Skip to Content

Isabella French Bulldog: Earth’s Rarest Jewel?

Isabella French Bulldog: Earth’s Rarest Jewel?

Two questions probably lit up in your mind when you read about the Isabella French Bulldog: Who the heck is Isabella? and What did she do to the poor Frenchie?

Answering the first involves some, allegedly, historical explanation and the second is quite straightforward really.

No doubt, you have seen Frenchies before, and the overall aesthetic is not unfamiliar to your eyes. However, there is something peculiar about Isabellas!

It is all about that collector’s edition color. An Isabella will guarantee that you stand out among other Frenchie owners.

Confusion Intensifies: Isabella French Bulldogs Or Lilac French Bulldogs

Everyone likes to put their own spin on things. It is simply in our nature. Naming dog breeds is definitely a full-time job.

Searching for information on the internet can sometimes be exhausting due to conflicting information on the same topic. Isabella and lilac fall into this category.

The lilac French Bulldog is a shade of pink that has some chocolate brown mixed with blue, while an Isabella Frenchie adds a bit of liver-gray on top!

Now we will put in our best effort to finally put a stop to the dilemma and clarify the two naming conventions and the coat color difference.

The Isabella Frenchie’s Dirty Laundry

Isabella the French bulldog is lying down and playing with a toy

Do you miss your history lessons from back in the day? We will scratch that itch right now. Step into the time machine and press the Frenchie icon on the screen.

Why is this Isabella important for the French Bulldog color? She is absolutely not important and could be just a misnomer from two different words that are not even from the same language.

There is a pretty nasty story some sites tell about a Spanish princess from the 16th and 17th century but we will not ruin your Frenchie experience by telling it. If you like that shock factor, of course, you are free to google it.

Science Produces Isabellas!

Breeding Isabella French bulldogs is a complex genetic process that yields rare color results. We need to talk about it a bit more in-depth to understand properly.

Thanks to these sub-microscopic champions called alleles, we get color variations in French bulldogs. Humans and animals alike get two of these from each parent. You might have heard of dominant and recessive genes. Well, these are exactly that.

So, combining the same colored parents for a Frenchie gives… Uh, the same colored dog. This is quite straightforward. However, if one parent has the recessive gene, and the other a dominant one, you basically have a lottery ticket and will see a new genotype.

With Frenchies, the breeders mastered the process of “coloring” by manipulating what color data the melanophilin gene carries, and they can tell with certainty whether the French bulldog puppy will be an Isabella, New Isabella or lilac.


Concerning The Isabella Color

Default Isabella

The Isabella color is accomplished when you mix blue and brown . The blue color is conditioned by the dilute gene or D locus while the brown color needs the presence of the B locus. These are double dilutes.

If you see D/D B/B it means the French bulldog does not carry either locus, meaning Isabella is not an option. A D/d B/b combination has the possibility to become Isabella, and the d/d b/b is a guaranteed Isabella color.

This is a predominantly opaque brown over blue coat color and your Isabella French bulldog puppy will have amber or green eyes.

This locus and color dilution business is complicated but the most important thing is to understand what you are seeing on a breeders website. It is also the rarest color found in a Frenchie.

The New Isabella Coat

Here is where we get another allele participant, the N locus. Similar to the “default” Isabella color, this one adds the coco color into the mix and the concept is identical to the previous formula.

A D/D B/B N/N combination, again, indicates that none of the three locuses is present and you will not get a New Isabella color. Seeing D/d B/b n/co means there is one gene of dilute and brown so you might get a New shade Isabella.

Finally, the d/d b/b co/co sequence tells you that a New Isabella color is certain. The color description is a faint gold-tinged shade of pink. Expect light brown or

Other French Bulldog Colors And Fancy Patterns

Onto The Lilac French Bulldog

Lilac French Bulldog

One more genetics heading and we are done, we promise! The dilute is double here too. This time around though, blue is joined by coco (CO Locus) which is a chocolaty brown color.

If the sequence is D/D n/n, it tells us that there is no chance of getting a lilac Frenchie. For a possibility, you need a D/d n/co string and guaranteed lilac reads d/d co/co.

The Brown Formula

Black is the dominant gene in Frenchies and that means that brown can only be achieved if it is a double dilute. The sequence B/b or B/B will not result in a brown puppy. To get the chocolate color you need b/b.

Dilution Is A Color Too

Explaining this is pretty simple. If there is a D locus, there need to be two alleles of d/d for a puppy to turn out a pale version of the color it should be. The double dilution of black becomes a hue of silverish gray. This is known as the blue French Bulldog or blue Frenchie.

Spots And Stripes Will Get You Compliments

We talked about recessive genes that are specialized in coloring the entire body in a specific color. Now we will mention the ones that give your merle French bulldog or brindle Frenchie the Dalmatian or tiger vibe.

