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Why French Bulldogs Shouldn’t Have Puppies Naturally

Reviewed by Dr. Danielle Morosco

French bulldogs can have puppies naturally, but it’s not advised.

These unique and delightful dogs have very special needs during birth and delivery that require medical attention. The features that make them so adorable (large bat ears, a soft palate, short noses, large heads, and a flat face) are what can get them into serious trouble during the birthing process.

This post should give you a better understanding of what it takes for breeders to ensure a safe delivery for the mom and her pups.

If you’ve ever wondered why French Bulldog puppies are so expensive, this post will help you understand. Despite their expense, the only way to secure a puppy of your own is through a reputable and experienced breeder.

Unscrupulous breeders will put their dogs at risk. This is why you may find French Bulldogs for sale online at discounted prices.

Keep reading to learn more about these beautiful dogs and what it takes to keep them thriving in the population.

Do French Bulldogs Require Artificial Insemination (AI)?

Yes, French Bulldogs require AI. Unfortunately, French Bulldogs have been bred down enough to change their physical characteristics. The same cute little short legs, square body, large head, and narrow hips makes is virtually impossible for the breeds to properly mate.

In order to produce a litter of puppies, human intervention must lend a helping hand.

Is AI Always Successful?

About 59% to 80% of female Frenchies get pregnant through AI. However, there are a few factors determining the success rate of AI, including;

  • The dog breeds
  • Quality of male seed
  • Timing
  • The procedure used during AI
  • Skill level of the veterinarian
french bulldog puppy in a basket

Is It Safe to Breed French Bulldogs Myself?

You should never attempt to breed French Bulldogs naturally. These dogs have been designed in such a way that it becomes extremely dangerous for the mom and her pups to conceive naturally and to give birth naturally.

Can Artificial Insemination Harm a French Bulldog?

No, this breeding process is 100% safe on a French Bulldog. However, the procedure being conducted by an experienced veterinarian increases the chances of success. But, again, your Frenchie doesn’t experience any adverse effects despite being pregnant or not.

French Bulldogs Prenatal Care

After a Frenchie gets pregnant, you need to take care of her.

The normal gestation period of these dogs is about 9 weeks. During this period, she experiences symptoms such as:

  • a pink discharge
  • swollen nipple
  • and morning sickness, which can manifest as appetite changes

Therefore, you should watch your Frenchie closely throughout the pregnancy and after giving birth.

Can French Bulldogs Give Birth Naturally?

French bulldogs can give birth naturally. However, only 20% of these dogs have a successful natural delivery. This is because most Frenchies experience complications when giving birth naturally.

Therefore, a Frenchie breeder prefers a cesarean section for the safety of the mother.

Why Do French Bulldogs Have Difficult Births?

Female Frenchies have slim hips and experience complications during natural delivery. This is because the wide shoulders and blockheads of the puppies can get stuck in the birth canal.

In return, the mother experiences long and risky hours of labor. This results in health issues that can lead to the death of the mother and the puppies.

What to Know About a French Bulldog’s Labor?

Frenchie owners who opt for natural birth (not recommended except with a knowledgeable and experienced breeder) should contact a veterinarian and ask about booking a C-Section. A cesarean section is a procedure where the puppies are surgically removed from the uterus.
Once the French Bulldog goes into natural labor, she is at an increased risk of complications. A C-Section needs to be booked before that happens.

Signs of natural labor include:

  • Low body temperature (between 98-99F)
  • Nesting behavior, like rearranging beds or blankets
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • General body discomfort

Possible Risks in Natural Births of French Bulldogs

Frenchies may experience several complications during the whelping process. Some of the possible risks during natural delivery include;

Puppies Getting Stuck

Delivering puppies can be challenging because of the physical features of Frenchies. These dogs have narrow hips, and the puppies’ heads and chest may get stuck in the vaginal canal. In addition, French bulldogs may push puppies for at least 30 minutes, making them tired.


