French Bulldog Breeding

English_bulldog Once upon a time, I wrote a post on weird-looking dogs.  One of the most unsound breeds is the English Bulldog.   Because of their extreme conformation, the males are rarely able to breed the females with natural service. Their chests are too big and their hindquarters are too small, and they just cannot assume the position. Almost all English Bulldogs are conceived through artificial insemination.

Then, you have the problem of delivery.  Just like the males, the females have small hindquarters, which means a tiny birth canal.   The puppies, like their parents, have some really big heads.  Big head plus small birth canal equals puppies who cannot get outside when the time comes.  Virtually all English Bulldogs are delivered by Caesarian section (meaning, you open the dog with exploratory surgery, open the uterus to remove the puppies, and sew everything back up again).

The problem is that you have to decide when to do this.  If you wait too late, the puppies don't make it.  They've lost their connection to mommy, and they didn't get outside to start breathing.  Not good.

If you start too early, they may be premature and unable to survive, or the mother may not have any milk to feed them.  Then you've got to come up with colostrum or extract serum to give the puppies their early immunity from disease, not to mention bottle-feeding them until the dam's milk comes in. That doesn't sound like fun, and it isn't.

This means that you have to track your breeding dates very carefully.  Unfortunately, the breeding date could be a few days ahead of the actual conception date, so you still have problems.  If you monitor the bitch's hormone levels during her cycle, you can get a handle on when she ovulates, which lets you pinpoint that conception date.  You can also use the Whelpwise system in late pregnancy to determine if it is "time".

Lolly(2) French Bulldogs (like Lolly here) have that fat little bulldog head, but their conformation is not so extreme as the English Bulldog (and they are a lot smaller,too).  They generally breed with natural service, and some of them are able to free whelp (have their babies without assistance).  Many, though (like Lolly here), do require C-sections to deliver the pups.  She looks a little woozy here, because she's still recovering from anesthesia in this picture.  That little touch of color is the Vetrap tape on her I.V. catheter.

Pup frenchy (2) In her case we didn't know the conception date, and her owners (while they are generally very conscientious) did not invest in the Whelpwise system.  The day that we delivered these guys, they weren't sure that she was actually in labor yet.  She just barely had any milk (which could happen 2 days before whelping or 2 hours before whelping, or not at all).  It was a Saturday morning, and I was thinking, "Well, great.  I'll have to check her every few hours all weekend."  As it happened, her cervix was already dilated completely and I could feel the top of a puppy head.  Time for surgery… right now.

Lolly's pups 6 wks And here they are, at 6 weeks old (this week), getting their first immunizations, and looking for homes.  If the folks will just send me the link, I'll post it so you can check out which ones are still available

5 thoughts on “French Bulldog Breeding

  1. Teri and the Cats of Furrydance says:

    Good post. I used Whelpwise once on a queen that had miscarried once before and found it extremely fascinating. Turns out she had low progesterone and treating that solved the problem, but it was amazing to see how the birthing process starts long before anything is visible from the outside.

    I have a photo of that queen in her “outfit” and had hoped they’d put it on their website, but they never did…must be thinking with their dog brains, HaHaMeow.

  2. Marie says:

    Was it a planned breeding?

    Most poorly bred bulldogs (of either type) are bred that way by unscrupulous breeders just looking to make a buck or two. Bulldog puppies are expensive due to the need for those c-sections. But there ARE some reputable bulldog breeders out there doing health testing to prevent problems and there are some who do free whelping too.

    Until people STOP buying from bad breeders those breeders will continue to churn out poorly bred dogs. (of ALL breeds)

    If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    With all the info on there about finding a reputable breeder there is really no excuse for supporting those breeders anymore, is there?

    (Still love your site. Sorry about the rant.)

  3. Doc says:

    Hello, Marie,

    Yes, it was a planned breeding. They just got their record-keeping fouled up a little. They have raised and sold several litters with no difficulties (other than this obvious hurdle).

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  4. Susan says:

    I have Chinese Crested dogs, so I am no stranger to weird-looking dogs. However, the Cresteds are not unsound dogs. They are generally healthy, sturdy little dogs. I was hoping when I read you post that you might comment on the sad way some of these breeds have been manipulated. Why continue these lines of dogs that cannot breed naturally, cannot breath well, or have so many health problems – Cavaliers for example.

  5. Doc says:

    Hello, Susan,

    I’ll have to re-read my post on “Weird-looking Dogs” (did you follow the link?), because I thought I had spoken to that earlier.

    I do agree that an unusual appearance is not necessarily unsound. On the other hand,generally speaking, manipulating a breed until it is almost unrecognizable (versus the wolf prototype) dooms every one of them to a tough life: Cocker Spaniels with their ear and skin problems, brachycephalic dogs with their breathing problems and buggy eyes (perpetually dry and easily injured). and so forth.

    Yeah, it’s creepy.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

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