Breeding Your Frenchie

   No one out in the dog world wants to tell you how to breed your French Bulldog. Are they afraid of the competition? Are they afraid you will do this irresponsibly? Yes, but without competition, who will we be competing against and without teaching people what is right, it will be done irresponsibly. It will be a lonely place in the middle of that show ring alone with a judge looking at your dog and no one else to compete against. Its not any fun to be the winner of nothing. It is my intention to give you the right start. If you think your going to make money at this don't be fooled. Breeding your frenchie responsibly is expensive. I free whelp my dogs because I believe in bringing the ability to do this back to the breed. I feel that c-sections are unnatural and is a disservice to my dogs. There are many steps I take to do this and I will go into further detail in the next section. I also do not inseminate my dogs, it done all natural.  Do not attempt this unless you have full control of a well trained stud and a willing, or well restrained female (injury may result to one or both dogs)
   When I first got my frenchies, I researched what I thought was the best things for my dogs. I had no one to help me because no one would or wanted to, and believe me I looked. The minute they heard me say I wanted to breed my dogs I was shunned (this happened without anyone even seeing what they looked like). I want to be here for you for support and for someone to talk to. I read all the books I could find. I researched the breed after I saw one on TV. I thought they were the most adorable dogs I had ever seen and they looked nice as sturdy. My kids wanted a chihuahua, I knew they'd break it, not on purpose, but they're boys they play rough (not with the dogs but with each other). So a frenchie came into our lives. Lucy was cute and sweet and everything I was looking for in a dog; a true best friend and amazing with the kids. These dogs are not like other dogs. They want to be your best friend and thrive on your affection.
   I looked for a vet to check her over.  What better than a vet that bred frenchies himself for years. He was very helpful to me in checking her over and making sure she was fit to breed. Well there was still much that I now know I needed to do in addition to having a vet look her over (which I will go over soon) A year later I got Tater. I took him to the same vet who gave me the go ahead. We x-rayed them, checked their thyroids, tested them for sexually transmitted diseases, and a few other things. Well, I'm now finding out now that this isn't enough. More is needed. We had a first litter and then a second, so far all are healthy as far as we know. I speak to my puppy parents regularly.
   So what should you do? Not what I did. Find a mentor then start by getting a french bulldog to show. Strictly for show. Showing your dog is the best way to know if your dog meets the standard. Your breeder should be in agreement that once your dog is finished and has won the right to be bred that only then you will be allowed to breed your dog. Remember this is work first then fun. Nothing worth while is free.

Finding a Mentor
Finding a mentor can be tricky. There is an option for finding a mentor through AKC. This is probably the best place to start. This person should be fairly close to you and accessible. People who mentor are truly in it for the breed. They want this breed to succeed and strive to keep our lines healthy and disease free. You can also try your local dog shows. Walk around and try to talk to other frenchie lovers. Some times this can be hard to do as some frenchie owners are not approachable, others are, so keep trying. You will need a thick skin to be in this business. If you are sensitive, toughen up this is going to be a rough ride. The first show I ever went to, I approached a french bulldogs owner. I just could not believe how much her dog looked like my Lucy. I was uncanny. I opened with, ''Your dog is so beautiful. How old is she?" (I got no response) I spoke again. The reply I got was not nice at all (she knew nothing about me or my dogs, infact I didn't even tell her I had a dog). I went home that day feeling very discouraged. I thought, What have I done? What am I doing? This person did not even know anything about me and was treating me in such an aweful way. I love these dogs and I love making other frenchie owners so happy! (and all of my owners are, I speak to them weekly) I can not give up. That day I searched my area and joined an all breed club. 

Joining a Club
The first day I walked through the door of my club, I was nervous, but yet excited. I didn't know how these new people would treat me. I had, after all, been snubbed many times by other french bulldog breeders. I was surprised to be welcomed with open arms. These new people I was meeting were so nice, warm and friendly. I almost felt like I was starting in a new church. I can not even put a value on being a part of OKA. This club and the people who are in it are a wealth of knowledge. Search your area for an all breed club. This is a great start. Many of the people in these clubs know people who own, show and breed frenchies. You can even join if you don't already own your dog. You should have to attend a certain amount of meetings so people can get to know you. You may be given a questionnaire to fill out. The breed club will be able to tell you about local shows and events. They can even give you information on where you can purchase your dog. Even if you have made a mistake in breeding or showing. This is life and you can fix it. You can turn things around any time you want to change and do the right thing by these wonderful animals that love you so much. Many of the new things that I am putting on this website I learned from these wonderful new friends. I would not be where I am today without them. I was introduced to some very nice frenchie people (which I was beginning to think didn't exist) and directed to the right path of what I should have been doing all along. I would have known this, if someone was willing to help me to start with. I feel that as scary as it is, as breeders we need to educate other new breeders on what is right and wrong to the best of our ability (In fact is should be our responsiblity). None of us knows everything, but its a start and lets face it we all started somewhere. If we don't bring in and educate responsible new owners and breeders french bulldogs will be the ones who suffer. Right now the French bulldog "market" is exploding. There are so many dogs being exploited and over bred. It could be fixed if we just took someone under our wing and helped them to know how to do it right. 

