Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

WITH DIANE BURVEE, JAMES DALTON, ANNE HIER, LO VIRGINIA ROWLAND, LUIS & PATRICIA SOSA, ROBIN ST

RI HUNT, DVM,

ANSELL & MARY WALSH

LH: Neither. Neither is technically correct. L&PS: Judges need to remember that the Frenchie is not “a little Bulldog.” Yes, they were originally developed from Toy Bulldogs (with the infusion of other breeds—includ- ing some Terriers), hence you find characteristics of each in the Frenchie. Everything about the Frenchie standard is moderation, and that is moderation in comparison to the Bulldog. The correct Frenchie will fall between these two extremes. RS: There is one breed standard and neither “Bulldog” nor “Terrier” is mentioned there. MW: I favor those of the Bulldog style as they are smaller versions of the original British Bulldog type refined over the years to the smaller present day Frenchie. 4. How much importance do you give to ear size, shape and set? DB: I place a tremendous amount of importance on ear size, shape and set and judges who don’t are missing the point! The quintessential bat-ear is one of the breed’s hallmarks and a dog without the proper bat-ear should technically be disqualified, as per our standard. 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 scalloped shape on top with a velvety finish. The Danish dogs have, unequivocally, the best ears. JD: It is very important to me as the correct ear size and shape is a hallmark of the breed and really completes the head and expression. Today we are seeing too many small, pointed, low set ears in the breed ring which gives the dog a sad, incorrect expression like someone just hit it on the head with a frying pan! AH: The unique bat ear was the reason the breed came into existence. And, the fact that “other than bat ears is a disqualification,” makes this feature is of primary importance. LH: It is weighted in with many things. I believe the ear should be large, rounded at the top and set high, at 11 and 1 o’clock, so to speak. L&PS: For me, the ear is important mostly to the effect that it needs to be a bat ear as anything else disquali- fies. I look for an erect ear that is broad at the base and rounded at the top, set high on the head but not too close together. I’m not overly picky as to how “rounded” at the top or how “large” as long as it is in balance with the dog. I’m more particular about the set, remembering that the ears should not point straight up, but rather be slightly out at 11 and 1 o’clock. Do not evaluate ears on the table. Frenchies have very expressive ears that will move all over. Don’t be fooled by ears that are always tight and straight up. It may look good on the table, but it can also take your eye away from head and topline faults. We would much rather have a smaller ear, than an overly large donkey-like ear. Different lines have slightly different ear sizes and shapes as well as European dogs

have different ear shapes from the American dogs. Don’t get hung up on ears, we have much bigger problems in the breed. MW: The bat ear of the Frenchie is an essential breed charac- teristic. Correctly shaped and placed ears are the “crown- ing glory” to a large and square headpiece. Ears other than bat ears are a disqualification. They should be set on high, but not too close together. I always remember that “ten and two will not do” in regard to ear set. 5. How important is the topline in your evaluation? DB: Topline is important, as it is part of the essential silhou- ette 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 exaggerated 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? JD: The topline is very important both standing and on the move as it defines the silhouette of the French Bulldog. I find that when mentoring judges, too many do not under- stand the correct placement and degree of the roach, or rise, over the loin, which is interesting because silhou- ette is so important and easy to see in this breed. AH: I find this distinctive breed feature is too often ignored by judges and breeders alike. The standard says, “roach back.” I hear too many people claim there is only a “slight rise” to the loins. While there is a slight fall close behind the shoulders, there is nothing “slight” about a roach back. I see too many dead level toplines, or worse, toplines that slope down from withers to tail. LH: For me, silhouette is incredibly important and topline is a huge part of that. L&PS: It’s quite simple: no topline, no Frenchie. The topline is one of the defining characteristics of the breed. It defines the outline, but is also one of the most difficult characteristics of the Frenchie to breed. This difficulty and the fact that our standard is not very specific “a roach back with a slight fall close behind the shoulders” is probably the reason we find such a plethora of differ- ing toplines in the ring. The Bulldog standard goes into great detail describing the correct topline. This descrip- tion of the Bulldog topline I feel is equally applicable to the Frenchie.

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

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