Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

FRENCH BULLDOG: YOU’RE GONNA BE POPULAR!

The final hallmark is the roach back, which per the breed stan- dard is further described as having a slight fall close behind the shoulders, gradually rising to the loin which is higher than the shoulder, and rounding at the croup. The important parts of that description are the words gradually and rising to the loin . Not before, not after, but rising to the loin is key. Rounding at the croup with a short, hung low, thick root and fine tip tail carried low in repose finishes a beautiful topline. As a judge, once the dogs with the strongest type have been iden- tified, there is an additional element that should always be consid- ered. This would be movement. Anyone can hand stack a dog on the ground or on the table to deliver a nice overall picture. Short- comings and faults will be revealed when gaiting. The French Bull- dog should four-track with the front tracking wider than the rear because the dog is broader at the shoulders and is tapering toward the rear. The dog should have reach and drive and be unrestrained, free, and vigorous while holding the hallmark topline described as a roach back. A dog should be sound, both in type and in movement. All of this must be accomplished while not exceeding 28 pounds. When in question, we ask that judges call for scales. Dogs over 28 pounds would be disqualified (DQ) from competition. For the record, all points of the breed are well distributed and bear good relation one to the other. The dog should never appear poorly pro- portioned. A bitch is described the same as a dog. However, we do not expect her to bear characteristics to the same degree. In the ring, a judge hopes to find and reward a muscular dog of heavy bone, with a large square head, bat ears and carrying a roach back while moving with reach and drive. What happens when you do not have all of it on one dog? The first step would be not to judge one part of the dog. Look for the most balanced dog and the one closest to the dog the standard describes. As a breeder, I ask myself, which dog would I choose first to be part of a breeding program because it possesses the most compelling breed type? Now that we have an image of this charming dog with clownlike behavior, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed. Result- ing from the popularity and charm of this breed as well as the price point, an inevitable problem has evolved that needs to be faced and overcome: people have become attracted to breeding them for the wrong reasons.

Registrations of French Bulldogs have increased from 1,513 in 2000, to 7,145 in 2010, and 41,042 in 2019. These increases are not representative of preservation breeders, but rather those looking to sell these popular dogs with little regard to anything other than financial gain. Shortcuts are taken in order to turn a higher profit without health testing, and with no regard for the AKC standard. Masses have taken to the breeding of DQ colors such as blue, blue fawn, liver, lilac, platinum, blue & tan and black & tan. We also see DQ patterns such as merle, and even long-coated and hairless Frenchies. These dogs are referred to as “rare” and are priced at exorbitant amounts. Not helping the situation, celebrities are pur- chasing and posting pictures with DQ colored or marked dogs on social media. We have great concern for the health and longevity of these dogs. The Parent Club (FBDCA) is heavily focused on preserving, protecting, and promoting our beloved breed. Everyone must do their part to protect the purebred French Bulldog. The ongoing promotion of the overpriced fad colors, patterns or long coated dogs being called Frenchies needs to be stopped. These are not French Bulldogs and are not purebred. Judges, when in question, pay close attention to the eye and nose color and refer to the color section of the French Bulldog AKC stan- dard. Typically, a DQ colored dog will not have a black nose or a dark eye. The dog community should refer inquiries to French Bull- dog breeders whom you know and trust are preserving the breed. People looking for a French Bulldog can also be sent to the French Bull Dog Club of America ( frenchbulldogclub.org ) website where a breeder referral page exists, giving puppy buyers the ability to con- nect with preservation breeders. In addition, the FBDCA monitors the AKC marketplace for color breeders and other non-members claiming to be club members in order to gain preferential placement on the list of ads. These little clowns will see much brighter days with ongoing education and exposure of the public to correctly bred dogs. With each person that is steered away from non-preservation breeders, progress is made. We should be able to proudly say French Bulldogs are the fourth most popular AKC breed because we have the best interest of our potato chips in mind, meaning our beloved dogs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gus Sinibaldi has been showing and breeding Bulldogs and French Bulldogs since 1997. He is a French Bulldog Breeder of Merit and FBDCA club approved mentor. Gus has bred multiple Best in Show winners, multiple Reserve Best in Show, multiple Group winners and Specialty show winners. He is currently working on completing his judging of the Non-Sporting Group and also judges some Toy and Terrier breeds.

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020 | 179

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