Finding a French Bulldog to Show
This will be a project and finding a mentor to help you is very important. It took me 2 years to find each of my dogs and it should, but finding a dog can be faster with someone to mentor you. There are many questions to ask the breeder and you should ask questions. This is where it helps to have already joined a local kennel club. Getting to know people and trust people is imperative to doing it right. You may not get your first dog and have them finish. If your breeding your dogs. They should be finished, this insures that they meet the breed standard. It helps if your dogs have parents and grandparents that are of champion blood lines. Look for health testing on the parents and puppies. Ask to see a pedigree and google it to see if they have been associated with any puppy mills or won any championships. (Puppy mill constitutes anyone who is breeding more than 2 litters a year, keeps their dogs in kennels and gets paid by paypal or other such methods). A reputable breeder will ask you to fill out a questionare or do a phone interview. I like the phone interview because it does not allow that person a lot of time to think about their answer. The breeder will also not ship the puppy in a way that is stressful. I only allow hand delivery (that's me putting the puppy in your hands personally). The breeder should have the dogs in their home. They should provide a contract that protects both them and you. The puppies parents should meet the breed standard. This increases the chances that your puppy will also meet the standard. Have the new friends that you have made help you by looking at the puppy before you buy it. If the breeder says you need to make a decision quickly, then move on. They are probably just trying to sell a puppy. Be diligent this is a long difficult process, but you also do not want to end up with a dog that you can't show. Although you may still love and care about them its another dog in the house to care for an give all of your attention to. (I personally do not rehome any of my dogs. I love them far too much and they are 100% a part of our family and our lives. It is however appropriate to rehome your older dogs if you are not able to spend time with them or do not have adequate room for them (put the dog first and not your needs). These dogs need love, affection and direction to thrive, without it they can develop mental issues. I have been blessed with lots of room and lots of people around to provide this). Your dog should be very expensive. If its less than $1500 don't bother looking its probable from a puppy mill, back yard breeder or not fit for show (which means no breeding). Show dogs are expensive (much more than $1500) but very worth it, because they are a close representation of the breed standard. They should have had health and genetic testing and are fully guaranteed for any health issues (If not move on, you don't want to be breeding more health problems into these dogs. It's not good for them or your reputation).  The good breeders have a reputation to uphold and do not want any negative comments spread around about their dogs from unhappy owners. The dog should also be AKC registered.

Finding a French Bulldog to Breed
This all goes back to finding a mentor. You can not and should not be breeding a dog has not been proven in the show ring, has not had proper health testing, and has not been cleared healthy by your vet. If you are breeding you should be doing it for another show prospect and to provide people with a high quality pet. If you do this the right way, you will not have the guilt associated with just breeding a dog and possibly having it result in a sick puppy that has to live their life this way or possibly a dead one. It will help insure that your dogs are born healthy without genetic or other diseases. You have every right to charge a high price. It took your time and commitment to get good breeding stock that you had to prove by showing and finishing them, which costs money. You should be paid accordingly. Again don't get me wrong, if your doing it right your not making any money. This money is going back into showing, veterinary bills and equipment for your dogs. Breeding your frenchie is always a hobby/art form/love of dogs and not a business.

Health and Genetic Testing your Dogs
See the health and genetic testing section for details of what to test for. Health and genetic testing is not optional. You must do this genes are tricky and reading about genetics and how to use them to your advantage is necessary. There are some great books that you can read to tell you how to use dominant and recessive genes to get what you want out of breeding. Plan on reading and re-reading them so that you understand what the affect will be when breeding 2 dogs for color and other attributes. There is far too much to cover on this webpage. There is a book that I often reference "Control of Canine Genetic Diseases" by George A. Padgett. This is also where a mentor can help.

