In this edition of Animal Facts, we’re bringing you a SUPERSIZED edition of Dog vs. Dog: The French Bulldog vs. the Boston Terrier vs. the Pug. Three dogs, five categories, one winner. Think you can pick the winner of this epic battle of the pint-sized pups? We triple dog dare you!
History – French Bulldog Vs Boston Terrier Vs Pug
Despite its name, the French Bulldog originated in England in the late 1700s when breeders who set out to create a “fun-sized” version of the bulldog, crossed the Bullenbeisser with ratting dogs such as Terriers and Pugs. By the mid-1800s, Toy Bulldogs had become a favorite of Victorian Brits and were regularly featured in breed shows. Around this time, lace workers in Nottingham became casualties of the Industrial Revolution, as they were replaced by machines. Displaced workers began migrating to France in search of a fresh start, bringing their four-legged companions with them.
The breed was highly coveted by both Parisian prostitutes, who kept their bat-eared buddies close as they chatted with customers, and the city’s socialites, who found them to be the perfect way to start a conversation. Frenchies soon rose in popularity all over Europe, then the U.S. with the first U.S. French Bulldog debuting at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1896.
The Boston Terrier is thought to have originated in the 1870s when it was popular to cross Terriers and Bull-type dogs to create types that could be entered in ratting and pit-fighting competitions. A Bostonian named Robert Hooper bred his 32 pound, Bull-English Terrier mix, Judge, with a 20 pound, stocky, white, square-headed Bull-type female named Gyp. The resulting offspring were the original Boston Terriers which weighed up to 44 pounds. Eventually, they were bred down to the size and temperament they are known for today.
The breed made its show debut in 1870 (in Boston, of course) after which, the breed became so trendy in the city, that enthusiasts formed American Bull Terrier Club which later became the Boston Terrier Club. Then, and in 1893 it was the first U.S. breed admitted to the American Kennel Club.
The Pug is an ancient pup that originated in China during the Han dynasty. They were bred as companions to several generations of royals and were held in high regard as such. In the 16th and 17th centuries, their charms caught on with the European aristocracy, particularly after William the Silent’s dog, Pompey, alerted him to an attempt on his life, he and his wife Mary, made the Pug the official dog of the House of Orange.
By the 18th century, the Pug was a favorite amongst French royals such as Marie Antionette and the empress Josephine Bonaparte. And once Queen Victoria took a special interest in the breed in the 19th century, their popularity rose to new heights not only with the aristocracy but with the working class.
Pugs arrived in the United States sometime after the Civil War and soon became beloved family pets and show dogs. In 1885, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, and in 1931 the Pug Dog Club of America was founded.
Round 1 Winner: Pug
Why: Everybody loves a hero.
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Size and Appearance – French Bulldog Vs Boston Terrier Vs Pug
At around 12 inches tall and typically weighing between 16 and 28 pounds, the French Bulldog is a small fry version of the Bulldog. Frenchies are compact, muscular dogs, yet they have soft, loose skin that tends to form wrinkles under their coats when they are relaxed. Their coats are short and smooth and come in several colors including black, brindle, fawn, cream, blue, and pied.
But their most distinctive and endearing features are a square head, flat (brachycephalic) muzzle, and large ears that resemble those of a bat.
The Boston Terrier also has a square, sturdy build. Its average height is 9 to 15 inches, and it typically weighs anywhere from 6 to 25 pounds. Its Bulldog ancestry is evident in its square-jawed, brachycephalic head, which it is known to tilt when curious about something or confused. Their large, round eyes are set wide and deep into the skull, and are so expressive that they seem to function as a window that gives you a glimpse of what they’re thinking or feeling.
The Boston’s “tuxedo coat” can be black, seal, or brindle in proportion to the white markings on its face, chest, paws, legs. Thus, giving it the clean, symmetrical appearance befitting a sharply-dressed individual.
There are several similarities between the Pug and its competitors. Like the aforementioned breeds, the Pug is solidly built, with a large head and big, round eyes. They also have the flat-faced appearance that is typical of all brachycephalic breeds.
All three breeds have wrinkled faces, but Pugs seem to fully embrace their wrinkles and that’s a good thing since they have more facial folds than the other two breeds combined. In fact, it is believed that the Pug is named after the Latin word for “fist” because its face looks like a tightly curled fist, with a thumb mark in the center of the forehead. A black mask and a sprinkle of tiny black moles or “beauty spots” complete their unique look.
Round 2 Winner: Boston Terrier
Why: ‘Cause every girl (or guy) crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed dog.
Temperament and Family Life
The French Bulldog is one of the most laid back, yet playful breeds around. As a matter of fact, they are known as the “clowns of the dog world” and enjoy making mischief, but are just as content lounging on the couch with their people.
In typical companion breed fashion, Frenchies love to love and be loved. They usually don’t meet a stranger and get along with both children and other animals. That said, they can be territorial, and hate to be left alone. Their clingy, “Velcro” tendencies when it comes to their human family, makes them fantastic watchdogs. Frenchies aren’t yappy dogs, so when they do bark, it’s for good reason, and some will even defend their homes and families with their lives.
