Buying a French Bulldog

What goes into the price of producing a French Bulldog?
Many people searching for French Bulldogs, be it a puppy or more mature dog may consider the following:

Estimates based on a single breed

  1. Internet - includes importers, backyard breeders, puppy mills and nearly all types of breeders making initial contact
  2. Pet Store - procurer of brokered dogs, utilizes agents from backyard breeders, commerical puppy mills
  3. Friend - decided to try it out or accidental - infrequent
  4. Broker - provider to resellers and other agents - facilitator from one hand to the next
  5. Backyard Breeder - 2 to 6 litters per year
  6. Show Breeder - 1 to 6 litters per year
  7. Private Breeder - 1 or 2 litters per year
  8. Puppy Mill - provider to brokers and importers 8 to over 10 litters per year
  9. Commercial Breeder - over 10 litters per year

The approximate cost to produce French Bulldogs or for that matter, many breeds these days, can break down like this - the difference is often quite simply, quality verses quantity. What goes into breeding quality dogs highly depends on the standards followed by that specific breeder. Some people are looking for perfection however, most are not. Perfection in health and conformation means doing all that Breeder can, to understand the two dogs they are putting together. That requires a lot more thoughtful consideration regarding the two animals. However even the best laid plans and all the testing in the world cannot guarantee the outcome of mother nature.

The following is a list of what a Breeder needs to have and does or chooses to do:

  1. Has a female old enough to breed 18 to 24 months purchased as a pup from a reputable breeder $2,500 - $5,000
  2. Was the female shown and earned a championship title? If Yes, Avg. $200 - $2,500 or more in fees and expenses
  3. Was she health tested before breeding? If Yes, Avg from $250 - $1,000 in vet expenses and test analysis
  4. Stud fee based on available males or a top winner and sometimes valued pedigree, show male; this varies $500 - $2,500 in a few cases more
  5. Owner of male, stud purchased as a pup from a reputable breeder $2,500 - $3,500
  6. Was the male shown and earned a championship title? If Yes, Avg. $200 - $2,000 or more in fees and expenses
  7. Was the male health tested including semen quality before breeding? If Yes, Avg. $250.00 - $1,000
  8. Progesterone test female for optimal timing, depends on number of tests required, surgical, fresh or chilled $50 - $250
  9. If surgically implanted with shipped frozen or chilled or previously frozen semen - $350 - $1,200
  10. Frozen semen shipping fees including containers and nitrogen tank $250 - $500 for one shipment
  11. Veterinarian, collection of the male and packaging $65 - $250 each time
  12. If artificially inseminated by a veterinarian, chilled or fresh $65 - $250
  13. If using an Endoscope by a veterinarian, chilled or fresh $150 - $350
  14. Ultrasound performed at 28 to 32 days after breeding to check for pregnancy $50 - $145
  15. Gestation 61 - 63 days from after the first day or only day bred and may be the same day bred. The female should be kept calm and in an area or whelping box prepared for pups so she may nest as her due date approaches in a safe, comfortable, dry and warm place - materials, heating pad and notions $150 - $250
  16. Non emergency Caesarian Section performed by an experienced bull breed vet (no mater the distance) avg. $400 - $1,800
  17. Emergency Caesarian Section performed hopeful by an experienced vet (anywhere - anytime) avg $1,200 - $2,800 (does not include extra survival tasks or office fees)
  18. Natural births or whelping of the female often the mother can be lost and pups (priceless)
  19. Staying up all night to check on pups and help the mother nurse every 2 to 4 hours, keeping pups warm and hydrated (priceless)
  20. Bottle feeding pups if necessary, tube feeding if pups won't suckle, managing airways to prevent fluid in lungs and pneumonia (priceless)
  21. Manage mother and her requirements preventing her from lying or stepping on pups or from even harming her pups (priceless)
  22. In three to five days removing declaws if desired and not necessary per pup $12 - $35 per pup
  23. Worming, vet inspection and female suture removal $30 - $100
  24. Puppy shots each pup at 6 - 12 weeks avg litter $45 - $85
  25. Growing out pups until placed or shipped to new owners, kept and or shown (priceless)

Below examples of case scenarios representing a typical breeder Private or Show. Keep in mind the average sized French Bulldog litter is about 3 pups.

