Showsight Presents The Bulldog

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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