ALL ABOUT LIVING WITH FRENCH BULLDOGS
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– My name is Sara Ruffin.
– [Ray] Ray Ruffin.
– [Sara] And we are proud
French bulldog owners.
According to AKC, the
Frenchies or French bulldogs
are well behaved, adaptable,
and comfortable companions
and they have a really affectionate nature
and even disposition, which
is very true for our puppies.
– [Ray] The nickname for
French bulldogs is Clown Dog
and it definitely applies to our two.
Ruka definitely does a lot of tricks,
likes to keep you happy.
Wilson’s a little more spontaneous.
He just finds random ways of doing things
that make me laugh, but Ruka specifically,
she’s definitely a bit of a character.
– I got Ruka 10 years ago.
So, yeah, she’s gonna be 10 this summer
and I got her when she
was eight weeks old.
I actually got Ruka when I
was graduating from college.
I’ve always been a dog owner
and I’ve always had Labradors
and I was looking for a city dog
that I could have in my
first apartment alone
and I found Ruka.
It was before the breed was really popular
so there weren’t a lot of breeders at all
and so it took me a long time to find her
but on SFGate, there was
a posting about a guy
that accidentally got his
French bulldog pregnant,
which is pretty rare and so
he was interviewing people
to find the right fit.
He wasn’t really looking to make money.
He just wanted to make sure his
puppies went to a good home.
So I got lucky.
They’re really good city dogs
because they don’t need a lot of space
and they’re super drawn to people.
They love to be around
people so living alone,
they just keep you company.
And they also have big dog personalities
but they’re small so it was
something I was looking for.
They don’t bark a lot
and they’re super lazy.
– I always wanted my own
dog, always wanted a boy dog
and Sara, she knew that
and she surprised me
with Wilson two years
ago as a Christmas gift.
I named him Wilson, actually,
ever seen the movie Cast
Away with Tom Hanks?
He had that volleyball.
And there’s that scene where he’s crying
’cause he lost his best friend.
So I’ve always felt that if I had a dog
and something happened to him,
I would feel the same way
so that’s how he got the name Wilson.
– Funny thing was we
would joke for years about
one day you’ll get your Wilson.
Like, we didn’t actually think
we were gonna call him Wilson,
but then we saw him,
we were like all right,
this is Wilson for sure.
So living with Frenchies
is never a dull moment.
In the morning, we call it
the Running of the Bulls
because they’ll, like, run full speed
into the kitchen to eat.
So we feed them in the
morning right when we get up
and then I work from home
so while I’m at my computer,
they’re always at your feet.
Like, Frenchies, they don’t
really leave your side.
They’re super drawn to humans.
They love just being around you
so even if I go into another room,
go into the bathroom,
wherever I go, they follow me.
– [Ray] You know, they
spend a lot of time with you
so in the morning, you feed them
and they’re gonna be pretty active,
probably ’til about 11 o’clock.
And then after that, it’s lights out.
They’re gonna sleep.
But when they’re awake,
they’re always with you.
If you’re watching TV, they’re–
Wilson likes to have contact so he will
physically nuzzle up to you
almost every time you’re around.
– He has to touch.
– Yeah, Ruka’s a little more independent.
She kinda roams around a little bit.
The only time that Wilson
is independent is at night.
So at night, we’ll go to
bed, Ruka will come with us.
And they have their beds
at the foot of our bed.
Wilson will stay out on the couch
’cause he’s just stubborn,
he doesn’t wanna move.
And then, you leave the door open.
He’s gonna be in the bedroom
within the next three hours.
– And we’re totally fine with that
’cause Frenchies do snore.
That’s the one thing to consider,
especially the squarer
the face, so Wilson.
Ruka doesn’t snore too much but Wilson,
he has a really square face
and he snores pretty loud,
louder than Ray.
He’s a snorer but it’s
almost like comforting,
it’s like having a sound
machine in the room
’cause it’s like a constant buzz.
– When I grew up, we had a pet dog
but the dog wasn’t allowed
to sleep in the bed.
