French Bulldog Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

A Brief History of FRENCH BULLDOGS

By Jim Grebe FBDCA Historian


n discussing the history of the French Bulldog, we should note the importance of three countries: England, France and America. England provided the foundation for our modern

Frenchie: the old bulldog. Breeders in France developed the smaller bulldogs into a distinctly “French” type and American breeders set the standard that prescribed the all-important “bat ears.” We begin with the bulldog in Eng- land, where so many of our AKC breeds originated. Th e ancestral type was not our modern bulldog but the bulldog of 150- 200 years ago: a strong, athletic dog, high on leg, and capable of being used in that barbarous activity called “bull-baiting.” Many English bulldog breeders began to change the breed around this time to a big- ger, heavier dog with exaggerated features. Others crossbred them with terriers result- ing in the bull-and-terrier breeds used for dog fi ghting, ratting, etc. Another group of breeders developed a smaller, lighter toy bulldog, around 12-25 lbs. in weight, having either upright or rose ears, round foreheads and short underjaws—and perhaps a touch of ter- rier liveliness. Th ese were quite popular with workers in the English midlands, in particular the artisans in the lace-making industry around Nottingham. When the Industrial Revolution closed down many of the small craft shops, these lace-makers emigrated to the North of France—and they took their little bulldogs with them. Th e popularity of these little dogs spread from Normandy to Paris and soon the English breeders had a lively trade, export- ing small bulldogs to France where they began to be called Bouledogues Français. Th ey were favorites of ordinary Parisians such as butchers, cafe owners and dealers in the rag trade and became notorious as 146 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014

the favorites of the Parisian streetwalk- ers. Th e famous artist Toulouse Lautrec depicted Bouboule, a Frenchie owned by Madame Palmyre, the proprietress of a favorite restaurant “La Souris.” Society folks noticed these cute little bulldogs and before long they were “a la mode.” Most of the British wanted nothing to do with these French bulldogs so it was the French who were guardians of the breed until later in the 19th century. Th ey developed a more uniform breed—a dog with a compact body, straight legs, but without the extreme underjaw of the Eng- lish Bulldog. Some had the erect “bat ears’, some had “rose” ears. Wealthy Americans traveling in France fell in love with these endearing little dogs and began bringing them back to the USA. And the Yanks preferred dogs with erect ears which was fi ne with the French breeders as they pre- ferred the rose eared specimens, as did the British breeders. Society ladies fi rst exhibited Frenchies in 1896 at Westminster and the breed was featured on the cover of the 1897 West- minster catalog even though it was not yet an approved AKC breed. At that show, both bat eared and rose eared dogs were exhibited but the English judge put up the rose-eared specimens. Th is infuriated the American fanciers who quickly organized the French Bull Dog Club of America and drew up a breed standard allowing only the bat ear. At the 1898 Westminster show, the Americans were outraged to fi nd that classes for both bat-eared and rose-eared dogs were to be judged despite the fact that the new breed standard allowed only the former. Th ey pulled their dogs, the American Judge refused to participate in the show and the club organized their own show, for bat-eared dogs only, to be held at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria. Th is was the famous fi rst specialty of the French Bulldog Club of America—which, incidentally, was the fi rst breed club any- where in the world to be dedicated to the French Bulldog. Popularity of Frenchies skyrocketed, particularly among the East Coast Society folks. After World War I the breed’s popular- ity began a decline that would last for the next fi fty years. Th e enormous popularity

“SOCIETY LADIES FIRST EXHIBITED FRENCHIES IN 1896 AT WESTMINSTER and the breed was featured on the cover of the 1897 Westminster catalog even though it was not yet an approved AKC breed.”


of another small brachycephalic breed, the Boston Terrier, probably contributed to this. Also many Frenchies had problems whelping naturally; it would be years before safe vet- erinary cesarian sections would be routinely performed. Hot summer months, before res- idential air conditioning became common, were rough going for the dogs. And interest in purebred dogs generally declined during the Depression of the 1930s. A small number of Frenchie breeders in America and Europe kept the fl ame alive but by 1940 French Bulldogs were considered a rare breed and only 100 were registered with the AKC. Th e years dur- ing World War II were di ffi cult for all dog breeders and especially for those in Europe where many fi ne dogs starved or were put down for lack of food. Heretofore most Frenchies were brindle with a few pied and white dogs. Creams and

fawns were rare and not particularly popular until the 1950s when a breeder fromDetroit, Amanda West, began showing cream Frenchies with phenomenal success. Her dogs, mostly creams, tallied over 500 group wins and 111 Best in Show awards as well as 21 consecutive breed wins at Westminster. From then on, creams and fawns were more and more common in the show rings. But Frenchie registrations totaled only 106 in 1960 and an article in the AKC Gazette stated, “ Th ere are many advantag- es to owning a dog of this breed but there are very few bred and very few exhibited. If the trend keeps on, eventually the breed will become extinct... No one wants to see the breed overpopularized but certainly the breed deserves to be known and appre- ciated by the public.” Th e 1980s witnessed a rapid rise in Frenchie registrations due to a newly

energized FBDCA that included younger breeders who transformed the annual spe- cialty shows and who contributed to Th e French Bullytin , a new magazine devoted solely to Frenchies. Th e 1980 breed regis- trations were 170 and by 1990 were 632. Since then, the popularity of these little dogs has soared and over 5,500 dogs were registered in 2006. Nowadays it’s not that uncommon to see Frenchies featured in ads, movies or in stories about celebrities. Th is skyrocketing popularity can be scary for those of us who love the breed and who fi ght a constant battle to maintain breed type and minimize those health prob- lems to which Frenchies are subject. Unscru- pulous breeders and importers complicate the picture. Let’s hope that today’s successes are not a passing fad and that many future fanciers will enjoy all that can be o ff ered by this most companionable breed.

