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How Many Puppies Can a French Bulldog Have? Backed by science!

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How many puppies can a french Bulldog have
3 Cute frenchie puppies!

The average number of puppies a French Bulldog can have is between 4 and 5 at one time.

Yet the range goes from 1 puppy all the way up to 10 puppies in a single litter!

I spent days researching online for an accurate answer to this question.

Just when I was about to give up, I manage to find  2 studies related to the litter size of different dog breeds including… the French Bulldog

If your French Bulldog is pregnant and you want to know how many puppies to expect. Or you are gathering information as you are considering breeding your dog or getting a new one.

You are at the right place as I am here to give you all the information you need to make the best decision. 

Wanna learn why it is so difficult to know how many puppies a French Bulldog will have and other interesting facts?

Read on!

What are the factors impacting the size of a French Bulldog litter?

How is it possible to have a range that large for French Bulldogs when humans have only 1 or 2 babies each time?

I have listed below some of the most important factors that could impact the litter size of a French Bulldog.

Size

French Bulldogs have large skulls, broad shoulders, and narrow hips. These physical traits are the biggest reason why, on average, Frenchies have fewer puppies than other dog breeds.

So it means the bigger the female is the higher the chances of her giving birth to a larger litter are.

Health

French Bulldogs in good health will likely produce larger litters and healthier puppies. In fact, this should be a pre-requisite before breeding any Frenchies! The female needs to be strong enough to survive the whelping process.

Age

Even though female French Bulldogs remain fertile for most of their life, they are most productive between 2 and 5 years old. It is also safer to breed them within this range as before 2, their body is not fully developed.

Diet

This factor can have a strong influence on litter size. That’s why feeding your Frenchie a well-balanced and nutritious diet is important! It will likely result in a bigger litter than providing homemade or poor-quality food.

Reproductive History

The first litter of a dog is almost always smaller than the next one.

So if it’s not the mum’s first litter, you should not expect fewer puppies than the first litter considering all others factors are constant.

Gene Pool Diversity

Some breeders sometimes use inbreeding to produce offspring with specific desired characteristics or traits.

Inbreeding is the act of breeding Frenchies that are closely related genetically. Like two siblings, for example.

Even though there are benefits to it, it can also have a negative impact on the fertility and the litter size of  French Bulldogs.

Those are the main factors impacting the litter size of French Bulldogs. As you can see, knowing beforehand how many puppies a French Bulldog will have is more of an art than science, as there are so many moving pieces.

How many puppies can a French Bulldog have?

The average number of puppies a French Bulldog can have is between 4 and 5 at one time.

Yet the range goes from 1 puppy all the way up to 10 puppies in a single litter!

These numbers are coming from 2 studies on litter size for a large number of dog breeds that were conducted in Norway in 2011 and in Poland in 2015.

So anything above ten can be considered extremely rare.

You might be wondering what is the largest French Bulldog litter to be ever recorded. The answer is 13, and the most recent occurrence was in Northern Kentucky in September 2022.

How many litters can French bulldogs have a year?

The female French Bulldog goes into heat roughly every seven months.

This means that she could produce two litters within the same year. 

Still, this is not recommended at all!

The female body needs to rest after giving birth, especially if the birth was done via C-Section.

The safe waiting period between 2 pregnancies is about 18 months.

This should give ample time to the dam (female parent of puppies) to recover and ensure she can get another healthy litter.

How many litters is safe for a French Bulldog?

A french bulldog dam and her puppy!
A French Bulldog dam and her puppy!

The keyword here is “safe,” as Frenchies could have dozen of litters over their lifetime.

It is important to note that each pregnancy takes a toll on the dam’s health. 

Responsible dog breeders generally agree to limit the number of litters to 3, with a maximum of 4 in some cases.

Even some breed registries like the Kennel Club (UK version of AKC) may reject a registration application if the mother has already delivered 2 litters via C-Section.

The minimum age to start breeding a French Bulldog should be around 2 years old. Anything earlier than that will increase the risk for the dam as her body won’t be completely developed.

