Showsight Presents The Bulldog


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

PUREBRED DOGS A Guide to Today's Top

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Lines From Linda

Passionate Fans: Bulldog Club of America Team Works to Protect Their legacy BY LINDA AYERS TURNER KNORR

T he Bulldog, the fourth most pop- ular breed due to its kind charac- ter, and friendliness to dogs, cats, children and adults, has been under attack by the popular press. The source of these stories is a paper: “A Genetic Assessment of the English Bulldog” released on July 29, 2016 in the jour- nal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (Pedersen,

Pooch, & Liu, 2016). Dr. Niles Pedersen’s study theorizes that the Bulldog is lacking in genetic diversity which may mini- mize the ability to breed healthier dogs. The Bulldog also has its passionate fans as the mascots of universities such as my own alma mater the University of Georgia, the Citadel, Yale, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Butler and Gardner Webb just to name a few. However, no group is more passionate about the breed than the Bulldog Club of America (BCA). The BCA immediately engaged its Communications Committee under the leadership of Annette Nobles to investi- gate the paper and to counteract the adverse press. Annette Nobles developed a team comprised of geneticists: Dr. Michael Hughes, a long-time Bulldogger and Dr. Peter Photos, a French Bulldogger to analyze the paper. Annette and fellow committee member, breeder/judge Cindy Stansell,



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Lines From Linda: Passionate Fans


then organized the findings into a posi- tion paper. This position paper can be found on BCA’s website. This team discovered that the study was based on a small pool of Bulldogs that are specifically bred for exotic col- ors that are disqualified under the stan- dard. They also found numerous studies that put the Bulldog in the mid-range of AKC breeds for genetic diversity. (So if the Bulldog at the mid-range of diversity should not be breed, then the breeds that are lower are even more in jeop- ardy!) They also found that the health problems cited were not based on sci- entific information but on anecdotal

information such as blogs. The BCA found that contrary to the information in the paper, the average age of the Bull- dog has increased and that BCA mem- bers, by health screening their dogs for a number of health issues, are produc- ing healthier dogs than ever before. The BCA team has been proactive in promoting the true characteristics of the Bulldog by working with AKC Vice President of Public Relations and Communications, Brandi Hunter and Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC Chief Veterinarian. Robin Stansell, former AKC Vice Presi- dent and breeder judge, was the BCA’s spokesperson with various news media.

Elizabeth developed memes (images with captions meant to be shared online) and short videos fea- turing seniors (Bulldogs over 12) and Bulldogs active in companion sports. Bob Newcomb, BCA’s AKC delegate, along with Cindy Stansell (the Finnish Spitz Club of America’s AKC Delegate) spoke to the delegate committees about the media attacks on purebred dogs and the Bulldog specifically. They suggested that the AKC develop a public relations response team that can quickly work with any parent club under attack. They also suggest- ed that each parent club assess their Hugo-Milam

Bulldog Club of America AKC Delegate Bob Newcomb and UGA Bulldawg Dr. Nancy Rose Newcomb

Robin and Cindy Stansell with Ch. Rocyn’s Hot’Lanta are big cheerleaders for their breed. S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2018 • 269

Lines From Linda: Passionate Fans


membership to have a team in place of qualified and diverse talents: geneti- cists, veterinarians, lawyers, writers and PR professionals. Dr. Pedersen is advancing the idea that breeds should be crossbred for health reasons. The person who has bred “Uga”, the University of Georgia’s mascot, just announced that he would be crossbreeding now because his dogs have been plagued with health issues. The BCA, especially UGA Alumna Dr. Nancy Rose Newcomb (a veterinarian and long-time Bulldogger) has offered both assistance in analyzing potential

breeding animals and acquisition of healthy dogs. In light of these press attacks, the BCA will need the tenacity of their beloved breed to educate the public on how to choose a Bulldog that is healthy as well as loving. The Bulldog Club of America and their team of experts are working hard to guarantee the future of the Bulldog. Do your part to guide naysayers to their website. It is one of the best I have ever seen! We must protect this magnificent symbol of winners.

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PATRICIA ROPP I live in San Jose, California. I am an insurance agent full time, my other major hobby is playing golf, I am a member of several ladies golf groups. 1. Your opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs in general, and your breed in particular. Overall the quality is good. I think dogs are better than ever, very keen competition. Many excellent dogs to choose from at most shows, sadly entries are lower it seems at most shows than in past years, (I have been in the breed over 40 years). 2. The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural, temperament-wise, or what. Concern for me is the decrease in good reputable breed- ers and exhibitors for the sport. We have a large pet fol- lowing but we need more quality breeders who care, we need to figure out how to get the younger generation to carry on our breed in the right way. 3. The biggest problem facing you as a breeder. Continue to breed quality dogs, that are healthy and competitive. “WE HAVE A LARGE PET FOLLOWING BUT WE NEED MORE QUALITY BREEDERS WHO CARE, WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THE YOUNGER GENERATION TO CARRY ON OUR BREED IN THE RIGHT WAY.”

