Bulldogs’ birthing

Bulldogs can be divided into American bulldogs, French bulldogs, and English bulldogs. In this blog post we will talk about puppies’ birth in these breeds, and the care to be taken with dogs parturition.

Bulldogs’ birthing

The American Bulldog does not present many difficulties at the time of parturition, but French and English bulldogs may present some difficulties that lead to cesarean delivery.

The female dog’s pregnancy lasts from 58 to 63 days, at the end of pregnancy there is a great hormonal variation that causes the female dog to go into labor. The parturition in female dogs can be divided into 3 stages:

  • The first stage is the preparation phase. During this period female dogs become restless, reduce food consumption, may try to hide in the chosen place for birth and may dig in the soil. 
  • The second stage of parturition is the fetal expulsion; this phase begins with the birth of the pups along with the amniotic and allantoid sac. Some puppies may come out along with their placentas. 
  • The third stage of labor is the phase of placentas delivery. Some puppies can be born without their placentas, and these can come out at the end of the second stage of birth.

Parturition in female dogs can be normal or eutocic, when the female dog does not present difficulties in giving birth to the puppies alive. Difficulties at the time of parturition in a female dog are called dystocia, when proper treatment of dystocia is not performed, many puppies and patients can die.

American bulldog parturition

American bulldog dogs do not have many difficulties in parturition, most of the time having a eutocic parturition, without needing the help of tutors or veterinarians. But it is important to accompany these animals, so that, if necessary, actions are taken.

French bulldog parturition

Some French bulldog dogs can also have normal parturition, but generally these dogs do not trigger labor, requiring veterinary intervention to perform surgical cesarean section.

English bulldog parturition

English bulldog dogs rarely trigger parturition, and all gestational follow-up with a veterinarian is necessary, including at the end of pregnancy for the correct identification of the right moment of parturition, so that the cesarean surgery is performed avoiding the death of the puppies and the mother.

Why don’t English bulldogs go into labor?

English bulldog dogs are medium-sized dogs and tend to be pregnant with many puppies. Excess puppies in the uterus can lead to uterine inertia, so the uterus cannot contract, and the puppies are not expelled.

On the other hand, dogs that trigger delivery may present problems due to the conformation of the female dog pelvis. The shape of the pelvis does not allow the passage of puppies that are born large.

Pregnancy care for bulldog dogs

English and French bulldog dogs, as they have a flatter muzzle, characteristic of brachycephalic dogs, must have a periodic birth follow-up with a veterinarian.

Because after 30 days of pregnancy, the female dogs start to get bigger, and there may be compression of the diaphragm, further hindering the breathing of these dogs. 

Close to parturition, these female dogs tend to suffer more from respiratory difficulty. In some cases, a cesarean section must be performed before the animal has a respiratory arrest, leading to death for mothers and puppies.

It is important to supplement female dog with folic acid and with balanced diets for pregnant dogs. Because bulldog puppies have a greater predisposition to be born with malformations. These malformations can be prevented with good nutrition.

Parturition care for bulldog dogs

At the end in female dogs’ pregnancy, it is advisable to follow-up with ultrasound by veterinarians for breeds that are highly predisposed to dystocia.

Natural parturition

If the female dog does not present difficulties and has a high chance of vaginal delivery, the nest should be prepared in a whelping box two weeks before delivery, so that the parturient adapts to the environment.

The whelping box should be in a closed, calm, and peaceful environment, away from windy places. The place must have a source of heat for the puppies, as they do not control their own temperature.

On the parturition day, separate clean towels to dry the newborn puppies, a sterilized scissors, in case it is necessary to cut the umbilical cord of the puppies and leave the vet on alert in case of any problem at the time of delivery for emergency care to the mother and puppies as needed.

The birth can take up to 12 hours to complete and the interval between the births of the puppies cannot be longer than 2 hours. If the interval between puppies is too long, see a veterinarian.

Dystocia parturition

For female dogs that do not go into labor, it is ideal that in the last week of pregnancy they are hospitalized in a clinic specializing in dog reproduction. The monitoring of the animal with ultrasound and hormonal dosage should be done frequently to identify the exact moment of parturition, thus performing the cesarean section.

After the surgery, the female may not have much milk, and may even be a little aggressive with the puppies. But the stimulation of breastfeeding can make canine females develop maternal behavior. It is indicated that these animals stay in the clinic for at least 3 days, for neonatal and female dog postpartum care.


American bulldogs do not tend to have many problems at the parturition time, so general care is easier when compared to English and French bulldogs. Brachycephalic bulldogs may have respiratory problems during pregnancy and most of them are unable to go into labor, requiring an emergency cesarean delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Bulldogs’ birthing

What is dystocia?

Dystocia is any act that prevents the beginning or progression of natural parturition in animals. Dystocia must be properly treated by a veterinarian, thus preventing the death of puppies and mothers.

How many placentas does a dog have?

Each pup has only one placenta, so the number of puppies is the number of placentas.

How do you know if you still have a puppy in the dog’s belly after parturition?

At the end of parturition, the best way to know if there are puppies in the female dog’s belly is through imaging tests such as ultrasound or X-ray. The experienced veterinarian can also perform abdominal palpation to identify puppies.


Bergström, A., Fransson, B., Lagerstedt, A. S., & Olsson, K. (2006). Primary uterine inertia in 27 bitches: aetiology and treatment. Journal of small animal practice, 47(8), 456-460.

Greer, M. L. (2014). Canine reproduction and neonatology. CRC Press.

Kustritz, M. V. R. (2005). Pregnancy diagnosis and abnormalities of pregnancy in the dog. Theriogenology, 64(3), 755-765.

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