Fawn and Brindle Pied French Bulldogs

Pied French Bulldogs – Coat Color Inheritance

There are few things I love more than well marked Brindle Pied French Bulldogs. Among serious breeders, pied is the “Rolls Royce” of French Bulldog color patterns – easy to achieve in theory (just breed two pieds together, and you’ll get more pieds), but nearly impossible to achieve perfectly.

Brindle Pied French Bulldogs, after all, have no camouflage. A solid patterned dog, be it brindle, cream or fawn, has the benefit of a canvas in a single color. A pied needs not to have not just markings, but markings well placed, symmetrically located, and properly pigmented. A badly placed marking on the back can give a structurally correct dog the appearance of a sway back. A lopsided marking on a rear leg can make movement look off gait. A non symmetrical head marking can detract from a dog’s appearance and overall type. Worst of all, lack of pigment, even when unseen, can have serious health ramifications for a pied dog, no matter how pretty they look.

The pied pattern is recessive to that for solid coat (solid coat includes fawn, cream and brindle – and more about brindle later).

A Punnett Square can help you visualize the possible breedings that would result in a pied dog.

Click any images to view full sized.

 

Pied to pied 

 Predicted outcome per offspring: +Sp/+Sp - 1:1 (100%)

Predicted outcome per offspring: +Sp/+Sp – 1:1 (100%)

Breeding pied to pied will have an outcome of 100% pied offspring.

Pied to a solid marked dog that carries pied

 Predicted outcome per offspring: +S/+Sp - 1:2 (50% Solid Marked offspring that carry pied) +Sp/+Sp - 1:2 (50% pied offspring)

Predicted outcome per offspring:
+S/+Sp – 1:2 (50% Solid Marked offspring that carry pied)
+Sp/+Sp – 1:2 (50% pied offspring)

We could expect 50% of the puppies produced to be pied. The other 50% we would expect to be solid marked dogs that CARRY the recessive pied allele.

 

Pied to a solid marked dog that does NOT carry pied

Predicted outcome per offspring:<br /> +S/+Sp - 1:1 (100%)<br /> All offspring will carry pied, but be solid marked.

Predicted outcome per offspring:
+S/+Sp – 1:1 (100%)

None of the offspring will be pied, but 100% of the offspring will carry the pied allele. The following Punnett Square will illustrate what could occur when you breed two of these solid marked, pied carrying offspring together:

Solid Marked Pied Carrier to Solid Marked Pied Carrier

Predicted outcome per offspring:

+S/+S – 1:4 (25%)
+S/+sp – 1:2 (50%)
+sp/+sp – 1:4 (25%)
So, 25% would be solid marked offspring that do NOT carry pied.
50% would be solid marked offspring that DO carry a pied allele.
25% would be pied offspring.

Pied Marking Patterns

Pied, as you might know, is a wide spectrum of marking types. A heavily marked pied dog can be referred to as a blanket, boston marked, or mantled pied, while an ‘extreme’ pied can be a dog that appears essentially white.

This is a diagram that I’ve always found really helpful in understanding pied patterning. It’s adapted from a diagram by G. M. Allen, published in 1914, and is considered to be the ‘blueprint’ for how pied markings pattern themselves.

Coat Color Inheritance Brindle Pied French Bulldogs

Coat Color Inheritance Brindle Pied French Bulldogs – Click to view full sized

As you can see, the drawing even in 1914 specified that pied is an ABSENCE of patterned areas, and an increase in white (I mention that only because sometimes people think that a pied dog is a white dog with patterned areas overlaid).

In Frenchies, this drawing would illustrate a brindle pied Frenchie. If you picture all of those same areas as fawn, without a brindle overlay, you can picture a fawn pied with the same markings. The masking allele is separate and separately inherited.

The further you go down this chart, away from patterned areas and towards extreme white, the greater your chances for color linked deafness.

Deafness and Pieds

Color linked deafness is an interesting thing. Its technical name is “pigment-associated hereditary deafness”.

The cochlea is the spiral cavity of the inner ear, and it is lined with cochlear hair cells. These hair cells, when healthy, generates and amplify sound. In pigment-associated hereditary deafness, the death of the hair cells after birth (2-4 weeks, for dogs) leads to deafness.

These hair cells and the underlying structure require a very specific environment to remain healthy – specifically, high K+ and low Na+ levels. Pigment cells – melanocytes – are responsible for maintaining this level.

When the cochlea has no pigment cells, the stria degenerates, and the high K+ levels in the fluids surrounding the hair cells is not maintained. This leads to the eventual death of the cochlear hair cells, and to deafness in the dog.

