Frenchies are one of the most popular dog breeds, especially when it comes to smaller dogs. They’re cute to look at and very charming.

Frenchies come in a variety of colors but have you heard of a tri French Bulldog?

A Tri French Bulldog is a Frenchie with three distinct colors in their coat.

However, it can also refer to a French Bulldog that carries three rare color traits in their DNA

This is really useful for breeders as they can breed tri dogs together to create rare colored puppies. 

You might hear the term tri gene, which refers to the genetic variation that carries the 3 rare color traits

Tri colored Frenchies are growing in popularity and it’s no wonder. They’re beautiful to look at and have charming personalities like other Frenchies. 

Regardless of a French Bulldog’s colors, they still have the same exercise requirements, general health needs, training requirements, and personality traits as any other color of Frenchie. 

It’s worth noting that most of these color combinations aren’t part of the breed standard acknowledged by the Kennel Club. The only tri color combination the American Kennel Club recognises is fawn, brindle, and white

 

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Understanding the Genetics

Before we look at the meaning of triple carrier and quad carrier tri Frenchies, we need to understand the basics of genetics. It can feel a bit complicated but when we break it down, it’s easier to understand.

At the very base of it all is genes and DNA. Humans and other animals inherit genes from their parents and the genes make up their DNA

DNA is a big part of what makes us who we are and it determines what we look like. For example, if you have naturally brown hair, you will have inherited that from your parents. In the same way, a Frenchie’s coat color is inherited from their parents. 

Chromosomes are simply structures that store the DNA we just mentioned. Genes ‘sit’ at specific places on chromosomes. This is simply called the gene locus

Alleles are variants of a gene and there are two alleles for each place on the chromosome where there’s a gene. One allele comes from each parent, making the two alleles in each ‘set’. 

The gene locus will often have letters which correlate to the color of the dog’s coat that will be expressed from that gene. You’ll see it written as two letters, one for each allele

If the letter is in uppercase it means it’s a dominant gene, so only one parent would need to have the gene for it to take effect. If it’s in lower case, it’s a recessive gene so both parents need to have the gene for it to take effect. 

In our case, the tri colored gene is at the A locus. If you see it written as ‘at’, the dog will be tri-colored with tan points. The ‘at’ gene is the main gene that gives a Frenchie its tri colored coat. 

If both parents have the ‘at’ gene, it will show on genetic testing as ‘at/at’. If the allele is ‘at/a’, the coat will likely still be tri-colored but the tan points may be smaller and less pronounced. 

The ‘at’ gene is recessive, which simply means that both parents need to have the gene for the puppies to inherit the tri colored coat. 

The dog will also have genes for other colors and when all of this is put together, it will decide what color the dog’s coat will be. 

French Bulldog Triple Carrier Meaning

The term triple carrier means that the dog carries the genes for three rare color traits. They carry the genes for the black, blue, and chocolate coat color

The chocolate gene will be at the CO locus (also known as the cocoa gene) or the B locus. The black will be at the K locus. The blue color comes from a diluted gene at the D locus. 

They will, of course, have that all important tri gene which will typically present as ‘at/at’ at the A gene locus as we discussed earlier. 

This gene is also responsible for tri-coloring in other breeds of dog, including Boxers, Australian Shepherds, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

If breeders pair two triple carrier dogs together, they’re pretty much guaranteed to get a litter of puppies in rare colors. Since rare Frenchies are sold for more money, this is highly desirable for breeders. This makes triple carrier male and triple carrier female Frenchies highly sought after for breeding. 

Depending on the breeding, in some Frenchies the tri gene causes two colors to mix to create a coat color. In others the three colors will be seen clearly within the coat. In some dogs, there will be two colors within the main part of the coat and then a black mask around the face or black points. 

Typically, the colors are expressed as a base coat of one color, with the other two colors seen as patches or small markings called points. 

French Bulldog Quad Carrier Meaning

Some people talk about quad carriers, meaning that the dog carries the gene for 4 rare color traits. This includes the color genes for the blue, black, chocolate, and lilac coat colors. 

However, many people feel this is misleading because the lilac color doesn’t have one specific gene. Instead, it’s a combination of chocolate and blue genes, and is a diluted color. So, it’s actually a mix of different colors rather than coming from a specific color gene. 

It’s important to note that while merle dogs and brindle dogs may look similar to tri Frenchies, they have different gene patterns

What Are The Most Common Tri-Color Patterns Found in Frenchies?