4. The unique structure of this breed seems to puzzle many people. Do you feel that the average judge has a handle on exactly what the Bulldog should have, and where? I think the head properties are easy to misunderstand. “Large” does not always mean good. We want the char- acteristic lay back, from tip of jaw to top of forehead, 90 degree angle. Large yes, but more important correct brick shape, not over done or over-wrinkled. Topline also seems to be misunderstood, the “wheel” back, rising slightly at the loins to finish at the tail. 5. How important is movement? Movement is very important. Our standard calls for a loose rolling shuffle, free and easy gait. 6. How important is underjaw placement? The upturn of jaw is a very important breed characteris- tic. Our standard calls for sweeping upturn with straight lined teeth, definitely undershot but lips should meet. 7. Advice to a new breeder? Listen to experienced breeders, follow their advice, get a mentor or two! 8. Advice to a new judge of your breed? Get several mentors, watch lots of dog shows, specialties more importantly. Listen to the breeder judges. Study the head and movement first. 10. Anything else you’d like to share—something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge or a par- ticular point you’d like to make: Try to remain positive. Nothing is gained by negative comment or behavior. Quietly try to do the best you can to produce quality, healthy stock, improve each genera- tion, don’t be kennel blind. 11. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing that you ever experienced at a dog show? Bulldogs are clowns, they are always embarrassing us as owners! I show in Obedience and rally and one of my favorite rally shows, my boy decided to do everything in slow motion, it was hilarious! He just refused to go at my pace and still completed the course as he wished; very independent dog!

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been judging since 1988. I previously worked at AKC as a director, judging research and development. I am the current Judges Education Chair for the Bulldog Club of America. I am also a Life Member and currently president of the Detroit Bulldog Club, member of the Companion Dog Training Club of Flint and the Director of Legislation for Michigan Associa- tion for Pure Bred Dogs. JOHN LITTLE I live in central Ohio. In real life, I am a research physi- cist. I started showing in 1960 and received an AKC license to judge Bulldogs in 1972. ROBERT NEWCOMB I reside in Elk City, Oklahoma. My life outside of dogs has involved operating my CPA firm for 35 years, cattle ranch- ing, raising racing Quarter Horses, CFO and Vice-Chair of a Bank which I am a principle shareholder and severing for the last 20 years as a member of the Oklahoma State Banking Board. For an 81 year old, it keeps me out of trouble. I have been involved in ownership of Bulldogs for 55 years, showing 52 years and judging for 47 years—Bulldogs and Junior Showmanship only. I want to make a few points about Bulldog history. Our standard has not been changed in well over 150 or so years, except to change the Dudley nose to red-brown or liver col- ored our only disqualification. The Bulldog was bred for the purpose of baiting bulls in the arena as a spectator sport. Even though the sport has been outlawed for several hun- dred years, the Bulldog should still have the structure to carry out that task. In my judgment—until there are changes to the standard—the conformation should be as it was 150 years ago. ROBIN

I live in Carmichael, California and when I’m not doing something for Miss Daisy, my 10-year-old Bulldog, I’m at church or out somewhere eating with

people from the church. I can’t imagine life without a Bull- dog. They’ve always been there—88 years of loving and car- ing but 50+ years of showing and 20+ years judging. GARY L. DOERGE I live in Jackson, Tennessee and have since 1985. I was raised in Houston, Texas. I currently own, with my partner, K-Nine Boarding and Grooming Kennels in Jackson. I was brought up in dogs as my dad was a Boxer breeder/exhibi- tor. I started handling in the late 70s and started judging in 1995. FRED HAYNES I was born in Manchester, England and I came to live in Newtown, Connecticut in 2000. Outside of dogs, my wife Caroline and I enjoy our gardens (not vegetables, too much hard work)—I like the instant gratification of colorful flower- beds. Also living relatively close to New York City, we enjoy good restaurants and Broadway shows whenever we get the chance. I have been involved in Bulldogs since the early 80s, I’ve also bred and shown Pugs with some success and since coming stateside got involved in Rough Collies, which is Car- oline’s original breed, and we were fortunate to have the #1 Rough Collie (breed system) in 2006. I first judged Bulldogs in the UK in 1989. I judged Bulldogs here in the US for five years on the AKC/KC reciprocal agree- ment rule. Then in 2005 the AKC changed their rule to “any foreign judge that now resides in the States, must go through the AKC process.” So after judging here for five years, I had to then start over as a provisional. ANNE M. HIER I live in North Branch, Michigan. I am a professional artist and writer. I have been showing in conformation and obe- dience since 1975 under the kennel name Ampirion. I have

STANSELL I reside in Clayton, North Carolina. Outside of the dog world, I do very little! Our dogs, judging, dog club work and a little exhibiting leaves little free time. I’ve been exhibiting since 1976 and judging since 1990.


