Why Are Bulldogs So Expensive?
When you first ask what a bulldog costs, you can't be blamed for the sharp intake of breath, followed by an explosive, usually profane, comment. Read this and see if you still have the same opinion…
First of all bulldogs don't breed naturally. With their heavy upper bodies and rather small rears, they simply are not built to fit together. There are other reasons as well, but that's just the bottom line. For the safe breeding of two bulldogs, breeding naturally is not an option.
Some breeders use AI, but why stop there? We have found that with Surgical Implantation the conception rate is a bit better. When a girl comes into heat we take her to our local vet every few days where a vaginal smear is done to determine where she is in relation to ovulation. When it is determined that things are progressing we take her to another veterinarian who specializes in bulldog conception. She stays there, where her blood is drawn and sent to a lab in the city every two days, then every day, until it is determined that ovulation has occurred. Then we rush a male to the clinic, semen is collected, the girl is put under anesthetic, and she is surgically inseminated. Conception is by no means assured, but the frequent tests have taken most of the guess work out of it, so our chances are fairly good. They'd better be, because we have just spent a huge amount of money on vet bills with no guarantee of a single puppy.
Now we wait. Momma gets the best of food, careful monitoring, and diet supplements to assist the development of the puppies. During this time she can miscarry, or re-absorb her puppies, but barring all problems she will be ready to deliver in approx 60 days. We don't wait for her to go into labor naturally, because some bulldogs just never do. They may not produce the hormone that starts the birth process, so if you don't know what to look for you can end up with, well, a tragedy.
Bulldogs cannot deliver naturally either. Bulldog puppies are frequently too big for the birth cannel. Now I know some people will tell you their lines do give birth naturally. We have had dogs from those lines as well. In our experience all too frequently things can come to a crashing halt and the emergency run to the vet clinic results in the death of puppies, or Mom, or both. We no longer risk the lives of our Moms & babies, and ALL of our bulldogs are delivered by C-section.
So at day 60 (if she doesn't decide to go into labor early and make you rush her in for emergency), she is booked in for a C-Section. The puppies are not breathing when they are born, and must be resuscitated by the vet-techs and the breeder. This is the time when you see the puppies with the obvious birth defects, which are humanely euthanized, or simply not resuscitated. This is not for the faint of heart, as it can surely be broken. Once again vet costs are extensive, and a good, experienced, ‘Bulldog” vet is absolutely vital.
Then, let's assume that we have a litter of puppies that is stabilized. We put them in a Tupperware tub with a heating pad and take them home. If they have breathing problems, which is not unusual, we have an oxygen machine to help them breath. Certainly not an inexpensive tool, but with the bulldog's high incidence of pneumonia it pays for itself very quickly.
Now comes the real work. Bulldog mothers do not raise their own puppies. They can accidentally squash or suffocate them, or worse yet… They will lick the heads off their own puppies, or in trying to keep them clean, they will lick the umbilical cord so much that they lick a hole in the abdominal wall and pull out the intestines, leaving a hollow shell. So, the puppies are kept in those little Tupperware tubs, and put with the mothers at carefully supervised feeding times. That is IF the mother has milk. If not then you start to bottle feed or tube feed the entire litter. To tube feed you insert a tube down its throat into its stomach and inject warm milk into it. If you make a mistake you put milk into the lungs, instantly drowning the puppy. To start with they must be fed every 2 hours. Then, as time goes by, 3 then 4 hours, and so on.
If Momma won't take proper care of the puppies you also must physically stimulate them to make each puppy urinate and defecate before and after each feeding, and clean their little nether regions with a soft, sterile, pad to prevent infection. Do you think a bulldog breeder can work outside the home? Who would be there every 2 hours? How much should you have to pay someone to come in every two hours to feed them for you, or stimulate puppies to poop? What about the sickly babies, and the cost of all the medication? Sometime around here is usually when you find out that a puppy has a hidden genetic defect. Sometimes you can save them. Sometimes you can't. What's it worth to have to hold a puppy while it struggles to live, until it finally dies in your hands? But our tally of costs here don't include the toll this takes on our hearts throughout the entire process.
As they get bigger they graduate from the tubs to little inexpensive wading pools or expensive puppy pens with the trays underneath. That is in our living room, by the way. They are part of our lives. Mom still doesn't get left alone with the puppies, but the puppies now sleep through the night, so we finally are getting some sleep at night. When they start onto solid food it's really cute. We give them rice pabulum like a human baby. They get it all over themselves. Gradually we mix it with mushy puppy food and they learn to eat from the bowl. Now they start to smell. Their poop starts to really stink, so, in the summer we put them out onto the deck in nice weather to give us some breathing room (no kidding), but in the cold months the room must stay warm and it's our turn to struggle to breath. Our social life is rather limited, because we don't allow visitors into the home until the puppies have had their first shots because of the threat of disease. It would take a brave friend to visit anyway.
At 6 weeks they get their first shots, vet check, micro-chip identification, and we sign them up for Pet Plan Insurance. We also buy a little crate to supply with every puppy, and little toys. Their papers are sent in, which costs under $100, like I said, and they are almost ready to go to their new homes. You have done everything but gestate and lactate for these babies, and it's almost over.
Puppies are ready to go at approximately 8 weeks. Your vet bills are in, and due. Your time is almost your own, so, before you flop down on the couch and wonder if you ever want to do this again…. Did you remember to put an ad in the paper, so that you can answer a million/billion/kazillion phone calls with questions from prospective buyers? One of those questions is “How much do you sell your puppies for”? Well? How much would YOU sell those puppies for?