Where to Keep Your Breeding Dogs
Your dogs should be kept somewhere climate controlled and close to you. This breed is not just some dog you can throw out in a kennel and have them stay happy, healthy and mentally sound (I don't know of a dog breed that can). If you plan to keep your dogs outside and away from you, don't breed french bulldogs. If you don't want to spend time with your dogs, don't have french bulldogs. You can leave your dogs out to roam free in your home if you choose. I feel that having them kenneled when your not present gives them a sense of security. Kennels should be sturdy and at least 4 feet tall. I have 6 kennels in my finished basement (1000sq feet), which is dedicated to my dogs. The dogs roam free when we are home and have access to our entire house. They are kenneled when we are not home (keeping them safely out of harms way). Each kennel is 4 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet. This gives them plenty of room to move around, yet keeps them contained so they can not get into a situation that can harm them. My dogs are left alone no longer than 4 hours a day. If I'm going to be longer I have someone stop by to check on them or stay with them. They can go longer and do stay in their kennel 8 hours during the night. In the day time they need to be let out and given attention frequently. You will need to have an area where you can separate your dogs when your female is in heat (ALL breedings should be scheduled and prepared for). Keeping the male and female apart is not easy. If they get the chance in any way, they will breed against your best efforts. I had this happen in my presence, in my living room. I knew my female was in heat and she had her diaper on and my male had his wrap on. It only took seconds and they were tied. This is not enough. They need to be kept separated or you will have puppies. I now keep my male in a separate area at all times, where he can not reach my female (I didn't know how diligent they could be).
Breeding your French Bulldog
There is a great book for beginers and experts "Successful Dog Breeding, The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery" 2nd edition by Chris Walkowicz and BonnieWilcox, DVM. This book is great. I learned so much from it. Probably more than any other source. So when your dogs are ready and they will tell you they are (in some cases females aren't willing) I don't do this because I feel that we should be trying to bring back natural breeding and whelping to the breed. This is by far no easy task and you need to have a vet involved in the entire process. If you choose to get a stud dog you should both be in agreement to a natural breeding or what every method you choose and insist that both parties be present for every breeding. This way it will help the dogs be more calm and under control. Inseminations are another story. If you are getting fresh or frozen sperm, make sure that you get something written in the contract so that you will be refunded your money if the breeding doesn't take.

How I Breed My Frenchies
I have it good. I have a great husband and two wonderful children that help me. I have finally completed all of the testing for my dogs which is quite the task and expensive. My dogs have been proven in show and have produced a beautiful female, which I kept and am winning everything with (which is really fun). Before I do any breeding I test both mom and dad for worms. I worm them, take them to the vet to have a health check, and make sure that their calories are increased. Once both dog and bitch are cleared and ready, I keep them separated until the event is about to occur. I have a very well trained stud as you should too. I keep my female leashed with a harness for better control. I allow my male to mount her and do his business. Then once he is finished I help him to bring his leg over, so that they are butt to butt. I do this for 3 days and then quit. You do not want to go much longer or you have the possibility of premature puppies. Once breeding is complete. I take my girl back to the vet at 21-26 days. At this time she is ultrasounded to check for size and viability. I like to know how my pups are growing and if there are any smaller pups that will need extra attention at birth. At 40-48 days they get yet another ultrasound for the same reason, this may be overboard but it gives me comfort knowing what I am dealing with. At 58-60 days we go back to the vet where I have an x-ray done to get the size of the puppies heads vs. my bitches pelvis. This lets me know if I am going to need a c-section (which will be done if the puppies don't look like they will fit). I have my vet (who I am so lucky to have) be at the birth. She has 4 frenchies and helps me every time (I think she just might like it a little). I have now had 2 successful free whelping births (natural births). Some breeders don't do this because they believe it is dangerous and it is, however I have a vet available to help me. This makes it safe. Most breeders do not do this, but I believe that we need to be doing this. Check with your vet; some breeders have their puppies delivered naturally at the office. We have bred c-sections into these dogs and I feel its my duty to breed it out.
Now there are other ways to breed dogs. This is just how I do it. There is a book that did help me and it is very comprehensive. "Successful Dog Breeding, The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery" by Chris Walkowicz and Bonnie Wilcox DVM. Always go back and refer to your vet they are really a great reference if you have a good one. Remember it's OK to search for a vet and ask them questions. Your paying them a lot of money and they should be there for you.

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