When Do French Bulldogs Go Into Heat: The Definitive Guide

The odds are that you are thinking about adding another Frenchie to your home or are simply curious about this aspect of being an owner. French Bulldogs are a precocious and loveable breed. So, it’s no surprise many of us would love to have more than one in the home. 

I certainly did, and instead of dealing with the pricey breeder, I decided that it might be time for me to take a shot at breeding my Frenchie.

Whatever your reason for being here, this guide will provide a complete overview of the French Bulldog heat cycle, delve into the signs, and provide valuable tips for when it happens. So, keep reading to find the answer to when do French Bulldogs go into heat.

The French Bulldog Heat Cycle

If you never learned anything about the breeding cycle for your Frenchie, then strap in for the family planning class you never had to take in middle school.  

When do Frenchies go into heat for the first time? Typically, it’s within the first six to nine months of life. Of course, you’ll be dealing with plenty of other things relating to an energetic pup so you will need to be prepared to become adept at recognizing the signs. That brings us to the next question: can you breed a French Bulldog at 1 year old. Yes, as this is when they reach sexual maturity.

There are four parts to the heat cycle. 

  1. Proestrus: This is the first part of the cycle and usually lasts about seven days. During this time, you may see the vulvar of a female french bulldog in heat swollen and produce a discharge. 

    She may start attracting the attention of other dogs, but she is not ready for the mating process.
  1. Estrus: The second part of the cycle is the portion where your French Bulldog is fertile enough to begin mating. This period usually lasts about nine days. 

    This phase can be mistaken for a “period,” which leads to questions like when do French Bulldogs get their period?
  1. Diestrus: This third portion of the heat cycle can last about eight weeks, so pack your patience. Your pet can become pregnant following mating in the estrus French Bulldog period.
  2. Anestrus: The final segment in the heat cycle allows your French Bulldog to rest and prepare for the next heat cycle. This can take several months. 

How Often Do French Bulldogs Go Into Heat?

From that first heat cycle, you can expect it to kick in every six months after a few more years of your French Bulldog’s life. Since your Frenchie is a smaller breed, you can expect it every half year. Larger breeds usually go into heat every 12 months. 

But how long do French Bulldogs stay in heat? Once your French Bulldog’s heat cycle begins, you can expect it to last anywhere from two to four weeks

If you have never seen a dog experience this, be ready for behaviors you have never seen before and other issues that we will discuss more in-depth shortly. 

Let’s talk about some signs that the French Bulldog heat cycle is kicking in for the first time.  

French Bulldog First Heat Symptoms

Now you have the answer to the question, when do French Bulldogs go into heat. 

The heat cycle of any animal is just part of the natural process of life, but if you have never experienced this with a dog like a Frenchie, you may have a ton of questions or concerns. No need to worry because being prepared means having all the necessary information. 

That first heat cycle will be a learning experience for you. Here are the French Bulldog heat cycle signs you need to be on the lookout for.

Vaginal or Vulvar Discharge

One of the signs you can spot the quickest to confirm a French in heat is if there is any vaginal or vulvar discharge

This type of discharge is usually brown, yellow, or red and is a heat cycle indicator. Often, there will be a residue left from where your dog sits. So, with that in mind, if you see any staining, then it may be from the discharge.

Swollen Vulvar

Another key sign that your French Bulldog is in heat is a swollen vulvar. Your dog’s vulvar may turn red during this period. Be on the lookout for this when your pooch is lying down or rolled over on its back. 

Increased Licking in the Vulvar Area

Your French Bulldogs may be engaged in more licking during the heat cycle—particularly the vulvar. Dogs usually gnaw or lick at areas where there is irritation, so this behavior is another cycle hallmark. 

More Trips to Urinate

Expect to be traveling outside more often during the heat cycle because of more urination. This is a positive sign, though, as the constant need for urination means that her reproductive system is working. 

Behavior Changes

Behavioral changes may be easier to spot if you are in tune with the rhythms of your French Bulldog’s habits. A dog in heat may be moodier or more willing to protect you. 

On top of that, you may see male dogs suddenly more interested in her. You should be able to gauge interest from other dogs by how often she is smelled.

