French Bulldog Breed Magazine - Showsight

wiTh diane Burvee, James dalTon, anne KaTona, molly marTin, mary miller, desi murphy, virginia rowland, luis and paTTy sosa & roBin sTansell

sizes, which is most confusing, and I believe to pose as a huge challenge to most judges. For those of us who live and breathe French Bulldogs on a daily basis, sorting out a diversified class can be as simple as ABC, but for those non-breeder/judges, it can indeed prove to be a daunting task! The French Bulldog has such peculiar attributes and unique tendencies, and it is certainly not an easy breed to muster by any standard. Unfortunately, it is evident by the prevalence of judges who commit the cardinal sin of making their placements based strictly on movement or showmanship alone, instead of breed type, which is of paramount importance and should always come first and foremost. If in doubt, please remember to prioritize in this order: Silhouette, Head/Expression, followed by Movement. 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. AK: Correct body length! Not too cobby, but enough body length to have the correct roach topline, and pear shape which are both breed characteristics—15% longer than tall is what I was taught when I studied the breed. Fol- lowing the body length, I am seeing quite a few Frenchie exhibits that are lacking in correct (heavy) bone. In my opinion, those exhibits are closer to the Boston Terrier than to the French Bulldog. MMartin: French Bulldogs have become very popular, and entries are much larger than when I first began to judge them. However, overall quality has not improved as the numbers of entries have increased, and it seems that anything goes and everything is out there. Type is all over the place. Knowing how to prioritize must be very confusing for some judges. MMiller: Finding proper toplines. DM: The biggest challenge in judging is that at times one has to be very forgiving, when the depth of quality is lacking. There have been times I have awarded points to dogs that are small in ear or lacking a topline, but overall the best competing. VR: For a new judge who has not owned/bred Frenchies, knowing what to prioritize is really important. The French Bulldog is a head breed and their silhouette is very important. 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, 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, 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: The biggest challenge is judging a class of mediocre dogs when it is impossible to feel satisfied with your winners. 8. What aspect of the breed do you feel that breeders need to work to improve? DB: I’ve already mentioned the rear angulation being one of the breed’s Achilles Heels, so following that, I would say breeders need to work on improving heads, ears and silhouette. There is now a plethora of apple heads where they lack width, strength and cushioning of the muzzle. Desired facial details such as fill under the eyes, correct roping of heavy wrinkles forming a soft roll over the nose, open nostrils and an inverted U upturn of broad lower jaw seem to be severely missing. I am starting to see an abundance of those ugly heavy flews and a lack of upsweep and layback. Also the truly quintessential bat- ears set at 11 and 1 o’clock, and those soulful dark round and tight eyes that complete the alert, curious and sweet expression. Correct outline (meaning not just the topline but also layback, ear height, arch and flow of neck, fore chest, leg length/boning, underline, angles, and a low-set paint-brush tail) must always be preserved so we don’t lose the correct silhouette the spells French Bulldog. Cor- rect full round bone is also a trait we tend to lose from time to time, while the flat wristy bone seems a curse in some lines. JD: Honestly I feel that many breeders and exhibitors do not understand the breed standard which in turn explains a lot of the undesirable traits we see in the ring today. I encourage people to really continually read and develop a better understanding of the breed standard, because without this knowledge it is impossible to go forward in a breeding program. We have far too many “five minute experts” in the breed today who are too busy pontificat- ing ringside and on social media to take the time to actu- ally learn about the breed and the standard. AK: Lately, I have seen quite a few overly rounded top skulls (apple-headed!) being shown in one particular part of the country. MMartin: Breeders need to get back to the correct body silhouette—slight downward curve behind the shoul- ders, rising to the top of the loin and curving downward slightly to the tail set—and away from the flat backs.

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