4 Reasons Why French Bulldogs Are So Expensive (#1 May Surprise You)

People are fickle, and fashions change all the time. Dog breeds rise and fall in popularity, usually to the dog’s detriment. The most recent casualty of dog fashion is the French Bulldog or Frenchie as it is affectionately called. These little French canine icons can be bought for exorbitant prices. To the practical feet-on-the-ground dog lover, it can be hard to understand why French Bulldogs are so expensive. Four basic reasons drive the price up.

Frenchies are expensive because breeding is difficult due to mating, pregnancy, and birth complications. They have severe health problems making it difficult to find French Bulldogs healthy enough to breed. Frenchies are the second most popular dog in the world, and unusual colors cost more.  

As a veterinarian, I see many French Bulldogs, and I am always amazed by the prices people pay for these dogs. Even though I understand the reasons, it is astounding how many people choose to spend their hard-earned cash on these dogs. As a veterinarian who owns a rescued Bully, I am becoming increasingly concerned by the problems seen in French Bulldogs.

1. They Are Expensive To Breed

One reason French Bulldogs are expensive is that breeding them requires a large bank account. The endeavor should not be considered lightly, as it can cost you an arm and a leg!

Why French Bulldogs are so expensive: Frenchies Are Difficult To Breed

French Bulldogs are not easy to breed. The entire process, from mating to whelping, is fraught with problems, pushing up the price and increasing the breeder’s stress.  

Can French Bulldogs Breed Naturally?

French Bulldogs do not breed naturally in most cases. They have short legs, heavy bodies for their size, and narrow waists. This conformation causes a problem in natural mating.

The male French Bulldog’s legs are generally too short for him to mount the female correctly and perform the actions necessary for breeding. The male genitals often cannot reach the female genitals. A mating tie can be further complicated by their short legs and can possibly damage the dogs.

French Bulldogs struggle to breathe during exercise and excitement. Mating French Bulldogs involves both of these risky issues. The dogs may overheat and have respiratory distress during mating. 

Most French bulldog breeders prefer to use artificial insemination (AI) when mating their French Bulldogs. Even if their dogs can mate naturally, many feel AI is safer. Occasionally, French Bulldogs may successfully mate and conceive naturally.

bully dog breeds The frenchie
Ideal weight

French Bulldog Stud Fees Are Expensive

French Bulldog stud fees are very high. The common practice in dog breeding is to charge the price of a puppy for the use of a stud dog.

A Frenchie puppy can cost between $2 000 to $ 7000, with some fetching even higher prices. This is what you could expect to pay for using a stud dog. Proven stud males and those producing unusual colors will have an even higher fee.

French Bulldogs Have High-Risk Pregnancies

Pregnant female French Bulldogs put on weight very easily, which causes problems with birthing. Their weight must be carefully monitored to keep them from gaining too many calories.

The added weight of the puppy-filled uterus stresses the mother’s respiratory system and heart. It also makes them prone to overheating, which can result in dangerous heat exhaustion. 

Birthing Problems In French Bulldogs?

According to the RSPCA, 81% of pregnant French bulldogs cannot give birth naturally and need surgical intervention.

The birthing problems in French Bulldogs relate to the fact that the mother has narrow hips and the babies have big heads. The puppies cannot fit through the hips to be born. Puppies become lodged in the birth canal, putting the mother and the baby’s lives at risk.

The mother is anesthetized for C-section delivery, increasing the risks to the mother and babies. The cost of a C-section increases the price of the puppies as it costs between $600 to $2 000. Any added complications will increase the price.

What Is The Litter Size Of French Bulldogs?

French Bulldogs do not have big litters. Two to four puppies is the normal size for a litter of Frenchies.

2. French Bulldogs Have Health Problems

Frenchies have many health problems, mostly due to conformation and head shape.

Health Problems Caused By A Frenchie’s Flat Face

French Bulldogs are what we vets call brachycephalic, meaning they have a shortened head and face, making their faces seem squashed.

The result of this is that the nostrils and respiratory passages are narrow. Combine this with an enlarged tongue and long soft palate, and their breathing becomes obstructed.

Respiratory obstruction is never a good thing, as the dog has reduced access to oxygen. Frenchies cannot cool down easily through panting, and the exertion of breathing causes inflammation.

Surgery to resect the soft palate or open up the nostrils – called a Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Surgery (BOAS), varies from $2,000 to $4,000. Costs could be more depending on the complexity of the problem.

