What to Expect When Your Pup is Expecting: How Many Puppies Can a French Bulldog Have?

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I adore my purebred French Bulldog, so when I tell you she’s the smartest, most beautiful dog in the world, you probably take that with a grain of salt. 

But in all honesty, she is a stunning, impressive Frenchie, which is why my husband and I started discussing the possibility of breeding her with an equally impressive stud. Breeding dogs is not a task any dog owner should jump into or take lightly; it requires a lot of research.

One of my main questions was, how many puppies can a French Bulldog have? 

This question, among many others, is an important one to answer before you get into the business. It’s also crucial to think about in cases of accidental Frenchie pregnancy. I’ll show you what I’ve learned through this experience. 

What Is the Average French Bulldog Litter Size?

Knowing how many puppies are in a French Bulldog litter is crucial, as you will need to put a plan in place for post-birth puppy care and home placement. 

An average female Frenchie will give birth to three puppies. On rare occasions, your Frenchie may house a litter of four or five puppies. Anything more than that is almost unheard of. 

While three is the average, it’s best to get an official number nailed down. Your dog should have regular visits with her veterinarian throughout the pregnancy, and after three weeks, your vet will be able to observe the puppies in three different ways:

  • Palpation
  • X-Ray
  • Ultrasound

A veterinarian can usually give you a pretty accurate answer to how many puppies your dog is carrying using one or more of these methods. 

How Many Litters Can a French Bulldog Have?

Breeding a French Bulldog once involves many risks, and the risks increase each time you do so again. 

Any female Frenchie should have no more than three litters max. Many experts also recommend waiting at least 18 months between litters to ensure the dog heals properly and can handle another pregnancy. 

French Bulldogs face many challenges and health risks during the breeding and birthing process, so it’s crucial to follow these guidelines to keep them safe. 

Limits or Risks Involved in Breeding Frenchies

There will always be some risk involved when breeding dogs, just like there are always risks with human pregnancies. But when breeding French Bulldogs, there are particular risks specific to the breed that you should know. 

High Cesarean Risk

One of the most significant issues that breeders face when working with French Bulldogs is that they often need a cesarean section to deliver their puppies.

French Bulldogs are small to begin with, but they also have narrow hindquarters, a small pelvis, and a small birth canal – all factors that make natural birthing a challenge. 

On top of that, Frenchies have quite large heads and broad chests, making it difficult for their puppies to make it through the birth canal. Natural birth can be life-threatening for both the puppies and the mother. 

This difficulty to deliver due to size is called dystocia. 

French Bulldog Breeding

Breeding French Bulldogs, in general, is a tasking business for the simple fact that the males are often too small. French Bulldogs have very short legs, making natural breeding difficult for males. 

In short, many male Frenchies are just too short to mount a female and stay in position long enough for insemination. 

Because of this height issue, the breed often needs assistance during the breeding process. The male needs help physically staying in position, or the female needs artificial insemination. 

Both avenues take lots of research, experience, and care. It’s not a job just anyone should perform. 

French Bulldog Health Issues

French Bulldogs are prone to several diseases, so consider carefully before breeding your female. Any genetic disease that your dog has may get passed on to her puppies. Get your dog screened by a vet for these issues, if possible. 

So, what are we looking at in terms of a Frenchie’s health issues? Take a look below:

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Breeds with flat noses, like French Bulldogs, are prone to this disease that can obstruct their airways. Depending on the severity, your Frenchie may have loud breathing, snoring, and even trouble inhaling. 
  • Cherry Eye: French Bulldogs have a genetic predisposition for cherry eye. This condition causes inflammation of the tear gland and can be painful for your pup. 
  • Allergies: It’s pretty common for French Bulldogs to have food allergies. They may also have respiratory allergies. 
  • Disc Herniation: Your French Bulldog may be more likely to suffer a disc herniation due to its unique body shape. A disc herniation is when the intervertebral disc degenerates. The disc presses into the spinal cord and can cause severe pain, loss of bladder control, and even paralysis. 

If your French Bulldog has some severe health issues, it may not be a wise choice to breed her. Not only could it be dangerous for her health to carry out a pregnancy, but she may pass along detrimental genes to her babies. 

Caring for Your French Bulldog During Pregnancy

Just like humans, your Frenchie will require more specific care during her pregnancy. 

