Adventures in Raising French Bulldog Puppies – Pupdate Number 3
Hello my beloved french bulldog loving readers. I’m sorry for just now getting around to writing to you with the third and final pupdate. As many of you have heard me opine before: My life is very hectic but I won’t get into all of that. I want to pull back the curtain and give you a short glimpse of what life looks like while raising french bulldog puppies on your own.
First, a recap of this litter of puppies:
- March 22nd to March 27th: Lottie reaches the optimal stage of her estrus cycle and we begin the artificial insemination process. I do this myself, but I’ll spare you the gory details. Unless you want me to write a breeding post.
- March to May: Lottie is showered with praise, vet visits, and lots of food and snacks. Lottie becomes enormous and swollen as she grows eight french bulldog puppies in her little belly.
- May 25th: Lottie’s litter of 8 puppies is delivered by cesaerean section at Chevy Chase Animal Clinic. One puppy had died in utero–we are sad but happy to have seven healthy babies. The vet uses the opportunity to train new staff on C-Section births to brachycephalic breeds, specialized anesthetics for smushed face breeds, and puppy delivery triage. We are honored.
- May 26th: The litter of seven are brought home and we setup Lottie’s whelping area. For roughly three weeks we don’t sleep through the night.
- Mid-June: The puppies are healthy and very mobile. Lottie is quickly losing interest in being a mommy to seven very demanding french bulldog puppies. We have to sequester her and her puppies into the whelping area so she will stay with them.
- End of June/Early July: The puppies are 5-6 weeks old love to go outside (after their first round of vaccinations). French Bulldog puppies are easily the cutest puppies of all breeds.
- Fourth Week of July: At 8 weeks old, we begin feeding the puppies tiny amounts of wet foods (mostly Merrick canned whole foods). They discover that they love real food.
- End of July/Early August: The puppies are weened off of momma’s teets and Lottie could not be more relieved. The puppies grew so fast! We begin searching for their forever homes.
- Early August: Most of August is spent preparing the new puppy parent packages (we give our people tons of stuff with their new puppy). There’s interest in Lottie and Auggie’s puppies from as far away as New York, California, and Chicago. All together, we decided to sell four of the seven puppies (more on this later in the post).
- End of August: At 10-11 weeks, the four puppies go to their forever homes, all to wonderful, loving people who we forged new relationships with along the way.
Congratulations to these beautiful people!
So, what is it all like in the end? Raising french bulldog puppies is probably a lot like raising children–only there’s more puppies than children, unless you’re the couple from that T.V. show. Raising french bulldog puppies is demanding, tough, and an act of total love. We find ourselves connecting to our puppies on a truly spiritual level. It’s so hard imagining any kind of harm or ill-fate befalling such whimsical and ebullient creatures. French bulldogs have a personality that is simply inimitable by any other breed. They exude a constant sense of glee and contentedness. French bulldogs have no care for the past or worries about the future. They exist in this state of perpetual now. These characteristics of their personality are most evident when they’re just little puppies. You can see them thinking and putting together the world around them, just like newborn human children. To us, there is little distinction aside from rampant societal speciesism.
The very real nature of breeding french bulldogs is this: it’s taxing and hard from beginning to end. Saying goodbye to just four of Lottie’s first litter was very emotional. Further still, the amount of work you put into raising a litter of seven french bulldogs is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Previous litters were smaller and more manageable. Seven is nearly a deathwish. There were whole weeks where neither my wife nor myself could sleep through the night. We made trips to our veterinarian with all seven puppies and momma Lottie almost every week. We had to adjust our budget to account for the influx of bills, expenses for food, disposables like training pads and wipes, and the list goes on.
Why Breeding and Raising French Bulldogs is Not For Everyone:
Costs. A lot of them. I’m talking some serious dough for your average Joe. Sure, a person who has two french bulldogs and the intention to let nature work its magic is clearly not broke. Even then, breeding french bulldogs is expensive. Here’s a very rough estimation of our costs going into this litter. We get the homie discount on our C-Sections, so Lottie’s procedure only cost us $1400.00 USD. We had a lot of our necessary supplies, but nowhere near enough. We were still ordering training pads for the three puppies we kept as of a week ago.
