French Bulldogs, with their short and stout bodies and perky bat ears, have taken the purebred dog world by storm.
These dogs are so popular they are currently ranked fourth out of nearly 200 purebred American Kennel Club (AKC) dog breeds in terms of dog owner breed preference!
The more popular a dog breed becomes, the more demand grows for a puppy that looks truly unique. French Bulldogs do have a surprising variety of colors and markings, but it isn't always so easy to tell what a puppy will look like in adulthood.
In this article, we take a close look at what happens to coat color as a French Bulldog puppy grows up. Do French Bulldog puppies change color? Let's find out!
Do French Bulldog Puppies Change Color?
There are some dog breeds that can change color quite dramatically when the puppy coat falls out and the adult dog coat grows in.
However, in most cases, the French Bulldog is not one of those dog breeds.
The vast majority of French Bulldog puppies will keep an adult coat color that is quite similar to the coat color they have as puppies.
Learn About French Bulldog Coat Color Genetics From a Breeder
This YouTube video made by an experienced and knowledgable French Bulldog breeder is a little longer than most resources you might be tempted to watch.
But the breeder goes into depth to help decode a very complicated topic and make it simpler for non-breeders and Frenchie owners to understand. It is well worth a watch.
Learn About All the French Bulldog Coat Colors
According to the official breed standard that the French Bulldog Club of America has filed with the American Kennel Club, the Frenchie can display 11 colors and six markings in adulthood.
But it is worth mentioning here that not all colors and markings are created equally when it comes to AKC-sponsored dog show competitions.
French Bulldog markings
There are a total of six French Bulldog markings that are recognized by the French Bulldog Club of America breeders.
However, only five of the six are considered standard.
If you want to seriously compete in the conformation, or appearance, category of official American Kennel Club dog show competitions, you will definitely want to make sure your Frenchie has one of the first five sets of markings to give you the best chance of winning.
Here are the six recognized French Bulldog markings:
- Black mask (standard)
- Black markings (standard)
- Brindle markings (standard)
- Piebald (standard)
- White markings (standard)
- Ticked (not standard)
French Bulldog colors
French Bulldogs can grow up to display a surprising number and variety of coat colors.
As with coat markings, only eight of the following 11 coat colors are considered standard to the breed.
If you want to compete with your Frenchie in AKC-sponsored dog shows in the conformation (appearance) category, you will have a better chance of placing if your Frenchie has one of the first nine coat colors.
- Brindle (standard)
- Brindle & White (standard)
- Cream (standard)
- Fawn (standard)
- Fawn & White (standard)
- Fawn Brindle (standard)
- White (standard)
- White & Brindle (standard)
- White & Fawn (standard)
- Cream & White (not standard)
- Fawn Brindle & White (not standard)
Disqualified French Bulldog colors and markings
It is also worth pointing out here that there are also some colors and markings that are disqualified for dog shows under the AKC umbrella.
According to the official French Bulldog breed standard, disqualified colors and markings in French Bulldogs include each of the following:
- Solid black
- Black and tan
- Black and white
- White with black
- Blue fawn
How Much Will a French Bulldog Puppy's Color Change?
The amount of color change that you will see in your French Bulldog puppy's coat greatly depends on the individual breeding pair's genetics, as Tato's Frenchies breeder explains.
Since it is impossible to predict exactly how a puppy will inherit genes from either parent dog, this definitely lends an element of surprise to watching your Frenchie puppy grow up.
To add an element to the mystery, just saying that your French Bulldog puppy will grow up to have a "brindle" coat doesn't explain the full extent of what that coat could look like.
As the French Bulldog Club of England highlights, every single coat color that a French Bulldog could grow up to have exists along a color spectrum.
For example, "fawn" could exist from a very light tan to a darker reddish-brown. The same holds true for color patterns where each color in the pattern can exist along a spectrum from light to dark.
However, experienced French Bulldog breeders that know canine coat color genetics and their own breeding line very well are often quite good at guesstimating the adult coat color of their puppies.
How do French Bulldog Puppy Coats Change Color in Adulthood?
Let's take a look at what French Bulldog breeders have to say about how different French Bulldog coat colors will look in puppyhood and adulthood.
The first fact you need to know is that the puppy coat is always going to be softer and sparser than your French Bulldog's adult coat. The puppy coat could start shedding out as early as around the age of five to six months.
This is when you will start to see the first signs of what color your Frenchie's adult coat might be.
As Blue Haven French Bulldogs breeder showcases, in the majority of cases you will be able to at least guess at your puppy's adult coat color by the time you bring your dog home to stay.
So let's take a look at the two main ways that a puppy's coat might change based on the colors and patterns we outlined here above.
Amount of markings
It is not at all uncommon to see a puppy who has inherited a black mask, for example, to have only slight spotting around the eyes in puppyhood and then grow up to have a full black mask across the mid-region of the face.
Patterns can be particularly difficult to predict because there can be two, three, four or even dozens of different color genes at work to determine the final shade, distribution, and intensity of coloration.
Similarly, sometimes when a puppy inherits a certain color pattern, such as brindle, their eyes will change color even as their coat stays relatively the same color.
As an example, Lindor French Bulldogs breeder describes how a blue brindle puppy can have blue eyes, and then the eyes will change to amber or light brown color as they grow up.
Intensity of coloration
Another area where you will see some degree of variation between your French Bulldog's puppy coat and the color of the adult coat is in intensity.
This can be caused by more than just simple genetic inheritance, however. Diet, access to natural sunlight, grooming and brushing, and other environmental factors can also influence the intensity of your Frenchie's adult coat color.
It is also worth mentioning that your French Bulldog's coat color can look quite different indoors than outdoors and in different types of lighting.
How to Make Sure Your French Bulldog Has the Healthiest Adult Dog Coat
As Frenchie World French Bulldog breeder explains, what your dog eats, how much you brush the coat, and bathe your dog can all impact coat color.
Bathing and French Bulldog coat color
The French Bulldog's skin contains beneficial natural oils that can help to keep the coat shiny and healthy.
Over-bathing is one of the main causes of dull coat color and dry skin issues.
Brushing and French Bulldog coat color
Brushing your French Bulldog's coat regularly not only helps to control any shedding, but it also stimulates the circulatory system and helps distribute the beneficial skin oils to keep the coat color looking bright and shiny.
Nutrition and French Bulldog coat color
The food you feed your French Bulldog can absolutely impact whether your dog's adult coat looks richly colored and healthy or dry and dull.
You want to choose a complete and balanced dog food for small breed puppies and then transition to the same in a small breed adult dog food.
You may also want to supplement your dog's regular diet with fish oil and coconut oil, both of which can provide extra nourishment and support for the skin and coat.
However, always talk with your dog's veterinarian before adding extra supplements, since it is possible your dog's food is already providing the right amount of nutrients and you don't want to over-supplement.
Waiting to see your Frenchie puppy's adult coat color is just one of many adventures you and your dog will be able to enjoy together.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.