How Do I Buy a French Bulldog


If you’re thinking of owning a French Bulldog then you may have heard that they are not the cheapest of dogs to buy! Which method you use to buy one will dictate the price you pay so it’s best to have an idea about this before you jump in.

How do I buy a French Bulldog? There are several ways you can buy a French Bulldog, for instance, via a club such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), an independent breeder, via social media or a rescue center.

The French Bulldog is now one of the most popular dog breeds in both the United States and Europe. There are some very good reasons for this. Its personality and temperament lend itself to families as it is typically not aggressive, gets on with children and other pets and is generally a fun-loving breed.

However, it is also a very expensive breed, with the average cost being over $2,000 for a puppy. Some people will only buy through the American Kennel Club and others will buy only rescue dogs. So, if you’re looking to buy one of these very special dogs, how should you proceed?

There are pros and cons to each of these options, depending on your appetite for risk and (putting it bluntly) how much money you have. Read on to find out which option suits you best.

How to buy a french bulldog: puppy in hand

Where Can I Buy A French Bulldog?

You have most likely already performed some research into the price of a French Bulldog, so you know that they’re not, by a long way, the cheapest of breeds. In the same way that you wouldn’t buy a $100k Ferrari from someone you bumped into down the street, you’re not going to part with all that money on a French Bulldog unless you know you’re getting something worth the money.

It sounds a bit cold talking about an animal this way but the last thing you want to do is spend thousands of dollars on a little puppy only for it to be plagued with genetic and other health problems throughout its life. Which ultimately prevents her from getting the most out of its life and possibly crippling you financially at the same time.

So, where do you start when looking to buy a French Bulldog puppy? First, see if the French Bulldog is right for you (opens in a new tab).

How to buy a French Bulldog Directly From A Breeder

Buying from a breeder should give you some confidence that the dog you’re getting has been bred from healthy parents. You should be able to see photos of the parents and find out their history. The easiest way to find these breeders is simply via Google.

But how do you know the breeder is who they say they are and the information they’re telling you is actually factual? Well, without knowing anything about the history of the breeder, initially you won’t.

Once you’ve found a local breeder you can start doing some research online and start looking for some reviews. Give them a call and get a feel for them and ask them some questions.

If they don’t seem keen to provide any information about the history of the puppy then it’s time to look for another breeder. There are plenty out there so don’t settle just on one because it’s the closest and/or cheapest (there may be a reason why it’s so cheap!).

You can also ask for references. Ask to speak to a couple of people who they have recently sold French Bulldog puppies to and if possible, go and visit them. If they’re reputable they will be more than happy to do this.

Basically, it’s up to you to do your research here so make sure you spend a fair amount of time speaking to them to build up a relationship. Ask if they are a member of any French Bulldog breeding clubs and if they are a member of an established, well-respected club like the American Kennel Club (AKC) – then you can also talk to the club about them to confirm their status.

With a breeder, the French Bulldog puppy you buy will most likely be very expensive. They will cost more than one you buy from a non-breeder, social media or rescue but will be less than the AKC.

How to buy a French Bulldog From The American Kennel Club

If you want to be comfortable that you’re buying your French Bulldog from a trusted breeder, then you will probably end up at the AKC. They are (perhaps arguably) the most trusted habitat of breeders of the French Bulldog on the planet (I did say arguably…) – so well worth checking them out.

When using the AKC’s puppy finder you are able to search their database for 100% AKC registered breeders and litters. What this means is that you know that these breeders have followed strict AKC rules and regulations. They undertake kennel inspections as well as DNA profiling to verify the parentage and genetic identity. 

The AKC also has specific breeder programs, they are:

  • Breeders of Merit – These breeders have demonstrated a sizeable commitment to the AKC community and their breed(s) and are active participants in canine sports. To be eligible for this certificate, a breeder must be a member of an AKC club; been involved in canine sports for a minimum of 5 years, at least 4 dogs in litters they’ve bred have earned titles; and certify that they perform the health screens recommended by their breed’s Parent Club. So, as you can see – you can be pretty sure of quality if your purchase through one of these breeders. 
  • Bred with H.E.A.R.T (Health, Education, Accountability, Responsibility, Tradition) breeder is committed to meeting specific health testing standards and participating in continuing education. They certify that they conduct the Health Test Requirements recommended by their breed’s Parent Club and must complete AKC-approved or AKC-provided on-line or in-person educational courses, seminars or conferences each year.
  • Club Member The national organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and advancement of a breed. 

