Signs of a French Bulldog Scam and How to Avoid Them!

It is no secret that the demand for French Bulldogs far exceeds the supply of available puppies.  Recently, the French Bulldog rank #1 of the most popular AKC breeds.  Because of the growing popularity, scammers have found many ways to take advantage of protective buyers.  Chris and I talk to people weekly about that have sent someone a deposit, typically via CASH app, and there be no dog.

Unfortunately, buying a puppy is a BUYER BEWARE transaction with your best defense being knowledge and research. Common sense goes a very long way to flesh out a scammer.

We have come up with several “RED FLAGS” and how to avoid them.

1. They Want You to Commit Right Away

Scammers want to get your money as quickly as possible, so they will immediately begin to pressure sell even before you speak to them. Often their ads will say “only one remaining”, used to create a sense of urgency in the customer so that they are influenced to hand over their money to secure a puppy.

They will also ask for you to transfer either your money or a despite through an online money transfer website or web app, such as Cash App, Venmo, Zelle, Western Union, or PayPay Family and Friends; giving you instructions to mark it as a ‘gift to a friend’, as this then waives your refund protection.

How to Avoid:

NEVER, EVER put any money down to “hold” a puppy before actually seeing something other than a picture.  Facetime and Zoom are great resources and any reputable breeder will be happy to validate the puppy.

If you do put down a deposit, ensure the transaction is protected by the consumer protection of Visa/Mastercard.  A reputable breeder will have a mechanism for you to be able to put the deposit on a credit/debit card

2. Does the Deal Sound Too Good to be True?

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” is the old saying, and it is still an incredibly useful rule of thumb in situations like this. Purebred puppies are extremely expensive, going for a minimum of $2,500 and depending on the color can easily top $10,000, especially for the rare colors like blue, lilac, chocolate, merle, platinum, Isabella, and fluffy.

When looking at a puppy that is priced lower than the rest, it is important to establish “WHY”. Currently, demand far exceeds supply, therefore WHY would the breeder is willing to sell a puppy for a heavy discount of its recommended retail price, when they could easily get twice the amount for it.

Because of this, if they are advertising a rare fur-colored puppy for less than $2,000, take it as an immediate red flag.

How to Avoid:

There is nothing like common sense.  If the seller is willing to sell a $2,500 puppy for $500, there has to a reason.  In many cases, there may not be a puppy at all or the puppy could have been stolen. Who knows.

Press the seller and take a “wingman” – someone who can listen and hear the conversation with an open mind.

3. The Information on the Seller Appears Extreme Shallow

In today’s times, breeders live and die on social media and typically have a professional-looking website with tons of information. Every breeder that I know, include Crooked Star Bulldogges has a very large presence on Facebook, Instagram, and other social medial platforms.

How to Avoid:

Spend an evening simply searching Facebook and Instagram.  You can also do basic Google searches on the name, the kennel, and even the address they are giving you.

What to look for –

  • Little or no information
  • Very low number “friends” and/or “likes”
  • Every Facebook page will display “Page Creation” Date”.  A very new Facebook page should raise concerns.

4. The Seller is Very Hard to Communicate With

Scammer DO NOT want to talk directly to the buyer!  Often most of the communication will take place via text, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or email.  If they do call, most likely it will be with a prepaid phone.

How to Avoid:

A reputable breeder will seek to talk to you. Granted, much of the initial contact is typically be Facebook, Text or email, but at some point and time, CERTAINLY, before any money is sent, you need to talk to the seller and have some very basic questions to ask.  The answer to the questions should come quickly and make sense.

Ask questions:

  • Ask for the Dam’s AKC registration number AND look it up on the AKC website
  • Ask to see the litter’s paperwork
  • If Vet Checked, ask to see the results
  • Ask if the puppy has been color DNA test, if so, ask to see that.

In short, these are all things a reputable will have or be able to answer.

5. Their Story Will Pull at Your Heartstrings

On sites like Craigslist, and nowadays more frequently on Facebook, you’ll find countless ads that will offer a French Bulldog puppy as “Free to a Good Home” or “Have to Move, Can’t Bring Our Beloved Dog.” These ads often explain that they require a rehoming fee. Then, when you message them you find out that the rehoming fees are substantial or that the fees grow as you continue to message them.

Often, these puppies may not exist at all and are a cheap trick to get people to transfer money over to them for nothing in return.

How to Avoid:

Unless your next-door neighbor is giving away actual puppies for free on their porch, it is best never to trust ‘free to a good home’ adverts, especially online.

6. They’ll Have That Rare Color, Fluffy or Size

While Blue, Lilac, Chocolate, Cream, Isabella, Platinum French Bulldogs are favorites among enthusiasts, they are rare – some are VERY RARE! Many opportunistic scammers will know that, too and they take advantage of hard-to-find colors by borrowing pictures off Google and Facebook and advertising these puppies as their own. Any puppies displaying these colors will start at $5-6,000 and go to more than $20,000-$40,000.

How to Avoid:

There is nothing like common sense.  If the seller is willing to sell a $2,500 puppy for $500, there has to a reason.  In many cases, there may not be a puppy at all or the puppy could have been stolen. Who knows.

Here is some good news!  Crooked Star Bulldogges is a well established breeder in North Texas with solid operating procedures that cover both parties.  For example, CSB will ONLY take deposits via PayPal in a manner that the buyer has protection. We provide a deposit agreement, along with a copy of the puppy agreement and a picture of the puppy.

For more information, please visit our website at