People and families who choose to get a puppy through responsible breeding help reduce the number of dogs killed in shelters. This is a good thing. Frenchies are a fun and playful breed with compact, muscular bodies. Their short, easy-care coats and laid-back personalities make them ideal for homes with children and other pets.
Frenchies are prone to some health issues, especially respiratory problems and overheating. Responsible breeders like Pawrade focus on breeding for overall health and temperament while adhering to breed standards.
A quality breeder will have their dogs and puppies regularly examined by a veterinarian. This includes a complete physical exam, including a cardiac screening, an eye exam for hereditary and congenital diseases, an orthopedic and joint evaluation, and a dental exam for the health of the teeth and gums. Breeders will also conduct DNA testing on their breeding dogs to eliminate the possibility of passing genetic disorders to the puppies they produce. However, it is important to note that a clear report card does not make a dog healthy or suitable breeding stock. When choosing which dogs to breed, a reputable breeder will consider the tests’ results and other factors, such as structure, disposition, color, and many other traits. DNA testing is one of the best tools available to breeders, and a good breeder will utilize it to its fullest extent. However, DNA tests alone will not prevent all genetic disorders in Frenchies. Breeders must also use other responsible, breed-specific strategies, such as limiting breeding to dogs with proven health clearances and reducing inbreeding to an acceptable level.
Whether looking for your dream French Bulldog or starting in breeding, OFA certification is the first step to becoming a responsible breeder. OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and was created in 1966 when it was discovered that dogs with orthopedic issues shared common family histories. The OFA process allows dog breeders to record the results of hip and elbow evaluations to track these problems through a dog’s lineage. Some breeders play games with OFA testing, claiming to be “Breeders of Merit” without actually doing the required tests for this designation. Others only do the bare minimum (hip x-rays and canine eye exams) and then use the term “fully health tested” to lure unsuspecting buyers into their trap. Look for breeders who are proud of their OFA submissions and willing to share those results. A good French Bulldog breeder can also tell you about the parent’s OFA status and explain how they prevent genetic diseases in their puppies. In addition, a reputable breeder will ask you questions about your lifestyle and experience with the breed to ensure that you’re getting a puppy that will be a good fit for your home.
Many reputable breeders will offer some health guarantee for their puppies. This will vary but usually will cover things like congenital disabilities and diseases that occur in the mother during pregnancy. These guarantees can help alleviate some stress for the buyer, as they know their new puppy will be covered should anything go wrong. Other health concerns in Frenchies include patellar luxation and skin allergies. The former is when the kneecap, or patella, becomes dislocated from its original location in the femur. This is generally painless but will require a veterinary visit to be diagnosed and treated. The latter is when the cushion-like discs in the spine, called vertebrae, begin to herniate or bulge into the spinal cord space. This puts pressure on the nerves that run through the spinal cord, causing pain and weakness or, in severe cases, paralysis. Hemivertebrae is common in all dogs, but Frenchies have a unique body structure that makes them more predisposed to this condition than other breeds.
Genetics is a huge part of determining a French bulldog puppy’s health, soundness, and appearance. Responsible breeders carefully select their mating dogs based on their genetic histories. They also carefully outcross their breeding lines, ensuring no worrisome inbreeding occurs. They will be able to provide you with pedigree information for the puppies’ parents so that you can learn more about their lineage and research potential health issues. The breeding facilities of reputable breeders will be clean, safe, and well-maintained. They will not keep their puppies in cages or other confined spaces that may contribute to physical and behavioral problems later on. They can also answer questions or concerns about the puppies or their breeding program. A good breeder will want to get to know you and ask you many questions about your family and lifestyle. They will not be pushy or try to sell you a puppy that is not a good match for your home.
The best way to find a responsible breeder is through referrals from friends and family members who have had French bulldogs or other breeds of dogs you admire. You can also check online for dog breed groups focusing on specific species. Be wary of groups that promote commercial breeders, as they often produce large numbers of puppies for sale to third parties like pet stores or online brokers who may not be responsible for the puppies’ care.