Per Litter

(does not include time involved, off work, gas, travel, vet office fees, dog food, suppliments, whelping equipment and extras)

Approx. Exp.

Middle average, owned female, AKC champion of record, health tested, single higher end, chilled semen stud fee, non surgical, non emergency, ultrasound, shots, 1 pup dewclaws
1 - 3 pups
($5,000) - ($0)
($4,000) - $3,000
Middle to low average, owned female and stud dog, both AKC champions of record, health tested, non surgical, fresh semen, non emergency, ultrasound, self shots, no dewclaws, no progesterone testing, pups vet checked

1 - 3 pups


($5,275) - ($775)
($4,775) - $2,225
Simple lower average, subsequent breeding, own champion female and male already tested, repeat breeding, with 3 progesterone tests, non surgical, untrasound, non emergency, dewclaws, self removal of sutures, pup shots, worming, and pups vet checked

1 - 6 pups


$1,750 - $14,250
$2,750 - $20,250

It was not mentioned what happens if a pup or pups are lost or the mother is lost. There can be additional expenses such as survival services and extra help by the vet. I had a mother Frenchie when her airway collapsed after I brought her home. She spent the night in the emergency and had to bottle feed the pups until five am the next day.

If a breeder uses the same dogs over and over again the costs would be less over all litters produced. The more females and the less quality expected either from the parents and the offspring, pups bring more of a return on the breeder's initial investment. However show breeders are looking for something they can continue in the show ring with. If they are a progressive breeder and moving forward they may not find what they are looking for in the litter they just produced. In that case a lot may have went into producing pups as listed above. So a buyer should or would expect to pay more for those pups from a well respected breeder. Trust me, it can be dissapointing when the breeder ends up "petting" the pups instead of producing another champion. It costs just as much to produce a pet as a show prospect. So when you contact a breeder that is active and progressive in showing their dogs, once again that pet pup is going to cost you more and should cost more than an importer, pet store or from any other type of breeder. However, not all are worthy and you have to learn what you can about that breeder.

Importers: Purchaser of pups from one or several litters from local, but mostly foreign puppy mills. They are shipped to U.S. Customs from other countries or airports or transported by truck. Often the seller does not admit to intending to resale the pups. The pup photos are placed on websites and listed for sale. The seller may purchase pups in quantity for a better price such as $250 to $1,000 per pup. The female, stud dog and quality of the pups are of no concern to the importer only the resale value. There are shipping fees and U.S. Custom fees involved. The seller in this case is considered the broker or agent for the producer. When you take that pup home, and if that pup has health issues or an illness the "importer" that made the sale, cares little if at all after the sale is made. If the pup grows up poor quality and or with a poor disposition there is no recourse or place for you to turn. There is nothing known about that pup the conditions where it came, genetically or otherwise. Have the pup checked out by a reputable veterinary only, immediately. And, make sure you have the pup spayed or neutered between five and six months of age. The paperwork expected to be received with your imported puppy is at minimal an export pedigree from the country of origin. The pup possibly may have been micro chipped and you may have instructions to register your puppy with the American Kennel Club.

To register your pup with the Amerian Kennel Club requires a downloaded form and instructions off the internet. If your pup is not micro chipped then they need to be micro chipped. Take a copy of your export pedigree and photos side and front of your pup. Fill in the additional information required per the instructions and send with a nominal fee to the American Kennel Club address provided. Shortly thereafter and if your pup in fact resembles a French Bulldog you will receive your American Kennel Club registration papers.

Pet Stores: Are very similar to importers in that they are not the producer of the pups and little if any aware of the parents or conditions of the pups. They rely on brokers or agents, to provide illness free pups. The pups are purchased in some cases from large corporations that work with brokers collecting puppies, from puppy mills. Corporations with sales agents contracted by pet stores, ordered pups are transported in large climate controled semi truck containers. When you buy a puppy from a pet store you are assured by the clerk that virtually knows nothing except what the paperwork says and told the pups are healthy and good quality. The price of the pups are based on what the retail market and popularity can bear including the price of procuring the pup from the broker or company and retail mark up. There is quite a bit more overhead included and is why you may often see pups for astronomical prices in pet stores. However they are by no means good quality or well bred pups. No self respecting quailty breeder would allow their pups to be sold in pet stores or to a broker of pet stores. Imagine what the broker or agent to the corporation or pet store pays for the pups. A self respecting quality, possibly show breeder couldn't afford the financial loss and loss of their reputation. Any one can buy a puppy from a pet store and that is another difference when dealing with a reputable breeder is control and the concern of what happens to the pups they produce.

