If you’re considering adopting an English Bulldog and wondering why the cost is so high, there are a few things that you need to know about this wonderful, adorable dog breed. The truth is, English Bulldogs are a “man-made” breed that humans have bred them into existence. It is for this exact reason that male and female English Bulldogs can’t mate the natural way (if at all) like most other dog breeds.
Because of their stocky, front-heavy bodies, English bulldogs need to be artificially inseminated to breed. A male English bulldog is unable to mount and enter his female mate without a human’s assistance. But once he is inside, a stud can successfully impregnate a dam.
In this article, Why Do English Bulldogs Need to Be Artificially Inseminated, we’ll take a look at all of the factors that led to the reality you’ll face today when adopting or breeding English Bulldogs. That includes why practically all females need to be artificially inseminated, why males are a part of the problem and what it all means for you as an English bulldog owner. Enjoy.
Is It Possible for English bulldogs to Mate Naturally?
The answer to this question is yes, English bulldog can mate (breed) naturally but, unfortunately, it can be very dangerous to their health. The reason why is that, since they are anatomically incompatible in many cases, it takes quite a long time for mating to happen and, during the process, they can seriously overheat, which is very bad for their health.
Part of the problem is that, like all mammals, English bulldogs have an innate drive to breed. The female (dam) will thus present herself to the male (sire) constantly while she is in heat, a process called ‘flagging’. While the dam does this the sire, pushed by his innate desire, will try to mount (and try, and try) even if he is completely unsuccessful (which is usually the case). Fifteen minutes of this activity can overheat them worse than a half-hour in direct sunshine.
So, yes, English bulldogs can mate naturally and will try but, due to the fact that it is almost physically impossible, it is a very dangerous activity and should be prevented.
Why Do English Bulldogs Need to be Artificially Inseminated?
The answers here it is simply that, due to human breeding practices and, frankly, over-breeding, male and female English bulldogs are physically incompatible. Here’s the thing; over the last few decades we’ve bred English bulldogs, and the bulldog breed in general, to have certain physical traits that we humans enjoy; a stocky build with short snouts and legs, a larger head and eyes and even a more pronounced underbite.
This has caused several serious health problems that make breeding, and whelping, dangerous for the sire and even more for the dam. English bulldogs are very intolerant of heat, have breathing and respiratory problems due to their brachycephalic nature, and a very high rate of hip dysplasia.
English bulldogs are also larger in front than in the back and, when they try to mate naturally, the weight of the sire can make the dam collapse. Puppies are also, in most cases, too large to pass through the mother’s birth canal. It’s been reported that approximately 90% of English Bulldogs are delivered by C-section due to these problems and difficulties.
Why Is It Difficult in General for Bulldogs to Mate?
As we’ve discussed the bulldog breed has been bred to have shorter legs, stockier bodies, and a flattened face. Breathing is difficult at even the best of times but, during mating, can cause serious health problems. They can literally die from overheating during the mating process.
Another problem is that the sire in many cases simply can’t reach the dam, making the insertion of his member almost impossible. Plus, the weight of the sire can be too much for the dam to support. Many breeders who don’t want to pay the high cost of artificial insemination physically assist the sire and dam, holding them up so that they can conceive. In short, the breeding traits we’ve sought in bulldogs have led to them being, in most cases, incapable of mating on their own.
How Does the Artificial Insemination Process Work for English bulldogs?
The artificial insemination process for English Bullies is relatively straightforward. Sperm is collected from the male, a delicate process that requires skill and patience. This usually involves an ‘artificial vagina’ and, in order to be successful, the male needs to be stimulated by a female’s pheromones. The sperm must then be stored correctly and, in many cases, it’s checked for motility and viability first (movement and ability of the sperm to survive, respectively).
When the dam is in heat the sperm is then deposited into her uterus, another delicate process where the sperm must be kept intact and viable. If all goes well the dam will become pregnant. There are two techniques used to artificially inseminate a dam English Bullie:
- Surgical implantation
- Trans-cervical insemination
Surgical implantation comes with a higher risk as the dam must be anesthetized and it’s a surgical procedure. The trans-cervical method does not require sedation and is thus safer.
There are also several different sperm collection techniques, including;
- Dog-to-dog insemination. This method has the highest success rate
- Fresh-extended insemination, which is when the sperm is chilled but not frozen
- Frozen insemination using sperm that has been previously frozen and then carefully thawed
Are There Any Risks With Artificial Insemination?