Anything that increases the chances of less pigmented inner ears, increases the chances of pigment associated deafness. As you can see on the pied inheritance chart above, Mother Nature does everything in her power to retain pigment on the ear, which decreases the chances for deafness (but does not eliminate it – a dog with pigmented or colored hair on the ears, can still have no pigment on the inner ears).

 

Kefir for Pets - a cure all for digestive upsets

Kefir Benefits for Dogs and Pregnant Bitches

Delilah had an upset stomach last week, so she’s been getting Kefir daily with her food, and she loves it. I’ve now started adding it to everyone’s food, since it is such a rich, healthful and relatively inexpensive way to add nutrition to their diets, and to support immune and digestive function. Similar to yogurt, Kefir is made by fermenting milk (goat, cow, sheep or even coconut) with a bacterial and yeast starter known as ‘kefir grains’. Read more

Banerjee Bonhomme - Blue French Bulldog

A Not So Brief History of Blues in North America

Thanks to the ever wonderfully informative Carol Hawke (of “Sonlit” French Bulldogs fame), comes this informative history of the ties between the rise of Blue French Bulldogs and North American French Bulldog breeders.

This is important, because an awful lot of relatively new French Bulldog people associate Blue French Bulldogs most closely with a handful of European French Bulldogs breeders, when in actual fact, Blues can most commonly be traced back to kennels in England, where a closed gene pool and limited range of colors led to the occasional occurrence of dilute fawn Frenchies, in pied, brindle or solidly marked patterns.

UK French Bulldog breeders had traditionally been rigorous about petting out their DQ (short form for ‘disqualified from showing’) colors, although a few slipped through the cracks when they were sold to North America, where they were used in breeding programs. This is how the lovely blue brindle pied male, Banerjee Bon Homme, ended up in the United States with Arlie Alford of Kennel Le Bull renown.

Frankie (as he was known) was sired by Wilcott Edison, a full litter brother to Wilcott Eureka (call name Yuri), who was imported into the USA by Pat Mentiply, of Pelshire French Bulldogs. Yuri was a lovely black masked, fawn pied dog, compact in size, and bred to Carol Hawke’s Cox’s Goodtime Allspice, he sired the littermates Ch Sonlit Europa and Ch Sonlit Daring Esprit (Lily and Duggie). Duggie, Lily and Yuri are all behind my own dogs, as is Ch Player Edwardpuck, sire of Maxine, the first (true) Black and Tan French Bulldog most modern fanciers had ever seen. In spite of this abundance of ‘rare’ color options running strongly through my pedigrees, we’ve never, as of yet, produced a blue French Bulldog, which only proves that, in my opinion, you have to work pretty hard at it to actually get one intentionally. And by ‘working hard’, I mean “Ignore everything else in your breeding program other than ‘what kinds of colors can I get?”, to which – no thanks.

That’s where  Carol’s blog (now gone) comes in.

Excerpt:

 

Blue Moon was a slate gray, blue French Bulldog male puppy bred by kennel Lebull, not Sonlit.  Blue Moon’s sire was Ch.Lebull’s Bart Simpson, a superb honey pied, black masked fawn dog whose dam was the exquisite brindle, National Specialty BOS bitch, Ch. Sonlit Europa (a littermate to my Duggie) and whose sire was the blue brindle pied import, Banerjee BonHomme.  Trophy was linebred on Wilcott and De La Parure breeding through his dam, Lebull’s Violacea.

“Trophy” or Blue Moon was dropped off one day by his breeder in a great hurry.  I quickly figured out WHY.  He, like all her dogs, had giardia at that time and she had to get them off the property until she found the cause.  (Which would to turn out to be the fecal matter left strewn over the property by the pet pigs and a few wild animals actually inherent to the area.)  Kennel Lebull, did, in fact, have kennels but they typically went unused.  I suspect the proprietor didn’t believe in them. Perhaps they were thought cruel and unnatural, sort of like braziers and panty hose.  

updated and reposted 

Part Two – The Man Who Killed Rasputin

Continued from part one

The Death of the Mad Monk

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sovfoto/Universal Images Group/REX (3827809a) Grigory yefimovich rasputin (1872-1916), spiritual advisor to Tsarina alexandra, assassinated in 1916 by members of the Russian royal court. VARIOUS

Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin (1872-1916)

Felix had crossed paths with Rasputin on several occasions, none of which he seemed to enjoy. He referred to Rasputin a “that beggar” and “that dirty man”, and spoke disparagingly of him to several friends and correspondents. He was, however, careful to exercise caution in who he shared this opinion with, as he knew that Rasputin was regarded with an almost religious awe by the Czarina and her family. Rasputin was rumored to have healed Aleksy, the Czar’s hemophiliac son, by a simple laying on of hands when the child had suffered a terrible bleeding episode. After that, Rasputin could do no wrong in the eyes of the Royal Family, and to speak ill of him was to risk the wrath of the Czar.