Jim Grebe




By Becky L. Smith

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” —Aristotle W adhere to the o ffi cial FBDCA Breed Stan- dard. Th e standard was written and accepted by AKC in 1897 by Th e French Bull Dog Club of America, the first organization in the world devoted to the breed. Let us take a look at the standard as it relates to the various “parts” of the French Bulldog. When judging the whole French Bulldog FBDCA stresses to judge the merits of a dog and not the faults. General Appearance Th e French Bulldog has an active, intelligent appearance. Muscular dog of heavy bone, smooth coat, compactly built, and of medium or small structure. Expression is alert, curious, and interest- ed. Any alteration other than the removal of dewclaws is considered to be a mutila- tion and is a disqualification. hen judging the French Bull- dog the most important func- tion we expect from Judges is to Proportion & Symmetry All points are 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 poorly proportioned. Size, Proportion & Substance Weight not to exceed 28 pounds; over 28 pounds is a disqualification. (If weight is a concern, call for scales. No judge should lift dogs o ff of the table as an indi- cator of weight.) Proportion—Distance from withers to ground in good relation to the distance from withers to onset of tail, so that the animal appears compact, well balanced and in good proportion. Sub- stance—Muscular, heavy bone. 158 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014

Head Head large and square. Eyes dark in color, wide apart, set low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible, round in form, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging. In the lighter colored dogs, lighter colored eyes are acceptable. No haw and no white of the eye should be showing when looking forward. Ears known as the bat ear, broad at the base, elongated, with round top, set high on the head but not too close togeth- er, and carried erect with the orifice to the front. Th e leather of the ear is fine and soft. Other than bat ears is a disqualification. Th e top of the skull is flat between the ears; the forehead is not flat but slightly rounded. Th e muzzle broad, deep and well laid back; the muscles of the cheeks well developed. Th e stop well defined, causing a hollow groove

between the eyes with heavy wrinkles forming a soft roll over the extremely short nose; nostrils broad with a well-defined line between them. Nose black. Nose other than black is a disqualification except in the case of the lighter colored dogs, where a lighter colored nose is acceptable but not desirable. Flews black, thick, broad, hanging over the lower jaw at the sides, meeting the under- lip in front and covering the teeth, which are not seen when the mouth is closed. Th e underjaw is deep, square, broad, undershot and well turned up. Neck, Topline & Body Th e neck is thick and well arched with loose skin at the throat. Th e back is a roach back with a slight fall close behind the shoulders; strong and short, broad at

the shoulders and narrowing at the loins. Th e body is short and well rounded. Th e chest is broad, deep, and full; well ribbed with the belly tucked up. Th e tail is either straight or screwed (but not curly), short, hung low, thick root and fine tip; carried low in repose. Forequarters Forelegs are short, stout, are straight, muscular and wet wide apart. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are moderate in size, compact, and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short stubby nails. Hindquarters Hind legs are strong and muscular, longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate



the loins above the shoulders. Hocks well let down. Feet are moderate in size, com- pact and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short stubby nails; hind feet slightly longer than forefeet. Coat Coat is moderately fine, brilliant, short and smooth. Skin is soft and loose, especially at the head and shoulders, forming wrinkles. Color Acceptable colors—All brindle, fawn, white, brindle and white, and any color except those which constitute disquali- fication. All colors are acceptable with the exception of solid black, mouse, liv- er, black and tan, black and white, and

white with black which are disqualifica- tions. Black means black without a trace of brindle. Gait Correct gait is double tracking with reach and drive; the action is unrestrained, free, and vigorous. Temperament Well behaved, adaptable, and comfort- able companions with an a ff ectionate nature and even disposition; generally active, alert, and playful, but not unduly boisterous. Disqualifications • Any alteration other than removal of dewclaws. • Over 28 pounds in weight. • Other than bat ears.

• Nose other than black, except in the case of lighter colored dogs, where a lighter colored nose is acceptable. • Solid black, mouse, liver, black and tan, black and white, and white with black. Black means without a trace of brindle. (Mouse refers to the blue color.) “Success for the future of the breed depends on unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence.”

This article is adapted from the FBDCA Breed Standard by Becky Smith.

BIO Becky is the current President of the FBDCA and is located in Ocala, FL. She is an “AKC Breeder of Merit” and dedicated to producing healthy French Bulldogs with consistency for the betterment of the breed.





