A short note to an old man

Dear little old man at the Durham Farmers Market:

You are an old man, quite obviously cranky and set in your ways, and used to just saying whatever the hell pops into your mind. I suppose age could excuse this, but I strongly suspect you were like that before the years added up, and the walker was needed. I suspect it, but I’m not sure – perhaps before the years passed you were a sweet and gentle fellow, friend to all, polite to a fault. That doubtfulness is the only thing that kept me from whacking you with my purse on Friday afternoon at the market.

You see, I personally don’t think it’s polite to walk up to a stranger and say “Jeez, look at the mug on that dog – that’s one ugly face. Face only a mother could love, huh?”.

Because, no – no, I don’t think she’s ugly. I don’t think her face is ugly, and she is, in fact, loved by a great many people. More, perhaps, than could love a cranky old coot like you.

I bit my tongue when you said it – ignored you, in fact. Just let it slide, walked right past you. Sean was shocked – he said he was surprised I didn’t ‘kick the crutches out from under you’.

Like I said, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, old man. But my little dog is just as old as you – older, probably, in dog years. I see nothing but beauty in her face, and the fact that you can’t see it? Your loss, I suppose.

I still wish I’d hit you with my purse, though.

French Bulldog Profiles – Solo!

OK, this is cheating, since almost anyone who reads this blog already knows who Solo is.

But, since it’s my blog, I get to pick who I profile, and who better than his nibs?

Here are some new photos of Solo, being world’s cutest Frenchie. Or, go see them full sized on Flickr.

The evolution of the French Bulldog Breed Standard – Part 1

The breed standard is the written blue print of the breed. It is the master plan that instructs breeders on what their ultimate goals are to be, in terms of structure, when evaluating their own dogs or planning a breeding. It is also the guide which judges are to use when evaluating French Bulldogs at breed shows.

Often times, breeders treat the standard as if it is graven in stone – un changeable, and to be adhered to rigidly. This isn’t really true.

Standards are mutable, and change over time. What follows are three versions of the French Bulldog breed standard – one from 1901, one from 1923, and one from 2005.

Reading it closely, you’ll see the changes that occur over time to various aspects of the breed. In particular, pay attention to the sections on color. This is interesting to us today, as one of the reason often given for fighting against disallowed colors is that they aren’t ‘true’ to the standard – but which version of the standard are they untrue to? Should we adhere to what the originators of the breed sought in terms of consistency, or to the more modern versions?

Food for thought.

This will be posted in three parts, for the sake of brevity.

The French Bull Dog Breed Standard, 1901

General Appearance. — The general appearance of the French bulldog
should be that of an active, intelligent, muscular dog; smooth-coated,
compactly built and of small stature.
Head. — Large, si]nare and broad, craninm almost flat, jaws large,
powerful, deep, square, and undershot; the muscles of the cheek well
developed ; the face extremely short, broad and very deep. Stop strongly
defined, causing a hollow or groove between the eyes, and extending well
up the forehead.
Eyes. — Wide apart, set low in skull, as far from the ears as possible,
round, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging, and very dark. No
haw and no white of eye should be visible when looking forward.
Nose, etc. — Muzzle, nose and lips should be black. The lips thick,
and nose deep, and nostrils broad. Neck short, thick and well arched.

Ears. — Ears bat ears, large in size, broad at base, well elongated, with
rounded top, set high on head, but not too close, yet carried erect, with
orifice plainly visible when seen from the front.

