The average French Bulldog litter has three puppies.
It seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? After all, reproduction and birth are natural processes. There’s nothing complicated about a small dog having a few pups, is there?
Actually, there’s a lot more to it than that!
How many puppies can a French Bulldog have? Even this simple-sounding question doesn’t have an easy answer.
We know that the average is three, but they can have up to seven pups, possibly even eight at a stretch. But, there are very good reasons why this is a rare occurrence.
Also, the question might relate to litter size (as in our title), or it could be asking how many pups they can have during their lifetime. This might be something that you need to know if you are considering breeding French Bulldogs.
If you want to know more, then this is the place to be. We’re going to dive into the subject of French Bulldog pregnancy in order to let you know what to expect, from litter sizes to health concerns.
We’re going to begin by repeating the main question, then explaining the answer in more detail.
How Many Puppies Can A French Bulldog Have?
To be precise, a French Bulldog can have as many as eight pups in a single litter. This is extremely rare, and is not considered safe. So, the average litter tends to be between one and three puppies.
This is quite a low number of puppies, considering the average litter size for all dog breeds is between 5 and 6 pups.
Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, have larger litters. They can produce as many as 12 pups at a time, so why do Frenchies have such small litters?
We’re going to explore this, but before we jump in, it’s good to see that you’re taking the time to do the research rather than allowing your precious Frenchie to go through breeding, pregnancy, and the birthing process without knowing and understanding the dangers and challenges that they will face.
Without proper care, there’s a good chance that their health and life will be put at risk.
Pregnancy can be a daunting and anxious time for any mother. This is especially the case for Frenchie moms because they are so small. Their tiny frames aren’t really built for pregnancy, which is why small litter sizes are common.
They can have as many as five puppies, but large litters are rare. So, what’s the deal? Why does being small affect the whelping process?
One of the main problems is that female French Bulldogs have very narrow hips. And, because they are so tiny and small boned, there isn’t much room for puppies.
These dogs are famous for their large heads and shoulders, and puppies can easily become lodged in the birth canal, posing a risk to themselves, their siblings, and their mother.
Because of this, most Frenchie puppies are born by C-section.
In fact, a qualified veterinarian should always be on hand throughout the pregnancy. The gestation period lasts for around 63 days (birth can occur between 8 and 10 weeks, but it usually takes place at 9 weeks).
After around 43 days, your vet will be able to give an idea of how many pups are present. Sometimes, they will use an X-ray to do this, but this doesn’t always give accurate results.
A sonogram will provide a much better image, and enable your vet to let you know exactly how many baby Frenchies the mother is carrying. Hopefully, there will be no more than three.
Any more than this number will mean that the pups will have to be much smaller; thus, increasing the chances of sickness and complications. These dogs are small enough already, so a runt (or two!) in the litter will face even more risk to its health.
So, how many puppies can a French Bulldog have? Ideally, no more than three in one litter!
How Many Litters Can A French Bulldog Have?
A Female French Bulldog is usually able to safely produce four smaller litters throughout her lifetime, though most responsible and respected breeders limit it to three, with a fourth litter being the absolute maximum.
That might not seem a lot, especially when you consider that they have an average lifespan of 12 years. However, although they get their first heat cycle between 6 and 9 months of age, it is not considered safe for them to become pregnant until they are at least 2 years old.
Likewise, when they reach 8 years of age, their pup-bearing days are considered to be over.
The key lies in that word in the first line of this section: safely.
Experts agree that breeding them before 2 years and after 8 years of age significantly increases the risks involved. That just leaves a six-year window of opportunity in which they can whelp.
So, three or four litters in six years? Is that reasonable? This is a matter for debate. Some breeders will risk pushing for more, while others will play it safe.
What it comes down to is how much value you place on your dog’s life.
Remember, the majority of these pups will be born via C-section. Although it’s a pretty common procedure these days, it isn’t without its risks.
Infections, internal bleeding, complications during surgery, and bad reactions to anesthesia are all real possibilities to be considered.
It is vital that you discuss a plan and schedule a time and date for the surgery to take place, as you need to rule out (as much as possible) an emergency C-section.
A mother that is already in labor will face a greater risk of complications and health problems because she will already be exhausted and dehydrated.
The mother (or dam, in breeding terminology) should be fully recovered from the operation within 3 weeks, after which time, she should be able to focus on weaning her pups.
If this is the case, then what’s stopping the dam from having more pups once this litter has left?
We’ll examine the reasons for this in the next section.
How Many Litters Can A French Bulldog Have Per Year?
According to the figures we’ve seen so far, they can technically have about two or three litters each year.
The question is whether it’s ethical or fair to do this. It’s the same as when we ask, how many puppies can a French Bulldog have? What it comes down to is the motives behind wanting to breed your Frenchie.
If you are purely motivated by the prospect of making a profit, then because these little dogs are extremely popular at the moment, you certainly don’t have the mother’s wellbeing at heart.
With French Bulldogs going for between $1,000 and $3,000 or more, it’s easy to see the attraction.
