The female French Bulldog first heat cycle begins between 6 months to 1 year of age. The length of time between the first and second heat cycle should be observed because that cycle will repeat throughout the reproductive life of the female. On average, you can expect between 6-8 months between heat cycles.
Since your French Bulldog is still growing and developing, it is best to avoid a pregnancy until she reaches at least a year and a half.
Signs of Heat
Often times there are indicators that heat may be approaching for your Frenchie. There could be some behavioural changes, any present male may try to mate with her, and her vulva may start to swell outward. In order to most accurately track the heat cycle, the first day of heat is the first day you observe any signs of blood. This is usually found as droplets on the ground or in bedding.
What day does a French Bulldog get pregnant on?
From the first sign of blood, it will take on average 11-13 days for the eggs to be mature and in the correct position to become fertilized. The female Frenchie is best inseminated about 2 days after ovulation. At the beginning of ovulation, multiple eggs are released and continue to mature and travel down the Fallopian tubes. The amount of eggs determines
the maximum size of the litter.
How do you find the best day to inseminate your French bulldog?
The most accurate method is by progesterone testing. Progesterone is a hormone that will fluctuate during the heat cycle and inform you when your Frenchie has ovulated. The progesterone levels are detected by collecting a blood sample and testing it with a specialized machine. One of the most reliable methods is have a vet draw the blood and have it tested. There are at home progesterone testing machines that sell for a few thousand dollars.
On your first breeding, you should begin progesterone testing on day 7 in the event she ovulates on the earlier side of the average. In subsequent breedings, you can start on day 10 if she demonstrated average ovulation. The indicator you will be looking for is a sudden spike in progesterone levels that are cause by the luteinizing hormone. This event is most commonly referred to as the “LH Surge”.
The LH surge occurs when ovulation begins. Progesterone levels will maintain at a baseline around 0.2 ng and slowly move up prior to ovulation. When this number rises suddenly beyond 15 ng, this in the indicator that informs us ovulation has started. The best time to breed is 2-3 days from this point. Remember to use the measurement from the time of the test and not the time you received the results, which can sometimes take a day.
You will also want to perform daily tests for optimal results as the LH surge can last 24-48 hours, depending on the dog. If you’re not testing every day, it could be missed entirely.
We typically perform two artificial inseminations at day one and three. While the sperm cant reach the eggs when inseminated too early, but they will survive a few days. One insemination at day two is a popular option among breeders.
There are other methods breeders have relied upon in the past to detect ovulation. The color of the blood will change from a dark red to a lighter pink. Microscopic changes to the cell shape can also be detect, but nothing has proven to be more reliable than progesterone testing for finding the best time to breed your French Bulldog or any other dog.