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Are French Bulldogs Smart? [IQ Statistics]

Their squishy face, pointy ears, curious eyes, and tiny body can instantly make anyone fall in love! French bulldogs are a delight to have. But of all dog breeds, they are probably the most misunderstood.

Their stand-offish behavior labels them indisciplined. Their cunning, fast, bold demeanor could overshadow other qualities the bulldog possesses.

are French Bulldogs smart
Are French Bulldogs Smart? [IQ Statistics]

The French bulldog is the second most popular dog breed in America. Most people choose this dog for its cheerful personality, which makes it a great companion.  

A small fraction of French bulldog owners gets them because they’ve discovered they are pretty intelligent. Are French bulldogs smart? Here’s a closer look.

How Smart Are Frenchies?

In their quest to find an intelligent dog, the most common questions people ask include:

  • Will the dog embarrass me in public?
  • Does the dog have good manners?
  • How easy is it to train this dog?
  • How easy/hard is this dog to understand and obey set boundaries?

French bulldogs have a mind of their own, and they do as they wish. Their unusually dauntless spirit is why many assume the dog isn’t smart.

The question here isn’t how well-mannered the dog is; it’s whether or not they can comprehend most of the stuff you say to them. Just like other dog breeds, French bulldogs can understand over 150 words.

More often than not, they know what you are saying but choose to ignore you.

french bulldog in a football jersey
A passionate NFL fan! A French Bulldog in a football jersey in the snow.

What Factors Influence How Smart a French Bulldog Is?

Genes are the number one factor influencing how smart any dog breed is. Careful breeding has affected the genetic makeup of French bulldogs.

It has taken a whopping 200 years to refine the French bulldog into what it is today. The French bulldog is a crossbreed of the toy bulldog and Parisian ratters.

The original goal for breeding French bulldogs was companionship. Since the 1800s, French bulldog owners did not expect anything more than the presence of a dog.

However, as time advanced, owners desired to converse with their dogs and have them complete specific tasks.

Besides genetics, here are other factors that influence the intelligence levels of a French bulldog below.

french bulldog panda
A French Bulldog with some imagination can be Panda-like

Age

The younger a dog is, the less you can expect him to comprehend. Therefore, adult dogs are more intelligent than puppies. Ironically, senior French bulldogs aren’t as intelligent as their younger adult counterparts.

Studies show that young adult Frenchies can effortlessly solve problems, remember where they last left something, and follow simple instructions. However, as they advance in age, they become harder to train and cannot effectively solve problems.

Training

Some French bulldogs are more intelligent than others. Safe to say that a dog with training can score much higher in an intelligence test than a dog with little or no training.

Research shows that a dog that regularly takes part in training games can become far smarter than dogs that had basic training or none at all.

Demands

What are you asking of the dog? If your demands are too complex, it’s unlikely they’ll understand you, let alone respond appropriately.

French bulldogs score high in agility, obedience, and overall intelligence with plenty of training.

Exactly How Intelligent Are French Bulldogs?

French bulldogs do not come top in the list of dogs with high adaptive intelligence, but they come a close second.

Dogs like Poodles, Retrievers, or the Border Collie make French bulldogs appear less intelligent. But, not so when you get to live with one.

French bulldogs are great companions and incredible watchdogs. They fit in seamlessly in any home with or without kids and other animals.

The American Kennel Club acknowledges that French bulldogs maneuver easily in mental stimulation and trainability. They are intelligent enough to recall and learn fast.

screw tailed french bulldog
A French Bulldog with a “Screw” tail

How Smart Are French Bulldogs Compared to Other Breeds?

If Professor Stanely Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs is anything to go by, out of 127 dog breeds, the French bulldog ranks 109th. Professor Coren’s study uses factors such as the obedience and working capabilities of a dog to measure their intelligence levels.

The intelligence measuring systems used in the study shouldn’t be considered final as numerous varying factors may place other dog breeds at an advantage. Factors like genetics and intensive training can influence the intelligence of dogs.

Frenchies have unusually embarrassing habits. Some of these habits include:

  • Peeing on the house floor despite having adequate potty training
  • Barking hysterically due to separation anxiety
  • Angry and reactive for little or no reason
  • Humping objects or even people!

