Thursday Thirteen – 13 Essential Things Every Dog Owner MUST Have

There are lots of things dog owners can disagree on, like “dog parks, yes or no?” and “Spay/neuter – before six months, or after?”, but they can’t disagree with my list.

Seriously. This list is it – the stuff you’ve got to have if you want to be a loving, modern day urban dog mommy or daddy.



Thursday Thirteen


Want to see a photo of my dog?
1. A pocket full of photos
It is essential that, when someone notices you are buying 75 pounds of organic gourmet dog food, and makes the mistake of asking ‘So, what kinda dog do you have?’, you are able to illustrate your answer with visual aids. Think Jewish Bubbe with pictures of the grandkids, only more fur (unless you own Chinese Cresteds, or the Jewish grandkids have Hypertrichosis). Photos of your dog with Santa earn bonus points.



Expensive dehydrated raw dog food
2. A specialized, obscure diet that no one else has heard of

As mentioned above, no one who really loves their dogs would dare to feed a commercial food, and especially not the dreck sold in supermarkets. These days, however, you can’t play one upsmanship with the cool kids at the dog park unless your pet is eating a diet so obscure that even the park bench experts give out an impressed ‘oooooh!’ on hearing about it. Raw feeding is fine, but raw feeding wild caught salmon hand processed by Native peoples is even better, and Aboriginal made Kangaroo protein based food is a pretty close second. Bonus points is you can insert the words ‘wild prey model diet’ into the discussion, and even more of them if you can answer the question “Is it expensive?” with “Well, if you have to ask…”



Canine Genius Dog toys
3. “Smart” toys

Just like today’s non fur children with their Baby Genius DVDs, today’s fur kids need toys that do more than just amuse them. Toss out those tennis balls, and get your dog a toy that will build their IQ. The Canine Genius line, for example, features toys that connect together to ‘form puzzles’. Today, chew toys – tomorrow, the New York Times Crossword. In ink.



Punk Rock Will Never Die T Shirt
4. Stylish clothing

Gone are the days when only teeny tiny pocket puppies wore clothes. Today’s fashionable dog of every size needs a wardrobe of clothes suited to every type of social situation. Jerseys for sporting events, coats for cold weather, rain slickers for damp days, bathing suits for… umm… lounging poolside, I suppose. For those of us who prefer downtown to uptown, choose from a selection of ‘edgy’ punk rock fashions for your dog, because nothing says ‘Anarchy Now’ like a Yorkie in a sweater.



Dog in a Monster Costume
5. Costumes

Do not mistake costumes for clothes, or visa versa. Costumes are for letting your dog show off their creative side, and can be broken out for almost any occasion. While not de riguer for Dobermans, one simply cannot own a Pug without a corresponding closet full of costumes. Pugs are to costumes what Beverly Hills children are to Petit Tresor – you can’t have one without the other.



Home made dog cookies
6. Home made cookies

Heaven forbid that your dog should have to eat tacky, stale, store bought ‘cookies’ from a box. What kind of negligent dog parent are you? Do you know what kind of additives and preservatives are in those? Responsible fur mommies and daddies cook for their dogs, preferably with organic ingredients and co op farmed vegetables. If you’re a slacker fur parent, you can buy fresh made cookies from Three Dog Bakery, but only if there’s one in your neighbourhood, and only if you can live with the guilt of shopping at the soul sucking, corporate Starbucks of the Pet Supply industry.



Canine Veterinary Accupuncture Chart
7. A specialist veterinarian – or six

Yes, I know that when you were growing up, your local vet was a crusty old geezer who only treated Shep when he was on his last legs. Times have changed, however, and your dog now needs to be treated by the veterinary equivalent of a primary care clinic. One specialist for surgery, another for acupuncture, an herbalist for separation anxiety, and a physio coach for recovering from those nasty pulled muscles your dog got hiking trails on the weekend.



