FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: FRENCH BULLDOGS by SHARON DYKES
T he follow are a series of ques- tions that I’m often asked by breeders and judges, along with my usual answers. Q: What do you feel is the most important trait when judging the French Bulldog? A: All of them! Q: Would you say the French Bulldog is a head breed? A: Yes; and a silhouette breed, a breed that moves correctly, has muscle and bone, is under 28 lbs., exhibits bal- ance and has an undershot jaw, bat ears, deep chest, roach back and tuck up. Q: What trait do you feel is lack- ing today in the show ring? A: Most dogs are usually lacking something; so as a group in your ring, probably most of them. I’m not being flippant; I sincerely believe that to encourage emphasis on one trait over another is dangerous to our breed. The standard of the breed depicts a whole dog, not parts. The sum of all the parts is French Bulldog type. The word standard means: normal, typical, usual, regular and customary. It’s not a quixotic fantasy to process or labor to attain. It is however, impera- tive that the standard of a breed be read, accepted, bred to and judged as a whole. It is the only way to have a standard dog. When breeders or judges focus on one trait to the exclusion of the oth- ers we attain breed types, not breed type. The show ring begins to exhibit an identity crisis within the breed. As a judge we see tall, short, long, cobby, various ear sets, muzzle types, top lines and tail sets, etc.
“THE SUM OF ALL THE PARTS IS FRENCH BULLDOG TYPE.”
When a judge or a breeder focuses on one trait, he/she can easily move away from “standard”. A French Bulldog that has a large, square head, but lacks correct ears, correct topline, moves incorrectly and has a bad temperament etc. is not a standard dog. As Judges, when a handler, breeder or an instructor states, “We are losing topline in our breed”, the tendency is to want to help fix it. To do so, more emphasis is placed on topline at future assignments. However, a French Bull- dog with a correct topline that has a pinhead, is long and low with ears set at 3 and 9 o’clock is not a standard French Bulldog. The best way to help is to judge the whole dog by the whole stan- dard. Toplines need to be fixed in the whelping box. Currently the French Bulldog Club of America is undergoing a Standard revision to better identify Breed type. One area of grave concern to our mem- bers is the issue of “rare” colors. Rare color breeders have become extremely brazen, even walking into the show ring in an effort to validate their breeding programs. These “rare” colors are disqualifications; they have no place in an AKC event. They should be DQ’d as soon as they walk into the ring. When I check armband numbers, I check DQs at the same time. I will not give them time to take pictures of their dog on table or gaiting while being judged by me, to be placed all over social media and their website!
These people care only about color; they do not worry about conformation. Breed type is sacrificed for particular colors; the more “rare” the better. A cruise through social media sites will show you very long noses, poor ear placements (including button ears, rosed ears, etc.), very tall rangy dogs, very long dogs, dogs exhibiting a seri- ous lack of bone or extreme bone and dogs that are advertised as “Toy” to dogs running 35 to 40 lbs. There are color patterns that are not even in our genetic base like meryl. They had to go to another breed to get this color pat- tern. They not only bring back the col- or gene; they bring back health issues within that breed. They do not care about our gene pool, only the price they can get for a “rare” pup. Additionally, our rescues are overrun with the health issues caused by their greed. I bring color breeders up because they are a highly visible example of what can happen to a breed when one trait is emphasized over others. Howev- er, the issue is not limited to color. So whether you breed, buy and show or judge, please evaluate the dog as a
whole by the whole standard. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Dykes is an AKC Breeder of Merit, an AKC Judge, serves on the Board of Directors for FBDCA, is cur- rently a Club approved Mentor and Presenter and Chairs the Public and Member Education Committee.
228 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2017
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