This means coloration affects patches of the French bulldog coat. It can manifest itself as spots or stripes. The latter has less abrupt breaks in color but the contrast is visible.

That Merle French Bulldog Looks Like Pearl

For your Frenchie puppy to be merle, one parent is plenty to make it happen. You are looking at the M gene and a result of n/n means no merle. Your French bulldog puppies will be merle if the DNA test says M/n. It also insinuates that half of the litter will carry the recessive gene too.

Breeders who mate two merles can be considered irresponsible and unethical since the merle recessive gene carries big health problems by itself, let alone doubling that risk.

Most often, double merle French bulldogs have serious eye or ear aberrations. These can be severe to the point of complete loss of eyesight or hearing. Buy responsibly and avoid breeders who conduct bad breeding practices.

If you thought it could not get more rare than the Isabella color, think again. Isabella merle Frenchies exist too.

Frenchie Brindle On A Swindle

The brindle marker is not a gene per se but it is rather dominant in brindle French bulldogs. It is common to the extent that the American Kennel Club acknowledges it among the breed standards.

There are other breeds that have this recessive gene, such as the mastiff (perhaps the most popular breed of dog with this pattern) or greyhound.

A sequence of ky/ky has no brindle gene thus no way the puppy turns out striped. A kb/ky string will be brindle but not the entire litter will be that way. That requires a kb/kb or double recessive gene to happen.

A Word Or Two About Isabella French Bulldogs

That Short Head Is So Cute!

Isabella French Bulldog sitting on green grass

Photo from: @isabellafrenchiesusa

Brachycephalic dogs have horizontally shorter skulls than normal. This was, allegedly, accomplished by cross breeding Parisian ratters and Toy Bulldogs who, along with their owners, moved from England over to France.

With a good choice of breeder and excellent care, your Isabella French bulldog should live from 10 to 12 years.

They remain rather small, even fully grown, never going above 13 inches. In terms of weight, 28 pounds would be the maximum for a healthy French bulldog. Their coat is smooth as butter, in part because it is very short.

The shedding level is nothing to write home about and grooming them is a chore you are free to forget from time to time. Frenchies love you so much that they drool a fair amount. The river flows in you Frenchie.

There are plenty of colors and markings to choose from here and all are AKC approved. That is good news if you want to conquer the dog show world.

Why The Smug Face?

Hey! It is not a smug face, that is how it looks. We know Frenchie, we meant no insult it is just fun and jokes. They might not understand our sense of humor but they are playful dogs and will pull a revenge prank on you when you least expect it.

Good thing is they do not bark a lot unless you are out of luck. Tiring them is not difficult since they are a small breed and some training will be very beneficial for the French bulldog. They are not as stubborn as English bulldogs so learning new things will be enjoyable for everyone.

Thinking a lot is not a Frenchie thing but they are smart and you can spend a few hours a day getting those bulldog brain cells working properly!

Guests, guests, guests! The breed welcomes strangers as they are additional eyes to feast on Frenchie remarkability. They will not care if you visit or are getting visits – adaptation is not a big deal to them.

The Isabella French Bulldog Needs A Lot Of Care

Satisfying human visual preferences is not the Frenchie’s fault. The appearance and color experimentation led the breed to become susceptible to many health issues.

The new puppy you just brought home is very sensitive and already at a health disadvantage. We will go through the most common conditions your Frenchie might develop.

Note that most of these conditions are congenital or genetic and the breeding process itself is what causes health issues.

Spring Season Got Your Frenchie Sneezing

Disregard the short coat. It does not help them with allergies. If you are, like some of us, allergic to virtually everything you might have a canine friend who fully understands what you are going through.

All the common things you might be allergic to cause your Frenchie’s histamine levels to go through the roof too. We got dust, mold, different bugs and mites, pollen, foods, shampoos etc. We know, that is a hefty list with an “etc.” at the end.

Allergy symptoms can be spotted fairly easily. Your dog might scratch incessantly, sneeze, cough, constantly rub its face, have liquid and/or irregular poop, puke and other things.

Do not take your Frenchie into high grass or similar settings because it is probably allergic to it. The food allergy list for a French bulldog is rather extensive and can include almost every type of meat including fish.

Why Is My Coat Almost Transparent?!

Isabella French Bulldog sits on a blanket

Photo from: @isabellafrenchiesusa

If your Frenchie is losing hair its unique color is definitely not helping him here. Genetic conditions in diluted color dogs can increase the chance of alopecia. Of course, checking with the vet is a must so that other causes can be ruled out.

The treatment for alopecia in Frenchies can vary depending on the cause. Sometimes food or allergens are the culprit but there are cases where, if left undiagnosed, deadly diseases cause hair loss.