There are several tri-color patterns that can be seen in French Bulldogs. They’re all quite unique and beautiful to look at. Many are highly sought after by French Bulldog owners and dog breeders, so can be expensive to buy. 

We’ll take a look at four of the most common tri color patterns that can be seen in Frenchies. 

1. Blue Tri-Color French Bulldog

The blue tri-colored Frenchie has a light base coat with a blue hue, with darker patches of blueish black pigment and typically, a white chest. Blue tri color Frenchies often have amber or brown eyes which are striking to look at. 

This color combination originates from a mutation in the A locus gene, giving the dog the tri gene we mentioned earlier. The dog will also have the gene for the blue coat, which is a dilute gene at the D locus. 

It’s important to note that the blue tri-colored Frenchie is genetically different to the blue merle Frenchie. The merle gene is different from the tri gene, even if the merle pattern looks similar. Blue tri colored Frenchies can cost $10,000 and upwards although this will vary greatly depending on your location. 

2. Chocolate Tri-Color French Bulldog

A chocolate tri color Frenchie has the tri gene and the chocolate gene. This is expressed as a chocolate base coat with patches of lighter fur. The lighter color is usually tan or white, and they usually also have patches of black fur

The tan or white patches can vary in size and position. They’re are often seen around the feet, chest, or face. 

If a chocolate tri color Frenchie is bred, it can produce either tri color or chocolate French Bulldog puppies depending on the other genes the puppy inherits. 

3. Sable Tri-Color French Bulldog

Sable tri color Frenchies are the most common of the color combinations. The sable color itself refers to a fawn base color with black or darker tips at the end of the hairs

Their base coat is sable while the other two colors are shown in markings or points on their body. Brindle Frenchies can look very similar to sable tri colored Frenchies, but these are two separate color patterns. 

4. Black Tri-Color French Bulldog

The black tri colored Frenchie is one of the rarest color combinations. They have two copies of the sable gene and one copy of the tri gene which creates their beautiful coat.

These dogs have a black base coat with lighter markings, usually around the feet, chest, and face. The lighter markings are usually white and tan

They can have darker eyes that tend to be a shade of brown. Alternatively they might have green or hazel eyes 

Common Health Issues

All Frenchies are prone to health issues due to the shape of their face and body. Common health issues include: 

  • Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (breathing issues caused the shape of their snout and face)
  • Eye infections and other eye conditions
  • Spine and back conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patellas
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions
  • Dental issues
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Ear infections

Tri colored Frenchies can be prone to additional health problems, including alopecia. This causes hair loss, thinning hair, and often skin irritation

Frenchies with any blue in their coat can be particularly prone to a type of alopecia called color dilution alopecia. You might see it shortened to CDA. This is an inherited skin disorder that causes dry, flaky, and itchy skin, as well as hair thinning and hair loss. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explains that hair loss begins as early as 6 months of age, leaving exposed patches of skin which would usually be protected by fur. Without that protection, the skin becomes dry, scaly, itchy, and uncomfortable for the dog. 

There’s no cure for color dilution alopecia but medication can help to ease the symptoms

Getting your Frenchie from a reputable breeder reduces the risk of health issues. Always ask to see paperwork of any genetic testing and veterinary checks of the mother and father as well as the puppies. 

A responsible breeder will allow you to see the mother and father as well as the rest of the litter in their home environment. This allows you to see that the puppy was bred responsibly and in a safe environment. 

If you want to buy a tri colored Frenchie puppy, take your time to do your research. Ensure you pick a breeder who specializes in breeding these dogs. 

FAQs

How can you tell if a French Bulldog has a Tri-Gene Mutation?

DNA testing is required to tell if a Frenchie has the tri gene. This is done with a simple cheek swab that is sent away to a scientific lab to analyze the dog’s DNA. If a dog has the tri gene, it will show up clearly on the tests. 

Breeders should also do genetic testing before breeding and should be able to show you the paperwork if you’re buying a puppy. 

How much is a Tri French Bulldog?

Tri Frenchies can vary greatly in price depending on the color combination and where you live. Typically, they will cost between $2000 and $4000. Rarer colors like the blue tri color can come with a hefty price tag, costing as much as $10,000 or more. 

Common colors of Frenchie tend to cost loss, although they are still fairly expensive. Standard French Bulldog colors tend to cost $1500 and upwards. 

See here for our full guide to French Bulldog Prices.

References

  • American Kennel Club, (2022), French Bulldog. 
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (2022), “Rare” or “Exotic” Puppies Signal Red Flags.