A s every fancier knows, the French Bulldog comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns—some of which are acceptable according to the AKC stan- dard and others that are not. The colors found in the French Bulldog are masked fawns, fawns, and creams. The patterns found in French Bulldogs are piebald and brindle. Urajiro markings (pale tan or cream to white markings similar to the tan points on black and tan dogs—except they appear in fawn color coats as well as in black and tan coats) are also known to occur in French Bulldogs, but are extreme- ly rare. Tan point and cross-bred merle Frenchies are favorites of “color breeders.” The alterations to pigment caused by the autosomal recessive genes on the D (Dilute) Locus and B (Brown) Locus, much sought after by color breeders and commonly referred to as “blue” and “chocolate” or “liver,” have the ability to alter the appearance of each of the patterns and colors previously noted. It is enough to make a breeder’s head spin, so it is best to start the exploration of coat color genetics with the most common color/ pattern found in French Bulldogs—brindle. As a starting point, it is important to note that all brindle dogs are genetically yel- low, a result of inheriting a dominant gene for yellow at the A (Agouti) Locus as well as a dominant gene for masked fawn or fawn at the E (Extension) Locus. The combina- tion of these genes allows for the expression of pheomelanin, or red/yellow pigment, while also permitting black pigment in the coat. All brindle French Bulldogs would be a masked fawn or fawn if a brindle gene had not been inherited. The brindle pattern normally appears as black stripes (the result of the black pig- ment eumelanin) which partially extend over the body of the dog. The stripes can vary in quantity from a few to very many. Dogs can have so few or such faint brindle mark- ings that they may not be recognized as being brindle. Such dogs are called “cryptic brindles,” and will be registered as masked fawns or fawns, and will produce brindle offspring. Alternatively, dogs may be so heavily marked that they may appear to be black. There has always been concern that the very heavily marked brindle Frenchies might somehow or another mutate to black, so the standard disqualifies what appears to be black French Bulldogs. It is important that French Bulldogs have enough fawn hair to satisfy the standard requirements. To determine whether or not fawn hair is present, look closely at individual hairs on dogs that initially appear to be completely black. If light colored hairs are seen—however sparse they might be—then it is evi- dence of the underlying fawn color. This is especially important in evaluating heavily brindled pied dogs. A stripe pattern in the lighter colored hair is not required to satisfy the standard, nor are light colored hairs required in each brindle spot of a brindle pie- bald. In addition, there are “seal brindle” French Bulldogs just as there are seal Boston Terriers, where the fawn and black hairs are so evenly distributed and intermixed that the dog appears to be an off-black color.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Linda J. Moore has bred dogs for over 40 years and has judged French Bulldogs since 2006, with assignments on three continents. As a pre-teen, she bred Shetland Sheepdogs and mastered the inheritance of coat colors in that breed. She then went on to have a lifelong interest in genetics and coat color inheritance in dogs. As an undergrad at the University of Tulsa, she studied genetics while pursuing her BS in psychology. On occasion, she writes articles for publication on coat color inheritance.



gene has not been located and a genetic test does not exist to con- firm whether or not a dog is a cryptic brindle. The brindle gene is recognized as a dominant gene since only one gene has to be inherited for the trait to be expressed. If a Frenchie inherits two brindle genes then it is said to be “pure for brindle,” with the genetic term being homozygous for brindle. Such dogs, regardless of the color or pattern of any mate, will only pro- duce brindle offspring—the only exception being that a completely white puppy could be produced providing both parents were able to contribute a gene for extreme piebald. Such a puppy would still inherit a brindle gene and would produce brindle puppies. Brindles that are able to produce masked fawns, fawns, and creams have inherited only one brindle gene, and will produce brindles 50% of the time if bred to a masked fawn, fawn, or cream. A cross of two heterozygous brindles will produce masked fawn, fawn or cream puppies 25 percent of the time. Finally, any time a brindle dog has both a brindle parent and a masked fawn, fawn or cream parent it will automatically be heterozygous for brindle. Knowing how brin- dle is inherited is advantageous to breeders who would like to be able to predict the anticipated colors/patterns of planned breedings. No article on brindle would be complete without a discussion of the phenomenon of brindle puppies born to two non-brindle par- ents. In the absence of a genetic test for brindle, there are two pos- sible explanations. The first explanation is that one of the parents is a cryptic brindle, which was previously discussed. The second requires that one of the parents be homozygous for restriction of pigment at the Extension Locus; such dogs would be recognized as a red fawn, fawn or cream dog and would be identical genetically to Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers and yellow Labs. The combination of two restriction of pigment genes is so powerful that it prevents the expression of any eumelanin (black pigment) in the coat—even if the dog has inherited a dominant black or brindle gene at the K Locus. We don’t tend to think that dominant black or brindle can be “hidden” by other genes, but this combination occurs in several breeds of dogs and can provide a big surprise if the dog is bred and produces completely unexpected colors/patterns. In genetic termi- nology, the two restriction of pigment genes are said to be epistatic to either the dominant black or brindle genes. While this explana- tion certainly is true for some breeds of dogs, I don’t think it is [true] for French Bulldogs very often due to the preference for brindle that would select against the restriction of pigment gene, and direct descent from Bulldogs that are virtually all masked fawns. Finally, I appeal to all fanciers to focus on our coat color vocabu- lary to facilitate communication between heritage breeders and to distinguish us from color breeders. Our standard still uses the his- toric words “mouse” and “liver,” which are not clear in their mean- ing and can easily be misinterpreted. My first suggestion that was previously mentioned is to use the adjectives “lightly” or “heavily” marked when describing the amount of brindling, instead of the terms reverse or black brindle. Secondly, when describing altera- tions in pigment that are a disqualification, use the genetic term “brown” instead of the common terms liver or chocolate and the term “dilute” instead of the common term blue. When speak- ing of dogs that are both dilute and brown, use the term Isabella instead of the common term lilac. You will be recognized as some- one who knows the genetic basis for coat color and patterns and will be instantly set apart from color breeders when you describe brindle dogs as “heavily marked brindle,” “heavily marked brown brindle,” “lightly marked Isabella brindle,” or “moderately marked dilute brindle.” Let’s leave the terms chocolate, blue, and lilac to color breeders and focus on aligning our vocabulary with the genes involved to establish a coat color vocabulary based on science.

