The trouble is that when we start to worry about our French Bulldog, things in our mind can get out of hand very quickly and before we know it we are in a right old pickle.
Dogs, like humans, are individuals and they grow at different rates.
There are different types of growth that any puppy experiences and the ones that I want to focus on here are: height, weight and sexual maturity.
A French Bulldog will reach its full height within about a year. Male and females tend to be the same height and will measure about 12 inches or 30 centimetres.
After they reach their full height it is the body’s turn to concentrate on filling out adding muscle and bulk to their frame.
Frenchies will reach their full weight by the age of 2.
This is where males and females can differ slightly with an average male tending to weigh in between 22- 28 pounds and females 20- 26 pounds.
A Frenchie will reach sexual maturity by about 9 months of age.
A female Frenchie will have her first season between the ages of 6 months- 9 months
If she isn’t spayed, she will continue to “go into season” every 6 months or so although a very regular and predictable pattern could take a couple of years to develop.
How do these compare numbers compare to other breeds?
|French Bulldog||30 cm|
|Boston Terrier||42 cm|
|British Bulldog||38 cm|
|Golden Retriever||58 cm|
|Great Dane||82 cm|
French Bulldog growth stages and rate
Like any breed of dog, a French has a few key stages as it grows.
To make it simple, I will outline 5 stages.
The average size of a French Bulldog litter is three pups, although a very large litter can contain seven puppies.
And most Frenchie puppies are delivered via cesarean section.
Stage 1: Weeks 1-3.
For these first three weeks, a puppy is totally dependent on its mum for everything.
They are totally blind, with their eyes totally closed and they only have two instincts- to find their mummy’s teat and to suck from it. They don’t have any teeth.
Oh yes and they can make lots of noise- for something as small.
They can’t maintain their own body heat and can only keep warm by staying close to their Mum.
Any human interaction with the puppies should be very, very brief (measured in seconds and minutes) and should be limited to immediate family.
Stage 2: Weeks 4- 8
The puppies develop their independence. They can be weaned off milk onto solid food, venture much further away from their mum and develop their play skills with their Mum and littermates.
They start to develop their social skills- how to interact with others and what is and isn’t acceptable.
Another crucial part of their social development is in their interaction with humans.
Ask your family and friends to visit with their kids to make sure that your puppies get used to being handled by a wider group of people.
The puppies may also start to respond to some simple one word commands such as sit and down, but don’t expect too much, their attention is very, very short.
Not all at once of course, but a few people visiting them and handling them a week is very important
These few weeks are a joy for a human parent. After a nerve wracking first three weeks because of how vulnerable the puppies, stage two is so joyful.
Puppies are very mobile, demanding and loud.
And feeding time? However well prepared you are, it is utter chaos.
Puppies begin to be house trained- normally by learning to wee and poop on newspaper as opposed to anywhere else, but don’t get your hopes up as this skill will take months and months to properly master.
At the end of stage 2, the puppies are mature enough to leave their Mum and go to their new homes.
Stage 3: 8-12 weeks
This is a really interesting stage because at the same time as the puppies become more responsive and braver, many of them will suddenly hit a brick wall of fear.
Situations that a few weeks ago didn’t faze them, suddenly do. But don’t worry, this is a natural development, it is nature’s way of taming their boundless enthusiasm and developing (a little caution.)
At the same time, you will see a significant improvement in the way that they respond to people, other dogs or animals.
But again, these responses are very fleeting.
A puppies milk teeth form during this stage and so biting could become a real issues.
Stage 4: 3 months to 6 months
It is during this period that a puppy will figure out its position in the household, it’s place in the pack.
And it is going to do this by pushing any boundary that gets in its way!
It needs to learn where the limits are from a gentle and patient “human parent” and if you have them, from other dogs.
Part of this process includes a teething stage and lots of chewing- so don’t leave anything of value or anything that is dangerous around.
Why is my French Bulldog not growing? 5 things to bear in mind
If you are worried about whether your Frenchie isn’t growing enough, then there are a few things that should ease your mind.
 Firstly, up until the age of about 18 months, your French Bulldog will go through periods where it doesn’t grow and then there will be periods where they have a growth spurt.
That is perfectly natural.
 Secondly, another thing to do which might put your mind at rest is to contact the breeder.
Ask them how big the parents are of the dog that you own and if they can remember how big they were at different stages growing up.
 And if you are still concerned, let me put a few stunted growth myths to bed.
Firstly, you cannot stunt the growth of your Frenchie by over exercising it.
Over exercising a dog that is physically immature could damage some of its joints but it won’t stunt its growth.
Secondly, if you have just had your dog spayed or neutered and you are now blaming yourself that this could have effected your French Bulldog’s growth, then stop right there.
Spaying or neutering has zero impact on a dog’s physical size.
That leaves us with the three factors that might be causing your French Bulldog to stop growing.
And they are; Malnutrition, Internal parasite, Liver Shunt
Simply put, you are feeding your dog too little in terms of quantity or quality.
Use the following quantities as a rough guide to feed your French Bulldog as it grows.
In terms of quality, buy the best food that you can afford.
Look at the label and make sure that the food contains…
 Internal Parasites
There is one parasite in particular that could stunt your puppies growth and this is the roundworm.
There are a host of other parasites, including: tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms but our main concern in regards to stunted growth is the roundworm.
There are a variety of ways that roundworms can infect a puppy. Firstly, if their mother is infected, puppies can become infected themselves by sucking their mother’s milk.
Secondly, infection can happen via sniffing or eating faeces.
All of these worms live inside the intestinal tract and if there are enough roundworms, they will rob puppies of key nutrients, thereby stunting their growth.
Things to look out for are “pot bellies” and lots of diarrhea.
Lastly, it is important to note that roundworms aren’t choosy- they infect many mammals including dogs, cats and people.
And this parasite can be passed between dogs and humans, so handwashing is really important.
Needless to say, this will require a visit to your local vets.
 Liver Shunt
This is another very, very serious condition that will require an immediate trip to your vets. A liver shunt happens when a puppy’s liver doesn’t work.
It is only in the latter stages of pregnancy that a puppy’s liver begins to function independently- up until this point the mother’s liver is doing all of the work.
A liver shunt happens when the blood vessel that was doing the job of the liver up until this point, fails to shut down (and kick start the functioning of the liver) and instead continues to function.
Powerful toxins bypass the liver and by not being cleaned they affect the growth of a young puppy.
 Weight calculator
If your concerns continues, then you can make a few rough calculations to see if