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When Will My French Bulldog Have Her First Season?

When will my French Bulldog have her first season? The French Bulldog should not have her first season until she is in her third estrus and definitely not in the first cycle. Breeding should not occur until this point.

Not all dogs will come into season at the same time and indeed, not all dogs come into heat twice a year. But how about the French Bulldog?

You need to ensure that when she delivers the litter (or most likely has it via cesarean section) she is capable (both physically and mentally) of looking after her puppies.

French Bulldogs and Reproduction

Firstly, if you’re not sure what an ‘estrus‘ is, it is a stage within the reproductive cycle of a dog when she can become pregnant. Otherwise known as ‘in season’ or ‘in heat’. When this stage can happen varies between dog breed.

If you’re considering breeding your Frenchie there are some things you should be aware of. She is not the easiest dog to breed. In fact, with so many apparent hurdles in the way, when you look into the detail you do have to ask yourself how they’re still around!

The hips on the male French Bulldog are really quite narrow. This means it makes the process of mating with a bitch practically impossible. So, typically, breeders use artificial insemination, combined with a cesarean section (the heads on the puppies are very large) – you may not be surprised to hear therefore that over 80% of French Bulldog litters are in-fact delivered using this method. 

Female French Bulldogs and Heat

On average, your little French Bulldog will come into heat initially when they’re somewhere around seven months old. It’s really still young when you think about it, isn’t it?

As I mentioned above though, she should not be inseminated until the third cycle to ensure she is ready for the litter. Your Bully is still very much a playful puppy at this age – actually, what am I talking about – I’ve known Frenchie’s that seem to remain a puppy their whole life, they’re one of the cheekiest, playful dog breeds I’ve encountered!

What Should You Do When the French Bulldog is On Heat?

Keep Things Clean

Your Bulldog will do her best to keep herself clean but the smell of blood on her body during this time may persist. The simple solution is to use some unscented wipes to keep her clean, making sure you dry any areas inside her folds once you’ve cleaned them.

Some people use special doggy nappies so you don’t get rather nasty blood stains throughout your house during this time. If you’d like to take a look at the only ones I’d really recommend, then look here on Amazon before you look elsewhere.

Keep Her Close 

During the time when she’s on-heat, she will release pheromones which will attract male dogs. You don’t want this at this time. This scent can carry a very long distance so don’t be too surprised if your house gets some attention from your local pets for a little while.

So, she’ll still need to go outside, it would be a shame to keep her in during this time but when you do go out, just keep an eye on her and keep her close. To keep her healthy you can’t beat a bit of exercise (for you as well!) and it will also keep her from becoming stressed and anxious.

Treat Her As a Patient, and Be Patient

See what I did there? During this time she will be acting differently to how she’s been in the past and indeed she may at times seem like a different dog totally. Remember though that there will be hormonal changes going on and she’ll be confused, have mood swings, sometimes a bit whingy (all sounds like my son during an average week) – so just be tolerant of her during this time.

How Are French Bulldog’s Bred?

Choose The Parents Wisely

You want to stack the cards in your favor here. Choose the male and female from, if possible, a known background. Try and ensure they are not too closely related and don’t have temperamental traits that aren’t compatible with your requirements. Genetic tests are common at this stage to ensure they are healthy, prior to the breeding process.

The Insemination Process

Assuming natural conception does not occur, artificial insemination can take place after the bitch has started ovulating. This can either be performed by a vet (recommended) or, if you’re feeling somewhat brave, by yourself. Actually, I should rephrase that as if you’re not trained, then just don’t consider it – things can go wrong quickly.

If you’re going to attempt this yourself, think about not doing it! You can hurt her easily if you don’t know what you’re doing, at least have a conversation with your vet about it and inquire about training. For this particular breed, artificial insemination is a lot easier on the female. So, apart from the physical difficulties with them breeding, it’s arguably the preferred route as there’s less risk involved in doing it.

The Birth Process of a French Bulldog

Is it just me that finds this whole process quite traumatic? Is it because I’m a man? I might not be able to say that these days but it’s just something I’d rather other people sort out 🙂 Anyway, there are some tell-tales that your French Bulldog is in labor:

  • Not being able to stay still.
  • A lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Crying / Whining
  • Shivering and / or panting

You may also discover them hidden away in a corner somewhere, this is their natural reaction to labor, just make sure you can find them 🙂 Now, once you start seeing the above symptoms (or to be more precise, once they start, not when you notice them) – the litter will start arriving within the day (24 hours) but it’s unlikely that it’ll be before 12 hours.

When it all starts kicking off, the puppies will appear within 30 minutes of each other. If the mother is taking care of everything (not your mother, the dog-mother) then leave her to it, let her bond with the puppies. If she appears confused and isn’t getting involved how she should then a professional needs to get involved.

If that’s not you then whoever is, will have to. This isn’t an article in how you should cut the umbilical cord though so I’m not going to go into that here. Remember, the French Bulldog reproduction cycle is not straight forward, often a c-section will be required to extract the puppies, in fact – this is beleived to be 80% of the time.

Post-Birth Care


Similar to my wife after she gave birth to my little boy around 12 years ago, the mother will need to regain her strength. Have a whelping box prepared when she can recover (note: my wife did not recover in a box, I provided her with a very comfy bed).

It needs to be big enough for not only the mum but all the puppies to fit inside and also the sides must be big enough so they don’t fall out! It needs to be warm too. Ideally, have a heat lamp nearby to keep them all nice and cozy for the first week or so.


Your new little Frenchies will want to eat every couple of hours and of course should be using mum for this, not a McDonalds takeaway.  They may need a little help to feed on (and find) the nipple so be there to assist if and when required.

They may need a supplement if they don’t appear to be feeding. An interesting fact about French Bulldog puppies is that they don’t know how to go to the toilet when they’re born. The mother should lick the puppies which stimulate them into going. There is assistance you can provide in this area if required but you’ll cover this in your training.

Interested In Becoming A French Bulldog Breeder?

Firstly, and most importantly – make sure the female is healthy and of course fertile. Without this, nothing else really matters but get it right and things will be made a lot easier for you. Male dogs are more easily found but females will take longer to find.

Like getting a pre-purchase inspection before you buy an expensive car, you should get her checked out by a vet first to make sure everything is in order. I’m not comparing you lovely little Frenchie to a car by the way, just need to point that out 🙂

There are loads of different breeding clubs that you can join. Being a member will increase your chances of being approved as a breeder. Consider taking a look at these clubs (all links open in a new tab):

If you’d like to apply to be an approved breeder in the UK, you can do so here.

Finally, if you’re having trouble with your French Bulldog occasionally biting you – take a look at the article!

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