Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

the favorites of the Parisian streetwalk- ers. Th e famous artist Toulouse Lautrec depicted Bouboule, a Frenchie owned by Madame Palmyre, the proprietress of a favorite restaurant “La Souris.” Society folks noticed these cute little bulldogs and before long they were “a la mode.” Most of the British wanted nothing to do with these French bulldogs so it was the French who were guardians of the breed until later in the 19th century. Th ey developed a more uniform breed—a dog with a compact body, straight legs, but without the extreme underjaw of the Eng- lish Bulldog. Some had the erect “bat ears’, some had “rose” ears. Wealthy Americans traveling in France fell in love with these endearing little dogs and began bringing them back to the USA. And the Yanks preferred dogs with erect ears which was fi ne with the French breeders as they pre- ferred the rose eared specimens, as did the British breeders. Society ladies fi rst exhibited Frenchies in 1896 at Westminster and the breed was featured on the cover of the 1897 West- minster catalog even though it was not yet an approved AKC breed. At that show, both bat eared and rose eared dogs were exhibited but the English judge put up the rose-eared specimens. Th is infuriated the American fanciers who quickly organized the French Bull Dog Club of America and drew up a breed standard allowing only the bat ear. At the 1898 Westminster show, the Americans were outraged to fi nd that classes for both bat-eared and rose-eared dogs were to be judged despite the fact that the new breed standard allowed only the former. Th ey pulled their dogs, the American Judge refused to participate in the show and the club organized their own show, for bat-eared dogs only, to be held at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria. Th is was the famous fi rst specialty of the French Bulldog Club of America—which, incidentally, was the fi rst breed club any- where in the world to be dedicated to the French Bulldog. Popularity of Frenchies skyrocketed, particularly among the East Coast Society folks. After World War I the breed’s popular- ity began a decline that would last for the next fi fty years. Th e enormous popularity

“SOCIETY LADIES FIRST EXHIBITED FRENCHIES IN 1896 AT WESTMINSTER and the breed was featured on the cover of the 1897 Westminster catalog even though it was not yet an approved AKC breed.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014 • 147

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