Breeding French Bulldogs | Step By Step

By: Danielle Harris

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Breeding French Bulldogs

Are you considering purchasing a French bulldog puppy, but don’t understand why are french bulldogs so expensive?

Why are french bulldogs so expensive? As your breeder, let me explain the french bulldog price.

For a breeder to start, first we must do a LOT of reading and studying, maybe, if you’re lucky enough (like Danielle was) – even work with a mentor- hands on. That is a lot of time spent with no paycheck. But knowledge is power right?!

Breeding French Bulldogs isn’t easy or cheap.

Breeding French Bulldogs
Heres a quick overview of some of the costs that contribute to the french bulldog price:
  • Breeding stock, each french bulldog will probably cost over $4,000-5,000
    • How many are you going to purchase?
    • Male or female?
    • Are you keeping a puppy from a litter you produced? – return on profit much much later
    • Are you outsourcing and purchasing a puppy from a breeder?
  • Waiting period
    • Females take 2 years to mature
    • Males can work in 8 months but ideally over 1 year old
  • Health testing
    • Genetic tests can cost over $150
    • Ofa testing starts at $25 but tests that involve Xrays and more advanced imaging can cost well over $700
  • Color testing
    • at least $150, each individual color test will run around $40-50
  • Food
  • Training
    • obedience
    • service
    • AKC show training
  • Supplies, whelping supplies when you’re ready will run in the $1000s
  • Do you want breeding supplies such as a microscope, ultrasound machine, or progesterone machine? Progesterone machines run from $1200-$6000

Acquiring Breeding stock.

There are many factors that will affect french bulldog price. A good breeding dog will cost at minimum $5,000. Females are always more expensive than males. We recommend starting with 2 French Bulldog females to get a program started.

We look at temperament, structure, health, DNA, lineage, and many other things. Exotic color DNA, coat length (fluffy), and the breeders’ own created lines will be sure raise the price.

It can take months to years to find the right breeder to purchase from.

Some breeders don’t sell puppies with AKC breeding rights, only pets. Some breeders only sell dogs with breeding rights to other breeders with years of experience.

As a new breeder that may add on to shopping time. When you do find the right breeder, sometimes you must wait even longer for the “dream” dog. It’s worth it.

When “shopping” for breeders you want to find someone who has a small and focused program. Clean space, with proper heating and cooling – whether it’s in their house or a kennel set up. New breeders should try to find someone they would want to work with not just once, but multiple times, and that they look up to.

Once the breeder finds a female, they must wait until the dog is 2 years old and has gone through 2 heat cycles. If they purchase a male, the turnaround for him is much faster. According to AKC, you may start to breed your male at 7 months of age. I don’t recommend it, but it can be done.

Health Screenings:

While the breeder is waiting for their dogs to become of age, different health screening tests need to be performed.

French Bulldog Health Testing
DNA Genetic Health Screening

They’ll have to run a DNA breed health test $120 per dog and if they like, they’ll run a DNA color test. The no merle panel is $130 per dog.

It is also a good idea to run appropriate OFA tests but not required. Each test costs a

minimum of $25, and you may need to see specialists. Xray imaging and other advanced techniques will run past $500

There are multiple tests included: hips, patellas, eyes, heart, and more. Some tests can only be run once the dogs have reached 2 years of age and some need to be done yearly.

If the dog scores high on all tests the dog will then be OFA certified.

These health tests will raise the french bulldog price.

Preparing the Stud:

The breeder will need to provide him with supplements such as oxy stud or in between for him. These supplements come in a 30-count bag and cost around $25-45 a bag.

The breeder will need to start practicing collecting semen at 6 months of age to condition him. We purchase collection cones, syringes, and pipettes all the time.

Kits can range from $20-50 depending on pack size.

We also check semen under a microscope, purchased from Best Buy which cost around $300.

We have the Celestron LCD 2 digital microscope.

Our studs are also evaluated by a veterinarian who can print out numbers of mobility and motility so we can provide our clients with official results.