However, this is morally and ethically questionable behavior. These are living, breathing creatures that feel pain and fear. They are loving and affectionate companions, and they deserve our respect, care, and love in return.
Reputable French Bulldog breeders will wait until their female Frenchies are at least 2 years old, then breed one litter every second year.
This gives them plenty of time to recover fully, and be in excellent health, ready for the next breeding session.
It’s worrying when you see people asking, how many times can a French Bulldog have puppies? You have to wonder if they are seeing dollar signs in their eyes and not giving a moment’s thought to the poor mother going through the process.
How Many Times Can You Breed A French Bulldog?
In theory, the male dog can mate every day! Admittedly, he’d be utterly exhausted, and his sperm count would drop dramatically, reducing the chances of impregnation. And, it wouldn’t be very fair to him.
Also, once again, the word breeding implies that this is a simple, natural process. Not for Frenchies!
Under normal conditions, other dog breeds will copulate without too much trouble. The male will mount the female, and then they ‘tie’ until the deed is done. This can take as long as twenty minutes, in which time, the two are locked together.
The poor old male Frenchie will struggle to do this, partly because of his overly large head, little legs, and narrow hips. But, the problems don’t end there.
If he manages to successfully mount the female, he may have difficulty maintaining the tie because of the physical exertion involved.
This is because French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed (including Pugs, English Bulldogs, and Boxers), meaning that they are bred with a flattened face and a short muzzle.
One effect of brachycephalism is that the airways can be restricted because of an excess of soft tissue inside the nose and mouth. This results in breathing difficulties, known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
Sadly, many French Bulldog owners are not aware of this condition, and fail to act in time, resulting in the death of their beloved pet.
BOAS can cause choking, breathlessness, and wheezing during physical activity or while snoring, and could lead to collapse.
It also causes overheating. Dogs that have naturally long muzzles use them to regulate their body temperature. However, the French Bulldog breed can’t do this, so it overheats very quickly.
For all these reasons, natural copulation is not usually an option, and the majority of breeders use artificial insemination to impregnate the female.
So much for the male Frenchie’s contribution!
When it comes to the female French Bulldog, we’ve already learned the dangers and risks involved because of her narrow hips and small frame.
She will probably have to undergo a C-section, and will need adequate time to recover. Also, this doesn’t account for any other health issues she may face, of which the French Bulldog has many.
For that reason, she should ideally only be bred three times during her life. A fourth time should absolutely be the last, and should take place before she reaches 8 years of age.
Can My French Bulldog Give Birth Naturally?
Once again, the answer is no. At least, natural birth isn’t the norm.
More than 80% of all French Bulldog puppies are born via cesarean section because of the shape of these small dogs.
It has to be said that these physical traits are intentional, and are laid down in the breed standards of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other organizations. However, this is a contentious issue that’s best left for another time.
Veterinary surgeons recognize the risks involved, but they are confident that cesarean sections are basically safe.
This procedure puts them in overall control, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, it should go smoothly. Allowing the dam to go through a natural birthing process is considered a far higher risk to the mother and her pups.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen sometimes.
If you are considering a natural birth for your Frenchie mom’s puppies, you should definitely consult your veterinarian for advice beforehand.
Your vet will be able to tell you whether it is practical or even possible. Don’t be surprised if they strongly advise against it and ask you to book a C-section with them.
On the other hand, if they give the go ahead, then they’ll probably help you to draw up a pregnancy plan.
This should be followed to the letter, and it will involve your assistance. Under no circumstances should you leave the mother dog to do this by herself!
Before the big day arrives, you should do as much research as possible in order to recognize the signs. Watch videos on Frenchie websites that show pups being born. Set up a quiet, safe space for the mother dog.
Above all, if it looks like she is in any distress at all, or a pup looks like it is stuck in the birth canal, seek medical assistance immediately. In fact, you should have your veterinary surgeon’s or local vet hospital’s number on speed dial.
The Last Word On Frenchie Puppy Breeding
Now that we know a bit more about it, let’s just ask that question one more time so we’re clear on the answer: How many puppies can a French Bulldog have?
We know that a Frenchie mom will probably give birth to three pups in one litter. It could be one, or it might be five.
On very rare occasions, it could be even more. This is a bad thing, and it could be a serious health risk to the mother and her pups.
So, with an average of three pups, starting from when the mother dog is 2 years of age and finishing when she is 8, with a break of one year between each litter, she will possibly have nine pups in her lifetime, but possibly twelve.
This is one of the reasons why French Bulldogs are so expensive.
The big question here is: why do you want to breed your Frenchie? There’s great risk involved, and she will have to go through artificial insemination, potentially followed by a C-section in order to ensure that she and the pups survive.
If it’s purely for money, then you need to reconsider. And, even if it’s just to have more beautiful little Frenchie pups for yourself, you still need to weigh out the pros and cons.
Is it really worth the risk? If you are committed to this, then seek all the advice and help that you can.
However, for anyone with a female Frenchie who has no plans to breed, the very best thing you can do is have them spayed as soon as possible.
There are plenty of competent, professional breeders out there who know what they’re doing, and perhaps this is a job that’s best left to the experts.