Clearly, there are modifying genes that control how much black eumelanin brindling is extended over the body of the dog. In French Bulldogs, a darker appearance is preferred and is often referred to as “black brindle,” as opposed to “reverse” or “stripey” brindle. The problem is that these terms don’t necessarily mean the same thing in other breeds of dogs. A term such as “lightly marked” or “heavily marked” brindle is more understandable across the breeds of dogs in which the brindle pattern occurs. We now turn to how the black eumelanin of the brindle pattern can be affected by the dilute (blue) and brown (chocolate, liver) genes. The dilute and brown genes are recessive at their respective gene loci to the dominant gene for black pigment. The inheritance of one dilute or brown gene does not alter the appearance of the black pigment. However, if two dilute genes or two brown genes are inherited then the ability of the dog to produce black pigment anywhere on its body is prevented. These genes are so powerful that not only the black pigment in the coat is altered; the black pig- ment of the nose, lips, eye rims and pads is altered as well. In many breeds of dogs, those with brown or dilute pigment are called self- colored since the color of the nose and the color of the coat are the same. However, this generally refers to dogs that would otherwise be black. The brown and dilute genes also have the ability to lighten the coat color of fawn and cream dogs and, in the case of cream Frenchies, the nose color may be close to pink. When two brown genes and two dilute genes are inherited, the resulting color is called Isabella . Color breeders call this color “lilac” after the color found in Siamese cats that is caused by the same genes. Cream Frenchies with Isabella pigment will have a very noticeable lightening of the nose color, exceeding that of brown or dilute dogs, with masked fawn, fawn and brindle dogs also showing increased change in nose pigment. The gene for brindle is thought to be located on the K (blacK Locus). The gene considered to be the most dominant of the three genes found here is the gene for dominant black. Brindle is a step down in dominance, and dogs can inherit both a black gene and a brindle gene—it’s just that the brindle pattern cannot be seen in the black coat. Brindle markings can appear in the tan points of black and tan dogs, and color breeders call these dogs “trindles.” The recessive gene located at this locus is a gene for yellow. All dogs that are cream, fawn or black mask fawn are also homozygous for yellow at the K Locus. Regrettably, at this point in time the brindle




P icture Westminster 1896, the first year that the French Bulldog was exhib- ited at this show. The breed was such a hit that it was featured on the cover of the Westminster catalog the following year. At this debut show, French Bull- dogs with both bat ears and rose ears were shown. The judge from England only awarded dogs with rose ears as those were the preference in Europe at the time. The American exhibitors were infuriated and, shortly thereafter, formed the French Bull Dog Club of America which resulted in the original standard with bat ears as the only permissible ear. In my opinion, if the club was formed as a result of the shape and carriage of an ear then it is reasonable to assume that this is a very important hallmark of the French Bulldog breed. This article will go deeper into the hallmarks of this spe- cial breed, but first it is necessary to understand why this breed has become the AKC’s fourth most popular breed. The French Bulldog, or “Frenchie” as they are affectionally called, is an active, intel- ligent, muscular dog of heavy bone and smooth coat. [The breed is] compactly built, meaning closely and neatly packed together or dense and of medium or small struc- ture. Simply put, this is a big dog in a medium-to-small, compact body. The charm of Frenchies lies in their temperament, which can range from a total clown and goofball to stubborn and headstrong. The antics of this breed can have owners laughing all day or feeling frustrated due to their mischievous pranks and misdeeds, topped off with daily doses of “zoomies.” Then when you least expect it, they become loving snoozing lapdogs that will melt the heart of even the most cold-hearted person. Once you have been smitten and fallen in love with one, having a Frenchie is like eating potato chips... you can’t have just one! Now, let’s factor in the hallmarks of the breed. The French Bulldog has a square head. It is not just square; it is large and square. When looking at the head you can see a square created by the top of the skull, which is flat, down to the muscles of the cheeks, which are well-developed, to a broad muzzle that finishes with an underjaw that is deep, square (here we go again with square), broad (just mentioned that twice), undershot, and well turned up. It is important to note that undershot and well turned up are not synonymous with a reverse scissors bite. Wry mouths and any bites other than under- shot are serious faults. When exhibitors show judges the bite, it is essential that judges see a bite that is correct for the breed. While we continue to talk about the head, we cannot ignore those ears. As previ- ously stated, the ears are important and are what got the French Bulldog’s American story started. Bat ears are broad at the base, elongated, with round top, set high on the head but not too close together, and carried erect with the orifice to the front. Elongated generally suggests that something is unusually long in relation to the width. Please look for those beautiful ears when the dog is alert and on the ground. Can the ears be too big? Sure, balance is important. However, the bigger problem is small ears that some refer to as teddy bear ears or dorito chips. The ears must be large enough to balance the large square head described earlier.



The final hallmark is the roach back, which per the breed stan- dard is further described as having a slight fall close behind the shoulders, gradually rising to the loin which is higher than the shoulder, and rounding at the croup. The important parts of that description are the words gradually and rising to the loin . Not before, not after, but rising to the loin is key. Rounding at the croup with a short, hung low, thick root and fine tip tail carried low in repose finishes a beautiful topline. As a judge, once the dogs with the strongest type have been iden- tified, there is an additional element that should always be consid- ered. This would be movement. Anyone can hand stack a dog on the ground or on the table to deliver a nice overall picture. Short- comings and faults will be revealed when gaiting. The French Bull- dog should four-track with the front tracking wider than the rear because the dog is broader at the shoulders and is tapering toward the rear. The dog should have reach and drive and be unrestrained, free, and vigorous while holding the hallmark topline described as a roach back. A dog should be sound, both in type and in movement. All of this must be accomplished while not exceeding 28 pounds. When in question, we ask that judges call for scales. Dogs over 28 pounds would be disqualified (DQ) from competition. For the record, all points of the breed are well distributed and bear good relation one to the other. The dog should never appear poorly pro- portioned. A bitch is described the same as a dog. However, we do not expect her to bear characteristics to the same degree. In the ring, a judge hopes to find and reward a muscular dog of heavy bone, with a large square head, bat ears and carrying a roach back while moving with reach and drive. What happens when you do not have all of it on one dog? The first step would be not to judge one part of the dog. Look for the most balanced dog and the one closest to the dog the standard describes. As a breeder, I ask myself, which dog would I choose first to be part of a breeding program because it possesses the most compelling breed type? Now that we have an image of this charming dog with clownlike behavior, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed. Result- ing from the popularity and charm of this breed as well as the price point, an inevitable problem has evolved that needs to be faced and overcome: people have become attracted to breeding them for the wrong reasons.

