The French bulldog, according to Pets4Homes is currently the most popular of all of the dog breeds found in the UK today (November 2017), and these small, loyal and very entertaining little dogs are a great match for people from all walks of life. As the popularity of the breed has been on the rise for many years now, demand for puppies of the breed in the UK is perhaps higher now than it has ever been – which means that many French bulldog owners wonder about the viability of breeding from their own dogs, to produce a gorgeous Frenchie litter for waiting homes.
However, the French bulldog breed as a whole can fairly be described as a breed with a propensity to problems, when it comes to breeding for health, improvement and the best interests of the dogs themselves, and not all French bulldogs are good candidates for breeding.
Additionally, breeding French bulldogs can be very costly, as there are certain mating, birthing and care considerations to bear in mind in order to ensure a healthy litter – and making the decision to breed any dog is not one to make lightly, and with the French bulldog, this is even more the case than normal.
If you are considering breeding from your French bulldog or are starting to wonder about the viability of doing so, in this article we will share five considerations to bear in mind before making your final decision. Read on to learn more.
First of all, while for most dog breeds, mating is something that the dogs take care of on their own with no need for human intervention, for many French bulldogs, this is not the case.
Dogs of the breed have narrow hips compared to the rest of their conformation – which means that males are not always able to mount and tie with females without assistance. This often means that French bulldog bitches need to be impregnated by artificial insemination, which makes finding a viable mating match and enabling conception can be both challenging and expensive, and has no guarantee of a viable pregnancy at the end of it.
The narrow hips of the French bulldog also has implications for their ability to deliver their litters naturally, because the narrow hips of the dam combined with the large heads of the puppies usually makes it hard or impossible for the dam to deliver her pups on her own.
Around 75-80% of all French bulldog litters are delivered by means of caesarean section as a result of this, which means planning from conception onwards for this procedure, which again, is costly and can come with risks of its own.
If you are considering breeding from your French bulldog bitch, one of the first things you should do is ask a vet that is experienced with the breed to examine and assess them, ideally with the potential stud dog too, and talk to you about how viable a natural birth might be – or if you will need to arrange for a caesarean delivery.
Finding out about the implications and of course, costs of this procedure are important factors you need to know before deciding to breed.
A sadly large number of French bulldogs in the UK suffer from a wide range of health and conformation problems, many of which are caused by deliberate selective breeding to exaggerate the breed’s core traits, such as a large head, flat face, short muzzle, and stocky build.
Breeding for exaggeration – often called ultratyping or overtyping – can cause a range of problems and health considerations for the dogs, including an inability to breathe normally, exercise intolerance, a propensity to overheating and of course, an inability to mate and deliver young naturally.
A dam or sire who has exaggerated traits may suffer from health problems, or have had to undergo corrections to avoid health problems themselves – and whilst a disappointingly large number of French bulldog breeders still breed from dogs of this type, responsible breeders should not.
It is again a good idea to ask an experienced vet to assess your dam and sire’s conformation and check for exaggerations that may be passed onto the pups – even if your own dogs don’t have any tangible issues themselves – before deciding that your dogs are good candidates to breed from.
Part of being a responsible breeder means doing everything that you can to ensure that the pups have the best possible start in life, are born healthy, and do not inherit any health defects.
As well as the conformation problems that can impact upon the breed’s health, there is also a reasonably long list of hereditary health problems that the breed can be prone to. This means that responsible French bulldog breeders will always have both their dam and sire health tested for all of the core problems and mutations that are recognised within the breed, which usually requires DNA testing to identify.
While demand for French bulldogs is currently very high, so too is the number of French bulldog breeders producing pups to meet this demand – and it is vitally important before breeding from any dog to ensure that you will be able to find suitable, appropriate homes for life for your new pups.
Not everyone who aspires to owning a French bulldog will necessarily be a good dog owner – and as is always the case with very popular breeds, a proportion of adoptions and purchases will fail, leading to dogs being surrendered to shelters or given away in the future.
Assess potential interest in your litter before breeding, and decide how you will set a standard for future owners, and ensure that your pups go on to suitable and appropriate future homes.