Staying on top of your French Bulldog’s heat cycle is all about knowing the signs and being attuned to them. But what do you do to help her along in the process? 

Tips for a French Bulldog in Heat

Like any other dog, dealing with a French Bulldog in heat—especially if you are looking to breed—means developing a process to make the animal comfortable. So what do you do? 

Invest in Dog Diapers

The estrus cycle in a dog comes with a vaginal or vulvar discharge. It would not surprise us if you do not want to deal with this on your furniture, so you may want to make a trip to your local pet store for dog diapers. 

Diapers help dogs deal with incontinence later in life, but they are handy for female dogs in heat. You will need to change the diapers regularly, depending on the amount of discharge.

Isolate Her

You may choose to isolate your dog from any potential male suitors if you are not interested in breeding. This tactic may not be very comfortable if your dog is social, but it may be the right decision for her. Find a smaller room in your home like a bathroom, laundry room, or even a garage for the time being.

You can still take your dog out for walks, albeit in a controlled environment where you won’t have to worry about managing your pup and an unfamiliar dog.

Leash Her

Keeping your Frenchie on a leash during this period will be crucial if breeding is not on your to-do list as an owner. A leash will keep her away from any male dog’s attention but trips to the dog park are a no-go during this time. 

Should I Spay My French Bulldog? 

Breeding and managing a dog’s heat cycle is one of the most complex tasks a dog owner can be responsible for. And, that ignores the aftermath of handling a litter of precious (but adorable) baby Frenchies.

So, what do you do if you decide that getting your pet spayed is a much better option than a Frenchie in heat? Ask yourself several questions to start. 

Can You Manage the Heat Cycle? 

A dog’s heat cycle can be unpredictable, even accounting for averages. Do you want to keep a calendar just for your dog? If not, it might be best to spay your pup. 

Do You Have the Budget for a Litter? 

Breeding is not as easy as watching for the heat cycle signs and pairing your dog up with a willing mate. It can involve dealing with the costs of a successful pregnancy or trying to impregnate a dog. 

Check out your money situation before you make a decision on whether or not to breed your dog. 

Do You Have Enough Patience? 

Developing the patience it takes to become a breeder is not something that happens overnight. Even dogs deal with false pregnancy symptoms that may fool you into a sense of delight. 

Getting your dog spayed is a simple process, requiring only a call with your veterinarian to schedule a surgery appointment. Once surgery happens, the whole process only takes a few hours. 

FAQs

Besides the French Bulldog heat cycle, there are plenty of other common queries relating to this extraordinary breed. Read on for answers to several of them.

How long are Frenchies pregnant?

Unlike a human pregnancy that takes a gestation period of nine months, a dog’s pregnancy usually lasts about nine weeks. You will want to determine if breeding worked through routine veterinary appointments and ultrasounds. 

How big is the average French Bulldog litter? 

The litter size of a French Bulldog is anywhere from two to four puppies. Any sizes outside that range —especially more than four—are rare. Be prepared for your Frenchie’s delivery to be done via C-section because of the dangerous nature of birth for dogs with a small pelvis. 

How long does it take a French Bulldog to grow full size? 

French Bulldogs are known for being a smaller breed of dogs. Still, that does not stop them from growing between 16 and 28 pounds. They can be husky little pups, but that makes them more adorable! 

What is the life expectancy of a French Bulldog? 

While ages vary from dog to dog, French Bulldogs can live for 11 to 14 years. Of course, it all depends on other factors as well. If you take care of your dog using all the veterinarian-recommended information, nothing prevents your dog from living a lengthy life. 

So, When Do French Bulldogs Go Into Heat

So, when do French Bulldogs go into heat? A typical French Bulldog will first go into heat during the first six to nine months of their life. 

How often do Frenchies go into heat? Well, after that phase, expect to see your Frenchie experience this cycle twice a year, usually every six months. This will last anywhere from two to four weeks on average.

The process of breeding my Frenchie was an enlightening one that attuned me to their needs. Whether or not you plan on breeding yours, understanding an important part of their life cycle is a great way to connect with your pooch.  

Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.