If the breeder doesn’t have an in-house stud or chooses to outsource, they’ll need to pay a stud fee – which may include shipping.

Stud fees range from $1000 to $15,000 or more, add $450 collection and shipping. If the breeder is shipping semen, they’ll need to do at minimum, a TCI – Transcervical insemination or Surgical insemination which can add on an extra $300-900.

Tracking The Heat Cycle | Progesterone Testing

7 days after the female starts bleeding a progesterone test must be run.

This test is to measure the level of the hormone progesterone in the blood. Veterinary clinics will charge up to $150 per test and most often the breeder will wait for the results for hours or even over night.

The breeder will need to do multiple tests to determine ovulation. Once ovulation has been determined we can then anticipate the due date and move forward with the breeding.

See our Charts below for progesterone results and breeding days. Notice how much variance between the two dogs.

These examples are a great demonstration as to exactly why progesterone testing is so important in breeding ANY pair.

Had I only allowed natural breeding, Dahlia may have not even gotten pregnant based on her levels and the pair breeding prematurely.

If I would have bred Elsa and Osiris on day 13-18 like some old timer breeders, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant AT ALL.

Portia on the other hand moved rather fast and we were done breeding by day 16.

progesterone testing
breeding french bulldogs
Based on Progesterone levels (without natural breeding) Ai would have been done on days: 20, 22, 24, and 26. If you include bleeding days of split heat, breeding days would have been into the 30’s
breeding french bulldogs
progesterone testing
Had they not naturally bred, based on progesterone levels, Ai would have been done on days: 13, 15, 17, and 19.

The vet told me not to worry about further breeding once ovulation was confirmed: “you’d be surprised how long it can last in there” but we did do one more ai after ovulation confirmation

progesterone testing
breeding french bulldogs
Another ai on day 18 (7/17/23) would have been good too.
Why progesterone testing is so important

Breeding the Bitch:

2 days after ovulation is when the breeding will begin.

When the heat cycle begins, the breeder must also be in communication with the stud owner to ensure everything is in place. We have run up to 11 progesterone tests on one of our girls – that’s $1,078

If the breeder chooses to do a normal ai – artificial insemination– done at the vet, this will cost around $300. Included in the artificial insemination fee is semen collection and analysis. Some people will choose to do tci or surgical insemination as discussed above, even with fresh semen.

If progesterone levels are high enough, either tci or surgical may be REQUIRED, especially if ovulation day is unknown.

At Home Progesterone Testing

Some breeders choose to do their own progesterone testing, like we do. However these machines aren’t always reliable. They need to be calibrated to their vets numbers.

Also, you get what you pay for.

What does calibration mean?

Test your dog at the vet and run those numbers with your machine. Some machines you can adjust the level, others you have to calculate the difference.

Some of these machines run on a whole different measuring system. So a 5 on Idexx might be a 13 on Wondfo. Which can definitely cause confusion

Our machine, the Cube Vet, clinical level, is the most comparable at home machine to the Idexx system.

Variation on our machine starts to happen in the higher numbers. For us a 14 is a 24 on idexx.

Which that level for both machines is recommended surgical insemination.

cube vet progesterone machine 
why are french bulldogs so expensive
Cube Vet Progesterone Machine
Cube vet progesterone chart
Progesterone Chart Level Comparison

Pregnancy Costs

Most breeders confirm pregnancy with an ultrasound and x-ray. Some veterinarians charge minimum $68 per ultrasound and $130 for x-ray. I have seen higher prices outside of our

demographic area.

We purchased our own Ultrasound Scanner at a whopping $1,700.

breeding french bulldogs 
ultrasound pregnancy confirmation
ultrasound Confirmation

Sometimes my females get picky with food after they’ve been bred.

Morning sickness is common.

They often reject kibble. We turn to fresh protein and goats’ milk. Goat’s milk runs about $13 a quart and we’ll blow through 3 a week.

