Where you actually measure makes a large di ff erence, so all the ratios are approximate and only for illustration. Of the animals shown, it was interesting to find that the shortest dog (Figure 2) had a length to height ratio of approximately 1.1 to 1, thus being about 10% longer than tall; while most of the other dogs were 13 to 15% longer than tall. Notice that all of these dogs have correct toplines with cor- rect low tailsets. I then took the photo of the 8-year old bitch in Figure 1, who is 13% longer than tall and digitally shortened her to a nearly square length to height ratio for illustra- tion purposes (Figure 1A). You can see that the altered photograph now appears to be overly short, unbalanced and thus poorly proportioned. Since our Standard does not give us specific numbers, we are each at our own discretion to decide what are “good proportions”. I firmly believe, how- ever, that the shortest dog in the ring is not always the best Frenchie. A correct back length not only gives correct toplines, but also correct, freer gait, a correct tailset and an overall healthier dog. With some of the ambiguities in the Standard, a wide range of correct and incorrect dogs, and the large number of entries, the French Bulldog is probably one of the most challenging breeds to judge. However, if you clearly remember the cor- rect silhouette, which includes correct size, topline and proportions, you can quickly eliminate the incorrect dogs and refrain from rewarding the generic Frenchie.
determine in the ring to be a “roach back” is entirely at your discretion, but this is the guideline I use in judging a correct French Bulldog topline. Th e Frenchie Standard further states, “ Th e chest is broad, deep, and full; well ribbed with the belly tucked up.” Remem- ber that the tuck-up should somewhat fol- low the topline and that a correct topline will more often than not exhibit the correct tail set, “hung low... carried low in repose”. A high tail set will often be indicative of an incorrect level topline. Remember that a straight topline and high in the rear is not a roach. Another area of di ffi culty is that of proportions. Th e Standard states, “Proportion – Distance from withers to ground in good relation to distance from withers to onset of tail, so that animal appears compact, well balanced and in good proportion.” Th e key word in this descrip- tion being “balance”, the Standard gives no specific body proportions for the Frenchie, only that it appear compact, well balanced and in good proportions. Notice that the length stated in the stan- dard does not include the forechest or the croup. Th is means that even if the length stated were equal to the height at the withers, the correct Frenchie will still appear longer than tall. Th e photographs shown are of finished dogs, some of which are Group, BIS and National Specialty winners. I believe that they are all balanced and of “good propor- tions”. As an exercise, I drew a rectangle from the point of shoulder to the point of rump (Ischial tuberosity) to designate the length, and from the withers to ground to designate the height. I then measured the photos to determine an approximate length to height ratio. “REMEMBER THAT A STRAIGHT TOPLINE and high in the rear is not a roach.”
Fig. 1: Well proportioned 8-year old bitch.
Fig 1A: Digitally shortened square proportionas of previous photo.
BIO Luis Sosa obtained his first French Bull- dog in 1975, out of Te r r e t t -Hamp t o n breeding. Since then with his wife Pat- ty, they have bred
Fig 2: Very short 10% longer than tall dog.
around 80 AKC Champions that have won more than 300 Non-Sporting Group Firsts, 38 All-Breed Bests in Shows and Best of Breed at five FBDCA National Specialties. Luis judges for the Non-Sport- ing Group and a number of other breeds, and has served on the FBDCA Board and Judge’s Education Committee.
Fig 3: Well proportioned dog.
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