In a small house in Thinh Liet Ward in the city's Hoang Mai District, the 32-year-old mixes beef with vegetables, salmon and foie gras to make lunch for his 10 dogs.
The quantity he gives each is based on their weight and physical condition.
He explains: “For thin dogs, I make more nutritious meals. I feed fat ones less to prevent obesity and to keep them in shape.”
The food for the 10 dogs costs VND8-10 million a month.
After a break, the dogs are given yogurt or fresh milk to stimulate their digestive system. In the afternoon he takes them for a walk in a park near his house.
“Many people mistake French bulldogs for pit bulls, which are more aggressive. But French bulldogs are different. They are small pet dogs. They are friendly and adaptive.”
French bulldogs originated in England. In 1860 French breeders imported a number of them from England for mating with French terriers, creating a new, small bulldog breed.
Adult animals weigh 7-14 kilograms, with 60-degree sloping noses, big eyes, and short tails. They have short hair in three basic colors (black, brown and white – black).
Nguyen Hoang Trung trains a French bulldog at his house on August 22, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Nguyen
French bulldogs were first sold in Vietnam in 2010, but have become very popular in the last three years.
Trung is one of few people to successfully breed them in the country.
From a young age he has been interested in dogs and used to raise many large breeds such as rottweiler, husky and malinois.
In 2018 he was attracted by a photo of a French bulldog a friend had. He later learned it was a friendly dog breed, suitable for families with children.
He then found a way to order breeding dogs from Ukraine at VND200 million each.
“The first French bulldog I bought, named CR7, has a single wrinkle on his face – a very rare feature. I bought him right away when I saw him even though my friends and family said it was crazy to spend so much money on a dog.”
To create a good living environment for his dogs, Trung regularly cleans their cages, disinfects them periodically, and keeps medical equipment, medicines and blood test strips.
The dogs are used to a temperate climate and not Vietnam's tropical weather, and so heat shock and respiratory illnesses are a risk.
To keep them healthy, owners of French bulldogs have to use a steam fan and air conditioner to maintain the temperature in their living space at 26-29 degrees Celsius.
Yet they need at least three months to get used to the weather and food.
From the time he bought CR7, Trung got many requests from dog owners to let it mate with their animals, making him realize the great demand for foreign dog breeds in Vietnam.
So he got four more dogs (three males and a female) from Russia, Ukraine and Hungary for nearly VND1 billion.
“Importing dogs into Vietnam is very complicated and expensive.”
It requires four or five different documents to prove their origin and physical condition, which takes a lot of time and effort.
It costs VND20-30 million to get a dog into Vietnam.
To determine the best time for his dogs to mate, Trung bought a microscope to check the sperm quality and equipment to check hormone levels in bitches' blood.
Trung says French bulldogs born in Vietnam are easier to raise because their respiratory system, skeleton, fur, and skin have already adapted to the climate.
A female can give birth to four to five puppies on average, and produce two litters a year.
“But I tell my customers to only let their bitches produce a maximum of four or five litters in their life. It is not good for their health if they give birth frequently.”
He now has 20 purebred French bulldogs in Hanoi and several satellite farms where he breeds others.
Demand is very high and he quickly sells out his dogs.
Some customers have to wait for six to 12 months to get a dog with the appearance they want.
“If my customers have special requirements, I have to find the right breeders and of course it takes more time and money.”
Trung cleans the cages of the 10 French bulldogs he breeds in his house on August 22, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Nguyen
In October 2021, Trinh Van Doan, 32, of Dong Anh District, Hanoi, bought a bitch from Trung for VND55 million.
He already had another French bulldog that had cost him VND40 million.
Doan says these two dogs cost more than the average market price because they were born to parents that had been imported and have the full set of legal documents.
“I like this breed because of its cuteness. Moreover, they are a low-shedding dog breed, pretty quiet and suitable for families with children. The price is acceptable. In the near future I want to buy another male as soon as I find the right one with the color I like.”
Vu Dung, 25, of Hoang Mai District in Hanoi is also a French bulldog lover.
He bought a five-month-old puppy born in Vietnam from Trung for VND20 million.
He says: “Compared to crossbred French bulldogs, purebred ones are more beautiful. Their hair is short and smooth and their tails are short.”
In the four years he has been breeding the dogs, Trung has been selling 70-100 puppies a year at VND20-50 million each.
He has mated over 1,000 dogs of other owners. He earns VND5-7 million per case.
Trung also runs a dog hotel that houses and takes care of animals when their owners are busy.
He earns around VND1 billion a year but says he does not care too much about the money; only that the job allows him to do what he really likes.
The man hopes to build a French bulldog-loving community in Vietnam to share experiences in breeding and raising the animals.
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