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French Bulldog Colors: Common And Rare

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Last Updated: June 14, 2023 | 11 min read | Leave a Comment

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French Bulldogs, also known as Frenchies, are incredibly popular family pets. Frenchies stand out for their unique wrinkly faces and “bat ears.” They have short muzzles with upward-turned noses. They are loved for their unique appearance and engaging personalities. There is a wide range of French Bulldog colors, but not all are accepted as standard.

There is more to know about French Bulldog colors than one would think. While only a small number of colors are considered standard or accepted, this adorable breed can have a wide range of colors and patterns. It is often asked what the best shade of a Frenchie is, but, in truth, there is no one answer because all colors are beautiful. Some are rarer and can be more expensive. Some colors even come with health concerns, something to note for one of the world’s most famous brachycephalic breeds.

For Frenchie owners who plan to have their dog compete and show competitions having a standard color is essential. For other owners, though, there are a variety of colors to know about. These dogs can have both light and dark coats. Most have darker-colored noses. However, those with lighter coats may have lighter-colored noses. There is much more to learn, so let’s jump in and get to the details about French Bulldog colors.

French Bulldog Breed Standard

Two frenchie puppies sitting next to each other
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has been registering dogs since the 1800s.

The AKC has long been considered the authority on breed standards for pet owners across the United States. Below is the current breed standard:

“Acceptable colors: white, cream, fawn (ranging from light fawn to a red fawn), or any combinations of the foregoing. Markings and patterns are brindle, piebald, black masks, black shadings, and white markings. Ticking is acceptable but not desired. Brindle ranges from sparse but clearly defined black stripes on a fawn background to such a heavy concentration of black striping that the essential fawn background color barely shows through (“black brindle”). Only a trace of the background color is necessary; in a brindle piebald, a trace of the patterning in any patch is sufficient. All other colors, markings or patterns are a disqualification.”

Genetics Of French Bulldog Colors

Like all canine breeds, the Frenchie’s hair color is determined by genetics. Certain combinations of genes will dictate the coat color. Just because a parent’s breed is a certain color, that does not mean offspring will be. Many canines carry genes for hidden colors that may not be apparent in them but are present in their offspring.

The specific gene combination a dog has determines their hair’s shade. Both the mother and father dog contribute to these genes. Each parent has two alleles for hair color, some are dominant, and some are recessive. Only one dominant gene for color needs to be present. However, two recessive genes must appear for a recessive color.

A few genes play a role in determining canine coat colors, including the A locus, or agouti, which controls the amount of black and red pigment. The K locus, also called dominant black, controls the amount of brindle, and the E locus controls the presence of a mask. D refers to the dilution that happens in dog hairs, either full color, the dominant gene, or dilute, the recessive. S is the spotting gene, which controls white spotting patterns.

When two Frenchies mate, each parent will pass down one copy of each gene to their offspring. Depending on which genes are passed down, the offspring can inherit a wide range of coat colors. For example, if both parents carry the recessive blue gene, their offspring may have a blue shade. Gene variants, or alleles, are some of the most significant determinations of a pup’s coloring. The different combinations of these recessive and dominant genes create a wide range of color possibilities.

Accepted French Bulldog Colors

French Bulldog puppies
While there are only a few accepted colors of Frenchie, there can be many more variations.

Currently, the AKC recognizes these colors as standard: Fawn, Cream, and White. These tones, as well as their variations, make up the ten accepted colors. Those are:

  1. Brindle
  2. Brindle & White
  3. Cream
  4. Fawn
  5. Fawn & White
  6. Fawn Brindle
  7. White
  8. White & Brindle
  9. Fawn Brindle & White
  10. White & Fawn

Brindle

Brindle is a very common Frenchie color. It may be the most common pattern seen in the breed. Brindle dogs have a darker base coat, with lighter fawn hairs over the top that create lighter streaks. There are several different Brindle variations. Brindle includes the Brindle & White coloration.

Cream

Cream-colored Frenchies are solid-colored with cream or off-white coats. Sometimes, their faces will have darker coloring, making them look striking.

Fawn

Fawn Frenchies have a yellow to dark tan shade. These dogs often have black muzzles with white chests and lighter patches throughout their bodies. Fawn can be light or dark and sometimes even have a reddish tint. Fawn includes Fawn & White, Fawn Brindle, and Fawn Brindle & White.

White

White Frenchies are solid with sparkling white coats. Sometimes cream and white can appear in the same coat. White Frenchies have a higher risk of deafness due to a lack of melanin.

French Bulldog Markings

Just as with colors, this breed can have varying patterns and markings. Not all are recognized by the AKC.