Dog with therapist
8. A therapist

Like you, your dog leads a stressed out life. He’s still traumatized by your break up, he has issues related to his early weaning, and there’s the lingering suspicion that he was raised in a less than nurturing environment. Sure, you could drug him – there are a myriad of designer drugs that your vet can prescribe, but isn’t that just covering up the underlying issues? Shouldn’t your pet address them head on, instead of repressing them? Of course he should, so you need to get him a therapist, or risk having him resent you forever – and who wants a passive aggressive Yorkie with mommy issues?



Rat catching dogs
9. A psychic

Fine, this one really isn’t essential, but if therapy isn’t working, perhaps it’s time to dig a bit deeper into your dog’s traumatic past – way, way, deep, all the way into his past lives. Was your dog a pampered pet of royalty? A worshiped Egyptian God? A rat catching gutter cur? Find out, with your pet’s own past life reading. Also useful for chatting with Shep, thus allowing you to apologize for the truly poor quality store bought food your mom and dad fed him.



Feathered dog collar and bow tie dog collar
10. Fancy shmancy collars and leads

No self respecting dog parent is going to stick their pet into a nylon webbed Petsmart Monstrosity. After all, collars and leads are where we truly get to let our dog’s creative side fly. Frou frou bejewelled designs for the Pampered Poodle Princess, Spike and Bones gear for the tough guy Terrier with a hip side, or Diamond encrusted platinum necklaces for the dog who inherited Leona Helmsley’s fortune.



On the internet no one knows you’re a dog
11. A Blog

You know that deep inside your dog there’s a budding literary genius, just waiting to emerge. Why not let him express himself on a blog? After all, can the world really have too many dogs talking in faux baby speak about twips to the evil vet? Of course not. Plus, if you’re lucky, your dog will blog like Johann, instead of one of those baby speaking nitwits.



Honda Element with custom crate installation
12. A custom selected, dog friendly vehicle

No one made fun of your friends when they went searching for a car with their new baby in mind, so what’s wrong with picking out your new ride with your dogs in mind? If you’ve spent a Saturday on your hands and knees trying to steam clean out the mess your car sick Coton left after the drive to Grandma’s house, you can relate to the wisdom of buying a vehicle that’s free of carpet. But what about crate height? Places to store leads? Fear not, intrepid car shopper, for there’s website out there just for you – DogCars.Com. With reviews of vehicles written from a dog owner’s P.O.V., it’s your one stop place to find the perfect car for you and your Goldens.

Hint: Honda Element



Papier Mache French Bulldog growler
13. Breed tchotckes

You simply can’t own any one breed of dog for an extended period of time without giving in to the irresistible urge to start adorning your home with breed specific knick knacks. It starts out simply enough – one day, someone gives you a tasteful little statue of your breed. Soon enough, you’re peering around at flea markets, looking for unique little items you can toss casually on your shelves, the better to showcase your love for your breed. Oh, you set limits – no chalkware, nothing from post war Japan, and definately nothing made out of netting, but it never lasts, trust me. One day, you’re going to wake up and discover you’ve spent a week’s salary and change for a papier mache grotesquerie that scares children and makes your friends worry about your sanity. After that, it’s all downhill to chalkware and carnival prizes.



French Bulldog Coat Colors – or lack thereof

I thought I’d write a second part to my article on French Bulldog coat colors, since it gives me a chance to get a terrible burden off of my chest –

I’ve been perpetuating a lie.

Yes, it’s true. All over the web, you’ll find sites parroting this line, from my initial article on coat colors and the French Bulldog FAQ –

“French Bulldogs come in a myriad of colors”

This is, I’m afraid, completely untrue. French Bulldogs, in actual fact, only come in one single coat color – the Golden Sabel/Dominant yellow of the Agouti or ‘A’ series. It’s carried as ay. Everything else we see, from brindle pied to fawn pied to ‘tiger’ brindle to blue fawn to ‘white’, is not a color, but a marking pattern, overlaying or somehow modifying that base coat color of Golden Sable.

