14 Rare & Standard French Bulldog Colours Explained [With Pictures]

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by Lily Ferreras


You may have noticed French Bulldogs of different shapes, sizes, and (yes) colours.

Here we’ll have a look at all French Bulldog colours to see which ones are included in the official breed standards and how unethical breeding can play a part in this as well.

French Bulldog Colours

Here are 14 different colours of French Bulldogs, including breed standards approved and other colourings (often referred to as rare):

  1. Brindle French Bulldog
  2. Fawn French Bulldog
  3. Pied French Bulldog
  4. White French Bulldog
  5. Black French Bulldog
  6. Black and Tan French Bulldog
  7. Black and White French Bulldog
  8. Chocolate French Bulldog
  9. Lilac, aka Isabella, French Bulldog
  10. Lilac and Tan French Bulldog
  11. Blue French Bulldog
  12. Blue Fawn French Bulldog
  13. Sable French Bulldog
  14. Merle French Bulldog

1. Brindle French Bulldog

This is the most common colouring/marking for Frenchies.

And if you aren’t familiar with the word “brindle”, then the next logical question is:

What is a brindle French Bulldog?

Brindle is a colour pattern caused by a mixture of black hairs and fawn hairs. The brindle pattern is often referred to as “tiger-striped.” Depending on the mixture of hairs, coats can range from very light to very dark (almost black looking). 

Brindle Frenchies can also have white markings, provided that brindle predominates (usually they get a patch of white on their chest). Their eye rims, eyelashes, noses and lips should be black. Their eyes are dark coloured.

Although they look nearly black, these two Frenchies have a black brindle coat (it’s not pure black).

2. Fawn French Bulldog

Fawn range from very light to actually very dark, with a reddish hue. However, cream and red shades are less desirable.

Although fawn coloured coats can come with or without a black mask, they tend to have a masking of darker hairs: a black muzzle and black nose. It reminds us of the Boxer-like mask. They also have dark cloured eyes.

White markings are permitted, provided that fawn predominates. For instance, they can have small dots of white or a white chest.

Fawn Frenchie with mask.

3. Pied French Bulldog

Pied French Bulldogs have a totally unique coat pattern with a predominantly white with patches of brindle or fawn. Patches can be on the head, body or both. In pied Frenchies, their eye rims, eyelashes and lips should preferably be black.


4. White French Bulldog

White frenchies are classified with pieds for show purposes i.e. you can get a white Frenchie with no patches, but they should have a black nose and dark coloured eyes.


Brindle, fawn and pied are the only recognised French Bulldog colours.

Now, we’ll look through the colours and markings that are not part of the breed standards and may be considered “rare” or unethical, as French Bulldogs are bred to look exotic rather than healthy.

5. Black French Bulldog

The difference between a brindle black and a black French Bulldog is that black Frenchies have a solid black coat, with no traces of brindle pattern, which is rare.


6. Black and Tan French Bulldog

Black and Tan Frenchies are solid black French Bulldogs with tan markings (the one in the photo below also has white markings). These markings usually appear in the shape of “eyebrows”, patches on the sides of the cheeks, paws and occasionally on the tail as well.


7. Black and White French Bulldog

The black and white Frenchie is a less common combination (or markings) of white and brindle black.


8. Chocolate French Bulldog

Chocolate Frenchies are all solid brown, i.e., no markings, although it can vary from dark chocolate to lighter colouring. The coat colour is due to a recessive gene which must be inherited from both parents. 

Their eyes come in green, brown, golden, and even bright yellow colours.

Note: the Frenchie in the image below looks like it has a brindle pattern too.


9. Lilac, aka Isabella, French Bulldog

The Lilac French Bulldog, also known as the Isabella colour, has a coat colour that carries a dilute gene that is reponsible for the lilac undertone. This dilution looks like a greyish-blue, liver-coloured coat. Isabella Frenchies have lighter brown to pink noses and mouths, while their eyes can range from light brown to blue.

