Are you a parent of a beautiful female French Bulldog? This compact, short breed with its adorable squashed face with heaps of intelligence, energy, and awesome personality keeps puppies in high demand. Yet, due to some of its physical characteristics, French Bulldog pregnancy can be dangerous. Before you consider breeding your gorgeous French Bulldog female to have more of her swoon-worthy pups running around for yourself or breeding her as a responsible breeder, this is for you.
What greater happiness for Frenchie parents and breeders to know their dazzling Frenchie female will soon be a mommy. This fact takes both dog and pet parent a long way and plenty must be considered before getting to this lovely stage. Responsible breeders know all of this, but unfortunately, many Frenchie owners think French Bulldog pregnancy and puppy birth is natural for any dog.
A Frenchie will experience her first heat cycle anytime after she is 6 months old. You better be prepared as she is fertile, and you must protect her not only against an unwanted litter but for her own health reasons. The right age to allow French Bulldog pregnancy is after her second heat cycle. As a short-faced, brachycephalic breed plenty can go wrong with both the mother and her puppies.
Many Frenchie parents decide to allow their dog to have one litter before having her spayed. If you are one of them, keep in mind that natural mating isn’t always possible. Fertilization hardly ever takes place as this breed find natural reproduction difficult. Frenchie males find it nearly impossible to mount females. Breeders use artificial insemination to impregnate females. This is why it is so important to keep her away from other breeds that may impregnate her during her heat cycle as it is dangerous to her health.
French Bulldog Pregnancy Stages
Frenchie pups like other breeds develop rapidly. After mating or insemination, embryos move to the mother’s uterine horns. This is where they will develop. To track gestation accurately and make sure she is pregnant, take her for a prenatal checkup 2 to 3 weeks after mating or artificial insemination. Pregnancy confirmation can only be done from 28 to 35th days of a pregnancy with a detectable heartbeat via ultrasound. Symptoms will not be present during her first 3 weeks.
Month one potential symptoms
- Increased appetite
- Reduced activity
- Enlarged nipples
- Pink discharge that clears around 4th week
- Morning sickness in some Frenchies around week 3 or 4
Her second trimester
A lot happens to your once lively and energetic Frenchie during her second trimester. Fetuses have eyelids by day 32 and toes 3 days later. Between the 40th and 45th day, her pups have skeletons, claws, and a coat. At day 50 an x-ray will confirm the number of pups.
Month two potential symptoms
- Around 20 – 50% of weight gain happens by her second trimester
- Increased urination
- Enlarged, firm abdomen by day 45
- Around day 45 her increased appetite may drop off
- By day 50, you will notice visible puppies’ movement
- By day 58 she will show behavioral changes
French Bulldog last trimester
Your Frenchie is ready to whelp when month 3 starts. Puppy development is nearly complete at 58 days with puppies slowly moving into the birthing position.
Month three potential symptoms
- With puppies moving into whelping position, her waist will become trim
- Around day 61 she will lose her appetite
- Restless behaviors that include shivering, pacing, or panting
- Between 12 to 24 hours before labor, her body temperature drops
“Dogs are pregnant for approximately 63 days or about two months. A lot happens during this short time span. During the first month, fertilized eggs travel to the uterine horn, where they embed themselves in the lining and start to develop.”American Kennel Club
Top 3 FAQs – French Bulldog Pregnancy
1How many times can responsible Frenchie parents breed their dog?
Any responsible French Bulldog parent will breed 3 times maximum in a lifetime. They will wait at a minimum of 18 months in between pregnancies too. More than this is harmful, and your beautiful Frenchie will struggle to recover – both physically and mentally.
2How long will my Frenchie be pregnant?
When it comes to gestation length, French Bulldogs are like other breeds. Your Frenchie mommy-to-be will carry her pups for 58 to 68 days. The average length of a pregnancy from conception to birth is typically 63 days.
3How many puppies does a French Bulldog have on average?
