Showsight Presents The Bulldog

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.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017 • 267

Powered by