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Can English Bulldogs Breed Naturally? (Vet Answer)

Dr. Kim Podlecki

By Dr. Kim Podlecki

female english bulldog sitting on the grass

You’ve finally decided it’s time to get a dog. You scan the internet and keep coming across cute pictures of these wrinkly dogs called English Bulldogs. They are the 4th most common breed in the United States.1 You’re directed to breeder websites and are shocked by the price of purchasing one of these puppies. So you think, maybe I can breed them myself?

Before you make the jump from one English Bulldog to English Bulldog breeder, make sure you’re educated about what you could be getting into. Bulldog’s can be cute, but they do come with a number of concerns surrounding breeding and giving birth. In fact, most English bulldogs aren’t even able to breed or give birth naturally. Continue reading to make sure breeding your bulldog puppy is something you want to pursue.

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Basics of natural mating

When you look at an English bulldog (not to be confused with the American Bulldog, two of the most striking features are their wrinkles and stout stature. With the short, stout stature, it is very difficult for a male dog to mount a female and naturally breed. In essence, their short stubby legs are not physically long enough to allow the male to complete the act.

If your English bulldog is female, she can be bred more easily by another breed besides the bulldog. Other breeds that have longer legs and can mount the female easier will be able to breed her. Make sure to keep your female bulldog clear of any medium to large breed male dogs of another breed if you don’t want to risk having bulldog mutts running around.

two english bulldogs playing with stick
Image Credit: BLACK17BG, Pixabay

If English Bulldogs cannot mate naturally, how do you breed them?

It is estimated that about 80% of bulldogs are born after artificial insemination, and the same percentage are born by C-section. Which means that only ~20% are created naturally. This means that the majority of English bulldog breeders are having their females bred by artificially inseminating them, not by “natural cover or natural” breeding. The reason for this is that the male dogs cannot easily mount a female to breed because of their stature. Breed standards want the bulldogs back legs to be “short and strong” and the chest to be “very broad”. This conformation makes it difficult for a male to successfully mount and breed a female.

There are many ways to approach artificial insemination. It’s best to speak with your veterinarian about all options and costs associated with them to determine what is best for your pet. Depending on the type of insemination, costs may vary greatly.

What does it matter that most Bulldogs cannot breed naturally?

Because most of these dogs must be artificially inseminated, this increases the cost to the puppies. Artificial insemination can be done at home, but it’s recommended that it’s completed by a licensed veterinarian or even better, a theriogenologist. A theriogenologist is a veterinarian that has gone through extra school and training for reproduction. To find one in your area try this website.

Being bred by artificial insemination increases cost of care. It’s much easier to just put a male and female dog together and let them mate naturally. However, when you have to use artificial methods, you need to first collect a sample from the male dog. Then you must inseminate the female at the appropriate time of her heat cycle. If the insemination is not done at the proper time or completed properly, then the time, money and resources used for that cycle may go wasted.

Some dogs may or may not have a regular heat cycle as well. So knowing when to breed your bulldog can be difficult. Again, we recommend working with your veterinarian to help track heat cycles to determine optimal breeding time.

english bulldog puppy on the floor
Image Credit: BLACK17BG, Pixabay

Ok, so you still want to take the plunge and breed your English bulldog. Now what?

Just getting your bulldog bred may or may not be the most difficult and expensive part of the equation. As stated above, an estimated 80% of English Bulldogs also cannot give birth naturally. The large shape of their skulls combined with the confirmation of their pelvis make it difficult and sometimes downright impossible for a baby to fit through the birth canal. This leaves surgery by C-section as the only option for a mama bulldog to have babies.

If you have a good relationship with your regular veterinarian, and you know the exact date that your female was bred, you may be able to schedule her ahead of time to have a C-section. However, if there are multiple possible breeding dates for your bulldog, scheduling the surgery too early may result in loss of the puppies. A scheduled C-section may still cost well over $1,000 at your regular veterinarian, depending on where you live.

If your female goes into labor and your veterinarian is not available, this often leaves Bulldog owners with no other option but to pursue a C-section with the nearest Emergency / Specialty Clinic. Again, depending on where you live, and whether an emergency doctor or a board certified surgeon does the surgery, it can cost well over $5,000.

After being born, the puppies will ideally nurse from mom for the first 6-8 weeks of their lives. If there are complications, this may also add to the cost of puppy care.

Not to mention that while pregnant, you want to make sure the female bulldog is healthy, has testing done to determine how many puppies she has, and is up to date on all vaccines and prevention prior to even breeding her.

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Conclusion

While English bulldog puppies may be cute, they are not without their health complications, starting with breeding and birth. Make sure you are financially ready to take on the potentially difficult task of having your female bred and helping her through the birthing process.


Featured Image Credit: BLACK17BG, Pixabay

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