How Many Puppies Can a French Bulldog Have?

Are you thinking about breeding your French Bulldog? If so, the first question on your mind is probably, how many puppies can a french bulldog have? And how many times can a french bulldog have puppies?

First of all, I’m very glad that you’re thinking responsibly and not just jumping into breeding her indiscriminately. If you do, you could put her health at risk.

How Many Puppies Do French Bulldogs Have?  

French Bulldogs are small dogs and have around 3 puppies in each litter.  Frenchies don’t typically have more than 5 puppies (although it is possible).  French Bulldog puppies must be delivered through a Caesarean section (aka C-Section).   

What is the Average French Bulldog Litter Size?

Since French Bulldogs are very small and small-boned, the mothers have an average of just three puppies per litter. Anything beyond five is very unusual for frenchies and seven is the dead maximum. Most Frenchie litters are born by c-section. 63 days is the usual gestation period for a French Bulldog.

Because of their high health risks, Frenchie pregnancies must be closely monitored by a skilled veterinarian. Usually, the veterinarian will feel the mom-to-be’s abdomen for fluid sacs to determine the number of puppies. Even so, determining the exact number is very difficult. Many use x-rays to try to determine the number of puppies approximately 43 days into the pregnancy. Even so, it’s not guaranteed that they’ll show the exact number of fetuses.

The good news is that many veterinarian facilities do have sonograms. They are the best at telling the number of fetuses and, as a bonus, whether their hearts are still beating. If one is miscarried early in the pregnancy, it is simply reabsorbed into the mother-to-be’s body. It sounds gross but a lot of things in nature are.  

Aside from being small-boned, female Frenchies also have narrow hips. Hence, they simply don’t have the space to carry large litters. As a result, more than three puppies in a litter can result in them being underweight at birth as well as other health complications. Chances are, the runts will also struggle to get mom’s milk when they are eventually born.

How Many Times Can a French Bulldog Have Puppies?

On average, most can have about four litters without risking their health. Unfortunately, unlicensed and profit-oriented French Bulldog breeders don’t care and try to get them to have as many as possible. Many breeders impregnate their Frenchies by artificial insemination. It does happen but it’s often very difficult for them to get pregnant the natural way. (note:  it is a good idea to use a French Bulldog heat diaper to protect them from unwanted pregnancies AND to control the mess).  

If you’re not a breeder but want to adopt a Frenchie puppy, the first question you should ask the breeder is how many litters the mom has had. If it’s more than four, I would advise you to look elsewhere. Her French Bulldog litter size should be the second question on your mind. If it’s more than three, unless you don’t mind owning a runt, I would look elsewhere.

Frenchie moms-to-be go through a variety of stages during the pregnancy.


The First Month of French Bulldog Pregnancy

Up to the seventh day after mating or insemination, the embryos are traveling up the uteran horn. After that, they start to embed themselves on the uterine lining. On the 22nd day, they will start to form their actual shapes. Their heartbeats can be detected on the sonogram on about the 29th or 30th day.

She may start to become more affectionate than usual and eat more than usual. Her nipples will start to enlarge. She may even show signs of morning sickness and vaginal discharge during the fourth week.

However, not all Frenchie moms-to-be show those signs. When they don’t, it can be difficult to tell if the pregnancy is taking.

The Second Month of French Bulldog Pregnancy

Between day 32 and 35, the fetuses’ eyelids and toes start forming. The claws usually show up on the 40th day followed by their skeletons and coats on the 45th. Day 50 is usually when the fetuses can be distinguished. Day 58 is when your Frenchie mom-to-be will likely start looking for a nesting place. You can help her by designating a very safe and comfortable area for her and the puppies to come home to.

Most Frenchie moms-to-be start eating less around the 45th day. Her belly will start to firm up at that same time. On the 50th day, you may even be able to see the fetuses moving. Her weight increases up to 50 percent more. She will have a lot of vaginal discharge and need to urinate much more than usual. I don’t mean as in the quick scent marking sprays.

