Showsight Presents The Bulldog

referred to as “ Th e properties of a perfect Bulldog.” Th is historical document served as the basis for the o ffi cial standard still in use today. 1875 saw the formation in England of Th e Bulldog Club, Incorporated, which is still a thriving club. It worked to resus- citate the old club and to deal with the threatened extinction of the pure English Bulldog. Th e shows had provided a stage for dogs of “novel and ever-varying types, distinctly di ff erent to the specimens which had been generally considered to represent the true breed.” Ultimately the goal was to preserve the one correct type of the Bulldog. Th is was accomplished by creating an o ffi cial Standard. Th e controversial point scale was then approved and adopted on August 5, 1875 and published on September 2, 1875. Th e 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). Th e BCA drafted the United States version of the Standard in 1894, very closely following the British docu- ment. Th e slight di ff erences 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 complet- ed in 1991. Th e Bulldog was among the first breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Ten Bulldogs par- ticipated in the first Westminster Kennel

Club show in 1877 with the first cham- pion of the breed being Robinson Cru- soe, owned by Colonel John E. Th ayer, 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 fight- ing machine to the docile, beloved com- panion we know today. Th ere was much controversy at the physical direction the breed was taking around the 1890’s to early 1900’s. Some fanciers were breed- ing a cloddy, exaggerated, often crippled individual. Th is was the source of many heated debates, with some fanciers call- ing for a reversion to the original type. Th e overwhelming 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 emergence as a “top 10” AKC breed has created challenges for concerned breeders and for leaders of the BCA. Bulldogs have always been consid- ered a unique breed. Unscrupulous and careless breeding has led to many dogs with a variety of health problems. Recent- ly, 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 corruption of modern show dog breeders. Unfortunate- ly, 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. Th e result is an unfortunate misun- derstanding that the breed, by design, is inherently unhealthy. Th is could not be further from the truth. Th e O ffi cial Standard emphasizes strong and vigorous good health. Th e first paragraph describes a “Perfect Bulldog” this way: “ Th e general appearance should suggest great stability and strength.” Under Symmetry,” it reads: “ Th e ‘points’ should be well distributed and bear good relation one to the other, no feature being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill-propor- tioned.” Th e description for movement is “unrestrained, free and vigorous.” Th e 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

“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...”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2014 • 211

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