How Many Puppies Do French Bulldogs Have? (Explained)

How Many Puppies Do French Bulldogs Have? Photo of a French Bulldog puppy litter.

One of the most important details of a French Bulldog pregnancy for a breeder or a French Bulldog parent is how many puppies will their French Bulldog have in the litter, which you’ll find here.

I’ll also walk you through some of the important points that go into determining the size of the litter for French Bulldogs and even how to gauge a litter size. 

On average, the litter size for French Bulldogs ranges from 2 to 4 puppies. While Frenchie mamas can have more or less, it’s thought that 2 to 4 puppies per litter is a comfortable average. It doesn’t seem like a lot when you compare it to 6 or 7-puppy litters from other dog breeds. Still, French Bulldogs are pretty specialized and don’t have a capacity for larger litters.

Below, you’ll learn in-depth how many puppies do French Bulldogs have and how breeders can see how many a French Bulldog is carrying, predicting the number of puppies from mama herself, the factors that go into small litters of French Bulldog puppies, and large ones as well.

How to know how many puppies a French Bulldog is carrying

There are two main ways that a veterinarian can tell how many puppies a French Bulldog mama-to-be is carrying, Ultrasound and X-Ray.

Ultrasound

Widely used in all sorts of animals (including humans), an ultrasound is the fastest way for a vet to get a clear idea of how many puppies mama has in utero. This can be done as early as 3 weeks into the pregnancy itself. This is often the first look into how many puppies they can sell for breeders. 

X-Ray

For a clearer picture, an x-ray can also be used to get a set idea of how many pups are in her womb. Since a mom could abort or have a miscarriage of one puppy early in her pregnancy, this x-ray also confirms that she still has the number she had at the 3-week mark. 

Whichever method is used for viewing and counting the puppies, remember that these are estimates. Until the pups enter the world, there is no way to know with 100% certainty how many she will deliver.

It’s common for pups to be hiding behind each other during imaging or even for miscarriages (during which the puppy would be absorbed and simply disappear, leaving you short a puppy).

As well, not all French Bulldog puppies make it through the first shaky few days, even with the most advanced medical help available. Nothing is certain certain when it comes to the size of a French Bulldog litter, just as nothing is certain when it comes to human pregnancies.

How to predict a French Bulldog litter size

When picking the right mama to impregnate, breeders often look at a few traits to estimate and determine the size of the litter.

Since the number will determine what kind of profit they can make, they’ll want to do whatever they can to ensure they get a full litter without putting her health at risk. 

Size

The size of the mama-to-be will be a huge factor in her pregnancy. After all, the smaller she is, the less room she’ll have in her womb.

If her body can only hold 1 or 2 puppies at the most, it’s possible she may even abort or miscarry the 3rd puppy if one were to develop. 

Health

The health of both French Bulldog parents is also an important factor. If Mom or Dad is unhealthy (genetically, or just overall health), a pregnancy may not take, be smaller, or even be filled with complications that could put everyone’s health at risk. 

Nutrition 

Much the same as health, nutrition will also be a key role. French Bulldogs need a very specific diet, especially when they are pregnant.

This will determine how healthy the puppies develop and everyone’s health and safety when delivery time comes. 

Genes

The better genes that she has from her parents, the better genes she’ll pass on to her puppies. However, those genes will also determine the size of the litter and the overall litter health.

This is why proper paperwork can go a long way to helping determine the size of the litter as well as genetic factors for Frenchie puppy litters.

Photo of a litter of French Bulldog puppies inside a basket.

Small litters of Frenchie puppies

While the average litter of puppies is 3, some litters can be smaller with only 1 or 2 puppies. This is not a red flag or cause for concern, though it could be happening due to a few factors.

The first cause could be as simple as her age. If a French Bulldog is under the age of 2, she is still thought to be too young to have successful pregnancies.

Since pregnancy is very hard on even the strongest Frenchie mom, a young one can have smaller litters with plenty of complications that put puppies at risk.

Once they are over the age of two, they reach full maturity and can produce full litters. You’ll also find this to be the case with young fathers.

Another factor that can be a huge help if you’ve had previous experience with French Bulldog mamas is the size of her previous litters.

Responsible breeders should only aim for 3 or 4 pregnancies for a mama within her lifetime, and those previous litters can help the breeder get a good idea of how many she’ll have in a future litter. If she has a small litter before, she’s more likely to have a small litter again.

Even though a litter of 2 or 3 puppies doesn’t sound like a lot, this is an example of a breeder who is doing it right. Generally speaking, Frenchie breeds are very closely monitored.

They are also high-risk dogs regarding health complications, particularly during pregnancies. A responsible breeder doesn’t push for large breeds (more on that in a moment) as it doesn’t gain them anything but health concerns and even bigger problems.

Litters between 2-4 puppies will always end up with better health and longevity than those litters that are above average. 

Large litters of Frenchie puppies

Just like pregnancies can be below the average of 3 or 4 puppies, they can also be above the average with 5 or even 6 puppies.

While a litter of 4 could be considered a very rare and lucky fluke, anything above 5 is considered so unusual it’s downright suspicious. Large litters often happen as a result of an unethical breeder (more on that in a moment) and should make you raise a red flag when searching.

Large litters bring with them quite a few concerns in health and safety all around. Puppies who are in larger litters will quite often be at-risk before and immediately after birth for malnourishment. There is only so much energy that a mom can give to her puppies during gestation and through milk after birth.

The more puppies she has, the more they will require from her, which can lead to malnourished, underweight puppies. This has nothing to do with the mom’s dedication or the breeder’s interest and everything to do with biology.

Having a large litter can also put more strain and stress on the mother, often giving her health problems and difficulties in her future pregnancies.

The truth of the matter is that large litters offer the best financial payout. After all, 5 puppies pay better than 3, right? However, this larger litter also puts more strain on the mom and more likely creates puppies that will be saddled with health problems down the road.

A large litter, outside of the flukes and medical miracles, is a sign of an irresponsible breeder.

Similarly, Frenchie moms should be at least 2 years of age and average about 3 or 4 pregnancies throughout her life. She shouldn’t be in a constant cycle of pregnancy after pregnancy. This creates malnourished and at-risk puppies and jeopardizes the mother’s long-term health.

If you are searching for Frenchie moms and find a series of potential mothers that have 5 or 6 puppies. In that case, it’s a sure sign that you are dealing with someone who is in the grey area of French Bulldog breeding.

Responsible breeders will only promise or support 3 or 4 puppies per litter and will happily explain why. Irresponsible breeders will ensure or promise 6 or 7 litters and say that they have “special genes” or other such lies. This would be a sure sign of a puppy mill.

A puppy mill is quite literally a factory set-up for puppies. Various French Bulldog mothers simply pump out litter after litter, and their puppies are sold at high prices by breeders whose only focus is money. These dogs are quite often traumatized and abused, amongst other immoral practices. 

Use litter size to determine the right breeders

Any breeder that is in it for the right reasons will be aware of the size of Frenchie litters and their limits. While it seems so simple when it comes to the number of puppies in the litter, that very number can tell you a whole lot about a breeder and their practices. 

Conclusion

When you are looking for your French Bulldog puppy, you can quite often get a feel for a breeder’s morality right from the predicted number of puppies in a litter.

Use that to help you find the right one. Not only will it feel better than unknowingly supporting a puppy mill, but it will also end up giving you a much healthier, stronger, and better puppy!

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I'm Sara, an animal enthusiast and proclaimed dog lover. All I write comes from reading and reading about the various topics I'm interested in.