The AKC has been around for a long time (since 1884) and you get what you pay for. Which better be a lot because buying a French Bulldog through the American Kennel Club is typically more expensive than other methods.

How To Buy a French Bulldog: puppies in basket

How to buy a French Bulldog through Social Media

Most of us now spend way too long on the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. (me included) and there are several places to find people selling French Bulldogs.  There are actually groups set-up just for this purpose and just to make myself clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this!

However, you’ve got to go into this with your eyes wide open. Although there are breeders to be found (several with have their own groups and pages on Facebook) there are also others just trying to off-load some unwanted puppies to make some quick money.

Now, if you can give one of these unwanted puppies a home then where’s the harm in that? Well, nothing really. Except, you don’t really know what you’re getting, do you? I mean, how can you?

There will most likely be no evidence of paperwork detailing the parents. Nothing telling you how healthy or whether their parents have any health issues. My only advice if you’re determined to go down this route, and I can understand why given the potential savings, is to get a professional to go and visit and pay for a health check.

If there are any problems then walk away. Yes, you may save yourself hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars but your little French Bulldog may have a life of health issues and you will have a life of having to pay the vet bills (insurance only goes so far).  

How to buy a French Bulldog through other adverts

Then there are all the other ways that people advertise to sell their tiny French Bulldog puppies. Maybe listed in papers or magazines or even perhaps just via word of mouth.

Here, you’re pretty much on your own. You’re taking a gamble basically and it may well pay off but again, talk to the owner as much as you like and try and gather as much information as you can. Look for discrepancies in their answers.

Get a professional to give them a clean bill of health. Don’t pay anything other than the bare minimum for these dogs. The owners haven’t had to go through the same processes as breeders and have not had the expenses to match. Therefore, they can not expect to receive such a high price. 

How to buy a French Bulldog via a Rescue Center

Now typically, if someone asks me where they should go to get a dog my only answer is a Rescue Center. Not a breeder, not a club and certainly not social media. Give a dog a second chance who may have had a rough time, give it the life it deserves.

You can probably gather there’s a ‘but’ coming. Well, there is yes. The French Bulldog is a result of several crosses and due to this has several health problems, as mentioned above. It can’t regulate its temperature, it has trouble breathing, it can’t swim and has a number of potentially serious other problems.

Now, I’m certainly not saying don’t do this – in fact, just the opposite, please consider it. What I am saying is you need to be extra careful when choosing the right French Bulldog for you. I’ve said it above but this little dog could end up costing your family a fortune if you don’t get the right checks carried out.

The advantage is though of course you’re potentially giving that little dog a lovely home and will be saving potentially a lot of money. A rescue French Bulldog can easily cost only a tenth of the cost of a Frenchie if bought from a breeder. Although, depending on the color and the history of the dog that’s available to you – she can still cost you up to $1,000 potentially.

What is the French Bulldog?

History of the French Bulldog

This history of the French Bulldog is interesting and unique to its breed. Historians, who have delved into their past, believe that during the 19th Century, English artisans lost their jobs due to the many factories emerging because of the Industrial Revolution.

Quite a few of these skilled workers found an income across the English Chanel in France and some of these people took with them their rather small Bulldogs.

These little dogs were much loved by the French because of their uncanny knack at disposing of vermin and making a very good companion dog. The French fell for them immediately and wanted more. The breeders, many of which were still in England, would gladly sell the French their dogs.

They were, at that point, more popular in France than England. They were even more popular if the ears stuck straight up and by the 186os there were only a few left in England. The breeders in France weren’t of the same high quality as those in England and weren’t known to keep such good records.

So, unfortunately, little is known as to what happened next. There were most likely further crosses with terriers and pugs which may have provided rounder eyes and taller ears.

French Bulldog Personality

How To Buy a French Bulldog? Face closeup

The French Bulldog has a personality you don’t forget. I remember the first time I came across one. I was visiting someone’s house and this little yappy dog-like creature sprinted up to the door, barking its head off. However, it was not a warning.

If her tiny remnant of a tail was wagging anymore I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had taken off! After being let in it soon because obvious that I had gained a brand new best friend. It was like we’d known each other for years and I had to apologize to the host for not paying her any attention, I had better things to do and was enjoying myself way too much!

