Showsight Presents the French Bulldog

FRENCH BULLDOG THE

1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? 2. How many years in the Frenchie, Showing, Breeding, Judging? 3. What in your opinion is the secret to a successful breeding program? 4. What do you feel is the condition of the Frenchie breed today? Pros and Cons? 5. What do you feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the quality of the Frenchie? 6. The enormous popularity of the Frenchie has it now ranked at #4 out of all AKC breeds. Does this help or hurt in the long run? 7. Worldwide Brachycephalic breeds are getting a bad rap. How do you think that will affect future developments? 8. What is your favorite Dog Show Memory? 9. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. DIANE BURVEE

breeders and is a challenge for judges. The French Bulldog is a head and silhouette breed, but to find truly beautiful headpieces with that soft, sweet expression or silhouette with the correct proportion, angles, bone, and lines or curves is not easy. They usually have one component but lack in other area so to find all in a whole pack- age is a rare find. The pro’s are the correct size we are seeing with not as many big rangy dogs or stuffy dwarfy ones though they still exist in the ring, better breathers, slightly better boning and good sprig of ribs. On the other hand, con’s, or rather I’d like to call them the areas of opportunities that need work are: correct topline (more roach does not make a topline better as topline needs to blend in with the rest to produce a harmonious whole picture with the correct rise above the loin and fall to a low tailset), rear angula- tion (with thick muscular second thigh), beautiful neck of correct strength/length to facilitate good breathing, and also the basic over- all proportion with the correct balance in bone, angles and sub- stance (as we are seeing dogs that are too stuffy/bully and vice-versa plus too low or high on legs). And believe it or not, as someone who is a self-proclaimed ‘head hunter,’ there aren’t that many truly beautiful correct square head with soft expression, ample fill and luxurious cushioning as most we see in the rings are mostly heads lacking in beautiful facial features or wedge-shaped apple heads or huge overdone watermelon heads that seem to impress those who don’t really know. Let’s remember balance is key and too much of something often takes away from the overall symmetry of balance and style of the whole picture. What I feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the qual- ity of the Frenchie? • Heads and expression—I believe the French Bulldog is a ‘head breed,’ and while some might say you can improve head in one generation, then why are we not seeing more truly beautiful and correct square heads in the ring and whelping box? Most of the headpieces are just plain or blank and as a breed, we can do better! • Hindquarters/Rear—this is the breed’s Achilles’ Heel with too many unsound and straight rears lacking angles, thick second thigh mass and well letdown short hocks. Often they also come with luxating patella which is usually the explana- tion why some dogs hop and skip in the ring. • Bat Ears—bear in mind this is a hallmark of the breed, and most of the ears are just lacking the truly correct set, height and round-scalloped finish the Danish and Scandinavian dogs are well-known for. • Overall Proportion—remember just to get the correct balance of legs, bone, substance, shape and angles is the basic fundamental and not easy! Hence, we are seeing dogs too stuffy with no neck, lower front legs and on the other spectrum, dogs that are too thin-boned, lanky and needing substance. What we want is the happy medium with no exag- geration of any one single component. • Topline—It is actually the whole outline that both judges and breeders alike should focus on, and not just the topline. But the topline remains the elusive trait for so many to grasp and achieve. A correct topline should not be exaggerated, it should blend in with the rest of the outline with highest point (the rise) being above the middle of the loin, not the middle of the back and a nice fall (croup) to a lowset tail. Camel back, low at the shoulder, high in the rear, sway back are not correct.

I reside in Kansas City, and ‘outside’ of dogs, I enjoy traveling, reading, trying dif- ferent ethnic cuisine, communiversity class- es for enrichment and volunteer work. I’ve been active in the dog fancy in America over 26 years. My first breed was the Afghan Hound, then the Pekingese and now, the French Bull- dog. My first home- bred Frenchie litter is

almost ten, so I been involved in the breed in some capacity for more than a dozen years, and judging them both here and abroad for an approximate same period of time. I breed on a very limited basis as I don’t believe in breeding for just the sake of breeding and there have been years I did not breed any litters. It averages out to be a litter every 12-18 months for the past decade. Without a doubt, bitches are the one essential key ingredient to any successful breeding program. And with that, I mean truly well-bred bitches with top pedigree and family of dogs that are known for producing type, quality and consistency. Other neces- sary supporting necessities are good mentorship, a keen eye for type, basic animal husbandry/structure/genetics knowledge, good hon- est and open ongoing relationship with breeders whose dogs/lines you work with, and the ability to combat the tendency of kennel- blindness. We must always remember that bitches are the backbone of the breed, and no real breeders can be successful without a solid tail bitch line that can consistently produce the goods we all strive to achieve. The current condition of the Frenchie breed is ‘a bit of a mixed bag.’ I believe we have come a long way in terms of available health testing, and with the advancement of veterinary medicine, almost all Brachycephalic symptoms have become somewhat much more manageable. The lack of homogeneity must be a concern for

288 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2019

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