Interpretation of the French Bulldog Standard on Color

The French Bull Dog Club of America would like to clarify what our standard lists as acceptable colors and disqualifying colors.

The breed standard for the French Bulldog has included the same color requirements since the 1911 standard was approved by the AKC. It lists is acceptable colors all brindle, fawn, white, brindle and white, and any other color except those which constitute disqualification. The following colors are listed as disqualifications: solid black, mouse, liver, black and tan, black and white, and white with black.

Brindle is one of the most common colors in the French Bulldog. Brindle Frenchies have a base coat of fawn hairs through which black hairs extend in bands to produce a coat that can range from a tiger brindle in which fawn hairs predominate to the more common dark brindles in which the black hairs predominate. In some dogs, the black hairs are so numerous there may only be what the French Bulldog standard refers to as a “trace of brindle.” This trace should have enough fawn hairs to demonstrate the brindle pattern. It may be located in a part of the body that is not visible so if a judge has any concern on where the trace is, he should ask the exhibitor to point it out. A solid black French Bulldog without any brindle trace should be disqualified as being black. A dog with white on the chest, toes, or head and no trace of brindle in the black coat should be disqualified as being black and white. In the brindle pied dogs (registered with the AKC as white and brindle) one of the pigmented patches must
have a trace of brindle; otherwise the dog should be disqualified as white with black. A brindle, brindle and white or white and brindle (brindle pied) French Bulldog must have a black nose. If a French Bulldogs of any these colors doesn’t have a solid black nose he must be disqualified.
Fawn in the French Bulldog can range from a reddish color through yellow to a pale cream. In the lighter colored fawns a lighter colored nose is acceptable but not desirable. Some fawn Frenchies have a black mask; this is recognized and accepted.

The disqualifying colors of black and tan and of liver do occur in French Bulldogs but can be truly described as rare and are unlikely to appear in the show ring. The color “mouse” in the AKC standard refers to the mouse-grey coat shown by dogs expressing the recessive ‘blue dilution’ (D/d) gene. Many people call this color blue. It has become quite widespread and it’s possible a judge might see a French Bulldog with this disqualifying color.

In dogs expressing the “blue” gene that produces the color that our standard calls “mouse,”
• what should be the black hairs on a brindle dog (as well as black pigment on the nose and paws) are a slatey blue-grey “mouse” color.
• the fawn hairs on a fawn or fawn pied (white with fawn markings) dog, are a silvery fawn “mouse” and the nose, the dark mask (if there
is one) and paw pads are slatey blue-grey.
• Any French Bulldog that has mouse colored hairs should be disqualified as mouse. Mouse can occur as a solid, brindle, pied, fawn and dark masked fawn. The coat color constitutes a disqualification – as does the nose color.

The French Bull Dog Club of America has a CD that is used as part of our judges education program that goes into detail on what are acceptable and disqualifying colors and includes representative photos of these colors. Any judge interested in getting a copy of the CD should contact Virginia Rowland, FBDCA Judges Education Chair.

This Clarification was issued in July 2008.

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