Showsight Presents the French Bulldog




breed characteristics within the standard. As breeder judge in Bullmastiffs and to a much smaller degree Frenchies, I try to choose animals that I feel have value within a breeding program. Enough of the glitz and glam, we are evaluating breeding stock and should always keep this fact in mind when judging. 11. What is your advice to a new breeder? A new judge? VR: My advice to new breeder is that breeding Frenchies is very expensive--the cost of showing the dog, the health clearances, the testing involved in doing a breed- ing, stud fees, c-section--be prepared to spend a lot of money to get a litter of healthy puppies. My advice to a new judge of your breed: if you are not already a breeder- owner of French Bulldogs or Bulldogs, be sure to do your homework before you apply to judge. Attend the Judges Education seminar at the FBDCA national, get mentoring from parent club mentors. The breed priorities and the Bulldog look may be very different from the breed(s) you live with or have had experience with. The hallmarks of the French Bulldog are the bat ears and the roach back, make sure you are very comfortable in understanding what the priorities are for a Frenchie before you start judging them. 12. The standard says the breed “appears compact, well balanced and in good proportion.” What is your proportion preference—almost square or slightly longer than tall? DB: I have always said breeding a Frenchie of correct ratio and proportion is one of the hardest things to do, as most of the dogs we see are either too low on legs and long in body (termed the ‘Squatty Frogs’), or too high-stationed, too short in body and too light in bones (termed the ‘French Terriers’). Whether a dog is truly square or rectangular depends what point to point the measure- ment is taken from. A dog with more for chest and rear angles can appear ‘longer,’ than say the same dog with no forechest and a straight rear. The standard says, “Distance from withers to ground in good relation to distance from withers to onset of tail.” It tells me the dog should not be an exact square. Having said that, I would err on the side of a shorter-bodied dog, over a choo-choo train, pro- vided the dog could move freely without side-winding or crabbing. Remember, proportion is key in a Frenchie, as anything outside the desired balance spoils the outline. JD: The standard also says, “The body is short and well- rounded. The chest is broad, deep and full; well-ribbed with the belly tucked up.” I think this perfectly explains exactly the type of balance and proportion required. “Slightly longer than tall” is just as incorrect as Terrier- like type. Neither are part of are standard and are com- pletely undesirable. AH: There is absolutely nothing in the breed standard that can justify putting up a square dog. In the first place, the proportional measurement given for “good relation” is “distance from withers to distance from with- ers to onset of tail.” This measurement always implies a

dog that is longer than tall. The restriction on this length is that the dog must be “compact.” However, “compact” is not “cobby.” Additionally, it is rather difficult to get a correct roach back on a squarely propor- tioned Frenchie. Indeed, the vast majority of these square dogs have incorrect, flat toplines. And, with the great amount of hemi-vertebrae that is prevalent in the breed, promoting this proportion is rather irresponsible from a health standpoint. LH: Balance is the key. The dog’s silhouette should fill my eye with Frenchie type. MW: I favor a dog that is in balance. I interpret the pro- portion to be nearly square such that the animal has sufficient length to move freely yet maintains an overall compact, balanced outline. 13. Is there anything else you’d like to share? VR: As a breeder, exhibitor or judge, understand that there is always something to learn. If you every think you know it all, you don’t. L&PS: Just remember that the Frenchie is the most important breed at the dog show (as is every breed to its exhibitors). Remember to judge on the positives and on the overall dog, not the parts. You are judging breeding stock and you know what can and what can’t be easily fixed. Be kind, fair and treat all exhibits and exhibitors equally and most importantly, don’t leave your common sense at home! 14. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest think you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? JD: Where do you want me to start? Okay, this is a true story. Many years ago as a teenager in Ireland I was at a show and a very glamorous lady friend was showing her famous BIS-winning International Champion Pekingese in rather long grass. Another local dog of mediocre qual- ity with a rather pronounced roll (which we assumed was due to the long grass) was, much to our amazement awarded Best of Breed. When said winner picked up his dog, it was discovered that under long furnishings he only had three legs! We laughed so hard! Apparently, as the novice owner explained, the puppy had lost a leg when he was run over with a wheelbarrow. He really did have that Pekingese roll! RS: I will not give graphic detail but two occasions have thought me to always bring an extra pair of trousers when exhibiting. MW: I remember a good friend from Ladies Dog Club, the late Sue Gray of Dirigo Vizslas, regaled us with the story of the lost slip. It seems that she was showing one of her dogs to Bob Forsythe and had done the down and back and everything seemed fine. She then was on the final go around and was coming straight at the judge. Well the dog was fine but Sue had a wardrobe malfunction. It seemed that her slip was suddenly at her ankles as she brought the dog to a stop. She looked Bob in the eye and with a smile calmly picked up here slip and returned to her place in the line. Guess what? She won! We all had a good laugh.

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

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