Jim Grebe, a French Bulldog Club of America Historian, drafted an excellent biography of this breed.
In summary, the breed's origins are England, France and the United States spanning 150 - 200 years ago. During this time period, the breed has undergone physical transformations. Once a strong, athletic, capable dog' has now evolved into a toy version weighing 20lbs - 28lbs.
In addition to the physical changes, the temperament has evolved. The dog that was once used for bull baiting is now the family lap warmer. Their large personalities are keenly fixed on giving and receiving love of their owners and strangers alike. While bred primarily as companions, they are extremely intelligent and fantastic watch dogs.