Showsight Presents The Bulldog

JUDGING BULLDOGS 7 Highly-Respected Breeder Judges Share Their Views E xplain your views con- cerning the Bulldog being a “head breed.” Th ere was general agreement that the stan- dard places a great deal “ If I was to name one feature as most important, it would be Balance. NO FEATURE OF THE DOG SHOULD BE OUT OF PROPORTION WITH THE OTHER FEATURES.”

of signi fi cance on the head with 39 of 100 points attributed to the head, which is unusual. Several noted that an equal num- ber of points are allocated to the body from neck to tail. Cardello: I do believe the Bulldog is a head breed, but not so much that the rest of the dog is not considered. Hetherington: Th e illustrated Guide to the Bulldog Standard has 6 pages on the head alone, followed by 6 pages for the rest of the standard. Need I say more? Hugo-Milam: Th e critical type fea- tures of the head do not outweigh the criti- cal type features of the body. Th e dog has to be a total package, but a great Bulldog cannot have a bad head. He can’t have a lousy body either. Sickle: Some General Properties (Pro- portion & Symmetry, Attitude, Expres- sion) have to be attributed, at least par- tially, to the head. And if one is to describe the Bulldog, the discussion will likely start with the distinctive features of the head: fl at face, wide undershot, turned-up jaw. What does the modern Bulldog have in common with Bulldogs of the past? Hugo-Milam: Nearly everything, with some style adjustments. Th e changes in style have everything to do with 100 years of evolution and increased variety in breeding selection. Th e writers of our standard were truly visionary. Our breed is very close to being unchanged in appear- ance for over 100 years. Sickle: As compared to the Bulldog of the 1800s, today’s has only a general similarity in appearance. Fortunately, this

breed has consistently moved in a much better direction. Th e Bulldog of the 1800s was bred to fi ght and had a personality that allowed for success. Around the turn of the century, responsible breeders worked to retain the distinctive Bulldog look and to breed a gentle companion dog. Stansell: Th e Bulldog is a “form fol- lows function” breed that evolved by sur- viving the primitive sport of bull-baiting. Although the earliest bulldogs were some- what di ff erent in appearance, dogs from the 1800s were often similar in appear- ance to the current dogs being shown. Bulldogs are currently one of the most

popular AKC breeds because of the dili- gent e ff orts by breeders to improve the health and personable temperament while maintaining the traditional pugilistic appearance. Th e descriptions in the breed standard are based on the original Bulldog function and provide guidance to main- tain the breed’s original soundness. How would you compare the overall quality of Bulldogs shown today to those shown 20 years ago? Hetherington: Today we are seeing quite a few nosy dogs. I think the bodies are better today, but not the heads. Sickle: Conformation and health have consistently improved. Th e best of 20 years ago would still be competitive today. Th e di ff erence is that the percentage of good dogs has increased over the years. If we go back 50 years, today’s Bulldogs are much better. Zalud: Without hesitation, recalling the many fi ne Bulldogs I have person- ally seen in the winner’s circle in the past years, I am positive they could and should win today. Where have you seen the greatest improvements? Cardello: Overall health and improved breathing. Hetherington: Feet and pasterns. Toplines have also improved, as well as depth and turn-up of the jaw.

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