Friend: This can mean a couple of things and often you may loose your friendship over dealing dogs if you are already friends. The dog game can be difficult to manage in that you may share different view of how much the pups should cost or something else. A friend may refer you to their friend, having two Frenchies that got together and next they were having puppies. It's not the worst thing in the world and to some unsuspecting person looking for a pup without strings attached and at a fair price could stumble upon a great find. Some people just don't know what they have and some having dogs that were sold as pets but were not spayed or neutered since the breeder didn't enforce it. It can be difficult and time consuming to raise a litter of Frenchies. Once the pups are eating and pooping on their own often is when you just get tired and want your house back to normal. The friend most likely will not be able to honor an issue or a problem of a sickly puppy. Make sure both parents have papers and possibly pedigrees, that the litter has been registered with the American Kennel Club and the pups papers have been received. Next a resonable price is also not a bad thing. You can always check with a more experienced breeder regarding the pedigree that may assist you in what a find you may have. But, be careful or that breeder may take the deal you just alerted them to. Ask to take the pup to a reputable Frenchie or at least bull breed vet within 72 hours before committing to the pup.

Backyard Breeder: I would say this is the majority of most breeders and many of those you find on the internet. They are similar to puppy mills with a couple of differences. Many backyard breeders do care about their dogs. They also don't typically produce as many litters as the puppy miller does however, many quite often make their only income off the pups produced. They may border a commercial breeder or just less than that and may offer more than one breed. Their homes are converted into giant whelping areas and their time is dedicated to the welfare of the pups. Unlike a puppy mill that requires a shelter at best and usually unsafe and unclean conditions with very poor quality breeding pairs and mother dogs that get little if any attention. The backyard breeder may be a very consiencious person at the same time rather non-discrimenanting. That may means any viable pairs may do. They may have several females and practice back to back breeding on a regular basis very similar to a puppy mill. The best stud dog is the one most convienent and cost little if anything. Promisses made just so happen to not turn out. The pups are not typically held to the highest standard. There are larger grey areas when dealing with backyard breeders. Their goal is not to specifically produce show quailty pups but to just produce pups. There is some effort towards the quality of the dogs, but that depends on that individual breeder. Very little is spent or concerned for the testing of the dogs and pedigrees are nothing special. They are not adverse to selling dogs to pet stores, brokers or for export. They are often not as concerned the pups are spayed or neutered even though many do provide contracts expecting you to do so. Some will provide health guarantees and replace or refund your money if something goes dramtically wrong. And in some case they do show or place dogs as show prospects, but more often than not you've never heard of these people and is why they are known as "backyard" breeders.

Show Breeder: Some show breeders tend to remain above the majority and many assume they are not included as income breeders and suppliers of un-proven new breeders intending to become dog, show people. If you haven't been in the dog show game or are new to it, you learn sooner or later "Show Breeders" are one of the toughest breeders to get dogs from. If you're looking for a pet they tend to have more conditions and requirements to abide and follow. Often I consider some show breeders that typically are more private like myself. I don't produce dogs specifically for resale. I am always looking for something better or that will benefit what I already have. Most private or show breeders develop "breeding plans or programs". This adds a completely new level of consideration and thinking to the art of producing nice, and healthy dogs. Another difference is many show breeders set goals. No amount of money or time involved can often keep that show breeder from attempting to reach their goal. If we know we've got a good and competitive dog, where there's a will there's a way - Ya gotta get to that show, under that judge because this puppy is just right, etc. "Sorry can't make my friends wedding, gotta show that weekend". There is truly a real dedication to the sport of showing dogs. The show breeder has been sometimes dubbed a show miller. That means they breed dogs for the thrill and excitement of a new dog to put in the ring and win with. They may produce many dogs always having something new to show. The dogs and puppies they don't keep are what they consider available for placement. If they are selling dogs out-right, or on co-ownerships to other show people they are likely to be the produces of more pups than just for themselves.

