The "Fluffy" French Bulldog – Presence of the Long Hair Gene.

By Alison Morgan - Famous Frenchies Australia (2019)

The long hair gene in canines, also known as Fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF) (1), is present within the French Bulldog population, along with all of the coloured combinations of blue, chocolate, cream and spotting. Only in the last two decades has science enabled breeders to undertake genetic analysis to determine if their dogs carry specific traits. In the last two years, Orivet - Australia’s leading canine genetic company (2), has added the long hair gene to the French Bulldog DNA full breed profile. The French Bulldog full breed profile is a selection of genetic traits relevant to the French Bulldog, that is set up by Orivet. Many French Bulldog breeders commonly purchase this breed profile (3) to determine, not only the common breed specific hereditary diseases, but also the popular colour traits and now the increasingly popular long hair gene.

French Bulldog Hair Length

The gene responsible for determining hair length in French Bulldogs is an autosomal recessive gene is called Fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF5). Canine genetic companies such as Orivet Australia can perform genetic tests to determine if a French Bulldog is a visual long hair (LH) or a visual short hair (SH) or a carrier of the two using a single assay test(4).

Sh/Sh - Short Hair

Sh/Sh - Short Hair

This dog carries two copies of the short hair Sh which results in short hair. This dog will pass on Sh to 100% of its offspring.

Sh/Lh - Short Hair

Sh/Lh - Short Hair

This dog carries one copy of the Sh and one copy of Lh which results in short hair. This dog will pass on Sh to 50% of its offspring and Lh to 50% of its offspring.

Lh/Lh - Long Hair

Lh/Lh - Long Hair

Lh/Lh FRENCH BULLDOG IS A VISUAL LONG HAIR (FLUFFY FRENCH BULLDOG) This dog carries two copies of Lh which results in long hair. This dog will pass on Lh to 100% of its offspring.

Breeding long hair french bulldogs


Ancestry – how did the long hair gene become present in the population, in the first place?

The common argument that the general public and other breeders make is that the longhaired French Bulldog is a mixed breed - mixed with a Pekinese is a common one or a long hair Chihuahua. We cannot say this hasn’t happened in the past, as in every industry there are always dishonest people. The breed was historically developed in the 1800s and was a cross between an English Bulldog and local ratter dogs in France. One can argue that these "local ratter" dogs could have been long coated or carried long hair gene which has been carried through the generations.

Thankfully, today science has allowed us to look at the genetic ancestry of dog breeds. Now breeders can use a genetic tool known as breed identification test to determine scientifically the breed descendants of a dog. This tool is exceptionally important for reputable breeders of the long hair (fluffy) French bulldog to scientifically prove that their dogs are not only 100% French bulldogs but also come with purebred pedigree papers. The breed identification test is available for purchase at most veterinary practices, pet stores and also through orivet genetic pet care (5).

1. Housley DJ, Venta PJ. (2006) The long and the short of it: evidence that FGF5 is a major determinant of canine 'hair'-itability. Anim Genet. Aug;37(4):309-15.
2. Orivet Genetic Pet Care Australia []
3.Orivet French Bulldog Full Breed Profile []
4. Orivet Long Hair Gene (Canine DUP GG) - SINGLE ASSAY TEST []
5. Orivet Dog Breed Identification Test []