Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

WITH DIANE BURVEE, JAMES D VIRGINIA ROWLAND, LUIS & PA

ALTON, ANNE HIER, LORI HUN

T, DVM,

TRICIA SOSA, ROBIN STANSEL

L & MARY WALSH

such as to hunt and to retrieve 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 paddling 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 function and intent of the breed. The Frenchie is a moderate breed, and that includes its move- ment, so a Frenchie that can reach and drive extensively like a German Shepherd or a Sporting is very atypical in actuality. JD: It is important as part of my overall evaluation of the dog and I pay attention to outline and balance on the move (coming from Afghans, I love good movement), but for me it is not the most important thing. Type is the most important attribute for me in any breed because without breed type you have nothing. AH: It is extremely important as it is the culmination of all the working parts of the animal. Soundness and type are not mutually exclusive. LH: As a veterinarian, it is very important as a well-made dog moves well; however, I consider the whole dog in my decisions. L&PS: Gait is very important. The standard is very specific: correct gait is double tracking with reach and drive, the action is unrestrained, free and vigorous. Double tracking in the Frenchie is different from “double tracking” in other breeds. Since the Frenchie is a pear-shaped breed, in a mature dog the front legs will make a wider set of tracks, and the hind legs will make a narrower one. Hence “double tracking.” You should be able to see the rear legs inside the front when the dog is moving towards you, in a mature dog. I say a “mature” dog because young Frenchies tend to be slow to develop the pear shape until their chest drops and their front widens. This may not fully develop until the dog is two or three years old. On side gait, you see the epitome of breed type—the topline that makes a Frenchie unique. A Frenchie has to be able to walk for us to consider it in Breed or Group competition. RS: One should “examine on the table, but buy on the ground.” Gait demonstrates the correct functions of the individual parts that you have examined. MW: Gait is very important in my evaluation of the dog as one can see how all the parts fit and allow the dog to move freely. Soundness is essential for all breeds and poor Frenchie movement is not acceptable. They are supposed to be athletic and agile and move with reach and drive. 2. What is your opinion of the current quality of pure- bred dogs in general, and your breed in particular? VR: I think in general from what I can see, the quality of purebred dogs is very good and breeders are more committed than ever to breeding healthy puppies with

temperaments appropriate for the breed. French Bulldogs now rank 6th in AKC registration. They have become very popular and very expensive. We have a lot of wonderful, committed, ethical French Bulldog breeders who breed healthy puppies to the standard, but there is also a huge industry involving breeding the so-called rare or exotic (coat and eye) colors—that are not rare or exotic, but are colors that are either described in the standard as disqualifications like mouse/blue, liver, black and tan or some so newly created like merle coat color or blue or green eyes that they aren’t described in the standard—even though they may be registered with the AKC. (Merle is not a French Bulldog color, so these merle puppies have to be mixes.) Frenchies should not have green eyes or one blue eye and one brown eye. Typically, the breeders of the rare/exotic colors charge much more for these puppies than puppies that are a correct color or pattern. It is very hard to educate the public that buying a puppy that is a DQ or incorrect coat color or has unusual eyes is not a good idea, because there are health issues frequently associated with these colors. The problem has become so serious that the French Bulldog Club of Amer- ica is in the process of revising the standard to make it very clear to judges and fanciers what the approved coat and eye colors are. 3. Do you tend to favor Frenchies that are more “Bulldog-like” or “Terrier-like” in style? DB: I want the happy-medium in a moderate Frenchie, so I neither favor a “Bully” Frenchie, nor a “Terrier-like” one. Both are equally as 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 propor- tion, 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 difficult things to accomplish as a Frenchie breeder. JD: While I have to wonder if this question is serious, unfortunately I have had some aspiring judges actually ask this question! It is a French Bulldog, not a French Terrier—so anything resembling “Terrier” in style is completely incorrect in my opinion and should be judged accordingly. AH: Neither. I tend to favor French Bulldogs that display specific French Bulldog type, which should not be in reference to any other breed. This issue was settled in 1910 at the FBDCA national specialty when Ch. Gamin was selected as BOB over a bitch, Salvolatille, who came by her Bulldog type naturally as her dam was a Bulldog. She was later disqualified. Gamin is considered the “father” of French Bulldog type. The breed standard sec- tion on Proportion and Symmetry clearly cautions against exaggeration in either direction. If it looks like a Bulldog or a generic Terrier—whatever that might be—it is not a correct French Bulldog.

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2017 • 215

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