I inherited Ruka by marriage
and Ruka was her bed partner, essentially
when we got married, and I was like,
I ain’t having that.
– She slept like, right here.
– And I’m a big guy so I
need all the space I can get.
You know, she was receptive to it.
I just basically said, she has to go
and she was receptive to it.
Now, she’ll still sneak into the bed
but on her side, away from me.
– [Sara] Only at the feet.
– [Ray] Yeah, and she’ll nuzzle her way
underneath a blanket,
especially in the winter months
when it’s colder.
Now, Wilson’s a different story.
If it’s cold, he’s gonna find warmth
so you can look at him, and
he knows to get off the bed
but when you go to sleep,
he’s gonna find a way
to sneak onto the bed and
try not to disrupt you.
– Actually when Ray and I met,
I did tell him, Ruka and
I are a package deal.
So it’s like, you take me and the dog
or you don’t get me at all.
So I think he understood
there were certain things
with Ruka and I that he
wasn’t gonna be able to break.
– I like Ruka.
And then, actually, there was a time
when he moved back to San Francisco
and he was like, kind of a dog owner
but not like me, like
sleeping with my dog,
like, doing everything with Ruka.
And then when he was looking for work,
it was a summer and the World Cup was on
and he just sat with
Ruka for a whole summer.
And she like, wouldn’t leave his side.
– [Ray] So the life
expectancy of a French bulldog
is 10 to 12 years.
So according to the AKC standards,
the weight of the French bulldog
shouldn’t exceed 28 pounds.
– One of the things that I’ve done
to help improve her life and her health
is just keep her really active.
I also feed her a really clean diet.
I think that’s helped a lot.
I’ve made sure that her weight stays down
and I think being around people
all the time really helps.
She’s like, constantly
surrounded by people.
I see a lot of other Frenchies her age
and they just kind of, their
joints look kinda stiff
and so I think a combination of diet
and exercise has really helped.
– [Ray] There’s a dry
food that I really like
and what I’ll do is I’ll
mix that with pumpkin seed
and so I’ve heard that’s
really good for their health.
But also I like to make their own food
so it’ll be a combination of
chicken parts with carrots.
They like that a lot.
– So some of the things that
we take into consideration
with the breed is heat is a huge factor
so when we take them on walks,
it’s usually in the
morning or in the evening
because they can overheat pretty easily.
We also have a house in Arizona
so we don’t really bring them
out into the heat very often.
That’s a huge factor with their breathing,
He has a really square head.
So one of the things we looked for
when we picked them out was
the size of their nostrils,
how easily they could breathe,
even when they were running.
And then, cleaning their folds,
we make sure their folds are always clean.
That helps a lot with their breathing.
– So for exercise, we
take them to the park
and when we’re there,
we’ll let ’em run freely.
They’ll play fetch, so
especially with the older one,
Ruka, she’s really good at it.
Wilson has just really
recently learned how to fetch,
but a big part of it is
just let them run freely
and the walks in the morning
or the afternoon is really key.
– Yeah, well just like
any brachiophalic breed,
one of the biggest factors
is their smooshed face
and their ability to breathe freely.
So heat, reducing the amount of–
Having them outside in the heat
can really create issues there.
– [Ray] We limit their walking.
Really no more than a mile.
We’re really sensitive to how far they go.
We pay attention, too, when
they start to overheat.
– So weight is also a huge factor.
We make sure that they don’t eat more than
a measured amount at a certain time of day
and then we’ll cut back
even, a little bit,
if we notice their weight,
if they’re getting a
little bit less exercise,
like in the summertime when it’s too hot,
we will cut their food back a little bit.
So try to keep their joints
really free and easy.
We also have ramps.
You know, like little step stairs
so that they don’t jump.
I think that can be a
factor with Frenchies
’cause they’re so dense.
So we try to make sure that they’re
able to easily get up and down off things
without putting a ton of
weight on their joints.