Registrations of French Bulldogs have increased from 1,513 in 2000, to 7,145 in 2010, and 41,042 in 2019. These increases are not representative of preservation breeders, but rather those looking to sell these popular dogs with little regard to anything other than financial gain. Shortcuts are taken in order to turn a higher profit without health testing, and with no regard for the AKC standard. Masses have taken to the breeding of DQ colors such as blue, blue fawn, liver, lilac, platinum, blue & tan and black & tan. We also see DQ patterns such as merle, and even long-coated and hairless Frenchies. These dogs are referred to as “rare” and are priced at exorbitant amounts. Not helping the situation, celebrities are pur- chasing and posting pictures with DQ colored or marked dogs on social media. We have great concern for the health and longevity of these dogs. The Parent Club (FBDCA) is heavily focused on preserving, protecting, and promoting our beloved breed. Everyone must do their part to protect the purebred French Bulldog. The ongoing promotion of the overpriced fad colors, patterns or long coated dogs being called Frenchies needs to be stopped. These are not French Bulldogs and are not purebred. Judges, when in question, pay close attention to the eye and nose color and refer to the color section of the French Bulldog AKC stan- dard. Typically, a DQ colored dog will not have a black nose or a dark eye. The dog community should refer inquiries to French Bull- dog breeders whom you know and trust are preserving the breed. People looking for a French Bulldog can also be sent to the French Bull Dog Club of America ( ) website where a breeder referral page exists, giving puppy buyers the ability to con- nect with preservation breeders. In addition, the FBDCA monitors the AKC marketplace for color breeders and other non-members claiming to be club members in order to gain preferential placement on the list of ads. These little clowns will see much brighter days with ongoing education and exposure of the public to correctly bred dogs. With each person that is steered away from non-preservation breeders, progress is made. We should be able to proudly say French Bulldogs are the fourth most popular AKC breed because we have the best interest of our potato chips in mind, meaning our beloved dogs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gus Sinibaldi has been showing and breeding Bulldogs and French Bulldogs since 1997. He is a French Bulldog Breeder of Merit and FBDCA club approved mentor. Gus has bred multiple Best in Show winners, multiple Reserve Best in Show, multiple Group winners and Specialty show winners. He is currently working on completing his judging of the Non-Sporting Group and also judges some Toy and Terrier breeds.





COMPROMISES, CHALLENGES, CHOICES C stimulating to one engaged in it. Life is full of compromises, choices, and challenges, wheth- er you are a judge, an exhibitor or a breeder. All three go hand in hand especially when it comes to the wonderful world of French Bulldogs. We as judges and breeders need to understand and be able to define type within each breed to excel at both and be successful. One great compliment to receive as a judge is, “You judge as if you were a breeder”. If I can identify the three hallmarks of a breed I feel blessed. The standard is a blueprint we are given to follow to try and achieve perfection; each breed has one and is its holy grail. One sentence I find speaks for generations is to “put a dog on a fence in ompromise: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. Choice: an act or instance of choosing, a selection. Challenges: difficulty in a job or undertaking that is

the moonlight and you should know what breed it is”. What truer words could be spoken, and they remain timeless. In silhouette you can see the essence of the breed quickly, and as they move around you can follow the smooth symphony of “S” curves that make a French Bulldog what it is, and sets it apart from all other breeds. We are unique as a breed and have many challengers from both the place of a breeder and a judge. So many times I hear negative comments for judges not understanding or applying the basic fun- damentals during their judging process. One must remember that a judge has an average of two minutes to asses a dogs virtues in each exhibit. A judge’s priorities may be different from the exhibitors. As a breeder we also have our blueprint, but so much will be defined by how we interpret that standard, and then how we apply that to the decisions, compromises and challengers we will be faced with. You might say that is not a correct statement, but it is indeed. Even though we might purchase or have breed what we consider to be the “perfect example”, that does not always hold true. Breeding is

“‘You judge as if you were a breeder’... IF I CAN IDENTIFY THE THREE HALLMARKS OF A BREED I FEEL BLESSED.”


“A QDQDOog\,oIWeQXseZKeQ,ȪQGsomeoQe not grasping our toplines is the following... ‘HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT A FLAT BACKED BEDLINGTON TERRIER?’ TheOLgKWEXOEmomeQWLsWKeQDSSDreQW.Į

Head —Bat ears. Nothing out of bal- ance, square head, good upturn, dark eye. Expression. Movement —When you have a specific body shape, broad front with heavy bone, not too tall not too short, we are not a Bull- dog or a Boston Terrier. Our shape will dic- tate how we move: four tracking, free and vigorous, with reach and drive. As breeders and judges we face chal- lenges that we must work with and around. We must be proactive to promote and pro- tect our beloved breeds that we hold close to our hearts. Each of us holds separate abilities in both breeding and judging. One thing we must not forget is we are all teachers and students, as we never stop learning and we need to always reach out and educate. I remember before I started to judge I asked Mrs. Anne Rogers Clark for some words of wisdom that I could use in my new venture. She said to me “Don’t leave your common sense at home.” Words I hold close and realize, that they are interchangeable with judging, exhibiting and breeding.

