Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

of another small brachycephalic breed, the Boston Terrier, probably contributed to this. Also many Frenchies had problems whelping naturally; it would be years before safe vet- erinary cesarian sections would be routinely performed. Hot summer months, before res- idential air conditioning became common, were rough going for the dogs. And interest in purebred dogs generally declined during the Depression of the 1930s. A small number of Frenchie breeders in America and Europe kept the fl ame alive but by 1940 French Bulldogs were considered a rare breed and only 100 were registered with the AKC. Th e years dur- ing World War II were di ffi cult for all dog breeders and especially for those in Europe where many fi ne dogs starved or were put down for lack of food. Heretofore most Frenchies were brindle with a few pied and white dogs. Creams and

fawns were rare and not particularly popular until the 1950s when a breeder fromDetroit, Amanda West, began showing cream Frenchies with phenomenal success. Her dogs, mostly creams, tallied over 500 group wins and 111 Best in Show awards as well as 21 consecutive breed wins at Westminster. From then on, creams and fawns were more and more common in the show rings. But Frenchie registrations totaled only 106 in 1960 and an article in the AKC Gazette stated, “ Th ere are many advantag- es to owning a dog of this breed but there are very few bred and very few exhibited. If the trend keeps on, eventually the breed will become extinct... No one wants to see the breed overpopularized but certainly the breed deserves to be known and appre- ciated by the public.” Th e 1980s witnessed a rapid rise in Frenchie registrations due to a newly

energized FBDCA that included younger breeders who transformed the annual spe- cialty shows and who contributed to Th e French Bullytin , a new magazine devoted solely to Frenchies. Th e 1980 breed regis- trations were 170 and by 1990 were 632. Since then, the popularity of these little dogs has soared and over 5,500 dogs were registered in 2006. Nowadays it’s not that uncommon to see Frenchies featured in ads, movies or in stories about celebrities. Th is skyrocketing popularity can be scary for those of us who love the breed and who fi ght a constant battle to maintain breed type and minimize those health prob- lems to which Frenchies are subject. Unscru- pulous breeders and importers complicate the picture. Let’s hope that today’s successes are not a passing fad and that many future fanciers will enjoy all that can be o ff ered by this most companionable breed.

Jim Grebe

“Nowadays it’s not that uncommon to see FRENCHIES FEATURED IN ADS, MOVIES OR IN STORIES ABOUT CELEBRITIES.”

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

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