Yeah, we have a lot of rules in terms–
Well, he has more rules than I do.
Like, they’re not allowed
on certain furniture,
they get fed the same time of day,
what other rules?
– Biggest thing is keeping
them off certain furniture.
I think that’s the biggest thing.
Feedings, we have them on a
strict schedule with feedings
so it’s always right when we wake up
so usually about 8:00 and then
we’ll feed them again right around 5.
– And we don’t let them bark.
We try to really limit–
– We try to keep them
– They’re not big barkers, in general,
so we’ve really tried to keep that at bay.
We’ve been less successful
with our guests because people,
when they see Frenchies,
it’s like seeing a baby.
Like there’s something about Frenchies
that people just–
Even if we had rules when people come by,
they like, want the dogs next to them
and they’ll bring them everywhere,
try to feed them, all those
things that we don’t do
so yeah, and now that
they’ve gotten so popular,
the breed, it’s like anywhere we walk,
people will surround us,
try to play with them.
So we actually used crate
training for both of our dogs
until they were about a year and a half.
Especially at night, that’s
how we potty trained them,
pretty quickly, crate
training worked really quickly
with both dogs.
I found that they both
wanted to be in their crate.
Like at night, they will go
into their crate on their own
and then we eased out of using the crate
for both of them.
So when we leave the house,
we don’t put them in a crate.
– [Ray] I think the
advantage of having two
was the older one actually
trained the younger one.
That was a huge advantage in terms of
pretty much everything,
he just followed her,
he learned to use a
doggy door through her,
he learned when to go to the bathroom,
he would kinda follow her cycle.
So it was a big help for us.
– In terms of security, I think Wilson
is like an early morning system.
He wouldn’t be able to take anyone out
but he gives them a little bit of a pause
because he’s really protective over me.
He actually is like a guard
dog, more so than my labs.
– [Ray] Baseball, the sport
that I’m most passionate for.
I started playing when
I was five years old
and I played all the
way through high school
and a big St. Louis Cardinals
and Oakland A’s fan.
Actually, I even coach
Little League right now
so I coach a Little League team
and still like to try to find ways to play
but with the French bulldogs, I can still
kinda go out and throw the ball around
and they’ll play fetch with me.
And I enjoy it just as much
as they do, for the most part.
You know, since they are Frenchies,
you kinda gotta watch them,
make sure that they don’t overheat.
So you know, it’s about 10 to 15 tosses,
you know, you don’t toss it as far,
you kinda keep it close by.
It’s just important to watch their health,
watch their breathing.
– One of my greatest passions
and it used to be a hobby
and now it’s become a profession is yoga.
I consider myself a yogini.
I practice yoga everyday
and I teach yoga as well.
I also offer opportunities to get together
and to heal and I think that that’s
what Frenchies have done for–
French bulldogs have done in my life.
They offer this sense of grounding
and relaxation and joy
which is very similar
to what yoga and meditation
represent in my life.
Like, I think we would
have like 10 if we could.
For us, I think the most
important thing with Frenchies
is just their personality
and finding a good breeder
’cause if you do, like we’re lifetime
Frenchy owners now for sure.
– Oh yeah.
– They’re just, like,
loyal, lazy, super funny,
but also they’re really smart dogs.
I’m partial to big dogs
before I got Frenchies
and I feel like we do have
big dogs in many ways.
– [Ray] They have big personalities.
I think the best thing
about French bulldogs,
I think they’re the classic mix
of everything you’ll want in a dog.
They’re playful enough,
but they’re not aggressive.
They can be lazy, which is
good when you wanna unwind.
You have a good mix.
I don’t feel like there’s
anything that they do in excess.
– I could not imagine my
life without French bulldogs.
They bring so much joy
everyday, like when I’m working,
just every single day of my life
is enhanced because of my Frenchies.
– I can’t imagine another breed.
I’m convinced we’re gonna always have
at least two Frenchies in the house.
If I could do more, I would do more.
I just need a little bit more space,
but I can’t imagine life without ’em.