It is caused by uterine inertia, where the uterus can’t contract. Therefore, Frenchies have trouble pushing the puppies. In addition, uterine exhaustion causes general body tiredness during labor. Hence, the French bulldog is unable to give birth.

This condition is also caused by the enlargement of puppies’ heads and chests. As a result, these puppies may experience developmental problems. That’s why some puppies suffer from birth defects and may die.


Frenchies give birth to at least 2 or 4 puppies. However, the swelling before birth causes difficulties in pushing these puppies.

In addition, these dogs experience problems such as rapid heart rate that is risky for the mother and her puppies. Hence, Frenchies owners should call a veterinarian for a c-section immediately.

Common Problems Post Natural Delivery

Even after successful natural delivery, Frenchies may still experience problems. The following are the most common post whelping problems encountered by French bulldogs.


This is a condition caused by inflammation of the uterus lining. It can occur days after delivery. Therefore, you should look for any complications that occur post-delivery. Some of the common symptoms include;

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased milk production
  • Fever
  • Mother staying away from the puppies
  • Foul-smell vaginal discharge


Sometimes, your Frenchie may lose a lot of blood after giving birth. This condition is risky, and you should call a vet immediately. Common symptoms of hemorrhage include:

  • Body weakness
  • Foul-smelling green vaginal discharge
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting

Do French Bulldogs Need C-Sections?

No, Frenchies can give birth naturally. However, these female dogs experience several complications that can lead to death. For that reason, Frenchie bulldog breeders will schedule a C section. This drastically reduces the risk of harm to the mother and her puppies.

Eighty percent (80%) of French bulldogs give birth through C- section.

How Many C-Sections Should a Frenchie Have?

Experts recommend that a French bulldog shouldn’t have more than three C-sections over her lifespan.

Performing many C-sections on a female French Bulldog may cause serious complications that lead to death.

Technically, a Frenchie can breed two times each year.

Reputable breeders know better than to put the mother through that kind of risk. In order to minimize the risk of serious complications, breeders will wait a couple of years between births.

People awaiting the arrival of a French bulldog puppy often have their names on wait lists for this reason.

What Takes Place During a French Dog’s C Section?

A C-section is the best way for a Frenchie to give birth. It has many advantages because the mother and puppies mostly survive. However, you need to call a professional veterinarian to perform this procedure. Below is what takes place during a Frenchie’s C-section procedure.

The Mother is Anesthetized

The veterinarian shaves the Frenchies tummy to prepare her to give birth. Then, the vet puts the mother under anesthesia to perform invasive surgery.

The Uterus is Cut Open to Remove the Puppies

The vet uses sterilized equipment to make an incision in Frenchie’s uterus. Mostly, the vet has an assistant to help hold each puppy after its removal. Despite this, the vet keeps the puppies close to each other in gestational sacs.

Cleaning and Examining the Puppies

The veterinarian and his team clean, stimulate and examine the puppies. Then, they remove the puppies from the gestation sacs to help them breathe independently.

This procedure is critical. So, the veterinarian takes between 45 to 90 minutes for the entire process. This helps to reduce the time a Frenchie spends under anesthesia to increase the chances of survival. It’s also vital for the mother’s and the puppies’ health.

Advantages of a C-Section on French Bulldogs

There are several advantages of a C-section over natural delivery. The main reasons to have a C-section include:

The Mother’s Uterus Remains Strong

Frenchies give birth to 2, 3, or 4 puppies. Therefore, the uterus may become weak, especially after giving birth naturally. However, a C-section keeps the uterus strong, and the mother can give birth to a litter of puppies later in life.

Better Health on the Mother

Natural delivery can be stressful on the French bulldog because of the many hours of labor. A C-section saves the mother from exhaustion when giving birth. This way, the mother is in good health to look after the puppies.

