French Bulldog or simply Frenchies have become increasingly popular over the years. As of 2020, Frenchies were the second most popular dog breed in America after Labrador Retrievers. French Bulldogs are a low-energy breed and they adapt easily to any home setting. They’re also cute, smart, affectionate, and sociable, and thus, easy to live with.
The demand for Frenchies has created a ready market for these pups. Many breeders take it upon themselves to meet this demand. As a Frenchie owner, your dog might be of age and you’re considering breeding it. However, you might not be fully committed to the process because you’re not sure if it’s a profitable endeavor.
If you’re facing this dilemma, you’ve come to the right place. Read through this article to understand what it takes to breed French Bulldogs and whether or not it’s worth the effort.
History of Breeding French Bulldogs
Breeding French Bulldogs is an art that started in the 1800s. Before the 1800s, bulldog owners primarily bought and bred this dog for bull baiting. This refers to a sport where trained bulldogs attack a tethered bull.
Because the bull was tied these muscular dogs would attack it with their massive jaws without being hurt. Bulldogs were also a suitable choice for this sport as their wrinkled face directed the bull’s blood away from their eyes.
Bull baiting was a form of entertainment. People also believed that baiting bulls made the meat tender and improved its quality. This sport was, however, bloody and it became a public nuisance due to animal cruelty. Following several complaints, the sport died down and was eventually banned in the early 1800s.
By 1835, the sport was no longer legal and bulldogs were no longer used for bull-baiting. Thus, instead of breeding bulldogs for sport, people started to cross-breeding them with smaller dogs. This was as an attempt to find a suitable size for a companion bulldog.
Crossbreeding French bulldogs with smaller dog breeds between 1835 and 1855 resulted in the small size of the modern Frenchie. The art of breeding Frenchies continues to date. While some do it for profit, others breed French Bulldogs out of love and for continuity of the breed.
Breeding French Bulldogs
Breeding a Frenchie is not an easy or cheap task. Years of interbreeding resulted in the French Bulldog having a compact body, short legs, and narrow hips. This puts both the male and female Frenchie at a disadvantage of reproducing naturally. These challenges also increase the need for human intervention for French Bulldogs to breed.
The narrow hips and oversize head of the Frenchie make it hard for the male to mount the female. In the instances where the male manages to do so, they might also have a difficult time maintaining the tie. French Bulldogs are also prone to respiratory disorders. Therefore, the process of natural copulation can also be difficult as it demands a lot of energy and blood flow.
Most Frenchie breeders, therefore, opt for artificial insemination of their female Frenchie for successful fertilization. Artificial insemination of your Frenchie will, however, not be cheap. This process can cost you between $200 to $1,000, which is exclusive of the price of semen.
You can still try and mate them naturally. The rate for successful copulation is, however, low. Natural copulation of the French bulldogs will only be cheap if you have your own male Frenchie. Otherwise, you will need to pay a stud fee which may range between $200 to $650.
It is hard for the female Frenchie to give birth naturally due to their narrow pelvis. Trying to give birth naturally can also be fatal as bulldog pups have relatively big heads that can get stuck in the birth canal. For these reasons, most breeders prefer their French bulldogs to give birth through cesarean section.
Delivery of the pups through cesarean section will cost you between $500 to $2,000 depending on the hospital and whether or not complications will arise during the delivery.
The process doesn’t get easier once the pups are born. As a breeder, you will have to invest time to safely raise the Frenchie puppies. Female French Bulldogs can accidentally suffocate their puppies. Therefore, you should constantly keep an eye on the mother and her pups to make sure they’re okay.
Health Concerns Associated with French Bulldogs
The process of breeding healthy French Bulldog pups begins with having healthy parents. It is, therefore, your responsibility as a Frenchie owner to make sure your dog is healthy before breeding them. This means you need to occasionally make appointments with the vet to have your Frenchie checked.
Disorders and diseases you should look out for include:
There are more than 10 diseases that affect French Bulldogs’ eyes. These include cherry eye, distichiasis, cataracts, and Entropion.
A bulldog’s eye has three eyelids. When your Frenchie has cherry eye, the third eyelid protrudes and forms a bulging red mass on the eye. This can result in corneal damage, eye irritation, and conjunctivitis.
Distichiasis is a genetic eye defect where a dog’s lashes grow in abnormal directions and places. These lashes rub on the surface of the eye causing abrasion and pain. If untreated, these abrasions will interfere with your dog’s vision.
Cataracts mostly affect older dogs and are characterized by the formation of a cloudy layer over the lens of the eye. This defect can, however, affect younger bulldogs if the condition is genetic. If untreated, cataracts can cause blindness.
Entropion is the inward folding of the edges of the eyelid. This is partly caused by the number of folding on the dog’s face and how much they weigh.
Bone and Joint Disorders
Bone and joint defects are common in French bulldogs due to their small size. These include hemivertebrae, intervertebral disc disease, patella luxation, and hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is characterized by dislocation of the ball of a joint from the socket. This defect in bulldogs is caused by obesity, over-exercising, poor nutrition, and an imbalance between skeletal development and muscle mass. You can manage it through supplements, incorporating moderate activity for weight control, and watching your dog’s diet.
