Showsight Presents The Bulldog

˃ullFo͖ With Doris BoyD, Gary L. DoerGe, FreD haynes, anne M. hier, John LittLe, roBert neWcoMB & roBin stanseLL q&a

mouths, movement that lacks the correct roll and is not particularly unrestrained, free and vigorous. JL: The Bulldog 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 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. A change is expected to be approved by the AKC Board of Directors in August 2016. RS: The Bulldog is currently 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. 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. 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. RS: The correct laid-back skull, too low stationed, correct wheel back and correct shoulders. 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 Bull- dog is that this was a bull-baiting breed. The old saying

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