a slow process and keeping that in mind of where do we cut our losses, or do we decide to breed with our hearts or our heads. It is a dangerous distinction to hold. We hold judge’s decisions on such a high and now very public stand that Social Media has accelerated both praise and criti- cism on that final point or nod. We are too fast to criticize especially not knowing or understanding what compromises ones pri- orities a judge may have made. We would think that with a Standard it would be easy, but not always. Stand in the shoes of a judge for a day and I think you might have a new respect for the quick and thorough deci- sions one must make, especially when it is not a breed they have possibly spent each waking minute with over many years. That is what a breeder judge and exhibitor brings to the table, or so I would hope. I stand in all three places, I am in the whelping box, in the ring as an exhibitor and as a judge. We pick the best of what we have each time! In the whelping box I choose what I hope to be the best dog to represent my breed, I will then show what I consider

to be the best dog for the day and as a judge I hope to pick the best dog on the day that will be exhibited to me. In all three situations we are faced with compromises, choices and challenges. Without type what do we have? Type is truly the soul; no type, no soul. When a breed is as popular as the French Bulldog you see quality and type to be very varying so our job as a judge can become compli- cated and filled with compromises. Remember these three things and you will succeed. Silhouette —outline. Ours is very unique and specific. Remember, on a fence in the moonlight, what do you see? You can see it all here. Topline, head in profile, but most important, balance. An analogy I often use when I find someone not grasp- ing our top lines is the following “How would you feel about a flat backed Bedling- ton Terrier? The light bulb moment is then apparent. Of course we are not close to the extremes of a Bedlingtons topline, but it is a visual to help understand the importance of the correct outline. No topline, no Frenchie !



1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? 2. How many years in the Frenchie, Showing, Breeding, Judging? 3. What in your opinion is the secret to a successful breeding program? 4. What do you feel is the condition of the Frenchie breed today? Pros and Cons? 5. What do you feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the quality of the Frenchie? 6. The enormous popularity of the Frenchie has it now ranked at #4 out of all AKC breeds. Does this help or hurt in the long run? 7. Worldwide Brachycephalic breeds are getting a bad rap. How do you think that will affect future developments? 8. What is your favorite Dog Show Memory? 9. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. DIANE BURVEE

breeders and is a challenge for judges. The French Bulldog is a head and silhouette breed, but to find truly beautiful headpieces with that soft, sweet expression or silhouette with the correct proportion, angles, bone, and lines or curves is not easy. They usually have one component but lack in other area so to find all in a whole pack- age is a rare find. The pro’s are the correct size we are seeing with not as many big rangy dogs or stuffy dwarfy ones though they still exist in the ring, better breathers, slightly better boning and good sprig of ribs. On the other hand, con’s, or rather I’d like to call them the areas of opportunities that need work are: correct topline (more roach does not make a topline better as topline needs to blend in with the rest to produce a harmonious whole picture with the correct rise above the loin and fall to a low tailset), rear angula- tion (with thick muscular second thigh), beautiful neck of correct strength/length to facilitate good breathing, and also the basic over- all proportion with the correct balance in bone, angles and sub- stance (as we are seeing dogs that are too stuffy/bully and vice-versa plus too low or high on legs). And believe it or not, as someone who is a self-proclaimed ‘head hunter,’ there aren’t that many truly beautiful correct square head with soft expression, ample fill and luxurious cushioning as most we see in the rings are mostly heads lacking in beautiful facial features or wedge-shaped apple heads or huge overdone watermelon heads that seem to impress those who don’t really know. Let’s remember balance is key and too much of something often takes away from the overall symmetry of balance and style of the whole picture. What I feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the qual- ity of the Frenchie? • Heads and expression—I believe the French Bulldog is a ‘head breed,’ and while some might say you can improve head in one generation, then why are we not seeing more truly beautiful and correct square heads in the ring and whelping box? Most of the headpieces are just plain or blank and as a breed, we can do better! • Hindquarters/Rear—this is the breed’s Achilles’ Heel with too many unsound and straight rears lacking angles, thick second thigh mass and well letdown short hocks. Often they also come with luxating patella which is usually the explana- tion why some dogs hop and skip in the ring. • Bat Ears—bear in mind this is a hallmark of the breed, and most of the ears are just lacking the truly correct set, height and round-scalloped finish the Danish and Scandinavian dogs are well-known for. • Overall Proportion—remember just to get the correct balance of legs, bone, substance, shape and angles is the basic fundamental and not easy! Hence, we are seeing dogs too stuffy with no neck, lower front legs and on the other spectrum, dogs that are too thin-boned, lanky and needing substance. What we want is the happy medium with no exag- geration of any one single component. • Topline—It is actually the whole outline that both judges and breeders alike should focus on, and not just the topline. But the topline remains the elusive trait for so many to grasp and achieve. A correct topline should not be exaggerated, it should blend in with the rest of the outline with highest point (the rise) being above the middle of the loin, not the middle of the back and a nice fall (croup) to a lowset tail. Camel back, low at the shoulder, high in the rear, sway back are not correct.