The above behaviors may cause many people to assume that French bulldogs aren’t as smart as other dogs.

French bulldog looking
Funny French Bulldog looking at the camera.

Are French Bulldogs Smart? 10 Reasons Proving This Dog Breed Is Smarter Than You Think

Being a new French Bulldog owner is, by far, a revering experience. These tiny furry friends bring tons of joy and vibrance into what was once a dull, lonely space.

Ever curious about how smart French bulldogs are? Here are 10 pointers that could hint at how intelligent your French bulldog might be.

  1. They are super independent: French bulldogs can follow you around if they want. However, you’ll notice that they need plenty of alone time, and they may refuse to answer your call if they’ve been by your side for a long time.
  2. They quickly comprehend your request: Don’t mistake their acts of stubbornness for lack of understanding. They are fully aware of what you are saying but are glad to ignore you.
  3. They show guilt upon disobedience: French bulldogs are fast to correct themselves and behave appropriately out of guilt if you get upset by their actions.
  4. They form strong bonds: French bulldogs are super close to their owners and family members. They can form strong emotional bonds with their kind and humans alike.
  5. Good with babies and other animals: French bulldogs are excellent babysitters and can also be trusted to look after other animals.
  6. They recognize numerous numbers and words: French bulldogs continue to pick up common words and numbers as they grow. They can understand complex commands and give the correct response.
  7. They take initiative: Living with a French bulldog often means following strict routines. Upon learning your patterns, your dog takes the initiative to start the routine independently or find new, efficient ways of completing tasks.
  8. Incredibly courageous: Standing at 11 to 12 inches tall, don’t mistake their small size for weakness. French bulldogs are super courageous even in the face of huge threats from larger-sized animals or strange humans.
  9. They can talk back: French bulldogs will not shy away from expressing their displeasure. They use different barking sounds and rhythms to deliver messages.
  10. Extremely jealous and protective: Frenchies are super territorial, not only with their space but their owners, too.

Ways to Build Your French Bulldog’s Intelligence

You may be convinced you have a clever dog, but there’s always something you can do to make them even more intelligent. Below are some proven and tested ways to increase your dog’s intelligence.

French Bulldogs playing
Two French Bulldogs running and playing.

Socialization

French bulldogs love making friends. It’s the one dog you can take anywhere with you without incidences of aggression towards other people or animals.

Encouraging your dog to be more social gives them a chance to learn the patterns of different people and animals. They also gather tons of new experiences and build significant working intelligence.

tan fluffy frenchie ear
The fluffy ear of a fluffy French Bulldog

Obedience Training

Owning a disobedient dog exposes them to risks that they may not be able to get out of in your absence. A French bulldog should learn basic obedience skills as a puppy.

Simple orders like sit, stand, stay, go, and down are commands they can grip easily. The more consistent you are with obedience training, the smarter they will become as they age. 

Discipline Training

The biggest struggle for the majority of French bulldog owners is manners. How do I teach my dog good manners? Besides obeying your orders, your dog must also learn to behave appropriately.

Discipline training teaches your dog what to and what not to touch. They also learn self-control and how to socialize and relate with other animals.

After successful discipline training, your dog will learn how to politely ask for something and ways to alert you of certain situations.

Sports Activities

The French bulldog breed is one of the few dogs that doesn’t require much stimulation, but this is often misconstrued to mean that they don’t need to stay active. It is still vital to provide them with activities. Therefore, get your dog involved in dog sports if you want to keep it smart.

This breed of dogs does exceptionally well in agility activities, rallies, and obedience sporting activities.

Bottom Line

Is yours the cleverest Frenchie? Above are pointers that can tell you how smart your French bulldog is. When looking to find a pet, you are looking for one that’s fun, joyful, and loving. You also want a pet that obeys and understands you. A French bulldog will check all your boxes and offer so much more.

Despite their free-thinking capabilities, French bulldogs are trainable. They make for good company and are smart enough to learn fast. Your French bulldog is smart — all you have to do is pay attention.