Felix Yussupov claimed his murder of Rasputin was done out of political considerations and loyalty to Russia, but his real motives are elusive. Certainly, Felix had never shown any interest previous to this in politics or his country, and murder seems rather an extreme way to express this newly formed interest. His claim in questionable especially when seen in light of of the numerous mentions of a ‘scandal’ involving Felix that Rasputin was threatening to take to the Czarina. This scandal apparently involved Czar Nicholas’ young first cousin and ward, Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov. Nicholas and Czarina Aleksandra were concerned about Felix’s ‘bad influence’ on Dmitri, although they never expressed in writing what their specific concerns were.

Felix himself intimates an intense relationship with Dmitri in his memoir, without illuminating the full extent of their attachment. It seems obvious something was being concealed, and Felix mentioned to several friends that he was worried “Rasputin means to malign me to the Czar”.

Felix’s involvement in the death of Rasputin is well known from his own accounts of the murder – albeit in several different versions. In brief, Felix, the young ward Dmitri and a sympathetic Royal guard all conspired to lure Rasputin to Felix’s palatial home on the Moika. Arriving at the door to the apartments of Felix and his wife Irina, Rasputin was escorted downstairs into the family’s private chambers. What happened next is not clear.

Felix claimed they tried to poison Rasputin with rose cream cakes and Madeira laced with cyanide. Due to his reported ‘superhuman strength’, Rasputin was not knocked unconscious by the poison, but rather revived on a bear skin rug, where he ‘leered’ at Felix and screamed “I shall tell the Empress”. The panicked conspirators then grabbed a revolver and shot Rasputin in the courtyard of the palace. Dragging his body to a remote canal, they dumped it through a hole in the ice, and prayed it would drift away on the current.

Some experts are skeptical that the events took place in the melodramatic manner recounted. The details seem inflated to create the idea that Rasputin was a ‘mad monk’, a man imbued with powerful, dark, evil powers which he was exercising over the Royal family.

Most recently, a story has arisen that asserts Yussupov wasn’t actually even the one who murdered Rasputin. A headlining story in the Telegraph UK Newspaper asserts that it was Oswald Rayner, a member of the British Secret Intelligence Bureau who was working at the Russian court in St Petersburg, who fired the shot that finished Rasputin off.

A French Bulldog Fancier in Exile

Prince Felix and friend with French Bulldog, 1909

Prince Felix and friend with French Bulldog, 1909

Whatever the truth of the circumstances leading to the death of Rasputin, Felix and Dmitri were sentenced by the Czar to exile for their part in it, a punishment that possibly saved the life of Dmitri, since it placed him far from the revolution that killed most of the Russian Royal family.

With the murder of Rasputin, Prince Felix became a minor hero to the Russian populace. Fame, however, didn’t last long with the coming of the revolution. When popular opinion turned, and the Czar and his family were put to death, Felix and his wife fled to the Crimea with their families. Ever resourceful, Felix managed to retrieve a few valuables from one of his palaces before his final flight to exile. Felix later sold two Rembrandts to help fund his new life. The paintings now hang in the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

Felix Yusupov and French Bulldog in Paris, 1929

Felix Yusupov and French Bulldog in Paris, 1929

Felix eventually settled into a life of exile in Paris, where he and wife Irina established “Irfe” – a haute couture and perfume line. A model for the house of Irfe describes Felix as “dressed like a Khan” in middle Eastern splendour, his “French Bull at his side”. She also mentioned Felix never hesitated to try on a dress himself, in order to show the models “how it should best be worn”.

Felix continued to own and love French Bulldogs, as he himself mentioned in his memoir, “Lost Splendour” –

“I have always been an admirer of style, and no pet could be as stylish and smart as a French Bulldog”.

Felix Yusupov in his Paris apartment, 1960's

Felix Yusupov in his Paris apartment, 1960’s

While in Paris, Felix and his wife Irina became friends with the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Like many expatriate friends of the Windsors, Felix owned several Pugs, but he never lost his particular fondness for French Bulldogs – and for the name Gugusse, a moniker he gave to four of his Frenchies. There is speculation that Felix and Irina, like many fashionable people in their circle, dabbled in breeding French Bulldogs, but no concrete proof of this exists outside of this brief line in a letter Irina wrote to a friend:

We have thought that the puppies would be most splendid if we did breed our French Bull girl, for she is a wonderful example of her kind. If we do, I should be happy to send one of the puppies to you.