Some of the options are chicken, salmon, and ground beef. All of these proteins are expensive, especially since covid.

We do start our females on puppy food as soon as they’re inseminated. Royal Canin small puppy food is $55 for 13lbs, and we go through a lot of it.

We also start the moms on oxy mate prenatals. Each 30-count bag is $42.

Labor and Delivery Costs

When the female is in labor or showing labor signs, a reverse progesterone test is performed.

It’s the same as a progesterone test only they’re looking for a drop in hormone levels. This test is the same price at $91 each. I have run up to 4 on a female.

Once the female is ready to have puppies a c section will be performed. A scheduled c-section is no less than $1300 and “emergencies”/not scheduled can cost over $2000.

Tools and Supplies

Now that we’ve gotten through the literal breeding aspect, there’s tools and supplies to be purchased. Some will need to be purchased every litter/continuously such as dog food, others can be used for life.

Setting up our whelping area and preparing for the litter.

Currently we have 2 whelping rooms.

We line the floors in vinyl. These rolls can be found precut at Home Depot for about $40. These are reusable.

You will need some sort of whelping container.

We use the ezwhelp 38×38 classic. This box is $300, and the lamp kit is around $160.

We connect the lamp to a reptile thermostat which is $18. Our special heating pads are $75 each. Around the whelping box we have metal pens set up. These are inexpensive and I’m not sure about the price.

In the metal pen there’s enough space to set up a turf mat with a puppy pad under it and food/water bowl for momma.

We purchase the turf at Home Depot in 12ft by 2ft pieces for $50, then cut them into 18-inch pieces once we get home.

Puppy pads are $18 at Costco. We may go through 4 boxes per litter.

We have security cameras set up in all dog spaces. Each ring camera is about $100.

In one room we have a microwave and fridge for easy access. The microwave is the old one from the kitchen when we replaced it and the fridge I found on Facebook marketplace for $75. I purchased another fridge from walmart for $100 for our second room.

There are a lot of other tools breeders need. A travel bin and travel heating pad, blankets, and towels – more than you can count.

Oralcal is $18. I rarely use it but its always in my kit. Colostrum $15, Fenugreek/nursing support pills $17, Oxy mate $25,

Baby bottles with special nipples – $35e or $50 as a combo pack with a syringe size. (One time purchase x4), bottle warmer

baby wipes $20 a case and we use at least 4 boxes per litter

Odoban – $7-$14 a bottle depending on scent

Kennelsol – $24 a bottle.

You’ll need a baby scale


nasal aspirators

nail clippers


dental floss

surgical scissors.

If you must bottle feed canned Esbilac is $10 a can.

We have white boards, clip boards, a printer, computers/laptops. Don’t forget about coffee and creamer, or your caffeinated beverage of choice.

Plan for hiccups. Emergencies arise.

Snagged umbilical cords, congenital issues, pneumonia, all kinds of stuff that can run up thousands of dollars in vet bills.

As the puppies grow.

We deworm and vaccinate all puppies and dogs. A 25 pack of vaccines is $250 and dewormer runs about $20 a bottle. We also microchip all puppies. Chips are $25 each.

As the puppies reach 3 weeks of age, they’ll start to wean. We use muffin tins or small silicone feeders for feeding. When making mush we use kibble, goats’ milk, boiled water, salmon oil, probiotics/yogurt, and pumpkin puree. As the pups get older, mush gets drier, and we introduce a shallow water dish.

At this point we’ll need to provide toys for enrichment. We like to make our own enrichment cubes. But basic toys cost about $25 for a 20 pack on amazon. Rubber teething toys are more expensive. Enrichment cubes cost about $150 to make and maintain.

Between 6 and 8 weeks, before they leave our home, they will have a vet wellness appointment. Anything under 5 puppies is $58/litter. Cost can also reach over $200.

Here are some other things you wouldn’t think about or consider.