They also have markings on their chests coloured in white or cream.


10. Lilac and Tan French Bulldog

The lilac and tan Frenchie has a lilac tone coat, as well as tan markings. Lilac French Bulldogs often have light-coloured eyes such as yellow, light brown and blue.

Lilac Frenchie (left) and Lilac and Tan Frenchie (right)

11. Blue French Bulldog

The blue Frenchie’s coat colour comes from a very rare dilute gene that is responsible for the bluish shine of coats. It also affects their eye colour, making them either blue or grey.


12. Blue Fawn French Bulldog

The blue fawn Frenchie is also referred to as blue and tan. They have blue for their dominant colour and fawn, white or cream markings above their eyes, on their cheeks, bellies, and legs.

They are another example of a French Bulldog pup that carries a recessive dilute gene inherited from both parents.


13. Sable French Bulldog

Sable or Liver French Bulldogs have a reddish sort of pigment with fawn as the base colouring. Their colour may vary from light tan to darker variations. They also have black and black-tipped hairs.


14. Merle French Bulldog

Merle, sometimes also called harlequin or dapple, is a controversial genetic pattern. This is because the same gene that controls this coat colour can produce eye and ear disorders (deafness).

Merle is a canine coat colour pattern that is naturally occurring to only a few breeds. That’s why Merle French Bulldogs are mixed since this pattern doesn’t naturally exist in this breed.

The merle Frenchie is a clear example of the unethical breeding of French Bulldogs. The breeding goal is for their looks, disregarding the dog’s health.


French Bulldog Breed Standards

If you are looking to get a Frenchie, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the breed standards before moving ahead to finding a reputable breeder.

Why? If you don’t know what the breed standards are for the French Bulldog, you will be at a loss when examining puppies.

You want to be able to identify a purebred French Bulldog from a crossbred. Plus, an unethical breeder might try to take advantage of you.

Breeders can register their French Bulldogs claiming that they are purebred when they might not be.

As you can see from the French Bulldog colours guide, there’s a wide colour rainbow out there. So, getting to know this breed’s standards helps you to make an informed decision.

Also, rather than only focusing on the colour, you would want to make sure that the French Bulldog puppy that you choose is healthy and has been bred while keeping temperament and health in mind.

According to the AKC, the official French Bulldog breed standards state the following:

General Appearance

A purebred French Bulldog is:

  • Active, intelligent, and curious.
  • Muscular, of heavy bone and compactly built.
  • Of medium or small structure.
  • Smooth-coated.
  • Square-headed with bat ears and a roach back.

Size, Proportion, Substance

In terms of their body:

  • Weight: 23 – 28 pounds (10.4 – 12.7 kg). Not to exceed 28 pounds.
  • Size: 11 – 13 inches (28 – 33 cm)
  • Substance: Muscular, heavy boned.
  • Proportion: Compact, well balanced and in good proportion (no prominence from either excess or lack).

Read also: French Bulldog Growth Stages [Size and Weight Chart].



A French Bulldog’s head is large and square. Also, the top of a French Bulldog’s skull is flat between the ears and their forehead is slightly rounded.

  • Mouth or muzzle: A French Bulldog muzzle is broad, deep and square. They have a slightly undershot – wry mouths and any bitesother than undershot are serious faults. French bulldogs teeth is sound and regular, but not visible when the mouth is closed. Their tongue shouldn’t protrude.
  • Eyes: Preferably dark (brown or approaching black in colour) and matching. Moderate size, round, neither sunken nor prominent. They set relatively wide apart and on same level as the stop. The eyes show no white of the eye when looking forward. A French Bulldog with blue eyes or green eyes (or any traces of blue or green) is a reason to disqualify.
  • Ears: Known as “bat ears”, they are broad at the base, elongated, round at the top and they are carried erect (upright). They set high on the head but not too close to each other. The skin inside the ears is soft and you can see their ear canals when staring from the front. Other than bat ears is a disqualification.
  • Nose: A French Bulldog nose is black, except in the case of cream or fawn colored dogs without black masks, where a lighter colored nose is acceptable. They have heavy wrinkles forming a soft roll over their short nose. The nostrils are broad with a well-defined line between them.