The French Bulldog is a loving, affectionate, needy, all-in kind of dog. You don’t get anything by halves. She needs for so little, just you. Give her your time and she will be content. For this is a dog that does need your attention and if you don’t want a dog that you’re going to commit to 100% for the next chapter of your life, then you should look at other options.

French Bulldog Health Concerns

Unfortunately, due to their historic, continued and unregulated breeding and their small nose and physical construction, they are prone to some health problems. For instance, they are utterly unable to regulate their temperature. This means that they can overheat quickly and without much warning. You’ll need to be careful of this and keep an eye on them.

Fortunately, they don’t require much exercise and are happy to stay inside if you are. If they do become overheated you’ll need to make sure they stop running around and get them to a cool environment (preferably air-conditioned) as soon as possible.

The French Bulldog has actually been banned from flying by many airlines as, unfortunately, many have lost their lives this way. Temperatures become quite hot in the hold of an aircraft prior to take-off and it is during this time that they can suffer from heat exhaustion.

They are also prone to problems with their spine amongst other things:

  • Breathing Difficulties – All Frenchie’s will suffer from brachycephalic related problems. More on this later.
  • Cleft palate – this happens when an opening to the nose forms in the roof of the mouth.
  • Hip dysplasia – an abnormality of the hip joint.
  • Hemivertebrae – a vertebral anomaly that relates to the spine and how it is abnormally shaped.
  • Megaesophagus – an enlargement of the esophagus.
  • Retinal dysplasia – an eye disease affecting the retina (obviously)
  • Atopic dermatitis – a condition that can make your skin really itchy and red.

Why is the French Bulldog So Popular?

Despite the above health concerns for the breed, there are good reasons why the French Bulldog is now the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The Frenchie is a fantastic companion dog and will be as happy curled up on your lap as it will be running around your living room at break-neck speeds.

They are known to not be aggressive by nature (although early training helps) and are also better than most dog breed’s when it comes to children and other pets.

They are becoming an extremely popular choice for families just because of this reason and this combined with the fact that they are quite low maintenance makes them very attractive indeed.

It still amazes me though how this breed has become so popular. Yes, we know they are a terrific breed to have for a family but they are so expensive! Or, I should re-phrase that perhaps, they can be so expensive.

French Bulldog Costs

How To Buy a French Bulldog: two Frenchies

We all know that the French Bulldog is expensive, not only to buy but to maintain. Let’s look at this in a bit more detail. 

First though, we have created a video all about the French Bulldog costs on our new YouTube channel. If you’d like to take a look please check out the below! As we’re quite new – we would absolutely love some support so please subscribe!

The Cost of a French Bulldog Puppy

As you know (either before reading this article or by now) – the price of a French Bulldog depends on who you buy it from. 

Buying Direct From Breeder

If you want to buy a French Bulldog, directly from a reputable breeder, it will cost you anything from $1000 to $4000, on average. There is a lot of variables here depending on the pedigree and history of the dog.

American Kennel Club

A French Bulldog, bought via an AKC (Bred with H.E.A.R.T.) breeder will be on average $4,650.

A French Bulldog, bought via an AKC Club Member breeder will set you back about $2910, on average.

A French Bulldog bought via an AKC member (but in no breeding category) will cost you on average about $2870.

Social Media

The risks are higher when purchasing a French Bulldog via social media, especially, of course, if they are not a professional breeder. Prices can vary, of course, as you can get anything from anyone selling some Frenchies they know nothing about to professional French Bulldog breeders, advertising professionally through Facebook. So, anything from 0-$4000.

Rescue Center

Again, a lot of variables but oddly I don’t mind paying a little over the odds when it comes to buying from a Rescue Center. You’re paying for the continued upkeep of the center as well as the facilities for the dogs that come in, hoping to find a forever home with that right family. You’ll pay anything, on average, from $250 to $1000 for a rescue dog.

Pet Insurance

Insurance is something you should consider from the outset. It’s a gamble, isn’t it? By not taking out insurance for your French Bulldog, you’re hoping that she doesn’t have any serious health issues throughout her life.

With the cost of insurance ranging from about $50 to over $150 a month, depending on their age (younger is cheaper), health history, vaccinations, microchipped, etc. you can understand why some people decide to take that risk. Over the course of her life, this can run into several thousands of dollars that you’re paying. 