Exercise

You may need to slow down your dog’s typical exercise routine during the breeding process. Once your dog is pregnant, she can return to her normal activity for the first two trimesters.

In the third trimester, your dog’s belly will be enlarged and will only grow larger. For her safety and the safety of her puppies, you should reduce her exercise during this period. 

Nutrition

Your French Bulldog’s nutritional habits and diet will remain mostly the same. As long as she was healthy before the pregnancy and eats high-quality dog food, she can continue her routine.

Once she reaches the third trimester, your dog will need to increase her calories gradually. By the end of her pregnancy, she should be eating around 50 percent more than her usual diet given in small meals several times a day.

When it comes time to give birth, your dog should weigh around five to ten percent more than her original weight. It’s important to avoid obesity, as it can cause birth defects, stillbirths, and difficulty during birth.  

Regular Checkups

And just like women need prenatal doctor visits, so do French Bulldogs need prenatal vet visits. A huge part of ensuring your Frenchie has a safe and healthy pregnancy is to keep up with her regular checkups. 

If you’re planning on breeding your dog, it’s a good idea to take her to the vet before you begin to ensure she’s healthy enough for pregnancy, has all her vaccinations, and is free of parasites or worms. 

Once you see signs of pregnancy in your dog, bring her to the vet for confirmation testing. Your vet will let you know how often they want to see her from that point until the puppies arrive. 

FAQs

A lot of careful thought, work, and planning goes into responsibly and properly breeding French Bulldogs. The more questions you ask, the better off you and your dog will be in the end. Take a look at some of our frequently asked questions about French Bulldogs and their litters. 

Can you breed a French Bulldog at 1 year old?

Usually, you can begin breeding a female French Bulldog at one year old, and some even sooner than that. Some females reach maturity anywhere from seven to nine months. Most vets and breeders will recommend you wait until a bitch goes through one full heat cycle before breeding. 

Male French Bulldogs can breed as soon as six months, when many reach sexual maturity.

How many times can you breed a French Bulldog?

Opinions and answers on how many times you should breed a Frenchie will vary across the board. Some breeders say you shouldn’t let a female Frenchie go into heat, which would mean breeding her twice a year.

Others state that breeding a female so often is both unnatural and dangerous for her health. 

The best recommendation is to breed your female once per year until she’s reached her max safe litter count. Always consult with your vet before insemination. 

Do French Bulldogs give birth naturally?

French Bulldogs can and have given birth naturally, but it comes with significant risk. The process of allowing a dog to give birth without medical or surgical intervention is called free whelping. 

Free whelping is extremely rare for French Bulldogs and is equally as dangerous. If a puppy gets stuck in the birth canal, both the puppy’s life and the life of the mother are in jeopardy.

In other parts of the world like Europe, French Bulldogs are often bred to be slimmer with longer legs and smaller heads. This is where most free whelping occurs, and it’s far safer.

How long will my French Bulldog be pregnant?

Your French Bulldog will be pregnant for about two months – more precisely, 62 to 64 days. However, don’t expect an exact birth date. It can be difficult to know the exact day of conception, and the length of a Frenchie’s pregnancy may vary based on her litter size. 

How much do French Bulldog puppies sell for?

The average cost of a French Bulldog puppy is close to $3,000. Some purebred pups sell for as low as $1,000, but most will fall somewhere between $1,850 and $4,550.

The cost of a French Bulldog often depends on details such as registration papers, bloodline, breeder reputation, color, and age. Puppies registered with the AKC will be more expensive, as will pups with rare colors and markings. 

Final Thoughts

So, how many puppies can a French Bulldog have? In one litter, your dog may have as little as two or as many five – though the average is three. It’s considered safe for your female to have three litters throughout her life, so long as she is of the proper age and meets the health criteria.

Breeding is a huge responsibility and a tough job that you should never take lightly. French Bulldogs, in particular, come with a unique set of breeding challenges, so it’s best to leave it up to the professionals when possible or seek guidance as needed. 

Jennifer Grucci | Content Editor
Jennifer Grucci | Content Editor
Our talented copy editor Jennifer ensures all doggie info published on our site is accurate, clear, and perfectly suited for pet parents of all experience levels. When not reading and writing about dogs, Jennifer enjoys playing with her own pets at home.