The Cost of Breeding and Raising French Bulldog Puppies
I estimate we ordered somewhere around 12-15 100 count boxes of training pads from Amazon during the course of raising this litter. There’s ~$260.00 USD with taxes. We purchased three new whelping pads ($35.00) for our whelping box (a kiddie pool), and a giant whelping pad ($47) for putting down in our living room during play time. Checking my Amazon orders, we easily purchased more than 10 boxes of pet wipes for cleaning up after the puppies and momma (~$100). One of our adult frenchies destroyed the connector to our heating pad, so we had to buy a new one for the whelping box, so ($17.00 there). We provided momma with a vitamin supplement before, during and after her pregnancy, so add ($45.00) more. We also utilized colostrum to boost the puppies immune systems ($23). We used a high-calorie nutritional supplement to help momma get more calories between meals, we bought around 3 tubes ($20). We also purchased a new multi-puppy feeding bowl to feed everyone from the same vessel until they got to around 10 weeks, ($20). Then there’s the vet visits for each round of checkups and immunizations. The vaccinations through our veterinarian include everything and cost us $39 per puppy per visit, with three visits for all vaccinations, so (7 * 39) * 3 = $819.00 excluding taxes. The health check ups were roughly $160 per visit and the puppies had a health checkup every three weeks up until 10 weeks, so 3 * 160 = $480.00. By this point, we’ve spent roughly $3,270 without having sold a single puppy.
Sometimes There Are Hidden Costs
We’re not done, however, the worst is yet to come. One of the reason we kept three puppies instead of two is because one of our puppies contracted parvovirus. We think it came from the veterinarians office (which is not uncommon) or from someone in our neighborhood not picking up after their dog when it has crapped on our lawn. Either way, even with the vaccinations, the puppy in question still contracted parvo and we would never simply let a puppy succumb to a sickness simply because it’s expensive to treat. Norman, the puppy in question, was originally the first to be claimed but the buyer backed out early on. Not long after, Norman contracted parvovirus and his treatment bills totaled somewhere around $2,600 for all of the treatments during his five day stay in the emergency clinic. Norman survived and I took a week of my meager vacation time to rehabilitate him. We had to cancel our plans for a summer vacation because we had depleted our puppy budget (yes, we have one of those) on raising the litter and treating Norman. We could theoretically include the cost of keeping a third french bulldog but we love Norman and would have happily kept him if no one claimed him, so I won’t count those costs.
Our Final Cost of Raising French Bulldog Puppies
So now we’ve spent $5870.00. I’m almost positive that isn’t even close to what we actually spent because I’m not counting food costs, miscellaneous supplies like paper towels, costs of feeding Lottie increased amounts of food throughout her pregnancy and her whelping months, nor the outrageous amount of work and effort that goes into raising puppies. At the end of our 5 month puppy raising journey, we put $3000.00 profit into our account. A $10.00/hr job at 40 hours per week for 5 months minus 23% in taxes would have netted us $6140, more than double what we retained as our “profits.”
Then Why Bother Breeding and Raising French Bulldog Puppies ?
Why bother, then? This isn’t about money. I know for every person reading this and realizing the gravity of playing god with dogs, there’s someone else reassuring themselves that they “can do this” and “make a ton of money.” Bullshit. Backyard breeding is disgusting and I will fight you if I catch you doing it. Breeding french bulldogs is done solely to improve the health of the breed. But, all of that is another story for another time. The important takeaway is this: breeding french bulldogs is an act of selfless compassion. It’s overwhelmingly difficult for a working family, and you’re better off taking an hourly job if you’re looking to get paid.
We don’t do this every year. We would be broke and unable to hold down a full-time job. We would never breed a dam more than once per year and even then, we would never breed a dam or sire that wasn’t 100% healthy from their hips to their lips. After all of our years doing this, we now have a pack of five french bulldogs–more than we’ve ever had at any one time in the past. We’ll probably have another litter in a couple of years, but who knows. Running this website is probably far more helpful to the breed than continuing to breed new litters. There are breeders out there that are ten times more talented that I’ll ever be, so I may let them continue to carry the torch. Then again, I might find myself missing the experience. There’s nothing like a house full of puppies. =D
Thank you for reading. Per aspera ad astra. I love you all.
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