Weighty Issues, Yet Again

I am slowly but surely losing my mind in the last few days before the Jamboree. I have already asked friends to please, please  smack me in the head with a hammer if I dream up another harebrained idea like “Hey, let’s invite a great big bunch of French Bulldog people to come and spend a weekend in the middle of nowhere”. Immediately afterwards, I of course mentioned how next year I’d like to combine the Jamboree with our Regional Specialty. Hammer, meet head – Head, meet Hammer.

Weight and the Canadian French Bulldog Breed Standard

A few people were rather irate at my recent entry discussing the issue of the Canadian French Bulldog Club’s apparent proposal to change the weight portion of the Canadian standard from a disqualification to a ‘fault’.

For the record, here’s the proposed changes that the Canadian Club has considered submitting:


Preferred weight 9 – 14 kgs., size being in proportion with the weight but soundness not to be sacrificed for size.

For the record, the standard currently states:

A lightweight class under 22 lb. (10 kg); heavyweight class, 22 lb. and not over 28 lb. (10-13 kg).

and under disqualifications is listed:

over 28 lb. (12.7 kg) in weight.

Clearly, this indicates that the Canadian National Club fully intends to change weight from a disqualification to a (weakly worded) fault.

Personally, I object to the insinuation that a larger dog equals a sounder dog. If this rational were true, we’d have to assume that Mastiffs are the most physically sound dog breed alive, with Chihuahuas the least sound and shortest lived. Anyone else see a problem with this theory?

At any rate, whether you’re pro standard change or con, you do have to wonder if, in this time of increased scrutiny on the breed standards of all purebred dogs, and Brachycephalic breeds in particular, the most pressing issue we need to address in our standard is the question of weight.

Rather than worry about weight, how about adopting the statement in the UK standard which specifies that

Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable.

There’s a change to the standard that I could personally fully support.

In other news…

The Eastern Canada French Bulldog Club (with an area of operation including Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes) is now active, and actively seeking members. The new club website, at http://www.frenchbulldogscanada.com, should be up and running by the end of next week, if I haven’t collapsed from exhaustion before then. Either way, please come and check us out! But not today – today there’s nothing much there to see 😉

The Toy Bulldog and French Bulldog of 1906

An interesting article on the split between Toy Bulldogs and French Bulldogs, and the differences between the French Bulldog breed standards of France, England and America in the 1900’s.

Taken from “The dog book: A popular history of the dog, with practical information as to care and management of house, kennel, and exhibition dogs; and descriptions of all the important breeds“. Written by James Watson, and Published by Doubleday, Page & company, Great Britain, 1906

The French Bulldog

At the time of the war of the ears, when all doggy society hung breathlessly while the momentous question was being decided as to whether it was to be an erect or a rose ear upon the gentleman from France it is a pity that the question of the proper name was not also taken up. At home it is the Bouledouge Francais and as it has not sufficient in common to be a bull dog proper the French name might well have been perpetuated, as it has now been in England, where there is also a toy bulldog which takes care of miniature bulldogs under 20 pounds. The English toy bulldog club was started as an opposition to the Toy Bulldog Club which had decided to recognise bat- ears and dogs up to 28 pounds. This club was recognised as the rightful one to look after the toy bulldog, but after a great deal of trouble the supporters of the bat-eared dog have received recognition and a classification has been made for the Boule-Dogue Francais. This we think is a better title for the dog than what we know it by, the propriety of translating it into English and thus making a bulldog of it being questionable.

Another thing that the club of this country has done is to draw up a standard of its own, making alterations from that of the home club in Paris. When writing on other breeds we have held that the home club is the rightful one to formulate the standard and keep it up to date and that it is not proper for a foreign club to make material alterations so long as the home standard is lived up to at the headquarters of the breed. The Paris club does not grade the colours, merely stating the preference for brindles, and it does distinctly state that black and tans are to be disqualified. Here we have graded colours and anything can be shown. A cut tail is a disqualification in Paris while here it is merely “not desirable.” A cut tailed dog in a breed where cut or docked tails are not proper is a “faked” dog and we are at a loss to know under what circumstances the French bulldog club of this country countenanced the docking of a tail which should be shown naturally

and is only docked when it is not correct in shape or carnage. In the matter of weight our club has also taken upon itself to ignore the French standard. The latter calls for dogs under ten kilogrammes and bitches under nine kilogrammes. The English club while following the French standard very closely did not divide the sexes and says that the weight should be under 24 pounds. The American club has gone on a tack of its own entirely and divided by weight in place of by sex, under 22 pounds for the lightweight class and 22 pounds and over for the heavyweight class. According to that a dog of 26 or 28 pounds is eligible here whereas he would be disqualified in any country in Europe. Alterations such as these cannot be defended and we are left to surmise what the object was in making them.

