French bulldogs are the UK’s most popular dog breed, and they’re in huge demand among prospective buyers, despite the often very high purchase costs associated with pedigree dogs of the breed. This can make it tempting for people who own a good quality French bulldog to consider breeding from their own dog, because of the ready and waiting audience of prospective buyers.
However, breeding from any dog is something that you should devote a lot of time and consideration to before making a final decision, and this is truer for breeding from French bulldogs than for virtually any other dog breed.
The French bulldog breed as a whole can be complex and challenging, and there are a number of well publicised and often very serious health problems associated with the breed, which can negatively impact upon the health and wellness of both the dogs themselves and their future offspring.
Just because you own a French bulldog doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to breed from them – particularly if you’re simply trying to turn a quick buck. Breeding from your Frenchie should only be undertaken if your dog is a good, healthy example of the breed – without health defects, overly exaggerated features or problems that may affect them and their young.
You should also undertake pre-breeding health screening on both the dam and sire, and not consider breeding from your dog if they have markers for any breed-specific hereditary health issues.
If you have done your research, consulted with your vet and undertaken the relevant health tests on your dog and have concluded that breeding from them is viable and not irresponsible, one common question you might have is how many pups you can expect to get in your coming litter.
In this article we will look at the factors to consider when predicting how many pups your French bulldog might have, and how you might be able to find out ahead of time how many pups to expect at delivery. Read on to learn more.
The number of puppies born in any given litter can be highly variable, even when it comes to the same dam who has more than one litter – they will not necessarily produce the same number of pups each time.
Different dog breeds do have some fairly broad norms when it comes to the number of pups they produce, however – and larger breeds tends to have more pups per litter than smaller breeds, although this is not always the case.
French bulldogs tend to have reasonably small litters, with three to five pups being the average, although this is just a broad guide and not a firm rule.
If the dam has had a previous litter and it was small, it is likely that she will have small litters in future, although this is not always the case. Similarly, if your dog herself is a fairly small example of the breed, her litter is likely to be on the small size in terms of the number of pups too.
Bitches under the age of two should not be bred from, and younger dams tend to have slightly smaller litters than those in the peak of their adult years before they reach maturity. The same is true for the sire, albeit to a slightly lesser extent – a small or young sire may result in a smaller litter.
If you know or can trace the breeder of your own Frenchie you can also get a pointer from how many pups were born in the litter that contained the dog in question although this is again more of a potential insight than a firm guide.
When your dam has conceived successfully, there are a number of ways in which you can find out how many pups she is carrying. However, it is important to note that spontaneous miscarriage or death of one or more pups in utero can still cause this number to change – and the earlier in the pregnancy you check, the more likelihood there is of something changing later on.
If you are keen to find out before the birth how many pups to expect as soon as possible, you may be able to find out as soon as three weeks after conception by asking your vet to take an ultrasound scan of your dog’s abdomen. This is a risk-free way of checking out and counting the pups, and the most effective way of getting a number early on.
Later on in the pregnancy – from around a month and a half after conception – you can also ask your vet to perform an abdominal x-ray of your dam and count the number of pups shown within this. This tends to be cheaper than an ultrasound examination, although it does have a slightly higher (although still very low) risk associated with it.
Even if you have a firm count on the number of pups to expect at delivery, if your Frenchie is delivering naturally at home rather than by caesarean section, it is important to expect the unexpected. You might find more pups than expected if one was hidden by another during a scan or x-ray, or less if one of the pups is absorbed in the womb.
However, if your dam appears to have finished delivering her litter and the number of pups is lower than your scan indicated, contact your vet for advice as they might want to check your dam to ensure there isn’t a problem.