How Many Puppies Can an English Bulldog Have? [Surprise?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

As English bulldogs continue to become more popular, it’s good to be aware of their reproductive habits.

In this respect, the question that pops up most often is, how many puppies can an English Bulldog have?

An English Bulldog has on average 3 to 4 puppies in a litter. They tend to have difficult deliveries and will often require C-section. Although there are times when they have more puppies, this is exceedingly rare.

In this post, we shall look into the numbers a bit more in detail, talk about the factors that can influence litter sizes, and how to handle an English Bulldog pregnancy.

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how many pups can a english bulldog have in a single litter
Dear Dog Owner

Some Facts and Trivia About English Bulldogs

  • The British Bulldog, often affectionately known as sourmug, is one of the most popular dogs in America. They often rank in the top 5 to 10 spots!
  • Bulldogs are brachycephalic, not thanks to their short snouts. They are therefore more likely to snore, snort, grunt, drool, breathe loudly, and have excessive gas. No prizes for guessing who farted!
  • English Bulldogs are frequently quite laid-back and easygoing. They prefer to nap in their dog bed instead of going for a long walk because they don’t require much exercise and tend to get overheated easily. They do require some exercise, but a quick stroll will suffice.

How Many Puppies Can an English Bulldog Have in One Litter?

An English Bulldog gives birth to an average of 3 or 4 puppies in a single litter. Although there are some instances when they give birth to 4 or more, this is really rare and can actually pose a danger to the dogs.

English Bulldog births are often quite difficult due to their small birth canal and will require human intervention in the form of Caesarean section in most cases.

Although they are a medium-sized breed, they are known to have smaller litters than others in the same category such as Dalmatians and Huskies.

Fun fact: the largest English Bulldog litter is shockingly 16, and that accolade belongs to Gucci, who lives in Coventry, England. Her breeder Jay Dhaliwal had to enlist the help of his family to help with this epic delivery!

The size of a litter can be influenced by the breeding lines; some lines tend to have larger litter than others.

English Bulldog owners who are considering breeding their dogs should talk to a veterinarian or breeder about the size of the anticipated litter.

Many other variables, which I go into more detail about in the sections below, will also affect how many puppies there are in a litter.

How Big Is an English Bulldog Puppy at Birth?

An English Bulldog puppy weighs between 10 to 14 ounces (less than a pound!) when they are born.

They put on weight quickly though and can be expected to reach 35 pounds by the time they are 6 months old only.

At this stage, the puppies are incredibly vulnerable to infections and other health problems, so it’s important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for their first round of vaccinations and other treatments.

The breed standard for an adult English Bulldog is between 40 to 50 pounds (females tend to be smaller) and the weight can vary slightly depending on genetics, diet, and activity level.

How Many Healthy Litters Can an English Bulldog Have in Their Lifetime?

All dogs, including English Bulldogs, do not go through menopause and can conceive puppies all the way into their older years.

In general, their heat cycle lasts six to seven months or roughly twice a year.

However, you should not take it to mean that just because they are in heat, they should be breeding.

English Bulldogs shouldn’t breed more than four to six times in their lifetime and shouldn’t mate more than once a year. This is to give them a chance to recover properly.

Your dog will experience a lot of stress due to overbreeding, which can result in heart disease, arthritis, and infertility, among other health issues.

Stopping early also allows a breeder to spay their dog while they are still quite young and let them enjoy a quality life in their retirement.

You should realize the significance of not overbreeding once you take into account that in some countries it is against the law to breed a dog more than four to six times during its lifetime.

In the US, the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not accept registrations for dams that are bred over the age of 12 and under 8 months, and sires that are over the age of 12 and under 7 months.

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What Determines the Number of English Bulldog Puppies in a Litter?

In this section, we’ll discuss the key factors that determine the number of English Bulldog puppies in a litter.

1. Age of the dam

It should not be surprising that as the dam ages, the size of the litter decreases.

After your English Bulldog breeds again after the first two times, you would probably see your dam having an extra puppy or two.

Interestingly enough, the first two litters are typically smaller than the following ones, likely yielding only 2 or 3 puppies.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that breeding a dog after the age of seven or eight is not advised because it’s too late to have puppies, which could result in health issues for both the mother and the puppies.

Try to get your dog spayed long before that time to ensure their general health.

2. Age of the sire

Although less so than the dam’s, the father of your English Bulldog litter will also have an effect on how big the litter is.

The quality of a dog’s sperm starts to deteriorate between the ages of 5 and 6, so even if the female is exceptionally productive, there may be fewer puppies in each litter.

Avoid breeding older dogs if possible.

3. Health of the mom

Only healthy mothers can give birth to healthy puppies, and that is the truth.

Prior to becoming pregnant, it’s crucial to keep an eye on a dog’s emotional and physical well-being and to make sure it receives plenty of affection, care, attention, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Additionally, nutrition has a big impact on how many puppies are born in a litter.