Private or Show, I can go on about this type of breeder because I am one. I call myself a private breeder also because the idea of producing that many pups every year would keep me from doing anything else. I wouldn't have time to make an income, along with showing almost every weekend. So I breed far less and is more of a private reserve when I do have pups available. As a breeder the dogs needs to fit into my life and my home as I can manage it. There is feeding, conditioning, bathing, entering shows, going to the vet, cleaning their bedding and my house too. Many shows throughout the year start on weekdays and may last more than five days long. Trust me a show breeder is a life of it's own. We care about quality, health and temperament. We spend the money and the time towards the pups we carefully produce. We are counting on the females we breed to take. We are looking to have several pups in a litter to choose the best one from. We are hoping for that special puppy, sex, color and type to succeed in the show ring and to benefit our breeding programs. We are typically the most expensive source to buy a dog or puppy from. And, show breeders are the type less likely to risk their reputations. Consider what you're paying for and the type of source you chose before buying a quality French Bulldog puppy, there truly is a difference.

Puppy Mill: These are folks with probably more room to produce more dogs and may produce several breeds at a time. This type of breeder is generally veiwed as the lowest of them all. Their reputation is generated and based on a more country or rural area where the number of dogs is not limited. The dogs are basically kept to produce more dogs much like a factory or manufacturer. The dogs are not machines however love and caring is very minimal as if they were inanament objects. The health is often times near death if anyone notices. They are abused and mistreated expected to be bred on every heat, to produce pups every time. The pups are sold to brokers and agents for commercial sellers or pet store directly. Many of these agents and brokers are answering your emails you write from the internet ads. The quality of the pups, no matter what their internet ad says, is unverifiable until you bring it home and it grows up, or doesn't grow up. Many of these dogs are found in rescues and shelters sooner or later. A quality breeders biggest fear is that one of their dogs will end up in a situation such as a puppy mill used as breeding stock. This one very important reason many quality breeders are so protective and carefully screen any new prospective puppy, buyers. The majority of dog breeders don't place puppies on spay and neuter agreements however, they should. If more of them did would help limit these situations and the over breeding of dogs that shouldn't be bred.

The breeding of dogs, in my opinion, should be left up to dedicated breeder specific individuals intending to overall better the quality of the breed, and type in support of the breeds continued future. This can be recognized by going to an American Kennel Club dog show and witnessing the sport of exhibiting conformation dogs and events that showcase what the dog breeds were initially bred to do. All else are loving pets and devoted companions and not producers. After all when performance dogs are done showing off and doing what they were bred to do, are loving pets and devoted companions too.

Commercial: A breeder that is considered a commercial breeder by the American Kennel Club definition is one that breeds more than ten litters a year. Commerical breeders or corporations that supply collections of dogs procured by brokers from some backyard breeders and puppy mills for the purposes of supplying retail industry. When you buy a puppy in a pet store a company called the Hunt Corporation is one company that drives up in a large semi truck with a huge container filled with puppies. They distribute the puppies to retail customers, represented by agents for pet stores. A commerical breeder that infact produces puppies and registers the litters with the American Kennel Club can be any breeder. Corporations are not usually producers or are called puppy mills just the same. Although based on tax status, kennel facilities, the number of litters produced per year registered with the American Kennel Club, any breeder could be a commerical producer of puppies.

Classification of supporters and resources

Pet Stores
Puppy Mills
$500 - 5,000
$500 - 3,500
$2,000 - 7,000
$1,200 - 2,500
$1,500 - 3,500
$2,000 - 5,000
$2,500 - 15,000
Importers Foreign Puppy Mills Brokers Importers Exporters Private Private


Foreign Backyards Agents Exporters Internet Show Show
Puppy Mills Brokers Backyards Brokers Pet Stores Pet Pet
Backyards Agents Puppy Mills Pet Stores Brokers Internet Internet
General General Importers Commerical General - -
Private Pet Stores Commercial Internet Private - -
Show Internet General General Show - -