Selecting the right breeder can be challenging if you’re not sure what to look for. We had a difficult time finding a French Bulldog breeder in Ontario that actually raised the puppies in Ontario.
It is worth mentioning that French Bulldogs are difficult to breed. French bulldogs frequently require artificial insemination, or caesarean section to give birth, with over 80% of litters delivered this way. As well, many French bulldog stud dogs are incapable of naturally breeding. This is because French Bulldogs have very slim hips, making the male unable to mount the female to reproduce naturally. This makes the number of French Bulldogs puppies available quite limited. French Bulldogs are a popular breed among apartment-dwellers as they require less activity and space as other breeds, making the Frenchie in high demand in areas close to the city.
We started our search on Kijiji and found several listings for French Bulldogs in Ontario. The listings mentioned the age of the puppies, the date they would be available, and included great photos – all of the listings had an Ontario address and implied that the puppies were born and raised in Ontario. It wasn’t until we contacted the breeders and requested to meet the puppies in person prior to the date they would be available, that we discovered that these puppies were not born and raised in Ontario. The puppies were being imported from Europe, some of the breeders did not even disclose from which European country. None of the listings explicitly stated that the French Bulldog puppies were being imported from Europe.
Imported puppies, despite being registered with the European Kennel Club, FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), was something we did not want to support. We wanted to be able to meet the puppy prior to making a deposit as we wanted to see the puppy naturally interacting with their mother and the rest of the litter, and ensure they were being raised in a safe, indoor environment with lots of love. Without being able to visit the environment, we could not verify if the puppies were “home-raised” as it stated in the listing. There is also an increased risk of Frenchies dying during the long distance flight – some airlines have banned brachycephalic breeds of dogs including American Airlines and Delta in the U.S. We were especially concerned given that some of the listings implied that the puppies were raised in Ontario, and that the truth did not come out until we started asking questions.
We did find one posting on Kijiji that mentioned that their puppies were registered with the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club). This prompted us to visit the CKC website to search for a breeder that was affiliated with the CKC. There were a limited number of breeders in Ontario that had French Bulldog puppies, but we were able to find the breeder that we selected using the CKC website.
We found that good quality breeders typically included the following with the sale of their puppies:
- CKC registration
- 1-2 year health guarantee
- 6 weeks free pet insurance
- Vet checked, including first vaccinations and deworming
- Puppy starter kit (toys, small bag of food, and blanket with mom’s scent)
Things to look for and questions to ask:
- When was the puppy born?
- Where was the puppy born?
- When can you take the puppy home? Prior to 8 weeks is a red flag
- How many puppies in the litter?
- Age of the mother? The mother should be at least two years old
- How many times has the mother given birth to a litter in the past and how old was the mother each time? Breeding a dog more than 5 times is a red flag, 2-3 times is ideal
- Are the mother and father of the puppies registered with the Canadian Kennel Club? If not, the litter cannot be registered with the CKC
- Can you visit the puppy prior to making a deposit?
- Can you see the puppy interacting with the mother? Is it raised with the mother and siblings?
- Are they raised indoors?
- How often do the puppies interact with other dogs, people (and children)?
- What methods of payment do you accept for the deposit, and the final payment for the puppy?
If anything seems suspicious or does not sit right with you, trust your instincts and keep looking until you find a breeder you feel 100% comfortable with.
The breeder we selected, Natasha, was able to answer all of our questions, and when we visited her home and met the puppies, we knew we had found the right breeder. The puppies were well cared for, were raised indoors, and we were able to meet the mother of the litter and watch her interact with the puppies. Natasha and her partner Peter, asked us several questions which was also a good sign as they were particular about who they sold their puppies to. Don’t be alarmed if you feel like you’re being interviewed by the breeder, because that is a strong indication of their morals and the type of breeder (and people) they are.
When you visit the puppy and meet the breeder, be prepared to make a deposit. Make sure you ask ahead of time what methods of payment they accept (typically e-transfer), so that if things go well, you can secure your puppy before someone else does. Good quality breeders are difficult to find, so when you find the right one, be prepared to make the deposit prior to leaving the breeder’s home.
Selecting a quality breeder will give you a leg up with training and transitioning your puppy to his/her new home. A well socialized puppy will be more comfortable with you handling and touching them, as they are used to interacting with people. If you have a child, finding a breeder that also has children or an environment which would expose your puppy to children, would be a huge asset. A puppy that was raised indoors in a family environment will be used to typical household noises (vacuums, microwaves, noises from the TV, etc.) so he/she will be less spooked joining your home and learning your family’s routine. While family-raised puppies may not have been crated trained by the breeder, I would much rather have a social, confident puppy than a puppy who is only used to being in a cage. We lucked out with our breeder, as Napoleon had developed an inclination to do his business on the puppy pad which saved us a lot of training (and headaches).
Welcoming a new puppy to your home and family is a big decision, you owe it to your new family member to do your homework and to support a breeder that cares and loves your puppy as much as you do. Surprisingly, our Ontario born and raised puppy, was within the same price range as out of country breeders. Even if the cost is slightly higher, you’re going to have this puppy for the next ten years, it is worth investing in the right dog from the very beginning.
Read more about Napoleon’s journey home and first night here
Good luck with your puppy search!