1. Describe the breed in three words. DB: Worthy of admiration. GD: Underjaw; size; make and shape. FH: Determined, powerful yet gentle. AMH: Unique, beautiful and fun. JL: Fun, companionable and intelligent. RN: Loving, balanced and massive. RS: Sturdy, strong and resolute.

the eyes. We are seeing more dogs in the ring today that have a nose too long. A dog with a long nose could not hold onto the bull if bull baiting. Proportion and sym- metry (5 points), being an old livestock judge, I call it balance. If a dog is too long, too short, etc. he will not appear balanced. All body parts must be in proportion, one to the other. Skull and jaw are 5 points each. This is where the Bulldog really stands out. The skull must be very large and should be nearly the same width at both the top and bottom. Too many heads today are narrow in the muzzle, causing them to look more like Boxer heads. Shoulder and back are 5 points each; the roach back or wheel back is described in the standard as a very distinc- tive feature of the breed and is one of the strongest state- ments in the entire standard. Yet, over and over, I see judges award dogs with flat top lines again and again. On one occasion I had a judge come up to me and say, “I just love that flat top line of my Best of Breed.” The shoulders and elbows should be wide set and appear attached to the body. The Bulldog’s forelegs should not appear to be below the chest. Ears (5 points) that are not correctly set or have the correct rose shape will destroy the entire appearance of the dog. Ears carried erect, pricked or but- toned are very undesirable. Gait only receives 3 points in the standard. I say if they are lame, excuse them; if not, judge their conformation. The standard does a good job of describing the gait. Exhibitors who know me as a judge will not bring me a lame dog. They know they will be excused. RS: Soundness! Correct head—square head, broad straight jaw, open nostrils and dark tight eyes. Correct body— broad shoulders, heavy bone and correct “wheel” topline. Correct vigorous gait—moderate angulation with straight reach in front and correct characteristic roll. They should reach straight in front and move closer in the rear. The correct pear-shaped body with the rear legs higher than the front and a correct wheel back give the Bulldog a characteristic roll. This is a breed characteristic and should be present on any winning dog. Correct tempera- ment—kind, but calm and dignified.

2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? DB: Gentle, but confident. GD: My must have traits in the breed are head and proper size. FH: My must haves in Bulldogs are heads, fronts and topline, but of course it takes so many individual breed points in the head alone to make a good head that I do tend to dwell on examining the head when judging. AMH: The Bulldog standard actually lists three specific musts. 1) “The perfect Bulldog must be of medium size and smooth coat; with heavy, thick-set, low-swung body, massive short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs.”; 2) “Tail must be short, hung low, with decided downward carriage, thick root and fine tip.”; and 3) “The action must, however, be unrestrained, free, and vigorous.” For me, personally, my musts in the breed are correct temperament, health, type and soundness. JL: Good temperament and soundness. RN: I want to see a balanced dog with Bulldog type that appears massive in relation to his size. The head equals 39% of the points in the standard. The dog’s head must have correct ears; wide and long skull; short nose; wide, well turned-up jaw, not wry; and correct wrinkle pattern. The dog must have a pear-shaped body, wide shoulders, well-sprung ribs and narrow in the rump. One of the most important traits to me is a correct topline. The stan- dard reads, “Roach back, or more correctly, wheel-back, a very distinctive feature of the breed.” The Bulldog standard contains a scale of points. That is how I determine the most important parts of the dog. Nose (6 points) must be black and set deeply between



of the great Bulldogs of our time, so the average finish- able dog was what everyone was showing. I have since realized that everything being shown is not going to be a great one. Having judged the breed for many years now, I am happy to say that the breed is improving greatly and there are now many exceptional dogs being shown. FH: Compared to when I first started judging, there is absolutely no doubt that Bulldogs today are tremendously healthier, especially breathing. It is rare indeed nowadays to hear/see a Bulldog in the ring with labored breathing, whereas in my early days it was pretty commonplace. I think generally speaking today’s Bulldogs are better dogs than they were, but I don’t think that they are necessar- ily better Bulldogs today because we are losing several important breed points—width and thrust/sweep of jaws, length of skull and fore face to name a few. We are in danger of becoming generic. AMH: As a whole, the Bulldogs in the ring today are signifi- cantly better than in the 1970s, particularly in the area of health and soundness. They are also more uniform in type, better conditioned, shorter bodied and, on the whole, have significantly smaller, correct ears and ear sets. More and more breeders now do numerous health screenings and this has been a major help to breeders. In the 70s, it was not uncommon for the ring to be filled with dogs that had significant breathing issues as well as long backs, absolutely horrific rear ends, including layman obvious hip dysplasia, inverted hocks and splayed feet. However, the dogs of that era had, on the whole, correct head type with super layback and massive, broad, well-turned up underjaws. Bulldog breeders are very for- tunate that we have dozens of specialty shows a year and the quality is still quite high at these events. However, I believe the quality has deteriorated at many of the all breed shows with a lot of average dogs in the ring, which makes it a disappointing day in the ring for the judge. Too many blocky heads, narrow muzzles and underjaws, wry mouths, movement that lacks the correct roll and is not particularly unrestrained, free and vigorous. JL: The Bulldogs today compared with the dogs of 1950-1980 are better in many areas. We have far fewer health prob- lems in regard to breathing, eyes (entropion, ectropion, etc.) and general soundness. The classic Bulldog skull is disappearing in regard to long, flat skulls with wide, well turned-up underjaws, but I believe the overall dog is superior to those of yesteryear. In the main, the emphasis in the Bulldog Club of America (BCA) has been on health and education and I believe, based on what I see in the ring, their efforts are paying dividends. RN: I believe we see more good Bulldogs now than in the 60s and 70s, but I think that is the result of more