In his memoir, Felix said that he hoped to “never be without (a French Bulldog)”, a goal he seems to have achieved.

Christopher Dobson writes of the death of Felix in his book “Prince Felix Yusupov – The man who murdered Rasputin“:

“He died …. on 27 September 1967 at the age of 80. He had been in great pain for a long time but he never complained.

Eventually he fell into a coma and his family and household, including Gugusse IV, gathered around his bedside. “

Prince Felix Yussupov is buried in the Russian expatriate cemetery in Ste. Genevieve-les-Blois, near Paris.


References:

King, Greg, The Man Who Killed Rasputin; Carol Publishing Group, 1995

Dobson, Christopher, Felix Yusupov – the Man Who Killed Rasputin; ,

Valkenier, Elizabeth, Valentin Serov – Portraits of Russia’s Silver Age; Northwestern University Press, 2001

Yusupov, Felix, Lost Splendour – The Amazing Memoirs of the Man Who Killed Rasputin; Helen Marx Books, 2007

Secrets of an Exiled Prince, Moscow Times, April 11-17, 2008

British spy ‘fired the shot that finished off Rasputin’, Telegraph UK, September 19 2004

Alexander Palace Time Machine and the Alexander Palace Forum (photo credits in particular)

Portrait by Serov of Prince Yusupov with Gugusse,

Part 1 – Felix Yusupov, The Man Who Killed Rasputin

In the course of my research into the story of Ortino and Tatiana, I encountered the famous portrait of Prince Felix Felixovich Yussupov* and his French Bulldog. The painting, which now hangs in the Kremlin Gallery, was painted by Royal portrait painter Valentin Serov. Intrigued, I soon learned that the fresh faced young boy pictured so tenderly cradling his dog was one of the cadre of royalists responsible for the murder of Rasputin.

Almost one hundred years after his death the legend of Grigory Rasputin, The Mad Monk and “Little Father”, lives on. Confidant and advisor to the Court of Czar Nicholi Romanov, the man referred to simply as “Our Friend” by the Czar’s wife and family in their diaries was reputed to have mesmerizing powers, and was loathed for the influence he exercised in the court of the last Czar of the Russias. His power was especially galling to the influential and wealthy Yussupov family, who were not used to having to share the ear of the Romanovs.

An aristocratic family of great reputation and illustrious history, the Yusupovs were among the wealthiest and most influential families in Czarist Russia. Yussupov estates dotted the Russian landscape from the Crimea to Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the splendor of their palaces rivaled even that of those of the Czar of Russia in scale and sumptuousness. In the capital, the Yussupovs had three palaces, including a sprawling building on the Moika canal, which was the family’s primary residence.

A flamboyant young man of striking good looks, Felix was the second of two sons born to Princess Zanaida Yussupova and her husband, Count Elston-Sumarkoff. Felix was infamous for his high spirited antics. He delighted in dressing in his mother’s finest clothes when frequented the nightclubs of pre revolution Russia. There is a story that Felix himself loved to spread, intimating that none other than Edward VII of England (a fellow French Bulldog fancier) tried one night to make the acquaintance of a certain ‘beautiful and mysterious woman’. That woman, of course, was Felix in masquerade.

Felix was considered to be quite vain about his looks – not surprising, since he was often referred to as “the most handsome man in Russia”. This vanity extended to Felix’s French Bulldog, Gugusse, who is pictured with him in his famous portrait. Gugusse, who was originally christened “Napoleon”, was purchased by Felix and his mother on the Rue de la Paix in Paris, during a trip to the Paris Exhibition of 1900.

The Yusupov family in 1912: Prince Felix, Prince Nicholas, Count Felix Felixovich Sumarkov-Elston and Princess Zinaida.

The Yusupov family in 1912: Prince Felix with Gugusse, Prince Nicholas, Count Felix Felixovich Sumarkov-Elston and Princess Zinaida.

Felix insisted that it was Surov who requested Gugusse pose in the portrait with his master, calling the dog “his best subject”. As shown in photographs, Gugusse had drop ears – incorrect for a French Bulldog, according to the newly written French Bulldog standard. Felix, not wanting to have his French Bulldog portrayed as anything less than perfect, had Serov paint Gugusse with the proper “bat” ears the newly written standard specified.

