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Breeding Basics: Why can't French Bulldogs naturally give birth?

Breeding Basics: Why can't French Bulldogs naturally give birth?

There are unique circumstances associated with breeding French Bulldogs that other breeds of dogs do not experience as a result of their short snouts, medically referred to as Brachycephalic Syndrome according to Vet Street.

So, why are French Bulldogs unable to give birth naturally? The reason lies in the Frenchie physique.

The large, blockheads of the puppies, combined with the mother's compact, narrow hips make natural birth very difficult, if not impossible for the mother.

Can French Bulldogs ever give birth naturally?

80% of French Bulldog puppies are born via cesarean section. Vaginal births are very rare in French Bulldogs, and they can potentially endanger the lives of the mother and the puppies.

What takes place during a French Bulldog's cesarean section?

The mother's uterus is cut open and the puppies are removed by hand. The veterinarian who removes the puppies usually has assistants waiting to take each puppy from their hands as they are removed and to begin cleaning them up and examining them.

The procedure may last approximately 45 to 90 minutes. The goal of veterinarians performing this procedure is to minimize the amount of time the mother spends under anesthesia, which makes finding an experienced veterinarian who understands the importance of efficiency in this procedure crucial to the health of the mother and puppies.

How much do cesarean sections cost?

According to French Bulldog Owner, A Frenchie cesarean section costs approximately $600 to $2,000 in the United States. For French Bulldogs, the cost is likely to be on the higher end, due to the popularity of the breed and the special knowledge and experience needed by veterinarians to successfully perform the procedure.

French Bulldogs may also require an emergency cesarean section. The cost will be higher for an emergency cesarean section.

Preparing to Deliver the Puppies Safely

According to Today's Veterinary Practice, French Bulldogs are more likely to suffer complications during birth than other breeds.

This makes breeding French Bulldogs a risky business; novice dog breeders should not breed them to learn how to breed.

The best way to decrease the risks associated with the procedure and protect the mother and puppies is to be prepared for the procedure and plan it according to the instructions of your veterinarian.

Here is a summary of what care is associated with a cesarean section according to the American Kennel Club:

Breeders should consult with their veterinarian and schedule a cesarean section, but be well versed in what physical symptoms determine an emergency c-section is necessary before the scheduled procedure to keep the mother and puppies safe.

The American Kennel Club recommends the mother wear an Adaptil (DAP) collar for approximately 3 days before her cesarean procedure is scheduled in order to help initiate her motherly instincts.

The American Kennel Club recommends that a whelping area be prepared for the mother and puppies to reside in when they return home from the veterinary office.

Most veterinarians recommend arriving approximately 1 to 2 hours before the procedure is scheduled, as there are pre-operative examinations that must take place. Some owners are allowed to be in the surgery suite, others are not. The delivery is often an all-day affair.

Your French Bulldog's veterinarian will send you home with lots of instructions to help the mother heal and to ensure the puppies have a healthy start to life. Be well rested on the day of the procedure to be ready to learn all the instructions and to provide the necessary at-home care.

Be sure to schedule any post-operation appointments that your Frenchie's veterinarian recommends. Your Frenchie's first appointment will likely be 10 days after the procedure occurs.

Possible Complications

French Bulldogs are 15.9 times more likely to have a difficult birth than other breeds of dogs. Therefore, Frenchie breeders must consider the special conditions associated with the delivery of the puppies such as:

Dystocia. According to Dr. O'Neill of Today's Veterinary Practice, "Dystocia describes an unacceptably difficult birthing process where the bitch is unable to expel the fetus through the birth canal without external assistance…"

Breathing. According to the Daily Puppy, due to their flat faces, brachycephalic dogs are more difficult to provide oxygen to when they are under anesthesia.

Choking on Vomit. If a French Bulldog's cesarean section is scheduled, breeders can cut off their dog's access to food and water to prevent her from vomiting during the procedure, which would pose the risk of choking. However, if a Frenchie requires an emergency cesarean section, the breeder may not have had time to limit her food and water intake, increasing the danger of her vomiting and choking during the procedure.

Cleft Palate. Frenchie puppies may be born with a cleft palate, which may impede their ability to eat and require surgery.

Ethical Concerns

French Bulldog breeders must consider the physical toll that a normal cesarean section can take on the mother dogs, as well as the physical pain associated with complications, such as dystocia. According to Dr. O'Neill of Today's Veterinary Practice, "… 25% of all puppies in dystocic litters do not survive this process while 1.7% of the bitches also died.

Of the dystocic cases, 48.6% required surgical delivery of the puppies (cesarean section) with the pain and stress that accompanies this major surgery."


Frenchies rarely give birth naturally and are more likely to give birth via cesarean section as a result of the puppies' large heads and the mother's narrow hips.

For the safety of the mother and the puppies, veterinarians usually recommend that the puppies be delivered via cesarean section.

Cesarean sections cost approximately $600 to $2,000 in the United States and require specific pre-operation and post-operation care for the mother and puppies.