Opinion: America's taste in family pets is changing -- for the better, in my view

It would be easy to dismiss French bulldogs, with their squidgy, cartoon faces and small squat bodies, as little more than a handbag accessory. Some people might even see them as little more than a conversation piece affording the pretext to gossip about a favorite music star or actor. And no one can deny the trend: Celebrities everywhere are photographed toting a baby Frenchie in a shoulder bag, or holding one at the end of an expensive designer leash.

But while it's true that these dogs have become a runaway favorite among celebrities, the breed has lot more than that to recommend it. I don't claim to be impartial, however. I have been sharing my London living quarters for the past decade with a brindle-coated French bulldog who is the joy of my life.

It comes as no surprise to me that the French bulldog has supplanted the Labrador retriever as America's most popular dog, ending the sporting dog's 31-year reign. Many people might be wondering how a country that for decades has preferred the outgoing, high-energy Labrador would swap it out for a pint-sized, sedentary, furry gargoyle.