According to the Oxford Dictionary, intelligence is defined as “The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”
Ideally, this definition would translate to our dogs by how well our dogs gain the training we are trying to teach them and then applying it when we command it.
Let’s say we want them to learn to get us the remote and grab us a soda from the refrigerator. If the dog was smart, they would learn the techniques and command word quickly. If they were not as smart, it would take them longer to learn. Sounds simple, right?
This means that it takes 40 to 80 repetitions to understand new commands. 30% of the time, they will obey a command the first time it is issued.
Dr. Coren’s chart comes from his book The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions.
As you will see in this Canadian Broadcast Company’s report, his work is controversial.
To learn more, you can read his book or view his video on how to use his method.
To understand how smart The French Bulldog is, we will approach it from an overall standpoint based on their general traits, attitudes, tendencies, and what experts have to say.
What Other Experts Say About The French Bulldog’s Intelligence
The American Kennel Club (AKC) calls The Frenchy bright and adaptable to living conditions. On their trainability scale from “May Be Stubborn” at one extreme, to “Eager To Please” at the other; they fall a little less than 1⁄3 away from “Eager To Please” and the middle.
The AKC recommends that socialization and training begin early to avoid bad habits from setting in.
This can mean that once bad habits set in, it becomes harder to break them of those habits. Therefore, if you do not teach them, they are smart enough to teach themselves, whether you like it or not.
Dog Time discusses their intelligence by focusing on its free-thinking. They state that training can be uncomplicated as long as it is gamelike and enjoyable.
If not, their stubbornness will kick in due to their free-thinking, and they will become steadfast and uncompromising.
To an outside observer who may not fully appreciate the breed or dogs in general; a stubborn dog who has decided to stop listening can be confused with a dog with less intelligence.
Even as dog owners, as our frustration rises, our emotions can get in the way of being objective, and we can conclude that our dogs are not smart enough to learn a particular skill.
This is one of the many reasons it is a good idea to get advice and training tips from certified trainers.
Their outside, objective viewpoints, and knowledge of breeds can give you alternative training methods to help you bring your dog back into the training state of mind.
They can also help you understand where your dog really is on the intelligence scale as far as what tricks are obtainable and which ones are not. Getting your dog to do your taxes- Sorry, not going to happen.
The Puppy Years
Like all puppies, you will have an eager to learn, ball of energy that wants to do it all. Your Frenchy could be the “sit back, observe, see the outcome, and learn from the others” type. He/she could be the “jump now and look afterward” type. They could be somewhere in between.
According to Canna-Pet, everything stimulates their little minds, although before you go dog proofing everything, the adventurous types are usually just bold enough to figure out how to jump on and off of furniture. Counter surfing, acrobatics, or flying is not on their “to-do list.”
They may be curious about the “Evil Squirrels” and “Deadly Birds” that are outside the windows, but, to them, as long as those “bad guys” do not exist in the safety of your home, your French Bulldog will be perfectly content.
As your puppy grows up, their eagerness to learn is going to start to turn into, a “set in their ways” mentality. This is why trainers recommend early training and socialization to other people.
By setting the tone early, you are setting the behaviors you want, before the behaviors become the way they want.
Can Frenchies Earn Their Keep?
According to French Bulldog Club, If you look into their history, French Bulldogs were used as ratters in the lace-making shops and other workshops of England and France during the Industrial Revolution.
Frenchies are not known as a breed for agility courses, service work, or detection work. This is primarily due to their physical constraints. This does not mean they cannot handle it mentally.
Soren: An AKC Master Agility Champion According to Dogster, Soren, a dark brindle French Bulldog, competed 116 times in agility, rally and obedience competitions throughout his life.
Although he crossed “The Rainbow Bridge” a few months after his 12th birthday, his inspirational story lives on in a children’s book, Soaring Soren: When French Bulldogs Fly which was written by his two-legged Mom, Deborah Stevenson.
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) Dogtime ranks the French Bulldog in the top 6 best breeds for emotional support dogs. Even though they are too small to do service dog work, their temperament is great for ESA work.
Their desire to constantly be with their human, compact size and low energy makes it easy to travel anywhere with them.
If you do choose this breed as your ESA, let the breeder know. Not every Frenchy is right for this type of work. Choosing one with the correct temperament for this kind of work is critical. This breed is prone to disease, so regular checkups to their vet is a must.
Police Or Military Work Will we ever see a French Bulldog with a badge or sergeant stripes? Never say never, but generally, they do not have the temperament or physical qualifications.
According to Istilllovedogs, Do not worry Stubby, you are not going to be outranked by a Frenchy. French Bulldogs love their people, like all people, but know the difference.
If new people, or people they are not used to come into their territory (apartment, home, etc.), these quiet little ones are going to sound the alarm.
If anything, Brinks, ADT, or other home security companies should sweat when it comes to Frenchies.
These little dogs give these alarm companies some competition, but they would rather cuddle with their humans. At best, the Frenchy would consider this a part-time job.
Frenchies Are Smart And Stubborn, But Are They Right For You?
Overall, The French Bulldog is a bright, free-thinking, and agreeable dog that will learn from you or make its own conclusions. It is an eager learner when it’s young as long as you use positive methods.
If your methods stop working, you may have to become creative or seek advice to make further progress. They can learn complex tricks and can figure things out for themselves.
What gets in their way is that they get set in their ways as they get older. Their “teenage rebellion” can express itself as stubbornness and an unwillingness to listen.
When compared to other breeds of dogs, they are not going to match up against some of the others, like the Border Collie or the Poodle, but that can be a good thing. When it comes to intelligence, you also have to look at the perspective of it all.
The Frenchy was made to be a ratter and a companion dog. It is trainable and has a great personality, It loves people, kids, and like other animals in the house if introduced early enough.
A Border Collie, on the other hand, was made to be a highly active dog. Its job is to help sheep herders move their livestock around the fields and keep the sheep together.
The Border Collie has to remember and react to a big list of commands, act accordingly, and distinguish those commands from other noises instantly.
As a house pet, if a Border Collie is not stimulated correctly, it can take out its frustration on shoes, furniture, and other things.
When it comes to finding the right dog for your home, all dog breeds are smart enough to be great pets. Once early man created that symbiotic relationship with a domesticated dog, they all want to learn from us, be apart of our lives, and please us.
The real question you should be thinking about is: Does the breed I’m interested in have the general traits and behaviors that match my family dynamic?
A family that takes 20-mile hikes every weekend may be happier with a different breed than one that is homebodies over the weekend.