Never administer any home remedies or ointments for human skin without consulting a veterinarian. French bulldog skin, especially of those with recessive genes, is extremely sensitive and requires adequate care.

Overheating Frenchie? Oh no.

Body temperature control is a weakness in Isabella French bulldogs. You can imagine how hard it is breathing through a flattened nose while running circles around the house.

Heat strokes do not come suddenly though. They are preceded by heat exhaustion and the symptoms can be tiredness, dizziness, loss of balance, gums of a bluish or reddish color. There are more symptoms that show or not depending on how intense the heat exhaustion is.

To avoid both, we recommend having a cool temperature in the house. This is of vital importance in hot areas of the world. Keep your dog hydrated and do not take walks while it is hot. If in a car, keep the air conditioning on and never, ever leave the dog in the car.

If your dog does suffer heat stroke immediately get him into shade and cool it with water. If it happens at home, put it in the bathtub with cool water.

Related: Why Do Dogs Pant In The Car: 10 Causes & Solutions You Must Know

Shniff, Shniff! Help, My Nose Is Flat!

Stenotic nares are a product of Frenchie genetics that can cause their nostrils to be narrowed. These pooches just cannot get a break. This one might keep you awake at night because it, most often, manifests itself as snoring and snorting.

This condition further increases their susceptibility to heat stroke. The narrowing of the nostrils can be mild or serious. Depending on how severe the condition is, you can opt in for surgery. Most of the stenotic nares surgeries are nowadays standard in Frenchie lives.

What Are You Saying Karen? I Can’t Read Lips!

Ear problems are a big one with Isabella French bulldogs. It is a very common condition in all dogs, not just Frenchies. However, having already lost at the genetics front, they do not need another condition!

Partial deafness can be present at birth too or develop over the years. Checking your puppy’s hearing should be done precautionary. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a puppy has hearing problems without a test such as the BAER Test.

Merle French bulldogs have a significantly higher chance of hearing loss due to white coated dogs having improperly developed cilia (hairs in the inner ear that help with balance). This happens because there are not enough pigment cells in the body.

Even The Eyes?

Yes, even the eyes are a common problem with Isabella French bulldogs. Though conjunctivitis is not a condition exclusive to Frenchies nor are the causes always known, it is one to watch for.

With the allergy problem we already went through, it is self-explanatory why food can be a common denominator in conjunctivitis.

Your vet will probably give you a topical antibiotic or a therapy adequate for your dog if it has underlying conditions.

I Might Have Degenerative Myelopathy Too…

The spinal cord has these things called axons. They group inside the spinal fluid and have a myelin coating. This coat is a protective barrier for the axons and also improves nerve conductivity.

Though some studies indicate that degenerative myelopathy is present in a substantial percent of French bulldogs, only a small number will have effects.

Since this condition is caused by gene mutations and we know how Frenchies fare with genetics, it is highly likely that more of the French bulldog population will be affected.

French Bulldog Breeders And Pricing

Frenchie Breeders Are Chemists!

Isabella the French bulldog is sitting on the car seat

Photo from: @khanikennels

Breeding an Isabella French bulldog is no easy task. The money, expertise, and mainly time invested in creating such a rare coat on a dog is expensive. All the gene shenanigans we talked about earlier? That is barely a scratch on the surface of what breeders need to know.

For merle French bulldogs or something as rare as Isabella colored Frenchies, you must choose a reputable breeder. How to find one? Well, you can always ask your veterinarian, French bulldog clubs or people who own a Frenchie.

Reviews and opinions, whether online or in person, are an important part of raising French bulldog breeding standards. Do not just observe. Participate and promote ethical breeding for this amazing breed.

Prepare To Mortgage Your House

High-quality breeders will take your money and buy their own house! Just kidding. However, talking about rare color Frenchies such as the Isabella, lilac, merle or similar is a prickly subject.

Expect to pay from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The average price of an Isabella color puppy can be from $4000 to $15000. There are breeders out there that sell New Isabella or merle Isabella puppies for more than $30000.

If you decide to spend the money on a posh little Frenchie make sure to research before buying. Other people who have had good experiences and healthy dogs will probably not be as vocal as those who were given puppies born out of unethical breeding practices so ask around.

Do You Like Your Frenchie Rare?

If you like the Isabella French bulldog because it is rare and unique, you are right to do so. However, the prices for these dogs are very high and the health problems are abundant. Buying a Frenchie with double dilutes is risky and very costly.

Make sure you are able to financially deal with what may come in the future regardless of the breeders reputability.

The loving and playful character of this designer dog is infatuating and if color is of no importance to you then consider adopting a rescue. Many owners give out their Frenchies because they are unable to provide the money for health treatment.

We trust you are not one of those and will be incredibly happy with your new, one-of-a-kind puppy!

Read Next: Piebald French Bulldog – Facts About The Frenchie Color Palette