3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? DB: Not really. No traits—bad habits sometimes. I have a thing about showing a Bulldog on a tight collar. If a dog is unable to gait with all four feet on the ground, something’s wrong. GD: My biggest fear of exaggeration is the long and low exhibits that are out there. This trait is very hard to breed away from and could literally destroy the look of the breed. Bulldogs should be short-backed and short-loined. FH: This can vary within different regions, but generally speaking, I think many Bulldogs are getting much too short. Others are overdone with heavy, ropey wrinkles and some are losing leg and are too low to ground. AMH: Except for some short-legged dogs popping up, I would say that a lot of Bulldogs in the ring today are not exaggerated, but are becoming quite generic with signifi- cant lack of type in many areas, particularly in dogs. JL: I believe that the breed is headed in the right direction. RN: I do not see any traits that are becoming exaggerated. Faults that seem to bother me the most are: wry jaws, a dog could not hold onto a bull’s nose if its upper and lower jaws are not parallel. Also, I really look at the top line for the reasons I stated earlier. If the dog does not have a proper top line, he is lacking in Bulldog type. RS: Some heads are overdone with excessively large wrin- kles, there’s restricted or labored breathing and I believe the atypical “designer colors” should be a disqualification. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? DB: Bulldogs are the same. Breeders breeding to the win- ning dogs are what makes the difference. We all try to breed good, healthy dogs. We’re not all successful, all the time—but we try. GD: When I first started judging, Bulldogs were on a down- swing. Fortunately, I have been able to actually see some “WE ALL TRY TO BREED GOOD, HEALTHY DOGS. WE’RE NOT ALL SUCCESSFUL, ALL THE TIME— BUT WE TRY.”


Bulldogs being bred and shown today and the result of cooled semen being shipped to most any location. Our current Nationals will have 2 to 3 times more entries today than in the earlier years. However, I believe the best Bulldog I ever judged was probably born in 1967. One of the very best bitches I have bred and owned was born in 1968. The Bulldog Standard has not been changed since 1890, so I guess the dogs should not have changed over the years. The AKC Board of Directors approved a change in August 2016. I consider the nearest to the standard was CH Minnesota Fats of Kelley Road. He won the BCA National three times, starting in 1970. He had great Bulldog type, head piece, top line and all the other important characteristics. RS: I believe the Bulldogs in the ring are healthier than they have ever been. They are better breathers and life expectancy has increased from 6-8 years in the recent past, to 10-12 years for most. The best breeders are taking advantage of health testing, using chilled or frozen semen to select quality rather than using only local dogs for breeding. Healthy and sound dogs are of primary impor- tance in both breeding and judging. Although they have different shape and proportions than many other breeds, they are sound dogs with good movement; the Bulldog is not unhealthy! 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? DB: Any judge with a good eye for any dog will, given time and experience, be able to see the virtues of a Bulldog. They are not so different from other breeds. Balance is just as important in a Bulldog as it is in a Poodle. GD: I believe that new judges and new exhibitors don’t truly comprehend the unique movement of the Bulldog. This breed moves like no other in the ring and many new people do not understand it. I was lucky enough to have

people like Robin Stansell and Jean Heatherington as my breed mentors. These two great Bulldog minds are abso- lutely wonderful at explaining correct movement and making one understand it. FH: I think some new judges misunderstand or, perhaps, don’t fully understand the importance of the head properties of our breed. The standard is very specific in detail about the position and relationship to each point as to what constitutes a great head. Often a big head is mistaken for a good head, but without the specific breed points or in the wrong proportions, a big head is no more than just a big head. There is an old joke that, “Humpty Dumpty had a big head, but he wasn’t balanced.” AMH: It is unfortunate that the Non-Sporting group is one of the smallest. This attracts those judges who want to quickly advance to judge a group without realizing that the extreme variety in this group makes it a difficult one to adjudicate correctly. In particular, Bulldogs along with Pekingese in the Toy Group, are probably the two most difficult breeds to assess for correct type. If you aren’t going to really look in the mouth properly, you are doing a great disservice to our breed. Running your finger over the teeth or having the handler show you the mouth is, in the first case, not breed specific and in the second, not adequate. You have to not only check the bite, but the width of jaw, turn up, upsweep and the size of the teeth. You also need to check for wry jaws of varying degrees. Also, our standard is very specific that the roach back, or more correctly, wheel back topline is “a very distinctive feature of the breed.” Flat toplines and even dogs that have sloping topline can currently be seen in the ring winning. Also, the most massive, coarse, oversized dog that looks like a cartoon caricature is not necessarily the best one. The smaller dogs in the ring are probably the ones that are standard size—about 40 pounds for bitches and about 50 pounds for dogs.



