Why Are French Bulldogs So Expensive?

The English mastiff, according to the American Kennel Club, can grow to be upwards of 340 pounds, and one of their puppies costs around $1,200. A French bulldog, on the other hand, costs an average of $2,200 and pretty uniformly weighs less than 30 pounds. Heck, from time to time, they can top six figures per pup. What’s the deal? Why are French bulldog owners paying so much more, pound for pound, for so little dog meat?

The high price of small doggos

If you’re looking at a dog in the same price range as a high end car, you’re likely paying for the breeder as much as you are the animal. The majority of reputable dog breeders are treating their litters as a full time job, and the further up the rungs of canine success you go, the more their time is going to be worth — to them, anyway. There’s no way of knowing if their kids feel that way about them. 

With that out of the way, there are characteristics of Frenchies that’ll up their street value. Rarer colors like blue (read: grey) and lilac (read: also grey) tend to bump up the price tag more than a fawn or black bundle of cuddles. Micro Machine, a blue brindle French bulldog out of Temecula, California, has been valued at $100,000 and sired more than half a million dollars worth of puppies, the little gigolo. 

And if that has you thinking about storming into your boss’s office, telling them what you really think, cashing in your retirement fund and starting a new life as Big Daddy Dog Shiller, you might want to reconsider.

C'est la vie

The fact of the matter is that French bulldogs, with their pug-like noses and their adorable, desperate attempts to breathe are troublesome dogs to make. Like every purebred dog on the periphery of physical normality, it takes expertise and careful care for a breeder to pump out a pile of Frenchies without them coming out any more genetically monstrous than they were going to be anyway.

“What’s so hard about making more dogs?” you might ask. “Just stick a couple of dogs in a room and leave them alone for a while and you’ll either get more dogs or, on a bad day, less dogs.” It’s not that easy. French bulldogs have a tough time breeding without human intervention. Their narrow hips and lack of romantic adventurousness means that males have trouble mounting females. Artificial insemination winds up coming into play pretty often, and that makes these dogs even more expensive.

And the hits just keep on coming

And that’s just the beginning of the potential medical costs. Aforementioned narrow dog hips, combined with the proportionally immense skulls of the babies, mean that French bulldogs often need to be delivered by C-section, a process that can cost as much as $6000. From there, you’ve got the potential need for corrective surgery to fix narrow airways, medical checkups, and your run-of-the-mill vaccinations to consider. The whole thing is a money pit with snub-nosed balls of affection coming out the other end.

The initial cost of a French bulldog is just the beginning of your ledger sheet if you’re thinking of nabbing one for yourself. No matter how reputable your breeder and how strong its bloodline, a Frenchie is going to be susceptible to all sorts of unpleasantness throughout its life, mostly on account of how human beings have spent hundreds of years taking their natural shape and warping it into a caricature of evolution. At some point, there’s a good chance that those narrow hips we mentioned earlier are going to lead to dysplasia, which will need to be treated by a veterinarian. They’re also vulnerable to spine problems, digestive issues, and ocular proptosis, which is the real life equivalent of what happens to a cartoon character’s eyes when they see a pretty girl cartoon character.

A way to save on French bulldog costs…

All of this means regular vet trips and specialty foods if you want to keep your dog perky and stoked about life. PuppyFAQ.com estimates that the cost of owning a French bulldog, responsibly at least, runs anywhere between $700 and $3000 per year, and that’s not even taking into account the money you’ll spend replacing all of the carpets that it’ll conscientiously object to house training on.

Meanwhile, your local animal shelter is practically giving dogs away, but don’t let us tell you what to do. After all, there are some things that French bulldogs can do that mixed breed dogs can’t. Like go down with the Titanic. A French bulldog went down with the Titanic. Take that, puggles.

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