Yes, there are. The first is with the sire’s sperm, which if not collected correctly can be destroyed. Many a breeder has tried to cut corners when collecting sperm and wasted it completely. Also, as we discussed earlier, if surgical implantation is used to inseminate the dam the anesthesia used and the surgical procedure itself are both risky to the life of the dog.
The truth is that, while artificial insemination has proven to be healthier and safer than natural mating for English Bullie’s, it should still be performed by a trained and experienced veterinarian rather than a breeder unless they are very experienced.
What is the Successful Pregnancy Rate with Artificial Insemination?
The statistics vary from breeder to breeder on success rates for artificial insemination of English bulldogs. It’s been widely reported that the best success rate is with fresh sperm that hasn’t been chilled or frozen and when the dam is inseminated directly after sperm collection. Below are the various success rates for the different artificial insemination methods.
- Fresh sperm: Mirrors natural mating at approximately 70-80 percent success.
- Chilled sperm: 60 to 70 percent
- Frozen sperm: 50 to 60 percent
- Surgical insemination: 60 to 80 percent
- Trans-cervical insemination: 70 to 80 percent
How Many Puppies do Bulldogs Usually Have via Artificial Insemination?
The typical litter for an English Bulldog is three to four puppies. The statistics for artificial insemination show that it’s about the same as with natural mating if the AI was performed correctly and at the right time. However, due to the overbreeding that has afflicted this wonderful breed, the mortality rate for Engish bulldog puppies is unusually high.
Do Other Dog Breeds Require Artificial Insemination?
While all dogs can be artificially inseminated if necessary the most common breeds that undergo the procedure are usually the brachycephalic breeds, those with the adorable pushed-in face and larger heads that are so popular today. They include:
- French Bulldog
- Lhasa Apso
- Bull Mastiff
- Boston Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- King Charles Spaniel
What is the Typical Cost of Artificial Insemination in English Bulldogs?
As we stated at the beginning of this article, if you’re looking to adopt an English bulldog you might have been surprised at their high price. One of the biggest reasons for this is the cost of artificial insemination coupled with the cost of cesarean section (C-section) whelping.
The truth is that, when you combine all of the expenses together, it can easily cost $5000 to mate and whelp a litter of English Bullies due to artificial insemination and C-section deliveries, and can go as high as $9000! The stud fee alone can cost between $1000 and $5000 and that doesn’t even include the cost to ship the sire’s sperm if they are located away from the dam.
Add to that the $2000 per year that high-quality food can cost, multiple tests, puppy incubators, medical supplies, scales, heating pads, and blankets (among other necessary items) and it’s easy to see why breeders charge so much for an English Bulldog pup. Also, since many English bulldog females are either inexperienced, unable or unwilling to care for their pups from day 1, there’s also an extra cost to care for them 24/7 for their first few weeks of life, and of course the cost of the veterinarian who will have to do much of the testing and other medical-related tasks.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to see why English bulldog pups cost so much and, more importantly, why they need to be artificially inseminated in the first place. The best, most ethical breeders spend thousands of dollars to deliver healthy, happy pups and face many risks and losses along the way.
English bulldogs make wonderful, playful and loving pets, but their overbreeding has made it almost impossible for them to breed and whelp naturally. Frankly, they are also an expensive breed to own because of all their inherent health problems (although those of us who own English bullies would never give them up!).
Here are some of my favorite Dog and Bulldog Products
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for your dog and bulldog questions. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.
Food For Bulldogs: Royal Canin Bulldog was the dog food our breeder recommended for our bulldog with a bit of canned pumpkin added for each meal to give a bit of extra fiber
Poo Bags: For poo bags we use Greener Walker poop bags. We have used them for over a year without having a single leak. Also, these bags are made to be friendlier for the environment.
Wrinkle Cleaning Wipes: We use Huggies natural care fragrance free baby wipes to clean out our bulldog’s wrinkles. They are good for sensitive skin which bulldogs are known to have.
Durable Dog Bed: I can’t begin to tell you how many dog beds we have gone through as many fall apart over time. Without a doubt, the most durable one I have found is PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed. I love this dog bed because it has an outer liner which can be replaced if it gets too beat up.
To see all our most up-to-date product recommendations, check out this resource that I made for you!
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