FRENCH BULLDOG THE A version of this feature appeared in the May 2016 issue of SHOWSIGHT.
1. How important is gait in your evaluation of the dog during judging? 2. Do you tend to favor Frenchies that are more “Bulldog” or “Terrier” in style? 3. How much importance do you give to ear size, shape, and set? 4. How important is the topline in your evaluation of the dog? 5. Do you feel there is a color preference, and if so, which colors and why? 6. The standard does not specifically mention angulation. Do you take front and rear angulation into account when judging, and if so, how? 7. What do you see as the biggest challenge in judging the breed? 8. What aspect of the breed do you feel that breeders need to work to improve? 9. The standard has a weight disqualification. As long as they are not over 28 pounds, what is your preference in size as far as judging the breed. Do you believe that a Frenchie can be too small? How often have you called for the scale in your judging? 10. The standard does not give us any specific length-to-height ratios, only that the dog “appears compact, well balanced and in good proportion.” Do you favor more of a “square” dog or one that is “slightly longer than tall”, or what is your preference? 11. Anything else you’ d like to add? 12. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? DIANE BURVEE
function and intent of the breed. The Frenchie is a moderate breed, and that includes its movement. So, a Frenchie that can reach and drive extensively like a German Shepherd or a Sporting dog is very atypical in actuality. Do I tend to favor Frenchies that are more “Bulldog” or “Ter- rier” in style? I want the happy medium in a moderate Frenchie, so I favor neither a “Bully” Frenchie nor a “Terrier-like” one. Both are equally incorrect and undesirable. The modern French Bulldog we know today is derived from Bulldogs mixed with some Toy Terriers along the way in the old English days, so it is understandable to see some of these ancestral traits surfacing. To breed a French Bulldog that is truly correct in its balance and proportion, where it is not too long/short in both body and leg length, and yet housed with the right amount of bone and substance without being too “stuffy” (Bulldog-like) or too “weedy” (Terrier-like), is one of the most dif- ficult things to accomplish as a Frenchie breeder. How much importance do I give to ear size, shape, and set? I place a tremendous amount of importance on ear size, shape, and set, and judges who don’t are missing the point! The quintessen- tial bat-ear is one of the breed’s hallmarks, and a dog without the proper bat-ear should technically be disqualified, as per our stan- dard. I have never seen a judge even question the shape/size of ears on Frenchies, except Judith Daniels who DQ’d a dog based on the shape of its ears, and rightfully so. We are seeing plenty of ears that are too small, too sharp-tipped, and without correct set/shape. The desirable bat-ear should be broad, tall, open, and a round scal- loped shape on top with a velvety finish. The Danish dogs have, unequivocally, the best ears. How important is the topline in my evaluation of the dog? Topline is important, as it is part of the essential silhouette that makes a Frenchie a Frenchie. But in my humble opinion, there is an excessive obsession with topline here in America—to the extent of overlooking the rest of the dog. I also don’t agree with how “roach back” is used to describe the Frenchie’s topline, as it should just be a slight rise starting from behind the withers to a highest point above the loin (not in the middle of the back), and a gradual fall to a low-set tail. I simply detest camel backs (that we are starting to see even in some of our specials). When one thinks of a correct topline in French Bulldogs, a very gentle, slight curve should come to mind, with “gentle” and “slight” being the key words. Believe it or not, a flat topline is better than any incorrect toplines, as an exag- gerated topline is not only incorrect, but can also harbor plenty of spinal anomalies. My best advice to my fellow breeders and judges is to evaluate the whole dog, and not get hung up on topline alone. Remember, you should DQ a Frenchie if it does not have the proper bat-ear, but you cannot DQ a Frenchie if it does not have the correct topline! So that said, where do you think you ought to be putting the emphasis? Do I feel there is a color preference? I have most certainly found there to be more depth of quality in the brindles (the primary sta- ple color) than any other allowed colors. You can call me a brindle fan, but I have a soft spot for a double-hooded, crystal clear pied, and a glorious, rich, black-masked fawn as well, while the purist in me doesn’t really care for the creams and fawns, as they are dilutes and generally lack proper pigment. Having said that, all allowed colors should be judged equally, as long as they have the correct corresponding pigmentation. Certain colors are definitely favored in different parts of the world. The popular American self-masked fawns and creams, for instance, are not usually seen in Europe, as the FCI Standard calls for black nose, eye-rim, lips, and so forth.
I live in Kansas City for the most part of the year, when I am not visiting family and friends in Asia and Europe. I write, I travel, and I conduct research on subjects of special interests, with my latest subject being “Revolution of the American Psyche in the Global Per- spective.” I am also a self-proclaimed “foodie” who enjoys trying out differ- ent cuisines and new restaurants. I have been involved in the sport since 1993 when I came to attend college in Amer-
ica, together with my foundation Afghan Hound bitch that was incidentally from Sydney, Australia. I have been licensed to judge by AKC for six years now. How important is gait in my evaluation of the dog during judg- ing? Gait is vital to ascertain proper carriage and soundness in movement in all breeds. For me, it is interesting to study how dogs use themselves, and their footing and timing in their locomotion. I tend to put more emphasis on gait in breeds where the gait serves to perform a function such as to hunt or to retrieve, as in the Afghan Hounds and Poodles respectively. Also, in the Pekingese as well, as its “effortless rolling gait” is part of breed type. French Bulldogs are bred strictly to be lap/companion dogs, so one can afford to be more forgiving in their gait. Having said that, I do not condone a pad- dling or flipping front, or a weak hind action. I also want to stress that TRAD (tremendous reach and drive) in side-gait, which seems to impress many a judge, is actually nothing more than flashy, wasted motion in the French Bulldog. Always bear in mind the
228 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2021
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