Read also: French Bulldog Ears Facts, Problems, Tapping and Cleaning and Identify, Treat and Prevent French Bulldog Eye Problems.

Neck, Topline and Tail

Continuing with a Frenchie’s anatomy lesson…

Their body is short and well rounded. The chest is broad, deep, and full, with their belly tucked up.

  • Neck: Powerful, well arched and thick, of moderate length. They have loose skin at the throat.
  • Topline: The back is a roach back with a slight fall close behind the shoulders, gradually rising to the loin which is higher than the shoulder, and rounding at the croup. The back is strong and short, broader at the shoulders, and tapering to the rear.
  • Tail: The tail is very short, but it should to cover anus. It’s thick at its root and fine at the tip. It hangs low, i.e., they carry it on a low position. Their tail type can be either straight or screwed, but not curly (like Pugs or Boston Terriers).

Read also: French Bulldogs Tail Types, Pocket, Problems and Docking.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Regarding French Bulldog’s forequarters:

  • Forelegs are set wide apart.
  • They are straight boned, strong, muscular and short.
  • Feet are moderate in size, compact and firmly set.
  • Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short stubby nails.

When looking at French Bulldog’s hindquarters:

  • Hind legs are strong and muscular.
  • They are relatively longer than their forelegs with moderate angulation.
  • Hocks (joint of a dog, which is analogous to the ankle joint of humans) well let down.
  • Hind feet slightly longer than forefeet.

Coat, Color and Markings

  • Coat: Short and smooth. Their skin is soft and loose, especially at the head and shoulders, forming wrinkles.
  • Colours: Acceptable colors include white, cream, fawn (ranging from light fawn to a red fawn), or any combinations of the foregoing.
  • Markings: Brindle, piebald, black masks, black shadings, and white markings. Ticking is acceptable but not desired, according to the AKC breed standards.

All other colours, markings or patterns are a disqualification.

Disqualifying colours and patterns include, but are not limited to, solid black, black and tan, black and white, white with black, blue, blue fawn, liver, and merle. Black means black without a trace of brindle.

Before moving on, have you heard of the term French Bulldog quad?

It has to do with their colouring. A quad French Bulldog has the potential to produce 4 rare colours in the litter if mated with another quad carrier of the opposite sex.

Breeders also refer to them as French Bulldog triple carriers when they carry 3 of the rare colour DNA genes. By mating a triple carrier female with a triple carrier male, they can guarantee that the offspring will be one of the “rare” colours (which are disqualified colours and can cause health issues, by the way).



Wondering about French Bulldogs’ personality?

The French Bulldog dog breed is:

  • Affectionate.
  • Adaptable.
  • Playful (but not overly boisterous).
  • Active.
  • Alert.

French Bulldog Crosses and Mixes

Here’s a list of the most common French Bulldogs crosses and mixes:

Breed MixedFrench Bulldog Cross Name
French Bulldog x Boston TerrierFrenchton
French Bulldog x PugFrug
French Bulldog x ChihuahuaFrench Bullhuahua
French Bulldog x PitbullFrench Pitbull Dog
French Bulldog x BeagleFrengle
French Bulldog x BoxerFrench Bulloxer
French Bulldog x PomeranianFrench Pomerdog
French Bulldog x German ShepherdFrenchie Shepherd
French Bulldog x PoodleFroodle/French Boodle
French Bulldog x RottweilerFrench Bullweiler
French bulldog x StaffyFrenchie Staff
French Bulldog x Shih TzuFrench Bull Tzu
And the list goes on!

Let us know in the comments section below what you think is important for you when getting a French Bulldog!

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