JL: I have been favorably impressed with the new judges who have come out of the breed; I seldom see the work of all-breed judges, but I hope it has improved. Based on pictures that I see in the magazines, many all-breeders are overly impressed with handlers rather than the dog. RN: The correct topline is such an important part of breed type. It appears to me that both new breeder and all breed judges seem to not understand the standard or there are so many dogs with flat tops that they assume it is correct. I once had a judge comment to me that he just loved the flat topline on the dog he gave the breed. We seem to be losing this most distinctive feature of the breed. I feel the non-breeder judges make more errors in judging the heads. I have helped with many judges’ semi- nars over the years and it is clear many do not understand head structure. RS: The correct laid-back skull, too low stationed, correct wheel back and correct shoulders. Some judges reward a short “two-plane” head rather than those with a square “laid-back” skull. Length of tail and degree of topline wheel is also controversial. I believe there is an “accept- able range” on all features and try to reward dogs that have features nearest the center of that range. However, I do not feel that a single feature should necessarily elimi- nate an otherwise correct dog from placements. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? DB: If I were learning about Bulldogs, my first need-to-know would be, “Tell me about the difference in a 7-month-old puppy and an 18 month old. How can I judge a young dog fairly when the standard tells me what a mature dog must look like?” I have seen really good honest judges falter as they look at young dogs. There is so much to teach. GD: The main thing that I would like to share about the Bulldog is that this was a bull-baiting breed. The old say- ing that form follows function is totally understandable if one looks at a correctly built Bulldog. The big head with correctly placed ears, proper wrinkling over the muzzle and a correct, wide underjaw are traits that make this breed do what they were bred to do—hold onto a bull. The strong and wide front for strength and the lesser- angulated rear for agility and nimbleness, the longer and lower Bulldog would have trouble being nimble enough to hold onto a bull. The slight arch over the top also makes the dog more flexible and nimble. It is really quite a simple breed to understand once one understands the function for which they were bred. My soapbox topic is the long and low Bulldogs that are being shown. This is a

problem in many breeds and is very difficult to breed out once it is in a breeding program. FH: The ideal Bulldog will be made up of a series of curves, with one graceful curve gently flowing into the next. There should be no humps and bumps. Coming to the US from the UK, where most breeds are predominately judged by breed specialists, the Kennel Club there insists on a proportion of all breed judges to keep sense in the breed, i.e. to avoid exaggeration, which I accept breeder judges can create by dwelling on certain things. Here in the States it is the opposite, most shows are judged by all breed or multi-breed judges, with a smaller amount of breed specialists, so whilst I don’t expect the all-breed judge to know every nuance of the breed, I do expect the breed specialist judge to look after and reward the breed points to keep us away from becoming generic. AMH: In May, members of the Bulldog Club of America voted overwhelmingly to add several new disqualifi- cations to our breed standard. Considering that our standard has never been changed since 1890, this is a big deal. Unfortunately, the internet has allowed what we call “greeders” instead of responsible breeders, to create new rare colors in our breed, some of which never before existed in the gene pool. These dogs have been selling for astronomical prices and unsuspecting buyers have been told that these colors can be shown because they were not specifically listed as DQs in the standard (although any responsible breeder judge would withhold and excuse these for lack of merit, at present). Thus, all


purposes, I find this to be ignorance of the breed. The original mixed-breed dogs that “baited bulls” were butch- ers, mastiff-like dogs that evolved to the make and shape of the current Bulldog. There are many examples of winning dogs from the 1800s that would be competitive today. Handlers are often overboard with “cool coats”— ice, wet towels, etc.—creating the impression that Bulldogs are unsound and fragile. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? DB: Funny things happen, but usually, not on purpose. Many years ago, a group of BCNC members decided to train and entertain with a “Bully Brigade”. They set out to do what no one else had ever done—train Bulldogs to per- form a routine set to music. They never saw their names in lights but they brought us to our knees, on the floor laughing and holding our stomachs. Do you wonder why we love them? FH: I have many funny stories, but I always remember a specialty show where the judge that day was deliberat- ing over Winners Bitch, after looking at his winners for quite some time, he finally brought two bitches forward for further examination. He then took another long time going over the two again, going through the whole process of checking jaws, necks and topline for what seemed like an eternity, he then jokingly turned to the ringside and asked my wife Caroline, “Which one would you give it to?” As quick as a flash, she replied, “The one my husband has just put back in her crate, that you only gave second place to!” JL: One of the most amusing scenes witnessed was at a large Specialty show in the 80s, when a well-endowed female handler bent over to stack her Bulldog and her upper anatomy fell out of her halter top (no bra). She very quickly, and unconcernedly, reinserted the exposed por- tion and proceeded. RN: I guess this is one of the funnier things I’ve experienced at a show. I had very recently had major shoulder surgery. We were at a show in Houston and needed to ship semen. I had my left arm in a sling and driving in Houston traffic was not something for me to be doing. My wife, Nancy, left me at the show and was going to take the semen to the airport and be back in time to show the dog. Well, Houston traffic being what it is, she didn’t make it back until I was in the ring and the dogs had been examined. Not dressed in show clothes, I won BOB over a number of specials. I had no less than ten people ask if they could use my sling for the next day’s judging. RS: Based on two unfortunate experiences, I always have a spare pare of trousers with me when I exhibit.