I reside in Kansas City, and ‘outside’ of dogs, I enjoy traveling, reading, trying dif- ferent ethnic cuisine, communiversity class- es for enrichment and volunteer work. I’ve been active in the dog fancy in America over 26 years. My first breed was the Afghan Hound, then the Pekingese and now, the French Bull- dog. My first home- bred Frenchie litter is

almost ten, so I been involved in the breed in some capacity for more than a dozen years, and judging them both here and abroad for an approximate same period of time. I breed on a very limited basis as I don’t believe in breeding for just the sake of breeding and there have been years I did not breed any litters. It averages out to be a litter every 12-18 months for the past decade. Without a doubt, bitches are the one essential key ingredient to any successful breeding program. And with that, I mean truly well-bred bitches with top pedigree and family of dogs that are known for producing type, quality and consistency. Other neces- sary supporting necessities are good mentorship, a keen eye for type, basic animal husbandry/structure/genetics knowledge, good hon- est and open ongoing relationship with breeders whose dogs/lines you work with, and the ability to combat the tendency of kennel- blindness. We must always remember that bitches are the backbone of the breed, and no real breeders can be successful without a solid tail bitch line that can consistently produce the goods we all strive to achieve. The current condition of the Frenchie breed is ‘a bit of a mixed bag.’ I believe we have come a long way in terms of available health testing, and with the advancement of veterinary medicine, almost all Brachycephalic symptoms have become somewhat much more manageable. The lack of homogeneity must be a concern for


French Bulldog Q& A


What I feel the condition of the the Frenchie breed is today? Cons are definitely that the breed is now fourth in AKC registra- tions (and the number one breed in the UK). We don’t have accu- rate statistics from the AKC but many, many of the Frenchie being bred today are a disqualification color/pattern. Pros: a well bred, healthy French Bulldog is a wonderful companion and the dog’s size makes it ideal for people of all ages. Breeders need to concentrate on making sure that before they only use a dog for breeding that they have passed health clearances for knees, eyes, backs, heart, cystinuria and hips. French Bulldogs can and should be very healthy. Breeders need to promote their commitment to breeding healthy dogs as well as dogs that conform to the breed standard. Does popularity help or hurt in the long run? I think this is defi- nitely not helping as many of these French Bulldogs are being bred by people who are only interested in making money and breed dogs of the DQ colors/patterns and don’t do all the health clearances that are recommended for French Bulldogs. Puppy buyers spend a lot for these Frenchies and have high expectations. They aren’t mentored well by these breeders and because they have spent megabucks for their puppy think it’s fine to breed them etc, some even enter them in dog shows and are disappointed when the dog is DQ’d Many vets are very negative about French Bulldog health. They fail to appreciate that as health care professionals, people rarely bring healthy Frenchies for vet care—except for annual shots, HW test and health clearances—people bring sick dogs for help. Brachycephalic breeds are getting a bad rep. How I think that will affect the future? If responsible breeders promote their commit- ment to breeding healthy, correct French Bulldogs, this bad reputa- tion can be corrected. Many French Bulldog owners say they do health clearances, but don’t take the trouble to register these results with organizations like the OFA. If more owners did this, there would be more appreciation of how healthy French Bulldogs are and better statistics could be generated about the incidence of patella problems, hip dysplasia, cystinuria etc. in the breed. My favorite dog show memories are of judging the French Bull- dog National. It was such a thrill having the opportunity to judge so many dogs of superior quality at one time. French Bulldogs are wonderful companions and many excel and enjoy performance events. We should celebrate those French Bull- dogs that are healthy and talented. GUS SINIBALDI Gus Sinibaldi is

• Nostrils—we should be able to see some nostrils and not just a little slit. If a dog can’t breathe, it can’t function properly. Does popularity help or hurt in the long run? While the pub- licity has helped generate a lot of interest in the breed, it has also hurt the breed in many ways. Many enterprising opportunists are capitalizing on this increased popularity to jump on the bandwagon to make some big money. And this is not just limited to color breed- ers or puppy mills, as even some of our well-known breeders are tarnishing the reputation of the breed by selling sub-standard and unhealthy dogs to China and Latin America for big bucks! I sup- pose that explains why when they can’t breed any dogs of their own good enough to campaign, it is an easy shortcut to import some ran- dom dog from overseas with no type, no pedigree and shady color to show, win, and be in the winning circle so they can command big prices for their dogs and stud fees. Litters are indiscriminately bred with no real thought process put into it and the breed is sadly bastardized by so many. Worldwide, brachycephalic breeds are getting a bad reputation. How do you think that will affect the future? In some countries, they are promoting longer noses, bigger nostrils, more muzzles and less exaggerations to compensate for some of these flat-faced breeds’ disorders. While health is of utmost importance as it is not use hav- ing beautiful unhealthy dogs, we must also not lose breed type in the process. I think it is a tricky balancing act and as breeders and judges, we must do our part by looking for good breathers, open nostrils, correct unexaggerated topline and such. My favorite dog show memory? I have so many as I just love the ambience and camaraderie of the dog shows, especially the high profile events such as World Show, Crufts, Westminster, etc. Some of my favorite memories have always been seeing a dog so extraordi- nary in any breed that it just makes my heart skip a beat and leaves me breathless. We need to focus on the positives: the Frenchie is not an easy breed to breed nor judge. In fact, it is one of the most difficult breeds. But nothing worthwhile having comes easy! There are good judges who enjoy/understand the breed and actually judge dogs without getting influenced by politics, advertising or handlers. There are good ethical honest Frenchie people that actually care, that actually want to better the breed and are not in it just for their self-glory or money. And there are actually some beautiful good dogs/bitches and clever breeders out there so don’t give up when the going gets tough as the French Bulldog is indeed a very unique and special breed with lots of charm and character to captivate any! Viva Frenchies! VIRGINIA ROWLAND I’m currently a member of the FBDCA Judges Education Com- mittee and am show chair of the FBDCA specialties held in asso- ciation with the New York Metro Specialties in New York City, the Saturday and Sunday before Westminster. I previously served as FBDCA President for four years. I am currently President of the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Clubs and on the board of the Ladies’ Dog Club. I live in Templeton, Massachusetts. I am retired, most of what I do has some connection to dogs. I have judged Frenchies for 20 years, I’ve been active in showing them for 30 years and I breed an occasional litter. The secret to a successful breeding program is a thorough understanding of the breed standard, a respect for published health clearances and knowledge of pedigrees.