It is also recommended to avoid breeding a French Bulldog after 8 years old. Not only fertility will decrease with age, but the risk of complications will also increase as well.

 

How long is a French Bulldog pregnant for?

French Bulldog pregnancy lasts around 63 days.

As it is hard to tell for sure if a dog is pregnant, I really advise you to make a trip to the vet as soon as you suspect that your female dog might be pregnant.

Around the three weeks mark, the vet should be able to verify the pregnancy by doing a blood test and potentially even use an ultrasound.

Between the 28th and the 35th day, there is a small window where the vet can safely palpate your dog’s abdomen.

This will allow him to verify that there are puppies in the uterus.

As this procedure is very delicate, it is important to let the vet do it, as it could injure the puppies or even trigger a miscarriage.

It is only by the 45th day that your vet will be able to X-ray the mum-to-be.

This will allow you to detect any abnormalities and also give you a more accurate count of the number of puppies inside your dog’s belly.

Lastly, it will also be the time to discuss and plan for the delivery to ensure a safe whelping process for your dog and her puppies.

Can a French Bulldog give birth naturally?

French Bulldog New Born puppy being fed
A little French Bulldog puppy getting fed!

Yes, a French Bulldog can give birth naturally.

 However, you should know that this is far from the norm, as about 80% of pregnancies in French Bulldogs are delivered via C-Section

This is largely due to their narrow hips and large skulls, which increase their chance of suffering from dystocia.

Dystocia is the technical term used to describe difficulties in delivering a baby due to an abnormal fetal size or position.

In fact, dystocia occurrence in French Bulldogs is around 15.9%, according to this study, resulting in a mortality rate of over 20% for puppies and 1% for dams.

On top of that, Frenchies have breathing issues linked to all brachycephalic dogs. 

You must know that, for female dogs too, giving birth naturally is as hard as it is for humans.

The dam will need to breathe harder and faster to deliver the same amount of oxygen required during the whelping process.

So doing so exposes her to a greater risk of cardiac arrest.

Can you breed a Frenchie naturally?

Yes a French Bulldog can breed naturally.

However, due to his narrow hips and breathing difficulty, it is extremely difficult if not dangerous to attempt.

Even if some men might think this is the best way to die, you don’t want to take the risk of your stud suffering from a cardiac arrest while mating.

This is the reason why all reputable breeders use artificial insemination to breed the French Bulldog successfully.

Next Steps

If you were just curious or planning to acquire a new Frenchie, I hope you enjoy reading this article.

I am sure you learned a few things that you will be able to use when vetting for breeders.

If your dog is pregnant, please consult a vet as soon as possible!

This will allow you to know how many puppies to expect and most importantly, to plan the best course of action for your little furbaby!

If you were planning on breeding French Bulldog puppies, I hope it is clear now that it is a very risky and complicated task best left to professionals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many puppies do French Bulldogs typically have in a litter?

On average, French Bulldogs have between 4 and 5 puppies per litter. Yet the range goes from 1 puppy all the way up to 10 puppies in a single litter!

Why are French Bulldog litter sizes so small?

French Bulldogs have small litters due to their body size and shape. Their large heads, narrow hips and broad shoulders make it difficult for them to give birth to larger litters.

Are smaller litters healthier for French Bulldogs?

Smaller litters can be healthier for French Bulldogs since they are less likely to experience complications during birth.

Can French Bulldogs have large litters?

While it is less common, French Bulldogs can have larger litters, up to 10 or more puppies.

How can I ensure the health of my French Bulldog’s litter?

To ensure the health of your French Bulldog’s litter, it is important to perform proper prenatal care and nutrition for the mother dog, as well as consulting with a veterinarian if there are any concerns during the pregnancy or birth process.

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AUTHOR

Alexandre is the owner of French Bulldogs Lovers. He has always been passionate about dogs and more recently about French Bulldogs since he became the proud daddy of Lola, his little Frenchie princess!

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