you need to find a reputable breeder.
There are also some alternatives available to you.
Since so many health issues plague these mini dogs, it’s quite common to find them available in rescue centers.
Finding a Reputable Breeder
If your heart is set on a Mini French Bulldog puppy, you must make sure to find a reputable breeder.
You will usually find mini French Bulldog puppies for sale at over $2000. But, prices will vary depending on location.
Ask your breeder plenty of questions, and expect lots in return. Also make sure you see all health certificates.
If you can, meet the parent dogs used to breed your mini pup. And, find out the exact method the breeder used to achieve that smaller size.
Mini French Bulldog Rescue
Health considerations are one of the main reasons that you should consider choosing a rescue dog if you’re trying to find a miniature French Bulldog.
Many people find they have to give dogs up to rescue centers if they can’t afford their care any more.
So, not all mini Frenchies in rescue centers are there because of behavioral issues. In fact, you might even be able to find puppies in rescue centers.
Are Mini French Bulldogs Good Family Pets?
The French Bulldog is a popular breed that unfortunately can suffer from serious chronic health problems.
While miniature dogs are appealing, a mini French Bulldog can suffer from not only the health problems of the standard-sized Frenchie but also problems associated with miniaturization.
Anyone with their heart set on a Frenchie or mini Frenchie should be aware of these health problems and the potential costs of lifelong veterinary care.
There are several small- to medium-sized dog breeds that can appeal to fans of the Frenchie’s cute looks.
They also have fewer health issues. Click the links below to find out more.
Mini French Bulldog Summary
Teacup breeds like the miniature French Bulldog are popular these days, but sadly suffer from a number of health issues.
Have you got one of these tiny dogs at home? We would love to hear more about them in the comments.
References and Resources
- ‘Brachycephalic Syndrome,’ American College of Veterinary Surgeons
- ‘French Bulldog Hemivertebrae,’ Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (2011)
- Kyostila, K. (et al) ‘Canine Chondrodysplasia Caused by a Truncating Mutation in Collagen-Binding Integrin Alpha Subunit 10,’ PLoS One (2013)
- O’Neill, D.G. (et al) ‘Demography and Disorders of the French Bulldog Population Under Primary Veterinary Care in the UK in 2013,’ Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (2018)
- OFA – The Canine Health Information Center
- Herzog, H. ‘Why Do Small Dogs Have So Many Psychological Problems?’, Psychology Today (2013)