Prince Felix Yusupov and Gugusse in Serov Portrait

Felix and his French bulldog, Gugusse, in portrait by Valentin Surov

Felix writes quite extensively about Gugusse in his memoirs –

For eighteen years, Gugusse was my devoted and inseparable companion. He soon became quite famous, for everyone knew and loved him, from members of the Imperial family to the least of our peasants. He was a real Parisian guttersnipe who loved to be dressed up, put on an air of importance when he was photographed, adored candy and champagne… He was most amusing when slightly tipsy. He used to suffer from flatulence and would trot to the fireplace, stick his backside into the hearth and look up with an apologetic expression.

Gugusse loved some people and hated others, and nothing could stop him from showing his dislike by relieving himself on the trousers or the skirts of his enemies. He had such an aversion for one of my mother’s friends that we were obliged to shut him up whenever she called at the house. She came one day in a lovely gown of pink velvet, a Worth creation. Unfortunately, we had forgotten to lock up Gugusse; no sooner had she entered the room than he made a dash for her. The gown was ruined and the poor lady had hysterics.

Gugusse could have performed in a circus. Dressed as a jockey, he would ride a tiny pony or, with a pipe stuck between his teeth, would pretend to smoke. He used to love going out with the guns, and would bring in game like a retriever.

The head of the Holy Synod (*Supreme Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.) called on my mother one day and, to my mind, stayed far too long. I resolved that Gugusse should create a diversion. I made him up as an old cocotte, sparing neither powder nor paint, rigged him out in a dress and wig and pushed him into the drawing room. Gugusse seemed to understand what was expected of him, for he made a sensational entry on his hind legs, to the dismay of our visitor who very quickly took his leave, which was exactly what I wanted.

I was never parted from my dog: he went everywhere with me and slept on a cushion by my bed, When Serov, the well-known artist, painted my portrait, he insisted that Gugusse should be in the picture, saying that the dog was his best model.

Gugusse reached the ripe old age of eighteen and when he died I buried him in the garden of our house on the Moika.

An inveterate playboy, Prince Felix was well traveled, and had visited most of the great cities of Europe. He completed his education at Oxford in England, where he resided in a stylish London flat which he had painted black and carpeted with lavender floor coverings. Felix quickly became the center of fashionable society, enjoying a care free life of parties, balls and theatre. While in London, Felix acquired another Frenchie, an event he mentioned in a letter to his friend Dmitri Yannovich:

“I have now a new pet, a charming little French Bull Dog, given to me by our friend Andrei. He is simply too charming with his little prick ears, but does snore rather insufferably. I shall bring him with me when I return home”.

Felix Yusupov with his family and French Bulldog, Punch

Felix with his family and Punch, the French Bulldog he was given while at Oxford

Felix referred to Punch as “most eccentric”, and claimed that checked patterns – even if on linoleum flooring- drove Punch wild. In his memoir, Felix recounts stories of Punch’s antics, and his hatred for checked fabrics –

One day when I was at Davies my tailor’s, a very smartly dressed old gentleman, wearing a checked suit, came in. Before I could stop him, Punch rushed at him and tore a huge piece out of his trousers.

On another occasion I went with a friend to her furrier’s; Punch noticed a sable muff encircled by a black and white checked scarf. He immediately seized it and rushed out of the shop with it. I, and everyone else at the furrier’s, ran after him halfway down Bond Street, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that we managed to catch him and retrieve the muff, happily almost intact.

As he had mentioned in his letter to Dmitri Yannovich, Felix did indeed bring Punch back home to Russia with him during the holidays, and planned to then bring him back to Oxford when classes resumed. Felix, unfortunately, had forgotten that dogs entering England were required to stay in quarantine for six months. Not one to conform to society’s requirements, Felix devised a plan to spare Punch ‘jail time’ –

As six months in quarantine was out of the question, I decided to evade the law. On my way to Oxford in the autumn, I passed through Paris and went to see an old Russian ex-cocotte (nb: prostitute) whom I knew. I asked her to come to London with me; she would have to dress as a nurse and carry Punch, disguised as a baby. The old lady agreed at once, as the idea amused her immensely, although at the same time it frightened her to death.

The next day, we left for London after giving “Baby” a sleeping draught so as to keep him quiet during the journey, Everything went smoothly and not a soul suspected the fraud.

Felix apparently owned several more French Bulldogs during this time period. In a letter he wrote to a family friend in 1914, Felix wrote:

“I am greatly pleased with the French Bull bitch my friend has just sent me from Paris. She is of finest quality and pleasing color.

I shall look for another such when I travel there again in May”.

* Note: throughout my research I have seen the name “Yussupov” spelled several different ways, likely due to various translations from the Cyrillic. For the sake of clarity, I have chosen to use the spelling Prince Felix himself seems to have used most often. – back to top