Let’s Talk Breed Education!
THE BULLDOG ORGANIZATION & CHALLENGES BY ELIZABETH HUGO MILAM AND THE BCA
T he Bulldog Club of America (BCA), the Parent Club for Bulldogs in the US, was founded in 1896. The official BCA/AKC standard was written in 1896 and is still in use, with only a format change and a DQ added for untypical colors (coat and eye color). ORGANIZATION BCA is divided into eight Divisions, with each Division acting as its own club with full Executive Committees and Boards as well as Committee Chairs. Within each Division, we have local specialty clubs, again, with full Executive Committees, Board of Governors, and Committees. There are four clubs that are AKC Member Clubs with AKC Delegates. Much of what is accomplished by the Club is done through the work and effort of our Club Committees. There are two types of Committees: Standing and Ad Hoc. Standing Com- mittees are established by the BCA Council; Ad Hoc Com- mittees may be established by either the Council or the BCA President. Chairpersons, unless specifically appointed by the Council, are appointed by the BCA President with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee. Committees include Legislative, Health, General Educa- tion, Judges Education, Communications and Publicity, Hall of Fame/Gallery of Winners, Long Range Planning, Audit and Finance, Archives and Historian, National Guidelines, Standard Operating Procedures, Rescue, and Performance. Our National publication, The Bulldogger , is issued three times a year. Plus, we have an excellent website as well as a presence on Facebook and Instagram. The Council meets once a year at the National Specialty. Also held during National Week is the Annual Awards Ban- quet where we recognize individual achievement in both members and dogs. We have a Hall of Fame for Breeders, Stud Dogs, and Brood Bitches. We recognize Performance Dogs as well as Platinum and Diamond Level Ambassadors for Health.
CHALLENGES The breed currently faces two big issues.
The first one involves the sudden, rapid, and explosive rise in popularity of dogs of non-recognized colors. In some areas, these strange dogs and their breeders outnumber BCA breeders by a dis- turbing margin. Not to even mention that, in some cases, these dogs are not even purebred. Their breeders have no real knowledge of the breed, and our rescue groups are getting filled with these dogs at an alarming rate. The basis for the popularity of these dogs are the terms “rare” and/ or “exotic” as well as a very aggressive marketing strategy. The very alarming truth is that the correctly bred, health-tested, and breed- typical Bulldogs are now, indeed, the “rare” ones. The other problem comes at the hands of the animal rights people and the very aggressive “anti-brachycephalic” people. They have stated very emphatically that they do not believe our breed should be allowed to exist due to what they call poor health, a short lifespan, and an inability to reproduce on their own. Unfortunately, BCA has never been contacted by any of these groups to open a dialogue of any sort. The AR people don’t recognize our Health Ambassador program and completely ignore the growing number of successful performance Bulldogs. As for lifespan, there is now an entire Facebook page devot- ed to celebrating the Oldest Bulldogs Around the World. A recent post featured a 20-year-old Bulldog, with many “teenage” Bulldogs featured regularly. The constant barrage of negative reports about Bulldog health has done absolutely nothing to help. Instead of reporting on the grow- ing number of Bulldogs gaining their Health Ambassador status, they continually mention the worse problems the breed can potentially face. The breed maintains high popularity despite the negativity. If the AR people would report on the potential the breed has as far as out- standing health, it could educate and, hopefully, inspire the general public to seek out and demand a healthier dog. BCA and its members continue to do their best to educate peo- ple and promote the breed in its best light. With luck, the breed will emerge on the other side of this popularity boom in good shape.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Hugo Milam is a lifelong, second-generation, Bulldogger who has bred/owned over 50 Champions. She is a BCA Hall of Fame Breeder and has been involved with BCA Judges Education since 1990. Elizabeth is currently BCA Judges Education Chair and she’s the current President and AKC Delegate for the Bulldog Club of Philadelphia. She is also Vice President of the World Bulldog Club Federation (WBCF). Elizabeth has been a Judge of Bulldogs since 1993 and a Breeder-Judge of French Bulldogs since 2011. She has judged the BCA National Specialty three times (Intersex once, Bitches and Junior Handling twice). Elizabeth has judged WBCF twice (in conjunction with the WDS in Budapest and Leipzig) and has judged numerous US Independent and Divisional Specialties. She has judged National Specialties in the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil (twice), France, Spain (twice), Holland, Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Elizabeth has judged Championship Shows in England twice, awarding CCs at both Blackpool and the Junior Bulldog Club, and she will judge the British Bulldog Club’s 135th Anniversary show.