Each litter maybe 3 puppies while it is more common to get only 2 puppies. To be more accurate could pet parents expect at maximum between 2 and 4 pups. Your gorgeous female simply does not have room for more puppies. When you hear about Frenchies carrying more pups, it is dangerous and indeed very rare. The higher the number of puppies, the slimmer the chances of any or some puppies to survive. They may all be underweight, with some too weak to live beyond a few weeks. The mother also suffers as she must provide more milk and nurse for longer.
Frenchie Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy
Your glowing Frenchie’s nutritional needs and appetite will change during pregnancy to support her puppies’ rapid growth. A vital aspect to support healthy fetal development and protect your courageous French Bulldog mommy’s health is proper nutritional care. She will gain around 20% of her weight while pregnant and while she needs proper nutrition, overfeeding is also something to avoid. During French Bulldog pregnancy nutrition plays a huge role. High-quality food is needed for your four-legged girl!
Maintain her regular feeding and in support of pregnancy make adjustments:
- Get prenatal supplements like folic acid and multivitamin and what else your vet recommends.
- Increase her caloric intake by 10% per week after her 5th week of pregnancy.
“Birthing difficulties are common in brachycephalic breeds. Although birthing difficulties may be caused by factors like uterine inertia, abnormally presenting puppies and large puppies, birthing problems are due to feto-pelvic disproportion in brachycephalic breeds.”UK Kennel Club
French Bulldog Pregnancy – Why She Shouldn’t Be Bred Too Much
Research from the Royal Veterinary College found that Frenchies are 15.9 times more likely to suffer from dystocia (difficult births) than crossbred bitches. Among these difficult birth problems, a French Bulldog has 2.4 times more likelihood of undergoing invasive cesarean sections compared to crossbred dogs.
1. Too many C-sections
Most Frenchie puppies arrive via Cesarean section. Over time, most female French Bulldogs have been bred this way. The adorable Frenchie has a narrow birth canal while pups have large heads and C-sections are the safest as well as the easiest way to deliver a litter. C-sections risks include:
- Medical reasons – too many things may go wrong including wound infection, hemorrhaging, blood clots during surgery, or adverse reaction to the anesthetic.
- Stress – your female Frenchie can become anxious and stressed with possible aggression too after C-sections. Too many times may have a negative mental health effect.
- Injury to pups – while care is taken, all C-sections are not successful, with risk to puppies during a procedure.
2. Her little body needs time to repair itself
Both the birthing and nursing period after pregnancy is a critical health period for your Frenchie. Her pregnancy, even though it isn’t long for you, giving birth as well as becoming a nursing mother are mentally and physically exhausting periods for her. Aside from a C-section wound, your beautiful French Bulldog mother must recover from feeding her pups as well as build her muscle tone back up and regrow parts of her uterus.
3. Global kennels clubs and pedigree associations don’t recognize pups from frequent litters
If you are breeding pedigree dogs, the bad news for you is that French Bulldog clubs will not officially recognize your pups when they come from a mother that gave birth after her first heat cycle. These organizations are very explicit about officially registered puppies.
They state more reasons why they won’t recognize French Bulldogs as pedigree when:
- Frenchie mothers that had more than 2 C-sections.
- Puppies that are bred from familial inter-breeding for example, mother and son.
- Frenchie’s mothers are younger than a year when she delivers her pups.
- Frenchie’s mothers are older than 8 years when she delivers pups.
“The Kennel Club will not accept an application to register a litter when the dam has already whelped 4 litters. The Kennel Club will no longer register any further litters from any bitch which our records show has already whelped 4 litters. Where the number previously recorded is 4 or more, the application will be rejected.”UK Kennel Club
The first thing before or after receiving your gorgeous Frenchie female puppy is ensuring you know everything about this huge life chapter. French Bulldog pregnancy is certainly super-exciting waiting for her breathtaking pups, but knowledge and preparation are vital to keeping mommy and pups healthy and safe. Parents do not want an unwanted litter from a different breed getting hold of your Frenchie in heat, neither do you want to endanger her life by mating her too young. Responsible parents must consider whether they want to breed their Frenchie or make a decision to have her spayed.