There are a lot of reasons for this, as we have come to understand. The French Bulldog is just not an easy dog to breed.
First of all, very few French Bulldogs can breed naturally, mainly due to their narrow hips which makes mounting difficult. Because of this, most Frenchie females must be artificially inseminated. This is a fairly costly and time consuming process.
Secondly, Frenchie’s tend to have relatively small litters. The average litter of live births is about four puppies, but litters of one or two puppies are very common.
Thirdly, because of the relatively large head and shoulders of the Frenchie puppies in comparison to the size of the birth canal of the typical Frenchie mom, almost all Frenchie’s are delivered by C-section, which is a very costly procedure, especially at the ER Vet, which seems to happen quite frequently.
And fourthly, new-born Frenchie puppies take a great deal of hands-on care and attention. New-born Frenchie’s need to be fed every 2 hours around the clock and they should not be left alone with the mom, at least for the first weeks. Frenchie moms are generally very attentive and good moms, but there is a high probability that a mom will inadvertently rollover on one of her babies and smother it. We couldn’t bear to see this happen, so we are up with them constantly and get sleep deprived when we have new litters.
When these things are taken into consideration, along with the normal vet bills, medicines, food, toys, play areas, shelter, and attention that must be devoted to those dogs, breeding Frenchie’s gets to be an expensive and time consuming proposition.
Even with these wonderful dogs selling in the thousands of dollars even for the standard colors, the AKC says that a reputable breeder will do well to break even. There are puppy mills and other disreputable breeders out there that may sell you a dog a little cheaper (unfortunately, even many pets shops buy their dogs from puppy mills where the dogs are repeatedly bred, poorly socialized if at all, and rarely see the outside of a cage). As with everything else in life, you get what you pay for.
By the way, the reason that blues, blue-fawns, and chocolates (and even more so, the extraordinarily rare pure black, black & tan, pure blue and blue & tan Frenchie’s) are more expensive that standard color Frenchie’s is that there is a very high demand for these colors (because they are so beautiful) and they are relatively rare because they are created by recessive genes, which are naturally occurring but not common in Frenchie’s, which means that they must be inherited from both mom and dad. Based on our research and our own experiences, there are no inherent health problems associated with these rare colors, regardless of what some individuals might say.