an AKC judge who started in Bulldogs over 20 years ago. He says he then down- sized to French Bull- dogs in 2000. He has bred multiple Best in Show, Reserve Best in Show and Specialty show winners. He currently judges eight breeds and is continu- ing his passion for purebred dogs. We moved to Char- lotte, North Carolina


French Bulldog Q& A

“French Bulldogs can be found competing in conformation, obedience, agility, rally, tracking, scent ƆorĨ, ƞeld events and earning civic achievements.ǜ

almost four years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The dogs are loving the cooler weather and we are loving the change of seasons. Outside of the dogs, I have worked for a major financial institu- tion for 31 years. I am grateful for the leadership development my company has provided which has benefitted me as I participate in various breed clubs. Overall I find the quality of purebred dogs to be good. This quality is supported by responsible breeding and by the love and preservation of exhibitors and breeders. While the depth of quality is not always evident, there are times when the quality is in abun- dance, which makes judging and exhibiting, really exciting. My biggest concern today would be the misperception of brachy- cephalic breeds. With responsible breeding and health testing we produce active and healthy dogs that live well beyond what may be written in reference materials. French Bulldogs can be found com- peting in conformation, obedience, agility, rally, tracking, scent work, field events and earning civic achievements. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems facing breeders would be the ongoing legislation. This impacts the ability for responsible breeders to continue to build upon their programs. This could fuel the efforts of non-responsible breeders thus diluting the quality and health of our beloved breeds. A big thank you to all the fanciers who work diligently to protect the rights and voice of breeders. More specifically in French Bulldogs we face non-standard color and coat breeders. This requires us to continue to protect and preserve purebred dogs. The advice I have for new breeders is to be patient, continue to work with mentors that you can trust, and to make good well thought out long term decisions that preserve the health of your breed. I ask that you understand any specific issues your breed is facing and to be part of the solution and not the problem. Please do not operate in the moment. Breeding healthy and good representa- tives of your breed takes time. It is a marathon and not a sprint. To new judges and those with regular status my advice would be to stay connected to your mentors and be sure to have more than one. Diversity of thought is a good thing providing you different points of view. Remember, breed specific standards can change. It is important to get in front of those changes. I recommend that you always consider the whole dog and look for balance. Understand the hallmarks of any breed you judge and do not get caught up on parts. And finally, create a good experience for the exhibitor. Be thorough and give everyone a good look and exam with a smile and remember to always point to the best dog. The most common fault I see is less about the dog and more about the exhibitor or breeder. Before ever thinking the system is against you, read your standard on a regular basis, and be sure that you too are evaluating the whole dog. When a judge looks at the entire package, they could be forgiving of a fault. If you want to lodge a complaint, speak to the AKC rep objectively and write to AKC Judges Operations. Complaining about something through social media or by bending your friend’s ear, may make you feel better, but does not change results. My other advice is to remember to have fun, make new friends, support newcomers to your breed, be kind to one another, and to genuinely congratulate when other

exhibitors win. As they often say, it is a dog show and you will win some and lose some. The biggest problem at dog shows is when you stop having fun. Year’s ago I was bringing out new puppies and excited to attend a particular show. I packed the RV, bathed and groomed all the dogs and arrived early to the show grounds. Things didn’t appear right, as I was the only vehicle at the event. Could they have changed locations? Good thing the location did not change, however the event was scheduled for the following week. People know that I am typically early for everything. This might have been a bit extreme. LUIS SOSA & PATRICIA SOSA

Luis Sosa grew up with Standard Smooth Dachshunds, which his father worked in tracking and field in Cuba in the 1950s. Luis obtained his first Miniature Longhaired Dachshund in 1972 out of English bloodlines. He met Paul Tolliver (Taunuswald) in the mid 1970s and co-bred with Paul until his death in 1992. Luis obtained his first French Bulldog in 1975, and for the past 27 years, he has bred French Bulldogs, with his wife Patty under the Bandog prefix. In addition to Frenchies and Dachshunds, Luis has also co-bred Champion Bullmastiffs, Afghan Hounds and a Mul- tiple Best in Show winning Standard Poodle (20 BIS). He is a former President of the Bayou Dachshund Club of New Orleans, a member and former Vice-President, and Judge’s Educa- tion Committee of the French Bulldog Club of America, and Presi- dent and AKC Delegate of the Louisiana Kennel Club. He is also a member of the Morris & Essex Kennel Club, the Dachshund Club of America, the Bulldog Club of America, the Boston Terrier Club of America and the American Bullmastiff Association. Luis has judged the Morris & Essex Kennel Club, Inc. in 2010 and 2015, the Xoloitzquintli Club of America National Specialty 2015, the French Bulldog Club of America National Specialty 2014, the Boston Ter- rier Club de Alemania in 2012, the Dachshund Club of America Host Club shows in 2006 (smooths), 2010 (longs), 2018 (wires) Patty Sosa obtained her first Bullmastiff at age seven as a pet in New York. Since that time, she has bred, owned and showed Bullmastiffs under the Bandog prefix. Bandog under Patty’s


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