Body. — Short, well rounded, well let down between shoulders and fore-legs, chest deep, broad, full, well-ribbed, with belly well tucked up. Back short, strong, broad at shoulders and narrowing at loins. Fore-legs short, stout, straight, and muscular, set wide apart ; hind-legs longer than fore-legs so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders. Feet compact and
firmly set, turning slightly outward. Toes compact, with high knuckles and
short nails. The tail can be either straight or screwed (not curl), short,
hung low, downward carriage, thick root and fine tip. Preference given to
short, straight tail.
Color. — Uniform, pure of its kind, and brilliant; preference given to
dark brindle, dark brindle and white ; all other brindles, all other colors.
Skin soft and loose, especially at head, forming wrinkles.
Coat. — Moderately fine, short and smooth.
Disqualifications. — Docked tails, mutilated, and other than bat ears are
General appearance 15
Skull 15
Eyes 5
Muzzle 5
Ears 10 Neck 5 Body 15 Legs and feet 10 Tail 10 Color, skin and coat 10
Total 100

French Bulldog Breed Standard, 1923

The following is the description of the breed as approved by the French Bulldog Club of America:

GENERAL APPEARANCE. — The French Bulldog should have the appearance of an active, intelligent, muscular dog, of heavy bone, smooth coat, compactly built, and of medium or small stature.

The points should be well distributed and bear good relation one to the other, no feature being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill proportioned.

INFLUENCE OF SEX.— In comparison of specimens of different sex, due allowance should be made in favor of the bitches, which do not bear the characteristics of the breed to the same marked degree as do the dogs.

WEIGHT. — A lightweight class under 22 pounds; heavyweight class, 22 pounds, and not over 28 pounds.

HEAD. — The head should be large, square, and broad, cranium almost flat; the underjaw large and powerful, deep, square, broad, undershot, and well turned up. The muzzle should be well laid back and the muscles of the cheeks well developed. The stop should be strongly defined, causing a hollow or groove between the eyes and extending up in the forehead. The nose should be extremely short, broad, and very deep; nostrils broad and black, with well-defined line between them. (Dish-face undesirable.) The nose and flews should be black. The flews should be thick, broad, pendant, and very deep, hanging over the lower jaw at sides. Tusks must not show. Front teeth may show slightly.
EYES. — The eyes should be wide apart, set low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible,
round in form, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging, and in color dark. No haw and no white of the eye showing when looking forward.
NECK. — The neck should be thick and well arched, with loose skin at throat.

EARS. — The ears shall hereafter be known as the bat ear, broad at the base, elongated, with round top, set high in the head, but not too close together, and carried erect, with the orifice to the front. The leather of the ear fine and soft.
BODY. — The body should be short and well rounded. The chest broad, deep, and full, well ribbed, with the belly tucked up. The back should be a roach back, with a slight fall close behind the shoulders. It should be strong and short, broad at the shoulders and narrowing at the loins.
LEGS. — The forelegs should be short, stout, straight, and muscular, set wide apart. The hind-
legs should be strong and muscular, longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders. Hocks well let down.
FEET. — The feet should be moderate in size, compact, and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles, and short, stubby nails; hind- feet slightly longer than forefeet.

TAIL. — The tail should be either straight or screwed (but not curly), short, hung low, thick root and fine tip, carried low in repose.
COLOR, SKIN, AND COAT. — Acceptable colors are: All brindle (dark preferred) and any color except the following, which constitute disqualification: Solid black, black and white, black and tan, liver and mouse color. (Black as used in the standard means black without any trace of brindle.) The skin should be soft and loose, especially at head and shoulders, forming wrinkles. Coat moderately fine, brilliant, short and smooth.

Disqualification. — Other than bat ears, any mutilation, solid black, black and white, black and tan, liver and mouse color, eyes of different color, nose other than black, and hare lip.


Proportion and symmetry, 5;
expression, 5; gait, 4; color, 4; coat, 2; skull, 6;
cheeks and chops, 2; stop, 5; ears, 8; eyes, 4; wrinkles,
4; nose, 3; jaws, 6; teeth, 2; shoulders, 5; back,
5; neck, 4; chest, 3; ribs, 4; brisket, 3; belly, 2;
forelegs, 4; hindlegs, 3; feet, 3; tail, 4.

Total, 100

Thursday 13 – The Bad Breeder's List of Excuses

This list originally appeared back on the rec.pets.dogs mailing list, around 2001 or so. It was written by Denna Pace. It might be old, but still holds true today.