non-standard colors—including blue, lilac and merles (colors never before known to be in the gene pool)—will become DQs as well as blue, green or partially blue or green eyes. RN: The standard has been changed. The Bulldog Club of America Membership approved the change by a 90%+ margin to add disqualifications for eye and coat color. All judges can go to the BCA website and educate themselves of the changes. I’m sure, like most written documents, some parts might be made clearer, however, I am not in favor of changing the standard. I believe if you study it enough and talk about it with experienced Bulldoggers, you will understand its meaning. I try to judge by the standard and health issues are not included. I am very particular about health concerns as a breeder. When presenting the dogs, handlers set them four square which is not correct and they bait them like one does for a Terrier. The Bulldog rear should be narrower than the front; therefore the rear legs should be closer together than the front. I see too many breeders are using dogs with wry jaws as stud dogs. This we would never do. You cannot breed out your faults, if you continue to repro- duce them. I see the dogs are breathing much better in the ring than 40 years ago. Bulldogs are among the best as lovable pets; however, they do require more care than some breeds. If you want a Bulldog, do your homework and try to visit with a suc- cessful breeder or two. Be aware that a lot of promotion on the internet may not, necessarily, be as it seems. RS: Like many breeds, the Bulldog is being exploited by “greeders,” who are producing dogs in a rainbow of non-standard colors for exorbitant prices. BCA has recent- ly changed the standard to eliminate designer colors. Some say this breed has changed well beyond its original



T he Bulldog is considered to be a classic symbol of cour- age and tenacity. They are a breed of dog universally recognized as one of gentle devotion and endless fascination. This breed undeniably has a long and fascinating history; believed to have been a part of Britain’s canine population for well over 1500 years. Historians agree the Bulldog owes its name to the fact they were once used to guard, control and bait bulls. The sport of bull baiting con- tinued for centuries until declared to be illegal in 1835. With no “job” left to do the Bulldog nearly became extinct in the years following the ban. Fortu- nately, true fanciers focused on breed- ing the Bulldog for its worthwhile vir- tues and qualities which we see and appreciate in the modern Bulldog of today. After a few starts and stops an official Bulldog Club was formed in England in 1875 and an official Standard finalized. The Standard used in the Unit- ed States and Canada today is the clos- est to the original Standard approved by the Bulldog Club Inc. (England).

The Bulldog Club of America (BCA) is adamantly opposed to any changes. Today the Bulldog is frequently seen in movies, commercials, television shows and on social media, often with their famous owners. Known for their congenial and people pleasing person- alities Bulldogs have become one of the super stars of the dog world and their popularity reflects this status. Bulldogs are a breed that cannot be easily defined as fitting into one mold. They come in many sizes and a variety of colors and color patterns. They can be bold and outgoing or shy and reserved. The Bull- dog can be as active as is required of a normal family pet or be made into a lazy couch potato. One thing is certain; no matter where you go the Bulldog always draws public attention with their wrin- kled clownish face. The Bulldog is not a breed for some- one who needs a long distance jogging companion or someone who wants a dog to go hunting or swimming. Even though the Bulldog may be notorious for shedding, chewing and exhibit- ing excess flatulence, they are actually




a dog of many talents and are surpris- ingly versatile. The Bulldog may be a family friend and loyal companion or a clown who is an expert in a vari- ety of activities from skateboarding to snowboarding. Bulldogs are mascots for more than forty American Colleges and Universi- ties, as well as the United States Marine Corps and many businesses. Two Bull- dogs have called the White House home. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding both owned Bulldogs during their presidencies. Bulldogs serve as both service dogs and therapy dogs. Service dogs are defined as “any guide dog, signal dog or other animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the ben- efit of an individual with a disability”. Just ask Rebecca Burlage of Mineral, VA. Confined to a wheelchair with a number of disabilities Rebecca’s constant Bull- dog companion, Diesel-Joker, confirms how amazing and trainable a Bulldog can be. Diesel-Joker opens doors, helps her dress, brings her tools and helps her get in and out of her chair. Diesel-Joker is truly an amazing dog; he accompa- nies Rebecca on speaking engagements at schools and churches, where the top- ic is “Being Successful and Never Giv- ing Up”. Bulldogs have in recent years become valuable members of Paws and Strips, an organization which pro- vides veterans with service dogs. These Bulldogs live with family members and assist veterans dealing with PTSD and other mental and cognitive disabilities. A number of organizations qualify dogs, including the Bulldog, as therapy dogs which are trained to give comfort and relieve loneliness and boredom. These Bulldogs visit nursing homes, hospi- tals, psychiatric wards, shelters and schools providing a welcome change in routines and form lasting friendships with patients. At the performance level Bulldogs are not just another pretty face in the conformation ring; their inherent strength and vigor has led the Bulldog to successfully compete in rally, cours- ing, carting and agility. This versatile breed can be a wonderful performance companion. Bulldogs consistently earn titles in all manner of sports from fly ball, to weight pulls, dock-diving and freestyle dance. Bulldogs were among the first breed to earn the new Coursing Ability title offered by the