All year round, high-quality, protein-rich food should be provided to increase the possibility of producing a larger litter.

Mothers who receive inadequate nutrition, especially those who are overweight, frequently have smaller litters.

4. Size of dog

In general, dogs within the same breed can differ quite widely in size. This is due to larger body frames in some dogs, just like us humans.

Because of that, it also plays a part in the number of puppies an English Bulldog can have.

Larger dams typically have a higher likelihood of having a larger litter.

5. Litter in which mom was born

Your English Bulldog’s level of fertility will depend in part on the litter it was born into.

She’ll probably have a bigger first litter if she was born into a big litter herself.

On the other hand, if your girl was born in a small litter herself, you can typically expect that she will have a small first litter.

6. Type of breeding

It might be preferable to save this topic for a later post given how quickly it could become complex.

Just keep in mind that the type of breeding might significantly affect both the number and quality of the puppies.

For instance, severe inbreeding will lower the quality of a litter.

The puppies’ health will be impaired, which can lead to smaller litters, shorter lives, and a higher chance of inherited diseases (such Von Willebrand’s disease).

These difficulties are more likely to occur with two dogs that are closely related.

Linebreeding, on the other hand, aims to maintain sufficient genetic diversity while preserving the best genes from a bloodline, making it frequently a safer method of dog breeding.

7. Time of breeding

It is said that a dam is more likely to have a larger litter size the closer she is to ovulation.

This is defined as the period after the estrogen period when the Luteinizing hormone triggers ovulation.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any studies supporting this theory, so at this point, I would say this factor is probably not that significant.

At What Age Can You Breed an English Bulldog?

When an English Bulldog reaches its first heat cycle, it can start breeding, but this should never be done.

They normally have their first heat cycle between the ages of 6 and 8 months, which is far too young for them to begin breeding.

If you want to allow your dog enough time to grow sexually and acquire weight and size, wait until she is at least in her second or third heat cycle.

Most ethical and responsible breeders will wait till an English Bulldog is at least 2 years old before breeding them. This would give them sufficient time to complete all the necessary medical checks which can identify potential for inherited diseases or conditions.

What Age Do English Bulldogs Go in Heat?

Most female Bulldogs go through their first heat cycle between the ages of 6 and 8 months.

If your girl hasn’t gone through her first heat cycle by the time she is 15 months old, speak with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

A useful rule of thumb is that it will go into heat at about the same age that its mother did.

How Do You Know if Your English Bulldog is in Heat?

Numerous symptoms, including bloody discharge, receptivity to male dogs, restless behavior, and others, can indicate that a dog is in heat.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Agitated, anxious, or aggressive behavior
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Holding its tail close to the body
  • Swollen vulva
  • Discharge from the vulva
  • Receptive to male dogs
  • Change in appetite

How Often Do English Bulldogs Go Into Heat?

An English Bulldog will go into heat about once every 6 months, but this can vary depending on each individual dog.

Once your dog has experienced its first two 2 heat cycles, the period between them will be more consistent in time to come.

While some dogs’ cycles could be a little bit longer or shorter than others, you should be keeping track of when they happen.

Consult your veterinarian to determine whether there is anything that could be causing your dog’s variable seasons.

There is often more time between seasons as dogs get older (but can still get pregnant).

image of english bulldog puppies playing
Image of English bulldog puppies playing

How Long Does an English Bulldog Stay in Heat?

When we refer to a dog as being in heat, we typically mean that it is in the estrus stage of the heat cycle, which is when they actually see “action” with a male dog.

The entire cycle is as follows, and it is during the estrus period when a dog will show all the signs discussed above:

  • Phase 1: Proestrus (~7 to 10 days)
  • Phase 2: Estrus (~5 to 14 days)
  • Phase 3: Diestrus (~10 to 140 days)
  • Phase 4: Anestrus (~6 months)

How to Tell if My English Bulldog is Pregnant?

Here are the most common signs that your Bulldog is pregnant:

  • Nipples enlarged
  • Increased hunger
  • Irritability (may have a short temper)
  • Decrease in activity and energy levels
  • Behavioral changes
  • Weight gain
  • Starts nesting
  • Seeks more attention

When you notice all of these happening, and about 25 days have passed since mating, you should bring your girl to the vet for an ultrasound or a blood test to determine if it’s pregnant.

Check out our dog pregnancy calculator to find out when your dog is due!

How Long is an English Bulldog Pregnant for?

How Long is an English Bulldog Pregnant for?

English Bulldogs, just like all other dogs, are usually pregnant for 56-64 days, or about 2 months.

There won’t be many obvious signs of pregnancy during the first two weeks as the changes are currently taking place internally within the uterus.

However, your Bulldog will soon start to lose hair around the breasts, develop larger, darker nipples, and develop darker nipples at around 3 weeks of pregnancy.