However, the French Bulldog is known to have health problems so that gamble you’re taking may not go the way you would like. The chances are you will need veterinary assistance at points during her life, hopefully not, but likely, unfortunately.

It doesn’t take long for those bills to turn into several thousand dollars and all of a sudden you’ll wish you had insurance. Not only that but if you didn’t take out insurance then you most likely won’t be able to insure them for past conditions, potentially costing you more in the future.

My personal view is if you have a French Bulldog you should have insurance for her. You never want to find yourself in the position where you have to make a difficult decision because you simply can’t afford to pay for a life-saving operation.

If, by the way, you’re looking for probably the best insurer for the French Bulldog, look no further than Petplan. In my experience, they have been the best and the cheapest, do check them out by clicking on the link to get a quote in literally less than a minute.

French Bulldog Real-World Data

Out of interest, and to provide some context, I asked over 400 Facebook French Bulldog owners how much they paid for their Frenchie, these are the results:

Puppy Cost ($)% of Total
1300-195035
975-130023
1950-260022
2600-39006.5
650-9754
0-2503.5
3900-65003
250-6501.5
Over 65001

So, you can see from the above data that the vast majority of people (80% of the total number) paid between $975 and $2600. There was even a handful of people who paid over $6500 for theirs, which I think is an extremely high cost to pay (and high risk).

What Else Do I Need?

Vaccinations

Vaccinations should not be considered optional. They are proven and will protect your little puppy from several, potentially fatal diseases, that don’t need to be, such as (amongst others):

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica – the cause of kennel cough and can be fatal.
  • Canine Hepatitis  – A highly contagious viral infection that will infect the liver, kidneys, lungs, and eyes of your little Frenchie. 
  • Canine Distemper  – A contagious viral infection that attacks the nervous and respiratory systems of the dog. There is no known cure if she succumbs to this.
  • Kennel Cough – Inflammation of the upper airways and in some cases, can be fatal.
  • Parvovirus – Highly contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system, can cause acute dehydration and in some cases can be fatal in only a few days.
  • Rabies – A viral disease that will impact the nervous system of the host. Usually spread via one dog biting another, early treatment is essential if death is to be prevented.

One advantage of buying your French Bulldog puppy through a reputable breeder is that they typically get the vaccinations completed for you, well – at least the first few.

Vaccination Schedule for a French Bulldog

It’s important to get the right vaccinations at the right time. You should seek advice from your vet for up-to-date information, but as a guide, please see the below table:

AgeVaccinationOptional Vaccination
6-8 WeeksMeasles, Distemper, para-influenzaBordetella
10-12 WeeksDHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Para-influenza, and ParvovirusLeptospirosis, Coronavirus, Bordetella, Lyme disease
12-24 WeeksRabiesN/A
14-16 WeeksDHPPLeptospirosis, Coronavirus, Lyme disease
12-18 monthsRabies, DHPPLeptospirosis, Coronavirus, Lyme disease
At least every 2 yearsDHPPLeptospirosis, Coronavirus, Lyme disease
Between 1 and 3 years (seek vet advice)RabiesN/A

Neutering a French Bulldog

Your French Bulldog should be neutered around the six-month mark, but please speak to your vet related to this as it does vary. Neutering should not be optional and is actually a very good thing for your dog.

It can prevent several different types of cancer and make your French Bulldog less territorial and less aggressive. Also, it prevents unwanted little Frenchies from coming into the world and taking up space in a Rescue Center. The cost of neutering your dog varies but on average will cost you between $100 and $200.

How Do I Buy a French Bulldog Accessories?

There are some things that you should really consider buying for your dog (and for you) at an early age. For instance, the last thing you want when you’re out is for your dog to wander off. Although this is unlikely for a French Bulldog, it certainly is still possible.

Here is a great dog locator and if you want to see why I recommend this (and get the latest price) click on the link. Apart from that, there are the toys. The toys that will consume your house within just a few short weeks. Just buy lots of them 🙂

How To Buy a French Bulldog: Frenchie with tennis balls

Final Thoughts

I do hope that this guide has helped you understand a little better what is required when you start to think about buying a French Bulldog. It’s an adorable breed with so many qualities but a crying shame it has so many health problems that are caused by breeding.

It says something that the dog has been bred to a point that it can’t naturally mate and if it wasn’t for us humans the breed would be extinct in only a few generations. If you have a family, if you can afford one and if you can find the right one, then maybe you need a French Bulldog in your life.

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

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