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A ‘HEAD BREED’ NOT TO THE EXCLUSION OF EVERYTHING ELSE!
BY ELIZABETH HUGO MILAM “T he Bulldog is a ‘Head Breed.’” being a “Head Breed” and for each, the description might mean some- thing slightly different. I am fairly confident, however, that in all or nearly all of them, Bulldogs included, it also means: “Not to the exclu- sion of everything else!” We are certainly familiar with this term in our Bulldog world. We have been hearing it as a breed description for decades. But how accurate is that statement? If you refer to the BCA point scale offered within the Standard, head properties (22 points) and body properties (22 points) don’t offer a clear conclusion. Remember, there are those critical body points in the breed that you could successfully argue would make the Bulldog also a “Front-End Breed” or a “Topline Breed.” We hear this comment often, but what does it actually mean? Several breeds can and do lay claim to That being said, a full 39 points on head alone is extremely significant. Our standard offers this passage in the opening ”Symmetry” state- ment: “…no feature being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill-proportioned.” This caution reminds us that a Bulldog cannot be so strong in only one feature to the exclusion of all else. Rather, all features are within the context of the breed. The Bulldog is a breed that has clear definitions of just what is considered correct, some of which stress features that are definitely impressive in their natural, ideal proportions. A quote I’ve grown to love in describing this part of our standard is: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” In other words, we don’t want to “moderate” the breed out of its own unique existence.
And if you are the “head hunter” type, please be sure that you are choosing the correct heads! A Bulldog head is not only about the jaw. It is not only about large size. The breed’s head is a complex feature that has several key points that are critical towards making up a head that can truly be considered correct or, even better—ideal! The Official Standard has a very precise description of head properties. If you are seeking clarification on any of these points, please contact an experienced Bulldogger to help explain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Elizabeth Hugo Milam is a lifelong, second- generation, Bulldogger who has bred/owned over 50 Champions. She is a BCA Hall of Fame Breeder and has been involved with BCA Judges Education since 1990. Elizabeth is currently BCA Judges Education Chair and she’s the current President and AKC Delegate for the Bulldog Club of Philadelphia. She is also Vice President of the World Bulldog Club Federation (WBCF). Elizabeth has been a Judge of Bulldogs since 1993 and a Breeder-Judge of French Bulldogs since 2011. She has judged the BCA National Specialty three times (Intersex once, Bitches and Junior Handling twice). Elizabeth has judged WBCF twice (in conjunction with the WDS in Budapest and Leipzig) and has judged numerous US Independent and Divisional Specialties. She has judged National Specialties in the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil (twice), France, Spain (twice), Holland, Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Elizabeth has judged Championship Shows in England twice, awarding CCs at both Blackpool and the Junior Bulldog Club, and she will judge the British Bulldog Club’s 135th Anniversary show.