The Third Month of French Bulldog Pregnancy

Day 58 is when the fetuses start moving toward the birth canal so the labor can start anywhere between day 58 and 63. At this time, you will need to keep a very close eye on her to watch for early signs of labor. Be prepared to rush her to an emergency veterinarian if she starts showing signs of labor a little earlier than expected.

She will probably not have much of an appetite during the last few days. She may be restless and agitated. It’s normal for the temperature to drop up to a couple of days before the birth. She will probably start to show some nesting behaviors such as digging and pacing.

During the last two weeks, she may be more affectionate and calm with you but shut out contact with other dogs. She will probably eat a lot.

Signs that she’s in labor include discomfort, seeking unusual places to sleep, a lot of vaginal discharge, swollen nipples and difficulty standing.

When Do Female Frenchies Come Into Breeding Maturity?

Female Frenchies usually first go into heat at five months. That means that this is when she’s first at risk for getting pregnant. The females are typically in heat (also called estrus or oestrus) for nine days at a time. The average female tends to go into heat only about every six months but it’s different for every one. Some go into heat every two years.

Beware that five months is the equivalent of a young teenager for Frenchies. As a result, if you start breeding them that young, you put both her and the potential puppies at risk.

Most Frenchies reach full maturity at the age of two. As a result, it’s best to breed them when they’re between the ages of two and eight. Male Frenchies reach sexual maturity when they’re just 15 months old. They can ejaculate sperm as young as six months old but he doesn’t yet have the stamina to mate. French Bulldog males that will be part of the breeding process are known as “Studs.”  They can fetch a Stud fee as well.  That sperm also tends not to be as lively at a young age.

Why is Natural Birth So Dangerous for Frenchies?

Frenchies are one of the breeds that are more likely to have a complication called dystocia. Dystocia is when the labor progresses slowly or not at all due to the fetus being abnormally positioned. It makes it difficult for the mother’s canal to naturally expel the fetuses. As a result, it’s known to be fatal to both the fetus and the mother. In French Bulldogs, the mortality rate of the moms is about one percent and 20 percent for the puppies. Frenchies are at a 15 percent higher risk than other breeds.

Also, many Frenchie moms are known to have trouble getting the proper amount of oxygen during the pregnancy. This often worsens during labor.

After a Frenchie mom has had a litter, she will need at least 18 months to recover before having another. Any less than that and she could have all kinds of mental and physical struggles.

Their uteruses and surrounding muscles need time to regrow. They are also known to lose patches of fur during the pregnancy. As a result, those need time to grow back as well.

Putting a Frenchie mom through too many cesarean sections is also very dangerous. First, she won’t understand what’s going on or why. As a result, she could interpret it as an act of aggression and become aggressive afterward.

There is also a high risk of medical issues. These could include hemorrhaging, blood clotting, wound infections and allergies to the anesthesia. On top of that, not all c-sections are successful and not all puppies survive.  Many wonder why are French Bulldogs so expensive?  The medical attention required in responsible breeding has a lot to do with the price of a French Bulldog.  

Please Breed Your French Bulldog Responsibly

Frenchies are currently enjoying another wave of popularity. However, if you’re going to be a breeder, then you need to learn all of the information outlined in this blog very well and more. If you are serious about being a French Bulldog breeder please speak to experienced breeders, talk to a qualified veterinarian, and please do your homework.  It is not something you should take lightly.  Otherwise, you could end up contributing to the overpopulation in shelters. Many are euthanized as a result. Others end up having genetic issues due in large part to improper breeding practices.  Yes, animal abuse is rampant but most that end up in shelters are actually neglect cases.

If you’re going to breed your French Bulldog, make sure your whole heart is in it. You will also need to spare time and money for the care. If any of the above is currently not an option for you, spaying is your best option. Also, if you can’t answer the question, how many puppies can a french bulldog have, that’s a bad sign.

Summary – How Many Puppies Can a French Bulldog Have?

Breeding French Bulldogs is very high maintenance work and care. It should be done with the best of intentions and your whole heart. Since over 80 percent of the puppies are born by c-section, it requires close medical supervision.

Again, if you’re having any doubts, I would advise you to get your dog spayed.  

PS – Want to see some adorable photos of super cute French Bulldog puppies?

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