American Kennel Club. Bulldogs have earned invitations to participate in prestigious national competitions in obedience, rally and agility—and have represented their breed well. More and more people are discovering what an animated and capable partner a Bulldog can be. As people recognize the versatility of the Bulldog, popularity has surged in recent years. According to AKC they consistently rank in the top ten breeds. Unfortunately, this popularity has actu- ally created many problems for the breed, mainly in subpar quality dogs being bred to fill the demand. There has been a culture of acceptance that has evolved over the years that implies the Bulldog is inherently unhealthy due almost completely to his unique confor- mation and ultimately the official stan- dard for excellence. The casual breeder often regards health issues as “typical” for the breed and propagates these health issues by careless breeding prac- tices. Accepting buyers have been told for decades that these health problems are somehow “normal” for the breed and veterinarians see in droves the result of these careless practices. There is a growing trend among people breed- ing for “designer colors”. The Standard calls black undesirable and the new dilute colors are equally undesirable. The making of undesirable colors for retail without focus on the more impor- tant health and temperament aspects is creating dogs who are destined for problems. The reality is that it should nev- er be expected that a Bulldog will

be unhealthy. We live in an age of pro- gressive technology with health testing techniques and genetic research being more advanced than ever. The Bulldog Club of America (BCA) actively pro- motes health testing for all breeding stock. The BCA is a CHIC member and requires the following tests for those interested in entering the database: car- diac, patella and trachea. Tests recom- mended but not required include; hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, autoimmune thyroiditis, CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) or OFA (Orthopedic Foun- dation for Animals) for eyes, BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) for deafness and Hyperuricosuria. The BCA has implemented the Ambassador for Health program, which rewards dogs for their participation in health testing. Many top performance and con- formation winners have achieved the platinum status—the highest award. There is an active campaign among concerned fanciers to perpetuate the breed as it was originally intended and described by the Standard—a vigorous, sound and healthy dog free of any medi- cal conditions that would diminish its quality of life. This requires no change to the official standard. When considering a Bulldog, puppy or adult, first and most important is to be patient and not rush the process. Before adding a Bulldog to your home one should do extensive research on the breed. The Bulldog Club of America has the breed standard, breeder referral services and other educational informa- tion available online at: www.bulldog-




B ulldogs undoubtedly have one of the most interesting histories of all dog breeds, a history that continues to evolve. An indigenous British breed, it is thought that the breed (or its direct ancestor) has been a part of Britain’s canine population for well over 1,500 years. References to a unique fighting dog in Britain date to Roman times. Theories abound about the origin of the breed, from being unique to Brit- ain itself, to a cross-bred descendent of Mastiffs or Mastiff types brought to the Island by Romans or other early invad- ers. Victorian scholars had spirited debates about which breed came first, Mastiff or Bulldog, and, which breed was the founder of the other. The more likely scenario is they share a common ancestor. The leading theory is that the breed is unique to Britain and is a descendent of a natu- rally occurring brachycephalic type of dog. Other native breeds, particularly terrier varieties, likely were added to the mix. What is certain is that this specific breed was developed from its ances- tors as a bullbaiting dog. Bullbaiting likely developed because this type of dog tended to chase down loose bulls and hold them until they were caught. Eventually this evolved into a “formal sport.” References to this activity date to at least the 11th century. The bull was tethered, and the dogs set upon him. Meat from a baited bull was desir- able and in some villages was required by law. The unique conformation of the breed evolved purely from this “sport.” The dog appears to have had no other purpose. The dogs best-suited and most successful at bullbaiting were ones selected for breeding and a definitive type evolved. Period writings describe the dogs in a bullfight as crouching, crawling and then leaping at the bull’s face. In fact, any dog that did not go for the face was immediately destroyed.


