Can French Bulldogs Give Birth Naturally?

Can French Bulldogs Give Birth Naturally?

Is your French Bulldog about to pop? If you have a pregnant dog, it is essential to learn everything about the birthing process. Whether it’s natural or not.

With their playful personality and adorable features, the French Bulldog is famous in countries like the UK and US, even getting the cute nickname ‘Frenchie’. However, this beautiful breed is more likely to suffer complications while giving birth than other dogs. 

Are you preparing to help your Frenchie during the birthing process? If yes, below is everything you need to know about Frenchies and giving birth. 

Can French Bulldogs Give Birth Naturally?

Yes, French Bulldogs can give birth naturally, but a natural birthing process is rare for this breed of dogs. 

Natural birth for pregnant Fnrechies is risky, with frequent complications like puppies getting stuck in the birth canal. Research by the Royal Veterinary College shows that female French Bulldogs are more likely to have a difficult birth and require cesarean surgery to have puppies.

Their breeding and brachycephalic traits are some of the reasons why Frenchies can’t have a normal whelping process (the medical term for giving birth in dogs)

French Bulldogs Characteristics That Make It Challenging To Give Birth Naturally

Why can’t French Bulldogs give birth naturally? A few characteristics make a completely natural birth for Frenchies impossible. They include:

  • Brachycephalic traits

One of the reasons why French Bulldogs can’t give birth naturally is their head shape. The shape and size of a Frenchie’s head are due to a condition known as Brachycephalic. This term refers to dogs prone to difficult breathing because of their head shape, short muzzles, and throat. 

With the head’s shape and size, it is almost impossible for it to go through a french bulldog’s birth canal with ease. This trait makes a c-section the only safe and viable option for French Bulldogs when whelping. 

  • Pelvic Abnormalities

The second reason Frenchies cannot give birth naturally is their pelvic abnormalities. Aside from their head shape being too big, Frenchies also have a small pelvis. In simple terms, the head just won’t pass. 

The pelvis also doesn’t expand during labour. Without the proper expansion, it is more painful and strenuous for a french bulldog to give birth naturally. The lack of canal expansion also increases the risk of fatalities while whelping. 

  • Breeding 

With plenty of breeding information about French Bulldogs, it is clear this breed came about primarily because of human interference. Not only is giving birth naturally for French Bulldogs difficult, so is getting pregnant. 

French Bulldog studs are mostly infertile due to low sperm count, which means female dogs need insemination to conceive. If you have a French Bulldog and are considering breeding, you should know that it is not easy, especially for amateur breeders.

Breeding through insemination requires a lot of work and is expensive. Humans still breed Frenchies, knowing their bodies are too small to handle safe natural delivery. With insemination being a necessity for breeding these dogs, a natural birth won’t be the safest option to bring their pups into the world. 

Possible Complications With Natural Births

The chances of your Frenchie having a difficult birth is higher than other dogs. There are various conditions breeders, and dog owners should consider before delivering Frenchie puppies naturally. These include:

  • Puppy Getting Stuck: the worst thing to happen when a Frenchie is whelping is for the puppy to get stuck on its way out into the world. A French Bulldog’s birth canal does not stretch a lot when giving birth. It is common for this to happen with the size and shape of a French bulldog puppy’s head.
  • Anasarca refers to extreme swelling right before giving birth and is common in Frenchies. Frenchies are more likely to suffer from Anasarca when giving birth due to their small body proportions. A belly full of puppies can cause breathing problems due to their small size.
  • Dystocia: This condition is similar to when the puppy gets stuck, and a vet needs to help get it out. Dystocia is a complication that requires a vet or someone with experience whelping puppies to ensure safe delivery. The foetus is probably too large for the Frenchie’s pelvis or is in an awkward position. 

Do French Bulldogs Have To Have A C-Section?

No, French Bulldogs don’t have to have a C-Section when giving birth. 

That being the case, over 80% of French Bulldogs give birth via cesarean section. Why? It is much safer.

Natural birth can endanger the lives of the mother and her puppies. When it comes to Frenchies giving birth, a C-section has many more benefits. 

Why Are C-sections Safer Than Natural Births?

If you are planning to go the c-section route, there is a lot you need to do, from scheduling the c-section to having your vet on speed dial in case of emergencies.

Aside from assurance from the veterinarian of a safe birth, here are other reasons why you should consider a c-section for your Frenchie:

  • Safe delivery: One thing you can be sure of is that your Frenchie will safely deliver her pups through a c-section. Despite some risks during surgery, this is a safer alternative for breeders to prevent stillbirths or abortions. With a vet checking up on your Frenchie, you can help prevent infections as well. 
  • Frenchies Uterus stays strong: Labour for French Bulldogs is stressful to their mind and body. Birthing two or more puppies can cause a lot of strain to your Frenchie’s uterus. Giving birth to a litter of puppies not only risks their health but can also prevent them from having a healthy pregnancy later on in her life. 
  • Less stress: Frenchies can undergo excessive stress while giving birth naturally. Pregnancy is already tricky for French Bulldogs because of their small body. If she naturally gives birth to two or more puppies, Her body and mind will be weak and exhausted after the delivery process.

The stress on her body can mean longer after-care for the mum and possible health complications, not to mention caring for her newborn puppies. 

Risks With C-sections

The C-section process for French Bulldogs involves prepping your Frenchie for surgery by putting her under anaesthesia because it is an invasive surgery. 

Although a c-section is a safer option for pregnant French Bulldogs, it also has its risks. 

  • Breathing Problems: Frenchies are prone to breathing problems because they are brachycephalic. Most dogs are put under anaesthesia while undergoing surgery which, combined with their flat face, can cause breathing issues.

Breathing issues are why they need plenty of oxygen while under anaesthesia. Even experienced vets have a hard time knowing how much oxygen they are getting because they can no longer breathe on their own. 

  • Choking on Vomit: This is a common problem when a Frenchie gives birth. It is even worse with a brachycephalic dog breed like a French Bulldog that suffers from breathing problems. Unlike other dogs, Frenchies can choke on their vomit. A vet needs to step in to prevent choking, which can be fatal. 

What You Need To Know About French Bulldog Labour

There is a lot to look out for to ensure safe delivery. First and foremost, make sure you have your vet on speed dial. If you are choosing to go the natural way, and your vet is happy that it’s the right approach for your dog, there is a lot you need to expect.

 Here are some telltale signs to look out for that could mean your French Bulldog is going into labour:

  • Frenchies exhibit nesting behaviour by looking for a safe place to bring their pups into the world. It can start a week before the due date but occur more frequently on the day of or before delivery. 
  • Most pregnant dogs might stop eating days to the due date. Your Frenchie might also experience large bowel movements due to the pressure from the pups moving into position as they prepare for birth.
  • Two consecutive drops in their body temperature most likely mean that labour will start within 24hours. 
  • Your Frenchie is shaking and trembling. Once the labour starts, your Frenchie will be trembling and lying down so that they can begin to push their pups out.

After labour, you will need to clean the pups, cut their umbilical cords and clean the area where they gave birth. If the natural delivery is successful, you will have healthy French Bulldog puppies in your hands. 

The Bottom Line

In summary, French Bulldogs can give birth naturally, but it isn’t the safest option. With health risks like dystocia and the puppies getting stuck in the birth canal, it is usually much safer to schedule a c-section. 

Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best approach for your pooch, and make sure you’re clear on what you need to do when your Frenchie goes into labour.

Having a vet around for the whelping process ensures the safety of both your Frenchie and her pups, and while c-sections may expensive, they are often necessary to ensure the safety of your dog and her pups.