These cute little dogs are enjoying a serious comeback. Here’s the scoop on the fourth most popular dog breed in America. French cut moustache.
1. FRENCH BULLDOGS HAVE ROOTS IN ENGLAND.
The French bulldog’s origins are murky, but most sources trace their roots to English bulldogs. Lace makers in England were drawn to the toy version of the dog and would use the smaller pups as lap warmers while they worked. When the lace industry moved to France, they took their dogs with them. There, the English bulldogs probably bred with terriers to create bouledogues français, or French bulldogs.
2. THEY WERE BRED TO BE GREAT COMPANIONS.
Frenchies are affectionate, friendly dogs that were bred to be companions. Although they’re somewhat slow to be housebroken, they get along well with other dogs and aren’t big barkers. The dogs don’t need much exercise, so they are fine in small areas and enjoy the safety of a crate.
3. THEY CAN'T SWIM.
As a result of their squat frame and bulbous head, French bulldogs can’t swim, so pool owners should keep a watchful eye on their pups. Keep in mind that if you plan a beach vacation, your furry friend might feel a little left out.
4. FLYING IS A PROBLEM FOR THEM, TOO.
French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have shorter snouts than other dogs. These pushed-in faces can lead to a variety of breathing problems. This facial structure, coupled with high stress and uncomfortably warm temperatures, can lead to fatal situations for dogs with smaller snouts. Many breeds like bulldogs and pugs have perished while flying, so as a result, many airlines have banned them.
Luckily there are special airlines just for pets, like Pet Jets. These companies will transport dogs with special needs on their own flights separate from their owners. There's a human on board to take care of any pups that get sick or panic.
5. THEY MAKE GREAT BABYSITTERS.
When a baby orangutan named Malone was abandoned by his mother, the Twycross Zoo in England didn’t know if he would make it. Luckily, a 9-year-old French bulldog named Bugsy stepped in and took care of the little guy. The pair became fast friends and would even fall asleep together. When Malone was big enough, he joined the other orangutans at the zoo.
6. THEY'RE SENSITIVE TO CRITICISM.
Frenchies are very sensitive, so they do not take criticism lightly. If you scold a French bulldog, it might take it very seriously and mope around the house. French bulldogs respond better to positive reinforcement and encouragement.
7. THEY'RE A TALKATIVE BREED.
French bulldogs might not bark much, but they do like to “talk.” Using a complex system of yawns, yips, and gargles, the dogs can convey the illusion of their own language. Sometimes they will even sing along with you in the car.
8. THEY HAVE TWO STYLES OF EARS.
Originally, French bulldogs had rose-shaped ears, similar to their larger relative, the English bulldog. English breeders much preferred the shape, but American breeders liked the unique bat ears. When a rose-eared bulldog was featured at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1897, American dog fanciers were very angry.
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9. THIS CONTROVERSY LED TO THE FORMATION OF THE FRENCH BULL DOG CLUB OF AMERICA.
The FBDCA was founded in protest of the rose-shaped ears. The organization threw its first specialty show in 1898 at New York City’s famed Waldorf-Astoria. The FBDCA website described the event: “amid palms, potted plants, rich rugs and soft divans. Hundreds of engraved invitations were sent out and the cream of New York society showed up. And, of course, rose-eared dogs were not welcomed.”
The somewhat catty efforts of the club led to the breed moving away from rose-shaped ears entirely. Today, French bulldogs feature the bat-shaped ears American breeders fought to showcase.
10. MOST FRENCH BULLDOGS ARE BORN THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION.
Due to their unusual proportions, the dogs have a little trouble copulating. Males have a hard time reaching the females, and they often get overheated and exhausted when trying to get things going. As a result, a large majority of French bulldogs are created through artificial insemination. While this measure makes each litter of pups more expensive, it also allows breeders to check for potential problems during the process.
French bulldogs often also have problems giving birth, so many must undergo a C-section. The operation ensures the dog will not have to weather too much stress and prevents future health complications.
11. CELEBRITIES LOVE FRENCHIES.
Frenchies make plenty of appearances in the tabloids. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, and The Rock have all been seen frolicking with their French bulldogs. Even Leonardo DiCaprio has one—aptly named Django. Hugh Jackman’s Frenchie is named Dali, after the way the dog’s mouth curls like the famous artist’s mustache.
This article originally ran in 2015.