French Bulldog Breeders get no sleep for the first 2- 3 weeks. We feed puppies every 2 hours around the clock. They need to be stimulated to urinate and defecate before and after every feeding. Once they’re older, breeders will feed 3-4x daily mush and dry food. We do not free feed at Le Pepite.

Care around the clock all 7 days lasts for 8 weeks. Let’s say every 2 hours just for feeding so that’s 12 hours a day – 672 hours in 8 weeks. Care for one French Bulldog puppy being sold at $4500 equals out to be $6.70 an hour in just feeding time alone. That doesn’t account for all the cleaning and normal daily responsibilities as a whole kennel and total cost of EVERYTHING.

Breeders’ entire normal/social life comes to a screeching halt. Their routine is askew, not just the breeder, but the entire household. If you’re not used to it, you may get physically ill. Breeders miss weddings, trips, holidays, birthdays, and more.

The French Bulldog puppies may come home knowing their names and a few basic commands.

They’ll also come turf pad trained to make it easier for the owner to potty train.

Some breeders, like us, include a welcome home kit.

Puppy food at $2.50/lb, litter toys, 1 nice toy $7, blanket $2, harness, leash, collar ($20 for all 3), $15 pet tag, paperwork, and a parent gift $75/per kit.

Think about cost of water for extra laundry, laundry detergent, and electricity. We do about 2-3 loads of laundry per day. Towels, blankets, and messy clothing.

Clean up and maintenance of the house from dogs: replacing carpet, fixing chewed on wood, replacing shoes, painting. We’re constantly purchasing cleaning supplies: kennelsol, odoban, steam mops, paper towels, robot vacuums, vacuum filters, air purifier filters, hvac filters.

Marketing, social media presence, and website management daily can be costly and or extremely time consuming. Breeders need things like business cards, qr codes, stickers, and more.

Factor in gas and mileage on the breeders’ car. Building connections and relationships with other breeders to maintain a great network, traveling for clients, dogs shows, entertaining prospects, and veterinary trips.

We must also maintain all adults’ health and wellness on a daily basis. Making sure they’re up to date on vaccines and things necessary.

Hopefully by now youre no longer wondering- why are french bulldogs so expensive?

Reinvesting into your program.

breeding french bulldogs
Dahlia, a puppy we kept

Breeders may choose to keep a puppy from their own productions That is a profit the breeder won’t see a return on for at least 9 months to 2 years.

If the breeder purchases a puppy from another breeder, they may be spending double or triple what they would have in lost profit to keep one of their own pups. Maybe even more depending on their goals and budget. They still won’t see any return for the same amount of time.

The breeder raises their breeding stock from a young age, shaping and molding the puppy into an amazing companion or competing animal.

Making sure it has good behavior and manners to live an amazing couch life for when it retires.

Maybe the breeder competes in conformation or sports. Showing dogs is a very expensive hobby/profession. If you’re not training and handling yourself, the breeder will have to pay someone to handle.

Some breeders train for service work. All these things add value to the breeding stock and the breeder’s reputation.

We may need to update our whelping tools or invest in new technology. Boxes, lamps, incubators, progesterone machine, oxygen, anything like that. Recently we purchased a progesterone machine which was around $6000.

Breeders may want to invest in things such as a toner printer to make merchandise they can wear around to promote their business. There are all kinds of tools to make your own products.

The lists go on.

Do your due diligence and find the right breeder, not just a cute puppy.

Ask questions. Knowledge of the breed and experience change everything. Understand the french bulldog price.

It is ok to put your faith in a new breeder, if they’re doing it right.

Maybe there’s something you’re looking for that they haven’t done quite yet, that’s ok. If they’re open, honest, and willing to go the extra mile, that says a lot.

As a buyer you may have just helped that breeder to learn and experience something new that will forever change how things are done. It has 100% happened to me and I’m thankful every day. I’d rather my clients come home with a happy healthy puppy than a puppy that’s set up for failure.

Now you know the answer to “why are french bulldogs so expensive.”

For more information on the whelping process click here!

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