  1. Piebald (Pied) – Pied Bulldogs have an adorable, spotted look. They have white coats with darker and more colored patches. Most commonly, these patches appear on the back, neck, and head. Patches are often brindle, fawn, and black but can be other colors.
  2. Black Markings – Black markings, big or small, anywhere on the body.
  3. Black Mask – These pups can have fur of varying shades and will have a darker black mask around their faces and muzzles.
  4. White Markings – These dogs have white patches of varying sizes and placement.
  5. Brindle Markings – This pattern has darker stripes on a lighter-colored base. Stripes are shades of brown, gray, and black and can be of varying thicknesses.
  6. Ticked – Ticked is another marking variation. The AKC does not accept this one. Ticked dogs have coats with tiny spots, often white, all over.

Other French Bulldog Colors

French Bulldog at Vet
For folks not concerned about breed standards, there is a literal rainbow of Frenchies to pick from.

While these shades may be considered disqualified by breed standards, they are beautiful and very popular dogs.

Black

Black Frenchies are also called Bat Pigs due to their pig-like look. These pups can have a solid black coat or one with white paws or patches. Some even look like they are wearing pup-sized tuxedos. These dogs have coats with lots of melanin leading to the deep, dark colors in their coats. A solid black Frenchie with no trace of Brindle is actually incredibly rare. These pups can fetch quite a high price due to their rareness, sometimes over $4,000.

Blue

Blue Frenchies are quite rare, though their coats are not actually blue. They are more of a grayish or silver hue. Blue Frenchiess can come in Blue Fawn (Blue & Tan), Blue Pied, Blue Brindle, and other combinations. The gray-to-silver or blue coloration Is the result of the dilution gene, which suppresses the black pigment. This causes a lighter-hued coat. Blue Frenchies can be anything from a pale gray to a much darker or deeper bluish-looking gray shade. This is a highly sought-after coat and can be quite expensive. They are also prone to something called color dilution alopecia, a genetic disorder that can cause hair thinning and loss.

Chocolate Frenchie

Chocolate Frenchies stand out for a deep, dark brown shade that looks like rich chocolate. These coats can be anything from light milk chocolate to a deep, darker brown tone. This coloration happens because of recessive genes that control black pigment. The AKC does not recognize Chocolate Frenchies. Despite that, they are quite beautiful to look at. These pups are rare and have a gorgeous and striking appearance. There is no end of chocolate-inspired name ideas for this pup.

Lilac

Lilac is another unrecognized but highly sought-after Frenchie shade. These dogs are also called Isabella Frenchies. They are quite expensive. Those seeking out one of these softly colored pups can expect to spend over $6,000. These pups are born with a coat resembling a Blue Frenchie. As they age, the hair lightens and turns into a lilac hue. The same dilute gene causes this lilac coloration. Some owners describe this as a grayish-brown to purplish tone. Lilac is considered an incredibly rare, if not exotic, color.

Red

Red Frenchies have lighter brown colorations that include reddish shades. They often have black markings or masks and may have white patches on their bodies, including on the chest. Red Fawn Frenchies are similar, with an ashy or gray look to their coat. Beige is another shade that can fall under red and may be a lighter to reddish tan hue.

Chocolate & Tan

The chocolate and tan Frenchie has a deep brown base coat, with red to beige markings in different body areas. These are traditionally on the chest, backside, pause, and facial area like the cheek and eyebrows. There can be a minimal to very contrasting shade variance; some of these pups stand out for their remarkable coats.

Black & Tan

Black and tan Frenchies are highly sought after. They have predominantly black coats with tan points on their faces, ears, chest, legs, and paws. These pups stand out for the highly contrasting coat tones they have, as well as their adorable looks and fantastic personalities.

Trindle

A Trindle Frenchie has brindle markings that appear in their tan points. Their base color can be light or dark. Trindle refers to the appearance of brindle in those lighter-colored tan points on the body.

Sable

A Sable Frenchie occurs when a Fawn Frenchie has darker to black hairs in a thin layer on the top of the coat. Stable Frenchies can also be tan or cream.

Platinum

A platinum Frenchie is considered an exotic shade. These pups will have cream-colored coats that are very shiny and may have some dilute tones around the face, eyes, lips, and paws. Platinum French Bulldogs look somewhat like cream or white but have coats with more shine and more tone variation. They do not have albinism. That is a lack of any pigment. Platinum coloration occurs when dogs inherit three recessive pairs of genes. This means Platinum Frenchie’s can be shades of many colors, including lilac, Isabella, merle, and even chocolate.

What Is The Rarest Color French Bulldog?

While there are many color variations of Frenchie, and some are hard to find, perhaps the rarest of all is the Merle Frenchie. Merle is a mottled coat with patches of coloration on a lighter base coat. Merle-coated dogs are often confused for Brindle, but the patterns are quite different. Brindle refers to a base tone with striped markings, while merle is a blockier pattern of tones on a lighter base. Merle can also be something called hidden, where the pattern is significantly faded and almost unable to be seen.