Respiratory and Airway Diseases
Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive, also known as BAS is a set of anatomical abnormalities in the upper airway. This disease mostly affects dogs with shortened skull bones which makes them have a flat-like appearance. The set of BAS diseases include elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, hypoplastic trachea, everted laryngeal saccules, and extended nasopharyngeal turbinates.
Your bulldog could be affected by one or several of these BAS conditions.
If not managed appropriately, BAS can change your bulldog’s lungs as well as cause gastroesophageal reflux, bronchial collapse, and chronic gastritis.
Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)
This is a genetic bleeding disorder that is common in French bulldogs. Bulldogs suffering from this condition lack the Von Willebrand Factor (vWF) blood protein. This protein is necessary for blood to clot. Thus, the absence of this protein results in excessive bleeding.
Some bulldogs with this condition may not exhibit any symptoms. However, some French Bulldogs may hemorrhage spontaneously or bleed for a prolonged period after injury, nail clipping, or from small wounds. Your Frenchie will also bleed excessively through the vagina when in heat if it has vWD. If not treated, vWD can cause amenia or even death.
Did you know that French bulldogs are at a higher risk of being deaf than any other dog breed? Bulldogs have good hearing in general. However, the Frenchie breed is prone to ear infections which make them susceptible to being deaf.
Deafness in French bulldogs can also be caused by illness, old age, or a hereditary congenital condition. Frenchies with white pigmentation on their coat are more likely to have the piebald gene that causes deafness.
Signs of deafness that you need to look out for include being less attentive and active, unresponsive to their name, and failure to respond to familiar commands. You can also perform a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test. This is a non-invasive test that uses electrodes to gauge the function of the inner ear, ear canal, brainstem, and cranial nerve.
This is a hereditary neurological condition that causes poor nerve function and weakness in the hind legs of dogs. Degenerative myelopathy is caused when the SOD1 gene, common in French bulldogs, mutates. As a result, this disease mostly affects bulldogs.
Frenchies that suffer from this condition progressively become weak in the hind legs and eventually become disabled. This condition is incurable. Even so, you can manage it through dietary supplements, acupuncture, exercise, and rehabilitation.
Due to all these medical conditions, you need to consider having your Frenchie on a special diet, and especially if you plan to breed them. French bulldogs can eat a variety of food options; canned foods, kibble, raw foods, and homemade meals. Whichever food option you choose is up to you as a Frenchie owner.
You should, however, make sure your Frenchie is getting the nutrition it needs to help prevent or manage the diseases they’re susceptible to. Make sure your Frenchie is consuming enough animal protein, healthy fats like omega fats, concentrated carbohydrates, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals.
Don’t forget to complement your Frenchie’s diet with nutritional supplements.
French bulldogs have various needs and are susceptible to several disorders that require consistent medical attention. Taking care of a Frenchie is not cheap. It will also cost you a substantial amount of money.
One way to manage the cost of raising and breeding a Frenchie is by acquiring a Pet Insurance package. Granted, most comprehensive pet insurance packages are not cheap. They, however, do help to financially cater for expenses that you would otherwise have to pay for as the need arises. The latter option is cumulatively more costly in comparison to having an insurance cover for your Frenchie.
There are four types of pet insurance covers you can get for your Frenchie. These include; an Accident-Only Policy, a Time-limited Policy, Maximum Benefit Policy, and Lifetime Policy. You can learn more about these insurance covers here.
Pricing for French Bulldog Puppies
The only way to profit from breeding your Frenchie is by reasonably pricing the puppies. The price for French bulldog puppies ranges between $2000 to $7000. It is hard to buy a Frenchie pup for less than $2000.
Most breeders come to this figure by considering the following;
Size of the litter: While other dogs can have up to 8 puppies in a litter, Frenchies can only have three to five pups. There are cases where a Frenchie has 7 puppies but is extremely rare. Frenchies are, therefore, expensive by nature due to their high desirability but small litter.
Health Concerns: Generally, French Bulldogs are prone to a greater number of animal diseases than other breeds. This will cost you as a Frenchie owner due to medical and special diet expenses for your Frenchie.
Breeding Complications: Due to their small size and body structure, it is extremely difficult for Frenchies to breed naturally. The human intervention needed to help a Frenchie breed is costly. Not to mention the high risk of death associated with breeding a Frenchie.
Demand and Supply Factor: Factors such as having a small litter, health concerns, and breeding complications contribute to the imbalance between the demand and supply ratio of French bulldogs. The laws of economics, regarding demand and supply, naturally apply in this case, thus making the Frenchie puppy more expensive than other breeds.
Labor intensive care of puppies: Frenchie bitches aren’t the most natural to their pups. Some are barely bothered with feeding their puppies. As such, you will have to help your Frenchie get used to feeding her pups or feed them yourself through milk bottles. You also have to keep a close eye on the litter and their mother as she may accidentally lie on them and suffocate them.
Breeding a Frenchie may seem like a quick and easy way to make money. You, however, have to consider the expenses that go into raising healthy Frenchie parents if you want to have healthy puppies. You also need to consider the high cost and various requirements of breeding your Frenchie.
Breeding your Frenchie will, therefore, only be profitable if you reasonably price your litter of Frenchie pups.