Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

RS: The characteristic roached topline and bat ears are defining characteristics of the breed. MW: The Frenchie topline is extremely important in my evaluation. A correctly placed roach back is a key type point and essential for a correct outline. Sometimes when I have evaluated a dog on the table I might feel that they don’t have enough of a roach. Just moving the dog on a loose lead and evaluating them from the side will quickly prove the presence or absence of the roach. 6. Do you feel there is a color preference? AH: There is no color preference in the standard. But under some judges it would seem a mediocre cream can always beat a superior brindle. This is happening less and less, however, as there have been some superior brindles win- ning at the shows in the past few years. Unfortunately, some judges can’t seem to distinguish dogs with color and nose DQs and put them through. For example, a black masked fawn has to have a black nose, not one that is putty colored or blue. LH: No, I do not think there is a preference. I do however think many judges and breeders have difficulty seeing through color, as markings and light vs. dark can create illusions. L&PS: As long as the dog is not of a disqualifying color, all colors/patterns should be judged equally and as though the breed were colorless. That being said, I feel some judges favor creams; while others favor brindles. As an example, we have over 400 Group Firsts on our creams and only one Group First on our Brindles. So although it could be said that we are known for our creams, most of the dogs in our kennel right now are brindles or brindle- pieds. Many judges will ignore a very dark dog for fear of rewarding a dog without a trace of brindle, which disqualifies. When in doubt ask the handler to “show me the brindle.” RS: I have no preference among the allowed colors. I am violently opposed to any of the so-called “designer” colors. The French Bulldog Club of America appointed a standard revision committee to close any loopholes that could allow these plots in the ring. MW: In regard to color preference, the standard is very clear as to acceptable colors. No one color is favored over another. On the other hand, breeders and individu- als may have their own personal preference. When I first started in Frenchies, creams were very popular and now there seems to be an abundance of lovely brindles. I personally think that the overall quality in pied Frenchies has greatly improved so that they are very competitive in breed competition. 7. What do you see as the biggest challenge in judging the breed? JD: The biggest challenge in judging the breed for most judges is the wide variety of type and quality—or lack thereof—that can currently be seen at any all breed show every weekend. Very often it is difficult to find a quality animal even in a major entry with the excep- tion of specialty shows where there are usually better

dogs to choose from. This is why the FBDCA Regional and National Specialties are a must for everyone—from the aspiring fancier to the seasoned fancier to any judge of the breed. It is, without a doubt, the most important weekend on the French Bulldog show calendar. AH: Though this is not true at specialties, one finds a lot of poor quality heads (nosey, narrow muzzles, down-face, jumbled teeth, reverse scissors—instead of properly undershot—lacking turn up, wry jaws) and lack of seri- ous attention to breed-specific details such as a broad chest, well-rounded ribs and toplines). LH: I think many judges and breeders are unclear what a proper topline is; where it should start and how it should finish. L&PS: For me it is sorting through a total variance (or lack) of type with very few complete, balanced dogs. Many exhibits may show quality in a specific area: great head, great topline, great bone and great legs. Unfortunately for a very popular breed, we see very few great Frenchies. With a standard that is not very specific, I think you have to be somewhat of an artist. You take a chunk of clay and you mold it to make the elements: topline, heavy- yet moderate-bone, give room for the pear shape in the body and the large square head with bat ears; all staying within the 28-pound weight limit. We have very specific, unique features that our breed must possess that make up the Frenchie type. When you find it, reward it! It is a very challenging breed. RS: Judging a class of mediocre dogs presents the greatest challenge! One must try to determine the dog with supe- rior qualities when none exist. There is no way to make a correct choice. MW: I suppose finding specimens that have the desired key type points and are balanced and sound. 8. What is the biggest concern you have about your breed? VR: First and foremost is coat and eye color. It is a huge concern because there are health issues associated. After that I would say it’s really important that breeders make sure that the dogs they use for breeding have passed the health clearances that the FBDCA recommends—hips, knees, eyes, heart and cystinuria; BAER testing is impor- tant too for all colors. The most common issues that I see in the breed as a judge are patella problems. MW: Breeders need to work to preserve correct head type particularly muzzles with correct layback and upturn of the lower jaw. Also, we need pay attention to outline ensuring balance and correct roach placement. 9. What aspect of the breed do you feel that breeders need to work to improve? AH: Kennel blindness. Too many today not only can’t rationally discuss their dog’s virtues and faults, they don’t want to. LH: As breeders, I challenge folks to really concentrating on good breathing and well as soundness. A show dog’s career is fleeting in comparison to its whole life. I appre- ciate a Frenchie that is “built to last” and can go around

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