Many novice owners think mating their bulldog will be a great way to supplement their income. On the contrary, to be a conscientious breeder requires having extra funds for breeding expenses and potential emergencies. Breeding bulldogs can actually cost the breeder more than they stand to earn, once you factor in health testing, veterinarian care during the pregnancy, feeding and caring for the puppies including time off work during the first week or two, and any potential emergencies that arise. So, be smart and make sure you are fully prepared to accept all the responsibility inherent in this undertaking before making the decision to breed bulldogs.
If you aspire to be an ethical breeder, you can't just breed your bulldog whenever the urge strikes. According to the Bulldog Club of American, bulldogs should not be bred prior to eighteen months of age, except under special circumstances. Also, bulldog bitches over the age of five should only be bred with the approval of a licensed veterinarian. And those thinking to witness the miracle of birth at home should think again. Approximately 95% of bulldog puppies are born by cesarean section.
Bulldogs used in a breeding program would represent the breed standard, be free of health problems such as hip dysplasia, cherry eye, cataracts and cardiac disease. The dogs should also have good temperaments. Once a mating pair has been picked, the bitch owner waits until a surge in progesterone, and then breeds the bitch to the stud dog. The pair needs to tie at least once in order to produce puppies. During the tie, the breeders usually hold the dogs together, to keep the female from pulling away and decreasing the likelihood of pregnancy, as well as minimizing potential injury to the stud dog. Typically, a bitch is pregnant approximately 63 days before whelping. The vast majority of bulldog puppies are delivered by C-section rather than on their own.
Breeding bulldogs may sound easy, but it's not for the faint of heart. There are many risks associated with breeding. Bitch owners may pay a stud fee and end up with no puppies if the bitch doesn't conceive after the mating. Also, there's a risk of canine venereal diseases being transmitted during breeding, such as herpes or brucellosis. Once the bitch gets pregnant, she risks losing the puppies via reabsorption or ingestion of environmental toxins. Also, there are many risks during and after whelping. The C-section rate in bulldogs far surpasses the normal delivery rate. Also, puppies can be stillborn, or die shortly after birth from fading puppy syndrome, or have birth defects and need to be euthanized. The mother can have complications during whelp and actually die, or could get milk fever shortly after birth with possibly serious consequences.
Typically, female bulldogs enter their first heat phase sometime between six and twelve months of age, but can start earlier than six months or even later than eighteen months. Once a bulldog has her first heat cycle, she usually cycles every six months after that, but again, this can vary a great deal by bulldog. Generally speaking, bulldog heat cycles last around three weeks, and the best time to breed can be anywhere between Day 5 to Day 18 of the cycle. Commonly, the female bulldog is ready to be bred between Day 8 and Day 12. Most puppies are born 60 to 63 days after the bitch is bred.
Breeding bulldogs is a serious undertaking and should not be an impulsive action. The health, temperament and type of future bulldogs is determined by how much thought breeders put into mating bulldogs today. Extensive knowledge of the breed and pedigrees, as well as common health issues and structural flaws is crucial if one seeks to be a successful bulldog breeder. Also, knowledge of the mating process and whelping puppies is necessary for the safety of the bulldogs. Performed properly, however, bulldog breeding can be beneficial to the breed as a whole by introducing healthy, sound and genetically diverse bulldogs into the breeding population.