FRENCH BULLDOG COLORS: STANDARD & NON- STANDARD

I get SO many questions weekly asking for explanations on all the different colors of French Bulldogs. It seems each time I post a French Bulldog puppy, I get at least 5 questions about colors. I took that as a sign that I have some explaining to do! I specialize in breeding ethical and non-standard French Bulldogs. If you’re interested in learning what I call the “coat colour wheel” then keep reading!

Standard French Bulldog Colors:

  • Brindle 
  • Cream 
  • Fawn
  • Black
  • Any mix of all above

Non-standard French Bulldog Colors:

  • Blue
  • Merle
  • Lilac
  • Isabella
  • Chocolate
  • Blue Fawn
  • Platinum
  • Any mix of the above + tan

It’s good to keep in mind standard vs non-standard colors in French Bulldogs when budgeting for one. You can expect to pay more for a non-standard Frenchie compared to the standard. Prices also vary based on bloodlines, breeding rights & CKC/AKC registration, and the breeders knowledge. If you’re in the market for a family pet, that’s a different wish list. 

Standard French Bulldog Colors & Patterns Explained 

Brindle

coloring in a French Bulldog is one of the most common patterns. Brindle French Bulldogs have a base coat of fawn hairs through which black hairs extend in bands to produce a coat that can range from a “tiger” brindle (more fawn hairs predominate) to the more common brindles (black hairs predominate). The light/tiger brindle pattern is also known as “reverse brindle” and is generally more rare.

Piebald Pattern

Photo Credit: Angelos Michalopoulos

is actually NOT a French Bulldog color, but a PATTERN. A pied French Bulldog is one that has a pattern of pigmented spots on unpigmented (white) background hairs. You can find pied French Bulldogs in multiple standard color variations, such as brindle pied, fawn pied, red fawn pied, etc. Pied can also come in exotic color variations. 

Cream

French Bulldogs are often mistaken for light fawn French Bulldogs, and vise versa. A true cream Frenchie will look slightly off white all throughout, aka a solid color. It’s a recessive dilute from the fawn coat. Creams have no markings on them, have black pigment, black noses, black eye rims, black paw pads and black lips. Although sometimes similar in looks, Cream French Bulldogs will have different DNA than light fawns. 

Fawn

Photo Credit:
Alexandru Sofronie

French Bulldog colors come in different shades, from very light, to almost cream looking ones, to a deep red fawn. They can have a mask or be maskless. Sometimes you will see fawn combined with an exotic color, which dilution affects the “black mask”, eyes, nose and paw pads.

Black and Blue Pied

French Bulldog colors are a non-standard color in the standard color range. A French Bulldog is considered black if the coat color is solid without any signs of brindle, which is rare. There is almost always brindle coloring poking through on otherwise seemingly black dogs. 

Non-standard French Bulldog Colors & Patterns Explained 

Blue

Blue French Bulldog standing on a rock with waves coming in and splashing ont he rockes behind him.
Füli is My Pawesome Frenchies OG. He is a solid Blue French Bulldog

French Bulldogs actually LOOK gray. Their coloring is the result of a dilution gene, which affects mostly black coats and sometimes red/fawn. It breaks down to their DNA profile. Where a French Bulldog has two copies of something called a “d allele” (dd) gene, a black dog will become blue. The shade can range from very light gray to ALMOST black. Their nose shade is how you can tell for sure. 

Lilac

Tod – One of My Pawesome Frenchies Lilac pups

French Bulldogs are pretty rare on the color wheel. They are a result of parents with blue and chocolate DNA. The same dilution gene that causes a black dog to become blue, causes a chocolate dog to become a lilac. Lilac French Bulldogs boast a very light blue/lilac coat color (almost silver looking), with light eyes and pinkish muzzles. 

Chocolate

French Bulldogs are a similar dilution of the black color but a different gene, known as the “B locus”. There is also a variation known as “liver” coloring with a slightly different genotype. 

Merle

CKC Reg My Pawesome Frenchie Cîroc

French Bulldogs look like they have mottled patches of color in either a solid or piebald coat. This pattern usually comes along with bright blue eyes. While the merle gene itself does not come with health issues, if you were to breed a merle with another merle (as opposed to a solid coat color), it can cause severe health issues. Merle is a pattern, not a color. 

Platinum

BluFrenchibles Main Stud Astro

French Bulldogs are very similar to cream colored ones but their nose, eyes, lips and paw pads will appear slightly lighter/more diluted than the standard black points on a cream dog. 

Isabella, blue fawn, black & tan, blue & tan, blue merle, lilac tan, merle & tan, and chocolate tan

My Pawesome Frenchies Harvey and Thor

French Bulldogs are all rare/exotic combinations of other breed colors. Keep in mind, that descriptive terms such as “merle” as used to identify PATTERNS, NOT COLORS. Usually, the dog will have an identifiable base color or pattern and then have points that would identify as another label. Let me know in the comments if you’d like a more in depth explanation of these as well!

  1. Dan says:

    Quick questions,

    My male is white with light grey merle patches, mom was blue merle and father was brindle. Both his eyes are different colors, one blue and one deep brown. Not sure what color he would fall under.

    Can you help me determine this? Or oint me in the right direction.

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