It’s true. The genetic ‘base color’ of the French Bulldog is golden sable – think deep golden cream. All of the varying shades and colors in between – from vivid reds to pale buttery yellows to black tipped sable, are just variations on this initial color, thanks to modifiers such as the E Extension series or D Dilute series. It’s theorized that so called ‘blue’ or ‘mouse’ French Bulldogs are a result of the D series dilute gene (dd), but this is just conjecture.

While French Bulldogs might not have a wide variety of colors, what we do indeed have is a staggeringly large variety of marking patterns and modifiers to change the appearance of this one color. The basic patterns are –

Brindle, then, is a pattern of black stripes of varying thickness and degree of repetition, overlaying this base golden color.

Pied is a pattern of white markings interspersed with either self colored areas (fawn pied) or brindled areas (brindle pieds)

Heavily marked brindle or fawn dogs, which seem to sit on the fence between dogs with white markings, and pieds, are likely dogs carrying the si or Irish Spotting allele of the S series.

Black masked dogs are dogs of whichever color/pattern, carrying the black masking gene.

Of course, since Frenchies are Frenchies, and nothing can ever be simple in this breed, we have to deal with the appearance of Liver colored dogs, as well as those of Black and Tans. Both patterns are beyond my scope, or that of my outdated “Genetics of the Dog’ reference book, to explain, but I’m sure someone out there can give us a possible explanation for their occasional appearance.

All of what we know about French Bulldog coat color genetics is currently up in the air. Old theories are being overturned, new ones posited, and differences of opinion over the placement and indeed actions of the various alleles are apparently now commonplace.

What’s heartening is that new genetic testing is becoming available which will soon allow us to run a simple test and determine what color and patterns our dogs are without having to rely on the subjective appearance a dog seems to be – something that no two breeders can ever seem to agree on.

Perhaps soon, when asked what ‘color’ my dog is, I can reply by handing you a copy of his genetic blueprint. It would sure save a lot of arguing!

Coat Colors? – Them's fightin' words!

Want to start a fight on a French Bulldog discussion list? Bring up the topic of French Bulldog coat colors. There are few other topics more guaranteed to get threads going of 75 or more responses, or more promising of exchanges like ‘oh yeah? Sez you’ and ‘You wouldn’t know medelian genetics if it jumped up and bit you in the face’.

There’s a fairly simple reason for this, actually – complexity. Few if any breeds come in the staggering array of allowable colors and patterns seen in French Bulldogs. Our standard in North America pretty much states ‘except for these few disallowed colors, have at it, dog breeders!’. To be more precise, the American Kennel Club standard for the French Bulldog says –

Acceptable colors – All brindle, fawn, white, brindle and white, and any color except those which constitute disqualification. All colors are acceptable with the exception of solid black, mouse, liver, black and tan, black and white, and white with black, which are disqualifications. Black means black without a trace of brindle.

Read that again, carefully –

any color except those which constitute disqualification

That means that if I can genetically engineer myself a glow in the dark pink Frenchie, I could register and show it.

Night shows would be particularly interesting to show one at, don’t you think?

The European standards are a bit tougher on colors, with the FCI standard stating –

– Uniformly fawn, brindled or not , or with limited patching (pied).
– Brindled fawn or not, with medium or large patching.

All the fawn shades are admitted, from the red to light brown (café au lait) colour. The entirely white dogs are classified in “brindled fawn with large white patching”. When a dog has a very dark nose, dark eyes with dark eyelids, certain depigmentations of the face may exceptionally be tolerated in very beautiful subjects.

The FCI standard doesn’t need to list specific DQs (or disqualifications), as their standard has a short, concise list of allowable colors, instead. So, rather than the American standard, which tells us ‘anything other than these few colors is allowed’, the FCI standard says ‘nothing other than these few colors is allowed’.

