Are French Bulldogs Smart? 10 Reasons Why They’re Intelligent

French bulldogs, these little dogs with cute bat-like ears, inspire us, most of the time, to become affectionate, and playful. But are French bulldog a smart breed?

In order to understand this side of a dog’s personality, there are, first of all, some other issues to clarify. Is smartness an essential element for choosing and loving our pets? What exactly means to be smart, when we talk about dogs?

Are French Bulldogs Smart Dogs?

When referring to a dog as being smart or not, what do we really refer to? Is it about a dog’s ability to solve math problems or to impress and lead other dogs? Not really. When we talk about dogs, being smart, It’s about their ability to communicate with us, humans. It is about reacting, or even responding in a precise way, to our actions, attitudes, expectations.

We generally consider a dog to be smart if it is easy to train if a dog is open to education from us. Also, being smart is when the dog really understands us, in most life situations, gives feedback or initiates a clear communication. Smartness is about the dog promptly responding to our commands, and fulfilling our requests. So, smartness is about the success levels of our relationship with the dog.

So, under these circumstances, are French bulldogs smart? There is, on one hand, the entire breed’s smartness characteristic, and then, there is the smartness of a specific French bulldog individual.

When it comes to French bulldogs, as a whole breed, smartness is not their first asset. Generally, French bulldog owners, do not take into consideration the IQ of their dog, when opting for this breed. They are considered to be an affectionate and highly energetic companion, a loyal partner, and, in some cases, even an efficient bodyguard.

However, they are not generally assessed as one of the smart breeds. At the same time, they don’t have a reputation for being dumb, either. Better said, when it comes to French bulldogs, you should draw conclusions for each dog, separately.

Smartness is not why people, generally, choose French bulldogs. It may not even come into discussion. However, the general character of the breed is that they are rather stubborn and have a will of their own, analyze a lot, and make decisions as they seem fit, in many situations.

All these characteristics of French bulldogs, tilt the balance towards the smartness side.

10 Reasons Why French Bulldogs Are Intelligent

If you want to determine whether your French bulldog is smart or not, you can simply analyze how it reacts to your requests and how it lets you know what its needs are. However, this trait is not an obvious one, sometimes.

Your French bulldog could be endowed with great intelligence and you might not even know it, just because you haven’t found an appropriate common language. Here are ten (10) reasons why French bulldogs are intelligent. They are useful to recognize intelligence in your pet.

1. They have an independent spirit. Being able to act on their own, without fully and blindly obeying you, it’s a sign of intelligence (stubbornness included).

2. They accurately interpret our requests.

3. They form strong emotional connections with their owners and all the family members.

4. They learn and recognize numerous words (scientists say that it can be hundreds) as well as complex commands, and give the appropriate feedback.

5. Feeling guilty and acting accordingly when they did something to upset you.

6. Initiative. After analyzing their owner’s habits, they might try to impose new efficient behaviors.

7. They display jealousy towards the owner. This is a sign of higher intelligence levels during the interaction with humans.

8. They are great babysitters for human babies or for other animal species.

9. They “talk” back. They are known to use a complex system of multiple barking sounds, growling, and similar sounds, in order to deliver complex messages. You just need to pay attention to your French bulldog’s sounds. Usually, it is not random.

10. They display great courage in difficult or new situations with animals, strangers, and new territories.

French Bulldogs Smart Rating

There is a world-wide accepted system that classifies all dog breeds, according to their smartness level. This system was created by the canine specialist, Stanley Coren.

This system tests each breed based on the ability to respond to training, on its ability to understand new commands, and to obey the first command. The test focuses on their collaboration parameters and on their working skills.

According to the Coren system, which assessed 137 breeds, the fewer the number of command repetitions before understanding and obeying the requirements, the smartest the breed. The ranks are divided into seven groups, in quantitative order (as per repetition number).

According to this ranking system, the French bulldog is number 58 out of 137. This is neither bad nor good, right in the middle of classification.

French bulldogs are in the fifth (5) ranking category, in descending order. This means a “Fair working/obedience intelligence (including ranks 55-69) which means that French bulldogs require 40 – 80 repetitions to form a new behavior, and they have a 30% “obey first command rate ( as compared to the first group which requires less than 5 repetitions and have an “Obey first command” rate of 95%, or better.

The Bottom Line

When choosing a pet to join you in fun, sports activities, or a dynamic home companion, surely you don’t intend to take in a scientist-intelligence dog.

French bulldogs are lovable friends and each individual is unique. Moreover, Coren’s dog ranking system is believed by many as an irrelevant system. That is because the tests are based on the obedience level of the average individual of each dog breed. The measurements are made according to the dog’s ability to follow orders in a fast way.

However, the test does not take into consideration a dog’s ability to adapt to new situations, to respond fast when confronted with complex circumstances and variants to choose from. And so much more. Of course, without being an essential trait, smartness in a French bulldog is always a plus. It brings ease and joy to your relationship and life together.


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