In most cases, the best way to determine whether a dog is Merle is to get a DNA test. This is important, as Merle dogs run a higher risk of significant health issues. These include poor vision and hearing. Merle can occur naturally. However, breeding for it is controversial. This is because if two Merle dogs reproduce together and puppies inherit two dominant M Merle genes, they are at a higher risk of ear and eye defects, skin problems, neurological conditions, and heart defects. Because of this, Merle has no longer been included as a recognized color in many breed standards.

If you are hoping to find a Merle dog of any breed, it is important to learn more about the Merle dog color controversy and what impacts Merle-to-Merle breeding may have on a dog’s health.

Merle

Merle Frenchies are quite rare. They can come in several tones: black, blue, lilac, and tan. Merle dogs have spotted or dappled coats due to their specific genetic makeup. Merle itself is not a color, and many coat combinations exist. Because of this, t is not unusual to pay prices in the ballpark of $7,000 to over $10,000 for shades like lilac Merle. This is not an exaggeration. The Merle-coated Frenchie is one of the most expensive dogs in the world.

Because there are health conditions that can accompany merle dog coloring, owners must always purchase these pups from reputable breeders. Expect a high price tag, ask lots of questions, and ask to see documentation on health conditions tested for and parent dogs. This is especially important as Frenchies are brachycephalic and already at higher risk for breathing-related health conditions.

Factors That Affect French Bulldog Colors

Merle French Bulldog
Merle Frenchies are among the most expensive to find.

In addition to genetics, a few other factors can affect the shade of a French Bulldog’s coat.

  • Exposure to sunlight can cause fawn and red coats to fade, while lack of sunlight can cause dark coats to lighten.
  • Age is another factor affecting coat color, as Frenchies s may lighten or darken as they age.
  • Health can also affect coat color, as certain health conditions can cause changes in the skin and coat.
  • Environmental factors like diet and stress can also impact the fur’s color and quality.
  • Care can also impact a pup’s coat’s overall health and shine. A poorly cared-for coat will be dull, and tones will be harder to discern.

It is important to remember that while these factors can play a role in a Frenchie’’s coat coloring, genetics are the primary determinant of this. While you can take steps to maintain the quality of your dog’s coat, you cannot change the underlying genetics. Tests are available if you are concerned about your pup’s specific coloring gene makeup. They are pricey. However, they will break down your pup’s genetic phenotype so you know precisely what recessive and dominant genes are causing their color.

French Bulldogs with unique colors, like blue, merle, or lilac, may require extra care and attention. These dogs may be more prone to specific health issues, like skin allergies or eye problems, so monitoring their health closely and providing necessary medical care is essential. In addition, these dogs may be more sensitive to sunlight or environmental factors, so provide plenty of shade and protection from the elements.

Frenchies with unique colorations may have a higher price tag due to their rarity and desirability.

While many different things are considered when adopting any canine breed, it is important to prioritize a puppy’s health over anything else. Always do your research about a breed of dog, coat coloration, and breeders or shelters you plan to work with.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the rarest French Bulldog color?

This is a tricky question because there are several rare and expensive colorations. Traditionally, the rarest shade is Merle, as these dogs are tough to come by and are rarely bred due to the risk of health concerns. After Merle, blue, blue and tan, lilac, and chocolate and tan can be considered some of the rarest. A blue Merle is especially rare. All these colorations will cost a significant amount to adopt.

Which color French Bulldog is the most expensive?

This is another question that has yet to have one specific answer, as these pups can range anywhere from a few thousand to over $10,000. That being said, the Isabella French bulldog is especially rare. Along with the Fluffy Frenchie, these pups can carry a price tag anywhere from $8,000 to almost $20,000.

What color of Frenchie is most sought after?

A good majority of French Bulldogs are Brindle, meaning they have a darker-colored base with lighter-shaded stripes and strands of hair. This is considered to be one of the oldest colors within the breed. Piebald dogs with whiter patches and darker coats are also highly sought after. However, because this breed has so many different shades and variations, there may not be one most popular shade.

Final Thoughts

French Bulldogs are fantastic pets and have long been a family favorite. They have a wide coloration range, as well as pattern possibilities. Because these pups’ coat shades and patterns are determined by genetics, some variations are much harder to find. Additionally, some varieties like Merle and pure white have significant health considerations.

While we cannot go into every combination and shade possible of Frenchies, we have touched on some of the most common and rare. Even though not all these colors are accepted by breed standards for competition, they are often in high demand. Regardless of what shade of Frenchie pup you are after, we know you will not be disappointed when bringing one of these adorable pups home.

Senior French Bulldog wearing diaper laying on the sofa

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