Over in the UK, the standard says –

Brindle, pied or fawn. Tan, mouse and grey/blue highly undesirable.
Brindle: a mixture of black and coloured hairs. May contain white provided brindle predominates.
Pied: white predominates over brindle. Whites are classified with pieds for show purposes; but their eyelashes and eye rims should be black. In pieds the white should be clear with definite brindle patches and no ticking or black spots.
Fawn: may contain brindle hairs but must have black eye lashes and eye rims.

Reading this, one would assume that ‘cream’, as an ee expression of fawn, would be allowed. One would, however, be wrong. The British French Bulldog breeders are almost completely uniform in their rejection of anything other than what we refer to as ‘Black Masked Fawn’ – those smutty, tan colored dogs, with the clear black masks. Even the masked red fawns and red fawn pieds are still rejected. In fact, the predominance of the red fawn pied dogs we see in North America can be traced to a handful of UK dogs exported to the US, dogs which were sold mainly because their color was not showable in the UK.

These ‘DQs’ might not be specified in the standard, but they are still accepted as the norm – and if I’m wrong about this, and attitudes are changing, I’d love to hear about it.

The issue of cream versus fawn versus black masked fawn is of particular interest to most North American French Bulldog breeders, where the exact method of inheritance is still open to debate. I’ll discuss further on the vagaries of coat color genetics another time.

For now, I’ll leave you with the color example chart I created for Wikipedia, and which you can also find on French Bulldog Z. As I state repeatedly on both sites, these photos and their corresponding color descriptions are listed as examples only, and are open to debate. The only truism when it comes to French Bulldog coat colors is there are more descriptive color names than there are colors, and everyone has their own preference.

It should also be pointed out that some color terms are subjective, with each breeder having their own opinion as to what defines ‘fawn pied’, ‘honey pied’, etc. The examples listed below should be viewed objectively, and are open to debate. In other words, don’t bother sending me snippy letters if you disagree with my descriptions, as I already have a file of about 200 of those. Polite debate, however, is welcomed.

Click thumbnails to see full sized images.

Ellie - Dark Brindle French Bulldog

Black brindle – also known as Seal brindle – so dark it may appear black, but closer inspection will reveal at least a few lighter colored hairs.

Tiger or

This color pattern is sometimes referred to as reverse brindle. It refers to the fact that fawn is more predominant than the black brindling. In the dog shown, there is also a black mask present.

Tiger Brindle French Bull Dog

Tiger brindle is a term reserved for dogs with a coat pattern comprising a fairly regular pattern of alternating fawn and black stripes, similar in appearance to the coat of a tiger.

Cream French Bulldog

Pale cream French Bulldog. Creams can range in hue from deep amber to rich butterscotch to palest gold. This color is generally considered to be a dilution of fawn, minus the masking gene.

Red Fawn French Bulldog

This color and pattern are referred to as black masked RED fawn, due to the rich red hues of the fawn base coat. We have seen fawns in all shades, from brick red to honey to lemon yellow.

Black Masked Fawn French Bulldog

This color and pattern are referred to as black masked fawn. The base color of the coat can vary in shade from red to tan. The mask refers to the marking pattern on the face.

Brindle Pied French Bulldog


This pattern is referred to as brindle pied. Brindled areas – areas where fawn is overlaid with black striping – are interspersed with areas of white coat. Markings can be slight, or predominant.

Red Fawn Pied French Bulldogs


Red fawn pied French Bulldogs. Paler versions are sometimes referred to as fawn pied, lemon pied or honey pied. As with all Frenchies, there may be a mask associated with this pattern.


Ticked Pied French Bulldog


Ticked Pied. Dog has obvious freckled markings among the white areas of the body. Only the KCofE standard specifies ‘ticking’ as a DQ, but this pattern still tends to be heavily penalized in show rings everywhere.


Blue or Mouse French Bulldog


This is referred to as blue, or blue brindle. Brindle markings on this dog have a “grey” hue, and base coat color is a solid blue-grey. It has been debated whether or not this color is also what the standards refer to as ‘mouse‘.

