There are several reasons why the French Bulldog is so expensive. Most French Bulldogs can not reproduce naturally (80%) so require both artificial insemination and a Cesarean section for delivery. Using a reliable stud is expensive as is the cost of the several processes that require a professional. There is also no guarantee that the mother will become pregnant and also how many puppies will be produced in the litter.
The French Bulldog is a Popular Breed
The French Bulldog is fast becoming the most popular dog breed in the United States, Europe, and Australia, amongst other regions. There is a very good reason for this. The Frenchie is a breed that is popular amongst families as it is very good with children, other pets and doesn’t need much exercise. It makes an ideal dog for those people who live in apartments or can’t get out much.
Yes, it is known to have health problems, due to years of cross-breeding but these can be mostly eliminated by carefully choosing a puppy that comes from a healthy family. There are other issues though, related to reproduction and the amount of time, effort and risks related to the breeding process.
Why Is the French Bulldog so Expensive?
The French Bulldog has been crossed so many times with several breeds over the last two hundred years or so that it is surely, not a dog that nature intended to exist. Indeed (and arguably) if humans and our scientific-know-how weren’t so far advanced as it is, then the breed might not exist at all.
In the majority of occasions (around 80%), the French Bulldog is unable to naturally reproduce. Due to the size of their hips, the male is unable to mount the female. Therefore, artificial insemination is required. The problems don’t end their though. As the birthing canal is quite small and the French Bulldog’s head is quite large, there are obvious complications relating to the birthing process. Therefore, a Cesarean section is required to deliver the litter. Let’s just look at these two, major problems.
Finding a Stud and Artificial Insemination
Typically, a breeder will find a stud who will provide the sperm. They don’t usually keep a stud on-site but ‘lease’ them. Finding the right stud is a critical part of the process as the breeder needs to have confidence in the health of not only the stud but of the stud’s parentage and also its history. Stud fees are very expensive if you want quality and it’s quite common to see prices in the range of $500 to $2000 and overnight shipping can easily add another $200.
For the breeder though, the costs (and potential risks) have only just begun. Firstly, unless they’ve been properly trained in artificial insemination, they are not going to do this themselves. They’ll need to get the sperm checked by their vet and also get them to perform the insemination. This can cost around $100 but seems to vary considerably.
Of course, there is no guarantee that your bitch will become pregnant. In fact, in this game there’s no guarantee with any of the processes and the breeder can easily find themselves several thousand dollars down with nothing to show for it!
Unfortunately, due to the narrow birthing canal and the large head of the French Bulldog, natural birth is problematic. Therefore, to deliver the puppies a Cesarean section is required. The mother is put under general anesthetic and the procedure takes about 90 minutes. This is not a cheap process and adds to the breeder’s costs, again the prices vary and you will see the procedure advertised between around $500 to $2000. Yes, it is possible to get it cheaper than that and yes you can pay so much more.
There are of course risks associated with this procedure, despite it being so common. Firstly, for the mother, there is a fatality rate attached to the general anesthetic. It’s not high, but the risk is still there. In fact, the actual number is believed to be a 0.17% fatality rate, according to research performed by Brodbelt DC, Blissitt KJ, Hammond RA, et al. Then, when the litter has been born, veterinarian nurses may need to resuscitate the puppies and of course, not all may make it. Another big factor in this operation is, of course, the operation can’t be repeated, time after time. The mother can really only go through this process a maximum of two times.
The reason for going into this level of detail is to emphasize the risks the breeder has. I’ve said it before but they really have no guarantee that the money they are paying will yield any kind of return.
The First Few Weeks
Assuming the litter was delivered okay and the breeder now has several French Bulldog puppies, the next stage can begin. The next few weeks a lot depends on the mother and how she cares for the young. Unfortunately, problems can occur due to the fact that the mother didn’t deliver the litter naturally and sometimes the normal motherly instinct won’t be as strong as it is with a traditional delivery. What this means is that some puppies may not receive all the attention that they would normally and this can result in them becoming undernourished.
These first few days and weeks are extremely important for the development and continued health of the little Frenchie. Their growth rate (and final size) can be impacted by this short period in its life. Due to the importance of this period, the breeder will need to keep a close eye on proceedings. They will, if possible, let the mother do as much as she can but if they feel that one (or some) of the puppies are missing out, then she will need to take over and potentially care for the puppy herself. This can be a full-time job and remember, they still haven’t received any more at this point for all their effort.
Preparing the Puppies for their New Home
During these first few days and weeks, the breeder will need to advertise the puppies using whatever method they prefer and potentially engage in a lot of communication with potential buyers, weeding out the time-wasters. The puppies will need to see a vet and get all their vaccinations taken care of prior to them being handed over to their new home. More cost. A good breeder will also provide a guarantee to the buyer that they will always take the puppies back if required. If this happens then further cost are incurred, which all eats into the profit of course.
A Brief History of the French Bulldog
We’ll keep this short as it’s not why you came here but it is at least partly relevant to why the breed is so expensive.
In the middle of the 19th Century and due to the onset of the Industrial Revolution (that started in the United Kingdom) a lot of the manual workers in England needed to try and find employment elsewhere. For a lot of these people, that was France and several of them took their bulldogs with them. These dogs were suited to their new environment and settled in immediately with the French.
The breeders of the day weren’t fussed about who the dogs mated with. So, numerous types of Terrier, Pugs, and Griffons contributed to the gene pool. All this cross-breeding had a major impact on not only the appearance but the personality of the dog that we know today. When the physical appearance became obvious, a new breed-name was born – the Terrier-Boules and this breed would have looked very similar to the French Bulldog we know today.
As the breed’s population increased in the latter part of the 19th century, breeding clubs began to become interested. It was in 1888 that the Club du Bouledogue Français was founded and a few more years after that for the French Bulldog was formally recognized.
How Much are French Bulldogs?
Finally, let’s have a quick look at how much French Bulldogs typically cost. If you want to know more detail then have a look at my detailed analysis.
The cost of buying a French Bulldog from a reputable breeder will cost you, on average, from $2,870 to $4,650. I also asked 416 owners on social media what they paid and the average was lower (as a lot of people don’t buy through a breeder). The majority of people (58% of the total survey) paid between $975 and $1950 on their French Bulldog puppy. If you’d like to see this data, please see below:
|Puppy Cost ($)||% of Total|
Hopefully, from the above information, you can now appreciate why reputable, professional breeders charge so much for a French Bulldog puppy. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money to bring these little Frenchie’s into this world and it is not without risk.
The average size of a French Bulldog litter is only between 3 and 5 typically. So, yes – there is profit to be made but considering the length of time it takes, the risks involved and the costs involved before you see a dime, being a breeder is certainly not for everyone!