Since there are 26 items on the list, I’ll post the rest for next week. Interspersed on the list are images of puppy mill/BYB bred Frenchies currently needing homes, fosters or donations.

The Backyard Breeders’ and Puppy Millers’ Big Book of Old Excuses
© Denna Pace 2001

FBRN Posey
Posey, FBRN Foster dog. Posey is like this because “A “breeder” let her demodectic mange get out of hand and surrendered her to a shelter. At the time of surrender Posy was described as “six pounds, 13 ounces; inflamed, hairless and infected.”

1. When called on bad breeding practices, ALWAYS claim that you are merely an innocent posting as a favor to a friend or family member.

2. Point out that everybody you know breeds this way, therefore it must be okay.

3. Claim that “snobby show breeders” are only criticizing you because they want to corner the market on puppy profit.

4. Claim that a Champion in the pedigree is just as good as 56 Champions in the pedigree. Not that it matters, because you doubt that there is such a thing as a dog with 56 champions in the pedigree.

5. Claim that you are just trying to produce good pets, therefore good pets are all you need for breeding.

6. When asked about health testing, enthusiastically point out that your bitch had a health checkup before breeding.

Fluffy, French Bulldog Village Foster Kid
French Bulldog Village K-Kid ‘Fluffy’. She “arrived in rescue unable to defecate naturally, struggling and straining to relieve herself. We discovered that her rectum had been sewn shut to prevent recurrent bouts of diarrhea! “

7. Be sure to mention that you do not need to run such health tests as OFA, CERF, thyroid, cardiac, patellae, etc., because your dogs look healthy and had no visible problems at their last vet checkup.

8. Point out that these tests cost too much and would cut into your profit margin. Be sure to champion the right of poor people to breed dogs.

9. Confidently assure worried rescuers that no puppy you produce, or any of their puppies or grand puppies or great-grandpuppies will end up in shelters because you have a bunch of friends who have told you that they’d like a pup from your bitch.

10. Point out that you don’t need Championships or working titles on your dogs because you are breeding for temperament and your dog is really sweet.

11. Silence those annoying people who ask about your health guarantee by assuring them that buyers can return any sick puppies and you will replace it with another pup as long as it got sick within a certain amount of time of sale and as long as you don’t think the buyer did something to make the puppy sick.

12. If your breed or line is rare (or you have a “rare” color, or believe your breed or color is rare), be sure to remind everyone that you do not need to show, temperament test, or health test your breeding stock because you are doing the world a service by continuing this “rare” breed/color/line.

13. No matter what anyone else says, claim that you obviously know what you are doing because you’ve been breeding for a long time. Point to the hundreds of puppies you’ve pumped out over the years as proof.

 French Bulldog Village K Kid Lucy
Lucy, another French Bulldog Village K Kid. Lucy spent her entire life being used as a brood bitch. She weighed less than 15 pounds when she came into rescue.

French Bulldogs at Stud in the 1920s

The common method of offering your French Bulldog at stud in the 1920’s was to place a ‘kennel card’ advertisement in one of the popular show dog magazines of the day. The ad would tout his accomplishments, mention his numerous champion get, and generally state his stud fee, which seemed to vary between $7 and $25 dollars. Bitches were generally shipped in by train, if they were not local.

Now, French Bulldogs offered at stud are handled much, much differently. Owners generally place an ad in one of the popular French Bulldog breed magazines. The ad touts the dog’s show accomplishments, mentions his numerous champion get, and states he’s available to ‘approved bitches’. OK, maybe not so different, but at least stud fee isn’t usually mentioned in print any longer. This is probably a good thing, since they can now vary from $850 to $2500, with bitches staying put at home, and the stud dog’s semen being flown to the bitch via courier.

Here are some kennel card ads from the 1920’s – click to view full sized. The ad for Never Never Land Kennels appeared in, of all places, the Yale Newspaper.