Blue Pied French Bulldog


A Blue Pied French Bulldog. “Blue” Frenchies are a result of the ‘d’ or dilute gene. In this form, the dilute factor has caused the black hairs to become blue. Pigment on nose and pads is also a greyish blue in color, and eyes are often blue or yellowish gold. Again, this color has also been referred to as mouse.

Blue Fawn French Bulldog


Blue-Fawn A variation of blue, with coloring being seen most clearly in the masking points on the face. Typically they have green/grey eyes. It is said that they are usually produced by a fawn or red fawn parent.

Liver French Bulldog


This color can be referred to as either liver or brown – each is a disqualification within the AKC or FCI breed standards. Dog has NO brindling, and is a uniform reddish – brown, with self pigmented lips, nose, pads,etc. Eyes have a yellowish hue.

Black and Tan French Bulldog


Black and tan French Bulldog. Undoubtedly the rarest of the disqualified colors, this is still an extremely striking marking pattern. It has been theorized that black and tan was initially designated a dq because it is a dominant marking pattern in canines

Missing French Bulldogs Near Chandler, Oklahoma

Our friend Pat Pearce, one of the writers for our Ask the Experts column, has suffered a horrible tragedy. Two of her French Bulldogs have escaped from her fenced yard near Chandler, Oklahoma.

If you’re in the area, please be on the look out, and please consider cross posting this notice.

Here’s Pat’s email, and at the end you’ll find a link to a downloadable PDF file that can be handed out at vet clinics or posted in other areas where they might be seen.

I need help finding my pups…  I have this written up… and have attached photos and a flyer that I am asking folks to get to their local vets and shelters.. and of course permissing is given to cross post far and wide..  and can you post it on your site”

Two of my dogs escaped from my fenced yard and are lost. I live outside Chandler, OK.  I have done all the things – flyers everywhere, talked to all the neighbors, the mail man, the police, ads in the local paper, etc…all with NO results.  They have not been seen since a very short time after they escaped.  I fear that someone has picked them up.

They are Robin, 18 month old brindle girl and Hunter, 14 month honey pied male, both are micro chipped…  I can be reached at my cell phone 405-650-4051 or by email at   One has a condition and needs constant medication…


Hunter - Missing From Chandler, OK

Robin - Missing From Chandler, OK

Vet Flyer – PDF

Wishbone Brakes for Westminster and Old Dogs with New Homes

This post is sort of a big bunch o’ stuff I wanted to post all last week, but couldn’t, because the internet Gods were angry with me.

I have made them an offering of a pureed 14.4 modem, so hopefully they are appeased and will keep my over priced, stupid, slow-ass satellite internet connection from crashing for just a few days, ok?


Wishbone Needs Snackage

Your dog wins BoB two years in a row, and what is he famous for? Slamming on the brakes so he can carpet surf for leftover bait.

For those of you who missed it, here’s a video clip of Wishbone’s adorable brake-slamming moment during Westminster 2008. I love how they added the brake action sound effects at the top of the second night.

Old Dogs, New Homes

I was thrilled to see a comment from Lisa Levy over on my post about placing dogs into retirement homes. Lisa adopted Blossom a few years ago (I owned her, but didn’t breed her), and I can’t think of a better home for an older Frenchie. It’s a photo of Blossom working the King David retirement home that is shown on the Wikipedia French Bulldog article that I help to edit.

It’s always so great to hear from past and present owners of dogs…

Blossom, btw, had her own website.. Frenchies are sooo tech savvy.

Blossom and Minnie at the retirement home

A Side Note to Owners of Frenchies from Absolut Bullmarket

Hey, you! I know you read this blog, at least sporadically. Get yer butt over to our group on Ning, and upload some bee-ooo-teous photos and film clips of your little flat faced friend.

It’s not scary at all, honest. You just:

sign up for a FREE Ning account

Join our group

– start uploading photos and videos, writing blogs, and chatting with other owners

I’m going to start featuring dogs and owners from our group on this blog, so drop me a line if you’d like to be featured! I love braggin’ on our extended four legged family!