Here’s an interesting chapter on the original differences (and similarities) between “Miniature” or “Bantam” Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs.
It’s taken from “The Complete Book of the Dog“, written By Robert Leighton, and Published by Cassell and Company, Ltd. of the UK, in 1922
Bantam Bulldogs are not really toys ; they are simply little ones, answering to the same standard of points as the ordinary Bulldog excepting that their weight is not more than 15 or 16 lb. Some few years ago this variety of our national breed entered into close competition against the bat-eared French Bulldog, and many remarkably good ones were brought forward by Lady Kathleen Pilkington, Mrs. Carlo Clarke, Mrs. Burrell and other ladies ; but there appeared to be no
great advantage in cultivating small size in a dog which was already so firmly fixed in type as the greater Bulldog, whereas the Miniature had no outstanding attractions, excepting those of ear carriage, which were not present in the Bouledogue Fran9ais. Miniature Bulldogs, of course, still exist ; but they are no longer being forced into public notice, and I doubt if they are still being designedly bred to the aim of diminutive size.
The French Bulldog.—
It was from the English variety of pygmy Bulldogs that the now fashionable French Bulldog was evolved. In the early ‘fifties of the last century there was a constant migration of laceworkers from Nottingham to the coast towns of Normandy, and these people frequently took their little Bulldogs with them. The process may have been intentional or accidental, but it is commonly believed that it was from these little Nottingham dogs that the French Bulldog got all but its large tulip ears. When this altered variety was imported into England somewhere about 1900 it entered into competition with our English Miniatures. The two were interbred, and there was confusion. Ultimately the Kennel Club decided that they must be kept apart under different breed names, and the French dog thereafter became officially recognized as the Bouledogue Francais.
In 1903 the French Bulldog Club (nb: of England) issued the following description :
General Appearance: The French Bulldog ought to have the appearance of an active, intelligent, and very muscular dog, of cobby build, and be heavy in bone for its size.
Head : The head is of great importance. It should be large and square, with the forehead nearly flat; the muscles of the cheek should be well developed, but not prominent. The stop should be as deep as possible. The skin of the head should not be tight, and the forehead should be well wrinkled. The muzzle should be short, broad, turn upwards, and be very deep. The lower jaw should project considerably in front of the upper, and should turn up, but should not show the teeth.
Eyes: The eyes should be of moderate size and of dark colour. No white should be visible when the dog is looking straight in front of him. They should be placed low down and wide apart.
Nose: The nose must be black and large.
Ears: Bat ears ought to be of a medium size, large at the base and rounded at the tips. They should be placed high on the head and carried straight. The orifice of the ear looks forward, and the skin should be fine and soft to the touch.
Neck: The neck should be thick, short, and well arched.
Body: The chest should be wide and well down between the legs, and the ribs well sprung. The body short and muscular, and well cut up. The back should be broad at the shoulder, tapering towards the loins, preferably well roached.
Tail: The tail ought to be set on low and be short; thick at the root, tapering to a point, and not carried above the level of the back.
Legs : The forelegs short, straight and muscular. The hind-quarters, though strong, should be lighter in proportion to the fore- quarters, the hocks well let down, and the feet compact and strong.
Coat : The coat of medium density ; black in colour is very undesirable.
As companions and friends the Miniature and the French Bulldogs are alike faithful, fond, and even foolish in their devotion, as all true friends should be. They are invariably good-tempered, and, as a rule, sufficiently fond of the luxuries of this life to be easily cajoled into obedience. Remarkably intelligent, and caring enough for sport to be sympathetically excited at the sight of a rabbit without degenerating into cranks on the subject like terriers ; taking a keen interest in all surrounding people and objects, without, however, giving way to ceaseless barking ; enjoying outdoor exercise, without requiring an exhausting amount, they are in every way desirable pets for both town and country.
As puppies they are delicate, and require constant care and supervision ; but that only adds a keener zest to the attractive task of breeding them, the more so owing to the fact that as mothers they do not shine, and generally manifest a strong dislike to rearing their own offspring. In other respects they are quite hardy little dogs, and—one great advantage—they seldom have distemper. Cold and damp they particularly dislike, especially when puppies, and the greatest care should be taken to keep them thoroughly dry and warm. When very young indeed they can stand, and are the better for, an extraordinary amount of heat.