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Judge Priorities, Not Point Scales
BY ANNE M. HIER, JD MFA
T he AKC Bulldog breed standard was penned by the Bulldog Club of America (BCA) in 1890 and has survived with only two changes. At the request of AKC, the nose disqualification for “Dudley nose” was clarified as “liver or flesh colored nose.” More recently, in 2016, disqualifications were added for non-standard colors, and blue or green eyes, to eliminate so-called “rare colors” from competition (and preferably from breeding stock), even though most of these colors (particularly merle) had never occurred in the breed. The Bulldog breed standard has always had a scale of points appended to it, even as far back as 1860, in England, when Dr. John Walsh (one of the earliest promoters of organized dog shows) of The Field started putting various standards into print. When the Bulldog Club (England) was founded in 1875, point scales were commonly in use in conjunction with the written standards. Indeed, many of the early Bulldog shows were judged “on points,” which did not always lead to a satisfactory outcome. The current AKC Bulldog breed standard still carries a point scale. THE RISE AND FALL OF POINT SCALES If a written standard adequately describes the “ideal” or “per- fect” specimen of the breed, what is the purpose of a point scale? For the breeder and fancier, a correctly comprised point scale defines the priorities of type in the breed. Characteristics that are essential to breed type in various breeds are given the highest value. For example, the point scale for the French Bulldog was dropped from the standard in 1991. However, at one time, the point scale gave 8 points to ears (lack of the correct bat ear being a disqualification), 6 points to skull, and 6 points to jaws. Even without a point scale, anyone judging this breed today should be aware that these elements are high value areas of focus for assess- ing correct type in the ring. Point scales came into vogue with the increased popular- ity of dog shows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As the spectator gate grew, point scales were distributed so that the audience could follow along with the decisions made in the ring. Newspapers even printed point scales for various breeds, with the statement that their readers would be able to recognize a quality specimen. During much of the 20th Century, most new breeds recognized by AKC originally came in with point scales appended to the written breed standard. In the AKC breed standard book published in 1935 (then titled Pure-Bred Dog s), 58% of the 102 breeds then recognized had point scales.
When AKC mandated standard formatting of all breed stan- dards some 40 years ago, parent clubs were pressured to drop the point scales from their breed standards. This was strongly suggested even if there were no changes to the standards other than simple reformatting. When it came time for BCA to reformat, AKC was advised that the club would only do so under the condition that the point scale be kept as part of the breed standard. Despite objections, BCA, with Bulldog-like tenacity, held its ground. This was possible because, unlike The Kennel Club or FCI, which control the content of the breed standards, Article IV, Section 4 of the AKC Charter and Bylaws is clear that it is the Parent Clubs—not the AKC Board of Directors—that have the sole power to define the “true type” and that no modifications can be made to breed standards of the various breeds without the express permission of the parent clubs. So, what is the big deal about keeping the scale of points for Bulldogs? Well, Bulldoggers have a long tradition and history, and that is the way it has always been. If it ain’t broke, we won’t be fix- ing it. More importantly, the point scale clearly shows the unique priorities of the breed. Those wishing to judge Bulldogs, who do not come from our breed, may assume that the head, as a whole, is a big priority. It is. On the point scale it is worth a grand total of 39 points. But which element do you think we consider the most important? Who would guess nose at 6 points? And it is not that the dog must have one—that’s a given. But historically, the nose was the key element for the Bulldog to be able to breathe while hanging onto the bull. The nose is large, broad, well laid back with a specific maximum length, and it must have large, black nostrils. The fact that the nose must be black is important, too, as brown or liver disqualify. Are judges really taking all this in when examining the breed? Next on the head we have 5 points each for skull, ears, wrinkle, and jaws. Additionally, there are 4 points for the stop, as the breed’s unique furrow is a key landmark of the skull. Whether or not you are aware of the point scale, judging the head by simply asking the exhibitor to show the bite and not actually physically examining any of these important features of type is not a breed-specific exam. Two other elements with 5 points each are proportion and symmetry, and shoulders, aptly described in writing in the standard proper. Unfor- tunately, looking at the numerous Bulldogs in the ring with incor- rect tight shoulders, one might not realize that the 5 points for this feature of anatomy are for the unique contributors to an essential stance—muscular, very heavy, widespread, and slanting outward.