Eye Problems In French Bulldogs

The altered face shape affects the eyes. Frenchies are prone to a variety of eye problems, such as:

  • Entropion
  • Cherry eye
  • The eyes may easily dislodge from the sockets.
  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Corneal ulcers

Eye problems are often referred to veterinary eye specialists, whose fees are higher than general veterinary practitioners. Eye surgery is expensive. For example, cataract surgery costs between $1,000 to $4,000 per eye depending on the problem.

French Bulldogs Get Ear Infections

French bulldogs are one of the breeds veterinarians commonly see for ear infections. Their short faces also mean that their ear canals and Eustachian tube (the tube to their middle ears) are narrowed.

Airflow is limited, and the pressure in the middle ear is not well maintained. Ear infections occur easily under these conditions.

Treating an outer ear infection costs approximately $100 to $175 for medicines and ear cleaning products. Ear infections recur often, and this could become a monthly cost.

French Bulldogs May Have Joint And Spinal Problems

The French Bulldog’s sturdy build on short legs and narrow pelvis makes them prone to joint problems. These include:

  1. Luxating patellar
  2. Hip dysplasia – surgical costs to correct hip dysplasia are $2 500 or more.
  3. Early onset arthritis

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a painful spinal condition where the disc bulges out, pressing on the spinal cord. The surgery alone for IVDD costs approximately $4,000. That excludes diagnostic tests, consultations, and medication. You can expect a total of around $8,000 – $10,000.

Other Health Problems Seen In French Bulldogs

French bulldogs have additional health problems

  1. Allergies often plague French Bulldogs. The allergens are mainly due to the environment but can also be due to food. Allergies can be difficult to manage, needing special diets and lifelong medication.

Cytopoint is a medication commonly prescribed for allergies. It costs $80 to $200 and must be repeated every 4 to 8 weeks.

2. Skin fold dermatitis and pyoderma are two skin conditions that result from inflammation and infection of the skin folds.

3. Diarrhea is a frequent occurrence for many Frenchies. They have sensitive stomachs, prone to infection and inflammation.  

Health concerns affect the price of Frenchies as only healthy dogs should be used for breeding. Finding healthy Frenchies is difficult, making the purchase price even higher. 

Is A Well-Bred Frenchie More Expensive?

A well-bred Frenchie is more expensive than those where less attention has been paid to the breeding. Ethical breeders that select healthy dogs for breeding test their dogs for genetic diseases and do x-rays to check the parents’ joints.

These are expensive tests, so the breeder charges an increased fee for their Frenchie puppies.

3. French Bulldogs Are Popular

One of the reasons why French Bulldogs are so expensive is French Bulldogs are extremely popular, rating in the world’s top five most popular dogs. This popularity creates a high demand for them, but due to health concerns, the supply is low. This allows breeders to charge exorbitant prices for their dogs.

4. Certain Colours Are More Expensive

The last reason why French Bulldogs are so expensive is people are predictable in their desire for the rare and unusual. Frenchies with uncommon coat colors fetch higher prices. Blue, merle, sable, and pied Frenchies are in this category.

An Isabella Frenchie is extremely rare, and experts consider them true lilacs. These dogs are very expensive due to their rarity, costing upwards of $8 000. Fluffy Frenchies are the most expensive at $12 000 or more.

merle french bulldog

Can I Get A Cheap French Bulldog?

It is possible to sometimes find a cheap French Bulldog. Although the initial purchase price may be low, you will pay higher veterinary costs.

Why Are Some French Bulldogs Cheap?

Cheap Frenchies are usually poorly bred and have even more health problems than normal. The breeders are often unethical and exploit the dogs with little regard for their well-being. You should avoid supporting these breeders by purchasing their dogs. 

Should I Buy A French Bulldog?

As a veterinarian, I have grave concerns about breeding dogs that are so unhealthy that they cannot breed naturally. Their health problems reduce the dog’s quality of life and may lead to a shortened lifespan or a life filled with pain. I feel it is better to adopt a rescued Bully or Frenchie from a shelter.

You can spend thousands of dollars buying a Frenchie. They are challenging and expensive dogs to breed, making the supply of puppies low compared to the popularity and demand for them. You should carefully consider the ethics of supporting the breeding of Frenchies. As much as I love their personalities there are plenty of other dogs out there that are just as big characters and able to breathe!

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Emily Andrews