Purity of blood was of utmost impor- tance as “no dog other than an out and out Bulldog can be relied upon to go straight for the bull’s head.” At various times in history, Bulldogs were also used to bait monkeys, bears and even lions. While bullbaiting held prominence as a “national sport,” eventually, its cruelty led to discussion of abolishing the “sport.” In 1802, the first bill to ban bullbaiting was introduced in the House of Commons. After heated debate, it was voted down. Finally, in 1835, the “sport” was outlawed. The Bulldog was left with no real job. They were good ratters and this was likely the last job of the breed. The Bulldog was universally despised by most citizens, who wanted to see it eliminated. Bulldog-terrier crosses were creating a dog suited for dog fighting, a “sport” that was more easily carried out indoors, away from the eyes of the law. The breed earned the nickname “pot house dog,” as that was where the dog was generally found. The Bulldog was considered savage and its owners of highly dubious character. But these fanciers were devoted to their breed and cautiously guarded its purity. The introduction of formal dog shows in 1859 saved the pure breed from certain extinction. There were literally a handful of pure bred Bull- dogs at the time, and it was from these last survivors that our breed ultimately evolved. The early dog shows saw the Bulldog and Bulldog types of vary- ing sizes. Classes were often offered

for less than 20 pounds and over 45 pounds. Some breeders suggested that their large version of over 80 pounds was the “true” Bulldog. One breeder, Frank Adcock, imported a large variety of Bulldog from Spain, with the intent of making the breed larger. It was well-known among fanciers that the mid-sized dogs of 40-50 pounds were best-suited to the original job of bull- baiting. These fanciers saw cross breed- ing with other types, particularly with Mr. Adcock’s new breed from Spain, as a real danger that the pure type would become extinct. To guard against this, the first Bull- dog club was created on November 3, 1864. Objectives of “The Philo Kuon Society” included, “The perpetuation and the improvement of the old Eng- lish Bulldog.” The club’s motto was “hold fast.” This club only lasted three years, but it is credited with the first


attempt at a standard, referred to as “The properties of a perfect Bulldog.” This historical document served as the basis for the official standard still in use today. 1875 saw the formation in England of The Bulldog Club, Incorporated, which is still a thriving club. It worked to resuscitate the old club and to deal with the threatened extinction of the pure English Bulldog. The shows had provided a stage for dogs of “novel and ever-varying types, distinctly different to the specimens which had been gen- erally considered to represent the true breed.” Ultimately the goal was to pre- serve the one correct type of the Bull- dog. This was accomplished by creating an official Standard. The controversial point scale was then approved and adopted on August 5, 1875 and published on September 2, 1875. The Bulldog Club of America (BCA) was formed in Boston in 1890 and was one of the first breed clubs to become a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC). The BCA drafted the United States version of the Standard in 1894, very closely following the British docu- ment. The slight differences involved descriptions of neck length and move- ment. It was revised in 1914 to declare the Dudley nose a disqualification. In 1976, “Dudley” was redefined as a “brown or liver colored nose.” Final reformatting with no wording changes was completed in 1991. The Bulldog was among the first breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Ten Bulldogs participated in the first Westminster Kennel Club show in 1877 with the first champion of the breed being Robinson Crusoe, owned by Col- onel John E. Thayer, earning the title in 1888. People often remark at the drastic physical changes in the breed from the time of its existence as a supreme fighting machine to the docile, beloved companion we know today. There was much controversy at the physical direc- tion the breed was taking around the 1890’s to early 1900’s. Some fanciers were breeding a cloddy, exaggerated, often crippled individual. This was the source of many heated debates, with some fanciers calling for a reversion to the original type. The overwhelm- ing desire of breeders and owners was to move the breed away from any

suggestion of the horrible bullbaiting sport and resulting bad reputation of the past. Ultimately, the breed emerged as we see it today, with modern type being clearly set early in the 1900s. More recently, we have seen the breed’s popularity explode. While the breed was always popular, its emer- gence as a “top 10” AKC breed has cre- ated challenges for concerned breeders and for leaders of the BCA. Bulldogs have always been considered a unique breed. Unscrupulous and careless breeding has led to many dogs with a variety of health problems. Recently, a number of anti-breeding documenta- ries and media “exposés” have pushed the breed into the limelight as a poster child of sorts for the perceived corrup- tion of modern show dog breeders. Unfortunately, these media attacks have failed to shed light on the true nature of the breed and the hard work of the National clubs and dedicated breeders to constantly improve the breed, on all levels. The result is an unfortunate misun- derstanding that the breed, by design, is inherently unhealthy. This could not be further from the truth. The Official Standard emphasizes strong and vigor- ous good health. The first paragraph describes a “Perfect Bulldog” this way: “The general appearance should sug- gest great stability and strength.” Under Symmetry,” it reads: “The ‘points’ should be well distributed and bear good relation one to the other, no fea- ture being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill-propor- tioned.” The description for movement is “unrestrained, free and vigorous.” The Bulldog Club of America (BCA) has made great strides in educating its members on the importance of health testing. In a relatively short period, we have seen a dramatic upturn in the number of Bulldogs in the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) database. Several of our breed’s current top win- ners have tested above and beyond the minimal Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) requirements. We expect that even the world’s skeptics will take notice that the breed is healthy, thriving and vibrant. REFERENCES The Bulldog; A Monograph by Edgar Farman The New Complete Bulldog by Bailey Haines


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