Showsight Presents The Bulldog

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 This historical document served as the basis for the official standard still in use today. 1875 saw the formation in England of The Bulldog Club, Incorporated, which is still a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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