Showsight Presents The Bulldog

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!”

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

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