The French bulldog, or Frenchie, is a short, compact dog with lots of energy and intelligence. These qualities keep Frenchie puppies in high demand, but due to some of the breed's physical characteristics, breeding can be dangerous to the mother and puppies.
The biggest risk involved with breeding a Frenchie is that most litters must be delivered via a Caesarean section. French bulldogs have large, blocky heads, wide shoulders and narrow waists, making it extremely difficult for a puppy to be born naturally. The C-section requires a veterinarian to cut open the mother's abdomen, pull the entire uterus out and remove the puppies by hand. This surgery does not naturally signal to the dog's body that she has given birth, and certain dangers arise if she is not given correct medication. The Frenchie must be given injections to stimulate her uterus to contract, and she may take several days to begin producing milk for her puppies, according to Dorit Fischler, DVM. The Frenchie pups must be given supportive feedings by hand until the mother can feed them on her own.
Breathing Problems with C-Section
To receive a C-section, a Frenchie must be put under anesthesia and put on a breathing tube. The compact facial structure of this breed results in extra flesh in the mouth and around the throat, so breathing must be closely monitored during and after surgery, according to Fischler. If the mother stops breathing and it goes unnoticed, lack of oxygen can cause brain damage and organ failure. In this scenario, the mother's life is in danger, and should she survive, she would not likely be able to care for her puppies.
Choking After C-Section
Another concern after C-section surgery is that the mother dog will vomit before she is fully in control of her throat and breathing. Again, the Frenchie mother must be constantly monitored, because if she vomits, the blocky structure of her face and throat will cause her to choke more easily than a longer-nosed breed. If the mother vomits and then inhales, she is at risk for developing aspiration pneumonia, according to the vets of Michigan Veterinary Specialists. Aspiration pneumonia is swelling of the lungs caused by the chemicals in the dog's vomit and is dangerous for a short-faced breed like the Frenchie.
Frenchies are prone to a birth defect called cleft palate, where the bones of the mouth and nose do not fuse correctly. This creates a hole in the upper palate of the dog's mouth, which must be fixed surgically. According to Karen Tobias, DVM, a puppy born with a cleft palate has an increased risk of getting viral infections, having foreign bodies become lodged in the nasal cavity or choking. Infections must be treated with antibiotics, foreign bodies removed by a vet, and the pups require constant monitoring for choking.