French Bulldog Puppies Nursing

Your female French Bulldog begins her journey to reproductive maturity with the onset of her first heat cycle, typically between 6 months to a year old. These cycles occur semi-annually, roughly six months apart, and each cycle can last for several weeks.

Comprehending these heat cycles is key to successful breeding, and will help you identify when to breed your French Bulldog.

Important Breeding Info

  • Insemination: 11-13 Days from Bleeding.
  • Pregnancy Confirmation: Ultrasound 30 days from AI.
  • French Bulldog Pups: Born 63 days from first insemination.
A French Bulldog Female sitting looking happy in a public area.
Delphi the Happy Blue Frenchie

Signs of Heat

As your Frenchie approaches her heat cycle, you may notice certain telltale signs. Behavioral changes might surface, any nearby males could exhibit mating interest, and her vulva may begin to swell. To accurately track the heat cycle, mark the first day of visible blood, typically found as droplets on the ground or bedding, as the initial day of the heat. It’s crucial to stay observant as these signs unfold, ensuring you align the breeding process appropriately.

Identifying the Optimal Time to Breed

From the initial sign of blood, it takes roughly 11-13 days for your Frenchie’s eggs to mature and be in the right position for fertilization. Optimal insemination occurs around 2 days post ovulation, as multiple eggs released at ovulation continue to mature and descend the Fallopian tubes. You will want to ensure you have French Bulldog Stud scheduled for your breeding.

Frenchie Mom and Pups
Lilac Frenchie, Lexi feeding her pups.

Use of Progesterone Testing

To pinpoint the best day for insemination, progesterone testing is the most precise method. Progesterone, a hormone that varies during the heat cycle, can indicate your Frenchie’s ovulation timing. This hormone level is detected by analyzing a blood sample collected from your dog, usually performed by a vet. Although at-home progesterone testing machines are available, they can be costly.

Dna testing A French Bulldog
Frenchie Pup evaluates a specimen under a microscope.

Progesterone Testing Schedule

For the first breeding, start progesterone testing on day 7 to accommodate early ovulation. If your Frenchie’s ovulation is average, you can begin testing on day 10 in subsequent breedings. A sharp increase in progesterone levels, caused by the luteinizing hormone (LH Surge), is the key event to look for.

Understanding the LH Surge

The LH surge, signaling the start of ovulation, occurs when progesterone levels suddenly rise beyond 15 ng from a baseline of around 0.2 ng. The best breeding time is 2-3 days following this point. Always use the time of the test, not the results receipt time, for your calculations. As the LH surge can last 24-48 hours, daily testing yields optimal results.

French Bulldog Sperm/Semen in a Centrifuge tube.
French Bulldog Semen/Sperm can be shipped and preserved for up to ten days.

Insemination Timing

Typically, we perform two artificial inseminations on days one and three. While early insemination may not allow sperm to reach the eggs, the sperm can survive a few days. Some breeders favor single insemination on day two.

Alternative Ovulation Detection Methods

Past breeders have relied on various methods for ovulation detection. This process, often referred to as Estrous Cycle Monitoring or Phenotypic Ovulation Detection, includes observing physical signs such as a change in blood color from dark red to light pink or detecting microscopic changes in cell shape. However, despite these traditional methods, progesterone testing remains the most reliable and precise approach for determining the best breeding time for your French Bulldog or any other dog.

French Bulldog Mom Lexi, Sitting in a field.
Lexi – Lilac French Bulldog Produced 3 Healthy litters.

Confirming Pregnancy (Ultrasounds and X-Ray)

After insemination, you would, of course, want to confirm whether your French Bulldog is pregnant. A vet can conduct an ultrasound as early as 28 days after the last breeding to detect a heartbeat and verify pregnancy. Around day 45, an X-ray can give more precise information about the number of puppies to expect, they usually give a fairly accurate indication of litter size.

Ultrasound of a pregnant French Bulldog.
Ultrasound confirmation of a French Bulldog Pregnancy

How Long Until Puppies

The gestation period for a French Bulldog is about 63 days, similar to other breeds. Close monitoring and regular vet checks are crucial during this period to ensure the health of the mother and her unborn puppies. Utilizing progesterone testing not only helps in identifying the best time for breeding, but it can also be an invaluable tool for determining the expected due date

Lilac French Bulldog Puppy's newborn huddled together.
Lilac Newborn puppies huddled together for warmth.


Because of the puppies’ large heads and the mother’s narrow birth canal, most French Bulldog deliveries are carried out via a Cesarean section. This is a significant aspect of breeding Frenchies and necessitates planning and veterinary assistance. (For more information on this, see our detailed guide here).

How Long Until Next Heat

Once your French Bulldog has delivered, her next heat cycle will usually be around six months later. However, it may vary depending on her overall health and recovery post-pregnancy. Pay particular attention to the length between each heat cycle as they will usually repeat.

French Bulldog puppy looking with one eye open.
French Pup Harper, keeping an eye on the snack cupboard.

When Should You Breed Next

Deciding when to breed your French Bulldog next can depend on several factors such as her health, age, and how well she recovered from her last pregnancy. Some breeders advocate for back-to-back breeding (breeding in consecutive heat cycles) while others recommend giving the bitch a break. This decision should be made in consultation with your veterinarian, considering what’s best for the dog’s health and well-being. We breed back-to-back whenever possible.

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Common Questions

What is the most common method of breeding for French Bulldogs?

Most French Bulldog breedings are done artificially due to their body structure.

When is the optimal insemination date?

The average insemination date is 11-13 days from the first sign of blood.

How is pregnancy confirmed in French Bulldogs?

Pregnancy is usually confirmed with ultrasound around 30 days from the first insemination.

What is the average litter size for French Bulldogs?

The average litter size is around 6 pups.

When does a female French Bulldog usually experience her first heat cycle?

Female French Bulldogs typically experience their first heat cycle between 6 months to a year old.

What are the signs that a French Bulldog is in heat?

Behavioral changes, interest from nearby males, and a swelling vulva are common signs.

How long is the gestation period for a French Bulldog?

The gestation period for a French Bulldog is about 63 days, similar to other breeds.

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