Safe Delivery

Natural delivery can lead to infections post-delivery. However, a veterinarian ensures that the Frenchie delivers safely to avoid complications after giving birth. Then, again, the vet removes all the puppies ensuring that none dies in the uterus.

French bulldog laying on a grey couch

Possible Complications in a French Bulldog’s C-Section

Though a C-section is safer, it also has several complications. Therefore, a Frenchie owner should hire an experienced veterinarian who can easily notice the risks. The following are the common complications during a C-section.

Cleft Palate

This rare genetic disorder mainly affects brachycephalic breeds such as a Frenchie and an English Bulldog. Frenchies may give birth to puppies with this genetic disorder.

Puppies suffering from this condition have a nasal passage between the mouth and the nasal passage. Fortunately, this disorder can be treated through surgery when puppies are 3 or 4 months old.

Signs that your French bulldog has this disorder include;

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent coughing
  • Stunted growth
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Difficulty sucking
  • Difficulty breathing

Choking on Vomit

This is a common problem during a C- section procedure. A vet ensures the Frenchie can’t access food and water during a C-section to protect her from choking.

However, this may not be possible during an emergency C-section. Therefore, the French bulldog may choke on food and water during the procedure.

Difficulty Breathing

French bulldogs are flat-faced and may experience breathing problems. Unfortunately, this can still occur during a C-section when under anesthesia. That’s why you should hire a professional breeder. This way, the vet ensures that your Frenchie is breathing properly throughout the procedure.

Recommendations of the American Kennel Club

French bulldogs are most likely to suffer several complications when giving birth. This may affect the mother and puppies. The American Kennel Club recommends the following to reduce risks and deliver puppies safely.

Frenchie Bulldogs Should Wear an Adaptil (DAP) Collar

Frenchie owners should ensure that it wears an Adaptil collar some days before the C-section procedure. Though it may feel uncomfortable, it prepares a Frenchie to adapt the motherly instincts. Thus, the mother can take care of the puppies after a safe delivery.

Schedule a C-Section

The breeders and veterinarians should schedule a C-section. This way, they avoid an emergency C-section that may have severe complications. However, sometimes an emergency C-section is needed for the puppies’ and mother’s safety.

Prepare a Whelping Box

A Frenchie’s owner should prepare a whelping area before she gives birth. This is where the mother and the French Bulldog puppies stay after returning home. The place should be warm and clean for these dogs to feel comfortable.

Arrive at the Veterinarian’s Clinic Early

It would help if you took your Frenchie at least 1 to 2 hours before the scheduled time. This allows the vet to examine your dog before performing a C-section. However, may not be allowed in the operation room.

Be Ready to Learn Instructions

After a safe procedure, the vet gives you several instructions. This advice helps you take care of the mother and the puppies healthily. Whether you are a new Frenchie owner or not, you should follow the instructions.

Again, following the vet’s instructions helps you worry less about health concerns. Healthy French Bulldogs have an average lifespan of between 10 to 14 years.

Schedule a Post-Operation Appointment

Even after a safe delivery, a vet recommends another appointment post-delivery. The first appointment is around 10 days after delivery. This ensures that your Frenchie and its puppies don’t suffer from post-delivery complications.

Regardless of natural delivery or a C-section, ensure your Frenchie is in good health. Royal Veterinarian College is the best if you need a professional veterinarian. Choosing an experienced veterinarian ensures safe delivery. Then, again, your Frenchie is less likely to suffer from post-whelping complications.

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You can probably guess by now why French Bulldogs are so expensive. It’s likely that you also have a better understanding of some of the health issues they can have. Their unnaturally shaped heads and pushed in noses can make it difficult for them to breath properly.

Health risks come with any dog, and the French Bulldog is no different. I absolutely adore French Bulldogs. They are such great companions. They are bright, funny, and a bundle of love.

When deciding whether to get a French Bulldog or not, please be sure to get one from a reputable breeder. Visit them, research, and ask a lot of questions. If that’s not an option, there are rescue shelters all over the world.

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