Throughout history, people have tried to bring wild cats like Servals, Caracals, and even lions and tigers into their home. And while it perhaps goes without saying, we'll say it anyway: Attempting to domestic an animal that’s meant to be wild can have some pretty serious consequences. Still, over time, breeders have managed to bring together the wild and domestic in these distinct breeds.
A cross between a house cat and an African Serval, Savannahs are typically tall and lean with distinct dark spots and pointed ears. And as far as their personality goes, they are often likened to dogs because they tend to be adventurous, affectionate, and highly curious. The first Savannah was born in 1986, and the breed is now recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) as a championship breed, which means they are able to compete in TICA-sanctioned shows.
When cross-breeding a Serval and a house cat, the subsequent generations of a Savannah are referred to as F1, F2, F3, and so on. If you’re thinking about buying a Savannah, it’s important to see if your home state even allows them as pets, as some consider them too wild. You can check out the rules and regulations by heading to Hybrid Law.
A cross between a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat (ALC), Bengals tend to be very curious, very active, and—when they finally settle down—loving. As far as their physical appearance, Bengals usually have short, soft coats with spots that are often likened to leopards.
The breed as we know it began with cat breeder Jean Mill, who crossed ALCs with domestic cats in 1963. They were accepted as a new breed in 1986 by the TICA and gained championship status in 1991.
A cross between domestic shorthairs and Bengals, Toygers are as close as you’ll get to having a real tiger basking in the sunlight of your home. According to TICA, breeders are still working on getting these felines' stripes just right. But for now, these pint-size tigers are known for loving quality time with their human counterparts, being laid back, and being very intelligent. Some people even train them to walk on a leash.
The Chausie is a result of hybrids of a Jungle Cats (Felis chaus) breeding with a domestic cats. While there have been cases of this happening for a long time, the first recorded instance was in 1990. These felines can grow to be 18 inches tall and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Chausies are highly intelligent, and because of that, this is not the cat for you if you plan to leave them alone for extended periods of time. According to TICA, this tall and long-bodied cat is high-energy, can be trained to walk on a leash, and loves to socialize with its humans.
The name "Cheetoh cat" probably brings up the image of a laid back cartoon cheetah hocking cheese puffs, but it's also a fairly new breed of house cat. According to the International Cheetoh Breeders Association, the Cheetoh is an attempt to create a breed that looks like a wild cat with the gentleness of a house cat. They’re a cross between Ocicats (which don't technically have wild roots, but instead get their name from their close resemblance to Ocelots) and Bengals.
These Cheetohs typically weigh between 15–23 pounds and come in a variety of colors, ranging from sienna with black and brown spots to white with gold spots. While they may look like cats you’d find stalking prey out in the jungle, Cheetohs are very friendly and bring together excellent traits from both breeds. While each one is unique, these cats tend to be energetic, intelligent, friendly, and like to stay busy.
The goal of breeding the Serengeti Cat is to produce a cat that resembles the wild Serval without having any actual Serval blood. The first Serengeti Cat was bred by Karen Sausman in the ’90s by crossing a Bengal and an Oriental Shorthair. However, its lineage does include the Asian leopard cat, whose genes contributed to its Bengal Cat ancestor.
Serengeti Cats have long ears and legs like a Serval, and a neck that does not taper where it meets the head. They are agile, active, and vocal. According to the TICA, these cats may take some time to warm up to you, but once they do, they’ll want to be with you all the time.
Before you go ahead and purchase one of these felines, it’s important to check to make your state allows them as pets. You should, of course, check with specific breed organizations before you select a breeder or adopt at an exotic cat show. But another great alternative is to check with your local shelter for a cat that desperately needs a home.
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Though animal cruelty is an unfortunate reality, assaults on bees rarely show up in the news. But that changed this week, when two men were spotted attacking the hives of rare British black bees at England’s Wisbech Castle.
According to the BBC, the as-yet-unidentified men trespassed on the castle grounds in Cambridgeshire on January 8. The men removed the covers of the hives and proceeded to poke the bees with sticks. It’s possible they were stung in the process and returned to damage the hives further, though it's more likely the bees, which were dormant, were in no condition to defend themselves.
The bees, known as Apis mellifera mellifera, were being housed at Wisbech in an effort to boost their population after nearly dying out in 2012. The incident may have killed as many as 10,000 of the bees, though officials won’t know until spring, when the hives will no longer be endangered by cold weather.
Steve Tierney, who leads the Wisbech Castle Project, dubbed the intruders “brain-dead morons.” Cambridgeshire police have released CCTV images in the hopes someone might come forward with information.