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JUDGE PRIORITIES, NOT POINT SCALES
Point scales were originally designed to be applied to positive fea- tures. In other words, assessing the dog was started at zero with points added for each trait. However, human nature tends to do the reverse, starting at 100 and subtracting. While most of the older standards described the point scales as positive, the Kerry Blue standard had both positive and negative point scales for many years. On the nega- tive, 10-point deductions were to be assessed for “bumpy cheeks” and “yellow or gooseberry eyes.” The Kerry no longer has a point scale, but it still faults bumpy cheeks and yellow eyes. “Gooseberry” has dis- appeared from the lexicon, and no reasonable person imagines today’s judges mentally deducting 10 points per fault, but rather, judging the whole dog in relation to the entire standard of perfection. In Bulldogs, one might think that gait is relatively unimportant on the point scale at only 3 points. However, all the points of body, and fore and hind leg construction that contribute to gait, add up to 39 points. The additional 3 points is a bonus. This is especially true per the written description of gait. The Bulldog breed stan- dard describes practically all traits as “should be.” Gait, on the other hand, is one of the few “musts.” Specifically: “The action must, how- ever, be unrestrained, free and vigorous.” POINT JUDGING IN ACTION Years ago, the Detroit Bulldog Club had a point match. All of the participants were given score sheets, and each examined and gaited all the dogs. When all of the scores were tallied, everyone had a good laugh at the final winner because it was universally agreed that she was not the best Bulldog there. How did this happen? This was a nice enough bitch of correct size. She seemed to have most of the features of type, but not to a great degree. In other words, she was quite generic. But how much do you deduct for eyes that could be a little darker, ears that could be a bit smaller, not quite as much rib spring as she could have, and so on? The answer is, “Not much in each area.” On the other hand, the dogs we all agreed were superior were subject to personal bias. If you are a breeder of perfect jaws, those with less than your ideal can expect to be hit hard on the score sheet. Further, these dogs may be superior in other areas that are not necessarily your top priorities as a breeder, so they might not be scored high enough. And the big problem with judging on points is that each dog is scored individually, without relationship to the other dogs in the ring. Lack of major faults is not a virtue, but it might get you higher up on the point scale overall. And the best part of the experiment was that our winner did have a major fault—her tail went straight up in the air when she gaited. But, the tail is only 4 points. And in the real world of judging, a Bulldog would have to be as close to perfect as possible to overcome the standard’s admoni- tion that “no portion of the member should be elevated above the base or root,” if it were going to be placed first. CONCLUSION Points scales are interesting historical documents. They show what the original writers of each breed standard considered to be the most important points of type. And that is how they should be used today: To understand breed priorities, but not to judge on points.
JUDGING ON POINTS The problem with judging on points is that, frankly, it cannot be done. All judges have inherent biases for certain features. This is certainly heightened among fanciers in their own breeds. And even with only a written standard to work from, these breeder preferences (and judge preferences) must always be kept in check. Otherwise, they lead to the worst of all judicial sins—fault judg- ing. This becomes even more obvious when dogs are judged only on points.
SCALE OF POINTS GENERAL PROPERTIES PROPORTION AND SYMMETRY
5 3 2 3 3 2 4 5 2 4 3 5 5 6 2 5 2 3 2 5 3 3 2 2 5 4 3 3 4
GAIT SIZE COAT
COLOR OF COAT
EYES AND EYELIDS
BODY, LEGS, ETC. NECK
FORELEGS AND ELBOWS
39 TOTAL 100
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Hier, JD MFA, has been involved as a breeder and exhibitor of Bulldogs (and later French Bulldogs) in conformation and obedience since 1975. Since 1988, she has been an approved judge and adjudicates 12 Non-Sporting breeds. She is a member of the Bulldog Club of America and, among other things, previously served as chair of the Judges Education Committee. Hier is a Life Member and current President of the Detroit Bulldog Club and AKC Delegate for the Companion Dog Training Club of Flint, Michigan. She is a professional artist and writer, and her articles and illustrations have appeared in numerous books and magazines since 1977. She is the author of Dog Shows Then and Now: An Annotated Anthology, and has won three Maxwell Awards from the Dog Writers Association of America.
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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,
“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.”
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Lines From Linda: Passionate Fans
BY LINDA AYERS TURNER KNORR continued
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
BY LINDA AYERS TURNER KNORR continued
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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THE BULLDOG A STURDY COMPANION
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.
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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
“FUN, COMPANIONABLE AND INTELLIGENT.”
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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.”
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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.
“ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE DIFFERENT SHAPE AND PROPORTIONS THAN MANY OTHER BREEDS, THEY ARE SOUND DOGS WITH GOOD MOVEMENT; THE BULLDOG IS NOT UNHEALTHY!”
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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
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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.
“BULLDOGS ARE AMONG THE BEST AS LOVABLE PETS;
HOWEVER, THEY DO REQUIRE MORE CARE THAN SOME BREEDS.”
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
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