• English Bulldog Breeding - Chapter 2: Should you breed?

    Before you breed your English Bulldog, you should first make sure that you can. It took us over 15 years to have a bulldog who was healthy enough to breed. All of our bulldogs through the years were either not full blooded, product of puppy mills, or bad breeders, we always seemed to have one problem or another. Except for our first bulldog Baby, who was very healthy and came from a good breeder in the Seattle area named Neva Gulliford. We did eventually have Baby spayed since the time was never right to fulfill our bulldog breeder dreams. We were young, worked full time jobs, and wanted to have a baby. We did do one AI with Baby and it did not take, thankfully! Honestly I had no clue how to raise a litter back then. What a disaster that would have been! I knew someday I wanted to be an English Bulldog breeder, it was my dream. It just took us 16 years to find the perfect bulldog to start our program.

    Just because you own an English Bulldog does not mean you should have a litter. If you ask yourself the question, "Why do I want to have a litter?" and your answers are any of the following:

    "I want to make money off my bulldog, they sell for thousands, each!"
    "I want a puppy from my bulldog"
    "I want to breed so my friends and family can get one"

    Then you possibly should not breed. Breeding English Bulldogs is something that should be left to those who are trying to keep the breed standard and the breed's health. They only carefully select certain puppies to become future breeders, to continue to contribute positively to the gene pool. However, everyone has to start somewhere, and as long as your bulldog is of great health, conformation and stature, breeding for one litter is not something I am not opposed to. You also probably will never get rich breeding bulldogs unless you have a puppy mill operation going on with 20 bulldogs pumping out babies left and right, and a full time staff of workers do all the work for you. So forget getting rich unless you get downright lucky. You MUST be fully aware of what you are getting yourself into though, which is one of the main reasons I decided to write this book/blog.

    There are 3 main factors in breeding that you should be aware of before you even begin to consider it. Amazingly enough, those three things are the things most human beings seek in life: health, time and money.

    The first part applies to both studs and dams. Your bulldog must be of excellent health with good lines and genetics. You should be contributing to the gene pool and helping keep the breed healthy. Do you know any of the bulldogs in their heritage, have you seen their parents? Possibly their grandparents? Have they had any health issues? Try and find out, see if you can get in touch with owners and reach out. Social media is amazing these days, and you would be amazed what you can find on Google! If your bulldog has a great health record as well as many in their lines, odds are they will produce healthy puppies. However, even with the best of intentions, some bulldogs should not be bred together because they do not compliment the other bulldogs characteristics. It is best to choose bulldogs who have great nares and no elongated pallet issues, (not surgically altered for improvement), little to no allergies, and have never had any medical issues or infections. Your bulldog should be looked over by an experienced English Bulldog veterinarian and be given a clean bill of health as well as an approval to be bred. My first and foremost standard in my breeding program is to breed for health. You will never see any rare colors, overly emphasized characteristic bulldog traits, but that is because my bulldogs were chosen for their health as well as being beautiful specimens of the bulldog breed.

    Breeding English Bulldogs is a full time commitment. One person can do it alone, if they have no job, but it's almost impossible. Two people is better, because they can work in shifts.

    During the first two weeks of the puppy's lives, they need to be fed every two hours, and watched almost every moment. In between feedings you will be cleaning, defecating the pups, washing bedding, weighing pups and basically not have much time for napping or sleep unless you have help. It may sound easy, but it is very, VERY hard to stay awake. The only thing keeping you going is watching those babies twitch and stretch. You know they are growing and thriving- it is a wonderful feeling to see them become the English Bulldogs they will be and watch them change each day. That is the adrenaline you will be living off of for the first two weeks, and then after that it does not get much easier, but you may be able to get some much needed rest- around week 4.

    So basically, do you have TIME to breeding English Bulldogs? If you work, you may request some time off, but sometimes the babies come earlier than expected- and with breeding not everything goes as planned. So make sure you read all information in upcoming chapters on gestation and signs of labor.

    Lastly, you will need a lot of money to invest in your litter. There are many costs associated with English Bulldog Breeding. You will need money for the C-section, supplies, Stud fee, estrus or progesterone testing, health testing, vet visits, vaccines, towels and blankets, toys, food, goat milk.... this is just off the top of my head. What if a puppy is born with a health issue? Will you be able to afford the to give them a chance at life? Or will you just simply close your eyes and pretend they were never born, and have them put to sleep? Many health issues require a lot of trips to the vet and even possible surgeries to correct the issues. You should never put a puppy to sleep that has a correctable health issue that does not cause them a life of pain and discomfort. If you do, to put it bluntly, that is murder.

    I will be doing a chapter with a list of supplies needed later in this book, but the costs associated with having each litter is about $3,000 to $4,000, depending on how much you put into your program. So if you only have a small litter of 2 or 3 puppies, you will only break even or profit very little. The average litter size of the English Bulldog is 4-5 puppies. Occasionally you will be "blessed" with a larger litter, but the work involved is 100 times harder. and the chance of losing a puppy or having a health issue in a pup is that much greater. I think an experienced breeder like myself would rather have a smaller litter after having the joys of larger ones. I have had litters of only two and three, and large litters of 8 and 9. So if you intend to breed to get rich, you are taking a huge gamble. You would probably have better odds taking your $4,000 to Vegas and see where it gets you. So in short, don't do it for the money.

    Are you still with me? GREAT! If you are still here reading I am hoping you are in it for the long haul and are ready to learn more. So lets get started! Now for all the fun stuff, learning everything I can teach you about breeding English Bulldogs. I will be giving descriptive photographs along with videos to help you on your journey.

    If you have a male English Bulldog and are hoping to use him as a stud, please view Chapter 10: Studding Expectations to learn more about stud services and whether they would be worth it to you.

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