The Boston’s nickname, the “American Gentleman,” is not only a reference to its tuxedo-like coloring and markings, but its easygoing, friendly disposition as well. When socialized as puppies, they are typically very friendly with strangers. But as with any breed, not all Bostons are born with a genteel personality and they can also be very stubborn. They usually do well in a family setting, but tend to form a strong bond with one person and are quite intuitive when it comes to knowing how their fave is feeling and what they want.
It’s a given that when it comes to being a great guard-dog, size matters. Although the Boston’s diminutive size keeps it off the list of guard-dog greats, they make great watchdogs because they don’t bark often, but they do bark when they think they have good reason to.
Pugs were developed to be companion dogs—and they know it. Born charmers, they have no desire to hunt, rat, herd, retrieve, or guard. They only want to be showered with love and attention. In return, they expect with the same and will let you know if they’re feeling ignored.
Pugs are known for shadowing their humans, so much so, they’re often referred to as “Velcro” dogs.
Like Boston Terriers, Pugs have a “sixth sense” when it comes to interpreting and adjusting to their people’s moods. If you’re in a peaceful, relaxed mood, your Pug will have no problem joining you in your Zen moment. And if you’re feeling frisky or drowsy, your pup will be game to follow suit, as playing and napping are two of a Pug’s favorite pastimes.
Speaking of playing, most Pugs get along great with children, and given their body type, can withstand a little roughhousing with the kiddos.
Round 3 Winner: Pug
Why: Of the three, they seem to be the most well-rounded. Pugs are practitioners of shadowing, ESP and Zen, and they make great kid wranglers.
Trainability and Intelligence
With obedience and working intelligence ranking of 109 out of 138 breeds, one wouldn’t think the French Bulldog is the sharpest tool in the shed, and that’s a pretty accurate assumption. But Frenchies are much smarter than their position on the list would lead you to believe.
Whereas working breeds like the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever tend to be “book smart,” learning and obeying commands very quickly, Frenchies tend to be “street smart,” which means they have keen problem-solving abilities and learn from past experiences. Their low intelligence ranking may also have something to do with their stubbornness. It’s only natural that free-thinking canines would be listed as below-average when the breeds are ranked according to their work ethic and how quickly they follow commands.
Fittingly, when it comes to intelligence, the Boston Terrier is as smart, as it is smartly dressed.
A very attentive breed, they will learn your schedule, likes and dislikes and seem to interpret your moods. Sometimes, when they’re trying to figure out what you’re thinking or saying or want to tell you something, they might tilt their head sideways. Sound adorable? Well, you’re absolutely right—it is.
Since Bostons are generally eager to please their humans, they have a knack for quickly learning commands, but can also be quite stubborn, which is probably why they hold firm at number 100 in the intelligence ranking.
Sandwiched between the Frenchie and the Boston at 108, the Pug is another shining example of adaptive intelligence. When they make mistakes, they learn from them and make the necessary corrections. Pugs (like both Frenchies and Bostons) were not bred to do a particular job, so they lack the instinctive intelligence that dogs in other groups, such as the working or hound groups, possess.
That said, Pugs are pretty easy to train. They’re eager to please their people and love the attention they get by learning tricks, so when it comes to obedience training, they score fairly well. But don’t expect your Pug to ace housetraining. Like some toddlers, a Pug’s stubbornness tends to rear its ugly head when it’s time to go potty.
Round 4 Winner: Boston Terrier
Why: Let’s face it. The main point of training is to teach commands, and what teacher doesn’t love a quick learner?
Popularity – French Bulldog Vs Boston Terrier Vs Pug
French Bulldogs have emerged as one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., and of 197 breeds, they hold the number 4 spot on the American Kennel Club’s list of Most Popular Breeds for 2020.
People love them because they can adapt to any type of housing, are a great fit for both families and singles, are all about the leisure life—and let’s not forget those big, beautiful bat ears.
Boston Terriers currently rank at 21 on the AKC list. One reason they’ve secured their place as a favorite is their flexibility. They adjust well to any living space—from apartment to farm—are loyal, funny, intuitive and are down for doing whatever their people want to do…as long as it’s not too strenuous. And then, well…there’s that tuxedo and the whole State Dog of Massachusetts thing.
Ranking at 28 on the AKC’s list, Pugs pull up the caboose of our awesome threesome. Like the Frenchie and Boston, they can live anywhere, love to clown around, are perceptive, charming little pups. As a matter of fact, they possess so much personality, they have their own slogan, “multum in parvo,” which means “much in little.”
It also doesn’t hurt that they’re so ugly they’re cute.
Round 5 Winner: French Bulldog
Why: Heck, they made the AKC’s Top 10.
And our first Dog vs. Dog vs. Dog champion is….the PUG and the BOSTON TERRIER.
Well folks, since we have a draw, we need you to help us crown a winner. Leave a comment to let us know who you think the top dog should be!
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