How Do I Know When My English Bulldog is About to Give Birth?

It is important to be aware that dogs usually give birth around 2 months (56 to 64 days) after getting pregnant so that you can prepare for it.

As the time draws nearer, there will be a number of telltale signs that your dog might be whelping soon.

  • Spending more time in her “nest”
  • Shivering
  • Panting
  • Straining
  • Drop in body temperature
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating much
  • Digging and scratching
  • Lethargy
  • Start producing milk

Routine Care Tips for a Pregnant English Bulldog

There are a number of things you can do to ensure your dog has the best chance of giving birth to healthy puppies.

Maintaining your dog’s health and happiness throughout pregnancy will help them feel comfortable and ensure a pain-free delivery.

If you are a breeder, consider getting pet health insurance through the Kennel Club (American) (United Kingdom).

Here are a few tips:

Regular checkups

Your pet’s health should be properly monitored at frequent appointments with your veterinarian throughout pregnancy.

They can help with early detection, which makes it easier to deal with issues before they get worse.

This is especially crucial during the last three weeks of pregnancy, or if you notice any behavioral changes in your dog or have even the slightest health concerns.

Remember to watch out for her dental health as well to prevent any conditions that could develop into more serious ones.

Balanced diet

During her pregnancy, your English Bulldog needs to have a diet that is nourishing, palatable, and easy to digest.

For this reason, she should eat a lot of protein (chicken is a great choice), as well as some fruits and vegetables for their vitamin and mineral content.

You can add supplements to the diet if you want to be especially cautious about making sure your dog gets everything she needs during this time.

A sudden diet change, however, could cause your dog to struggle to get used to it and lose interest in food, so be sure to introduce any new foods slowly.

If you are feeding raw food, more care must be taken to make sure it is clean and devoid of bacteria that might cause bloody diarrhea, which should be addressed as an emergency.

Quiet environment

You can help your dog feel more comfortable by keeping the environment quiet and calm.

If there are lots of people coming in and out, loud noises from televisions or radios, or other pets running around, it will take away from the feeling of safety that your dog needs.

It would be useful to keep them away in a separate room too.


While pregnant dogs shouldn’t exercise vigorously, they can still benefit from regular brief walks, attention, and gentle play.

It’s true that they shouldn’t be overstimulated, but you also shouldn’t allow her to become too inactive since this can quickly result in health issues.

I’d advise giving your dog no more than two walks a day, each no more than 15 minutes.

During the last three weeks of pregnancy, a pregnant dog must be kept away from other dogs and animals; therefore, allow her to get some light exercise inside during this time rather than taking her outside.

Should You Breed an English Bulldog?

Many considerations need to be accounted for before you breed a Bulldog.

For example, you’ll want to make sure that an English bulldog is only bred if there are homes available for all puppies.

It’s also important to consider how much time and money goes into raising litters of puppies before they get sent off to their new homes.

As mentioned earlier, they tend to have difficult births and thus, you will have higher expenses when it comes to delivering them.

Finally, breeding English Bulldogs is a more complicated issue than other dogs.

The breed has a number of serious health problems, both genetic and congenital.

While there are many responsible breeders out there who do their best to eliminate these defects from their bloodlines, they can’t be entirely sure how much of it will show up in their pups.

If you have any doubts, it would be wiser to leave it to a professional and reputable breeder or simply adopt one instead.

There are thousands of dogs in shelters and rescues that need our help!

You may also want to check out the Bulldog Club of America to learn more about this breed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can an English Bulldog have 10 puppies?

There have been cases where an English Bulldog has 10 puppies or more, but this is extremely rare. As a prospective breeder, you should know that a standard litter size for a Bulldog is about 3 or 4 puppies only.

What’re the most puppies an English Bulldog has had?

The largest known litter of English Bulldog puppies ever recorded is 16, and this feat was achieved by Gucci, a dam that belongs to dog breeder Jay Dhaliwal from Coventry, England. This took place in August 2015.

Are English Bulldogs hard to get pregnant?

Because of their body shapes, it makes it quite awkward for English Bulldogs to mount and mate successfully. That is why human intervention is often required in the form of artificial insemination.

Can English bulldogs have babies naturally?

Yes, English Bulldogs can have babies naturally, but unfortunately, this does not happen often. Due to their narrow hips, dams have a hard time delivering their puppies, which have large heads. Cesarean deliveries are almost always needed.

In Conclusion: How Many Puppies Can an English Bulldog Have?

Whether you’re a puppy breeder or just a dog owner, knowing how many puppies an English Bulldog can have will help you take the first step toward understanding your dog’s breeding habits.

Consider adopting one from a shelter or rescue group if you’re unsure whether you should breed them.

They are numerous and in desperate need of our support, shelter, and love.

You might be interested to learn about other dog breeds and their litter sizes here too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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