The American Kennel Club ranks French Bulldogs second on their list of popular dog breeds. Due to this popularity, you may want to breed your French Bulldog to save some bucks since they are expensive.
However, the question in your mind will be, "How many puppies can French bulldogs have?"
French Bulldogs can have two to four puppies in each litter. Female French Bulldogs can have a maximum of four litters in their lifetime, translating to 12 puppies. Therefore, a female French Bulldog will have 12 puppies before they are considered old to carry more.
In the rest of this article, I'll discuss litters as they relate to French Bulldog breeding and the number of puppies. I will also cover the factors that limit a French Bulldog's ability to reproduce. Keep reading to learn more.
How Many Puppies Can French Bulldogs Have in a Litter?
A French Bulldog will typically have three puppies on average in a litter. This is a low number compared to other dog breeds like Golden Retrievers, which usually have more than eight puppies in a litter.
It's worth mentioning that although rare, French Bulldogs can have up to eight puppies in a litter. However, this is considered unsafe owing to the French Bulldog's body size and shape. This means that a French Bulldog carrying more than four puppies at a time is in danger of dying from pregnancy-related complications.
How Many Puppies in a French Bulldog's Lifetime?
As a Frenchie parent, you're interested in knowing how many puppies your Frenchie can have over their lifetime.
The number of puppies a Frenchie can have in a lifetime depends on the number of litters. A French Bulldog can have a maximum of four litters in its lifetime.
Each of these litters will have an average of three puppies, translating to 12. Thus, you can expect your Frenchie to give you approximately 12 puppies in her lifetime.
It's essential to consider the reproductive age when figuring out the number of pups your Frenchie can have in a lifetime. Most dog breeds, Frenchies included, reach reproductive maturity at six to nine months. Although French Bulldog females usually have their first heat as early as four months old, it's not advisable to breed the dog this early.
Breeding a French Bulldog on her first heat exposes her to:
- Stunted growth
- Premature aging
- Complications during pregnancy and birth
Even when a French Bulldog has had multiple litters, you should only breed her after two years. For safe delivery and recovery, veterinarians advise that the breeding period should not exceed eight years. However, some breeders inseminate their dogs after eight years to get more puppies.
Factors That Affect the Litter Size
Every dog parent wants to have as many puppies as possible. For this reason, knowing the factors that affect litter size will help you decide when to breed your Frenchie.
The following are the main factors that affect litter size in French Bulldogs:
Frenchie females with a hormone imbalance will often undergo false pregnancies. In most cases, the dog will behave like she is pregnant even though there isn't any puppy inside her.
Hypothyroidism is a hormonal imbalance problem in dogs that causes weight gain, lethargy, and depression. In extreme cases, it can cause abortion or decreased litter size in females.
The older your French Bulldog gets, the smaller the litter size.
Dogs bred between two and five years have larger litters because they are still young with more active reproductive hormones. By the time the dog is six years old, the litter size decreases significantly as the reproductive hormones become less active.
Genetics play a role in determining your dog's ability to have puppies at any point in its lifetime. If both parents have a small litter size, you'll most likely have fewer puppies from your Frenchie mom.
A mother with a bigger and broader family tree will have bigger litters. Therefore, you're more likely to get larger Frenchie pups if the mom comes from a family of bigger French Bulldogs.
Healthy dogs can carry healthier and larger puppy litters. For example, your Frenchie can have a healthier and bigger litter if she has good nutrition. That's why it's essential to feed the dog with high-quality pet food throughout pregnancy.
Also, it’s advisable to avoid supplements or medications unless instructed by a veterinarian.
Breeding French Bulldog Puppies
Breeding French Bulldog puppies is the main challenge most parents face. You may have questions like:
- When is the right time to breed my Frenchie?
- What are the steps to take in preparing for this process?
- What should I expect when giving birth?
To make the experience smooth, here are the two crucial steps to follow:
- Artificial Insemination
Apart from the hassles of looking for an appropriate and healthy stud dog, the narrow hips of French Bulldogs make natural mating hard. As a result, most Frenchie parents rely on artificial insemination.
You must get a canine veterinarian to draw sperm from the stud dog and insert it into the female's reproductive tract. This process is usually done two to three times for positive results.
The veterinarian will also be in charge of monitoring the pregnancy's progress. The monitoring process includes the following:
- Performing ultrasounds
- Determining the gestation period
- Scheduling for delivery
According to Research Gate, 80% of French Bulldogs deliver through cesarean section. Therefore, you must keep in touch with your veterinarian to monitor the dog's progress and prepare for labor.
French Bulldogs have a gestation period of approximately 63 days. The day your Frenchie goes into labor will be significantly different for each dog.
Besides being responsible for the C-section procedure, your vet will guide you on what to expect during this period. Furthermore, they will take you through how to deal with any complications that may arise after delivery.
It's worth mentioning that taking your Frenchie mom through natural birthing can expose them to dystocia.
Dystocia refers to a situation whereby a female dog can’t pass the puppy. Unfortunately, 1.7% of adult female dogs don't survive dystocic pregnancies.
Factors That Limit a French Bulldog's Reproductive Ability
Two to four puppies in a litter is a low number compared to other dog breeds. Why do French Bulldogs have such a small litter size? Read on to find out the limiting factors.
The physical nature of French Bulldogs makes it challenging for them to reproduce in large numbers.
French Bulldogs have narrow hips. Although these hips make the dog beautiful, they hinder natural mating. This explains why these dogs are bred through artificial insemination.
It's also hard for French Bulldogs to birth naturally due to their large heads. Consequently, most French Bulldogs undergo cesarean section (C-section) procedures.
Natural births in French Bulldogs account for only 20% of the puppies delivered. Due to their large heads, whelping your Frenchie mom naturally is a risky affair that can lead to:
- The pups getting stuck in the birth canal
- The mother suffering from complications such as hemorrhage or uterine rupture
- Injuring the pups
Therefore, although costly and risky, C-section is the most humane option for helping your Frenchie canine give birth.
Frenchies are among the brachycephalic dog breeds.
Brachycephalic dog breeds have short nostrils and flattened muzzles with longer bottom jaws than the top ones.
Due to their squished face, these dogs have difficulty breathing and cooling. This makes them prone to overheating.
Moreover, the squished face exposes most of these dogs to Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This syndrome makes breathing a struggle, leading to challenges in carrying pregnancies and giving birth.
Prenatal Care for a French Bulldog
Your Frenchie's prenatal care should start as soon as she is pregnant. Here are some key areas to focus on:
Your dog needs a high-quality diet to support her pregnancy. A healthy, natural diet will strengthen the dog's body, allowing it to accommodate the mom and pups.
Pregnant dogs need the following nutrients:
- Calcium: 1 to 1.8%
- Phosphorus:8 to 1.6%
- Protein: 29%
- Fat content: 17%
The dog also needs sufficient soluble carbohydrates in addition to the above nutrients.
As much as you want your Frenchie to relax during this period, you need to give her some downtime.
Exercising a pregnant dog primes and prepares her for the challenging labor ahead.
You should encourage her to walk daily and participate in low-intensity workouts such as stretching or light swimming.
French bulldog puppies are expensive due to their popularity.
Moreover, selecting a healthy and robust French Bulldog puppy is a challenge. Therefore, breeding your Frenchies at home is the best way to avoid such struggles.
A healthy female French Bulldog will give you approximately 12 puppies in her lifetime. These are more than enough puppies for companionship.