Whether the boule-dogue Fran9ais owes as much to introductions of toy English bulldog blood as the English writers say is the case we are not prepared to say. What is very evident is that there is a marked difference in certain respects between the boule-dogue and the miniature bulldog as the small English toy bulldog is now called, a term which well expresses what the little dog is. The boule-dogue is not a miniature bulldog any more than the Boston terrier, and the latter in some respects has quite a resemblance to the Parisian dog. So much have they in common that it would not take long to transform one into the other, and that French blood has been introduced into the Boston is more probable than Boston breeders are willing to admit. Knowing what the breeders in Boston have done with the crude material from which they have built up the Boston terrier we do not place a great deal of value upon the claims of English origin as against French cultivation and development of an ideal dog.

From some of the illustrations of English dogs it is evident that many of the breeders and fanciers of that country have not been able to get away from the toy bulldog idea in connection with the French dog and in many of them the rose ear and the receding upper jaw, or protruding under jaw, show the bent of the fancy toward the English toy or miniature bulldog. The establishment of the two clubs in England and the title for the home dog will, however, straighten this matter out and divide the varieties properly. It is somewhat singular that the American club has almost ignored the question of make and shape of the muzzle and jaws, summing all that very important section of the dog in eight words—”jaws large and powerful, deep, square and undershot.” This with the information that the nose must be extremely short and also be very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth is all the guide we have to one of the most

important features of the dog in its individuality as distinct from the bulldog. -No person who had not an illustration to guide him could by any possibility- construct in his imagination the dog this standard is supposed to represent in head and any five dog men capable of drawing a dog’s head would all differ from each other in the design they would produce with such a guide. With the illustrations of good dogs as a guide the difficulty is solvable and it will be seen that the muzzle is much on the order of the Boston terrier and has no bulldog lay back or curled up under jaw.

The French bulldog, as we miscall it, has been quite a prominent feature in the toy section of American dogdom for the past fifteen years and the best evidence of his being a good dog about the house is the way those who take up the breed stick to it. Fanciers of the boule-dogue are anything but butterflies but hold to their pets with a persistence that might well be copied by the men who disturb other breeds by getting out before they have hardly had time to settle in the fancy. Not quite so rompy and active as the Boston terrier the boule-dogue is nevertheless as lively in his movements as any dog needs to be about the house, possessing some of the sedateness of the pug in his temperament and disposition. He possesses the advantage which all short coated dogs have of being easily kept clean and fit for the house, requiring only good daily grooming to that end.

Close upon one hundred French bulldogs were benched at the New York show of 1906 and half of these were of American breeding, figures which clearly show the progress and good standing of the breed. That «t is one of the best established was shown by the entries of puppies, 12. dogs and bitches, so there will be no lack of competitors in the immediate future. While competition is close and the quality of the exhibits of a high class there is no preponderating kennel, the prize list being “well broken up ” which is one of the best things for the progress of a breed.

In view of the remarks upon the standards of the French and the American clubs we give that which governs at the home of the breed (ed note: the standard below is the 1906 version of the French Bulldog Standard in France, ie; “That which governs at the home of the breed”).

Famous French Bulldogs of 1906

Descriptive Particulars

General appearance. An active and intelligent dog, very muscular, of compact structure and fairly large bone for its size.

Head.-Very large, broad and square. Skull almost flat; cheek- muscles well developed but not protruding. Eyebrows prominent and separated by a strongly marked furrow; stop very deep. The skin of the head loose, forming almost symmetrical wrinkles and folds.

“Jaws.—Broad, square and powerful, they should never be pointed or pinched. The lower jaw projects, but if too prominent it is a serious fault. The lips should cover the teeth in front and the upper lips or flews should fall below the lower lips at the sides.*

Eyes.—Dark, fairly large, neither sunken nor too prominent, and showing no white when turned toward you. Placed low, wide apart and there should be a good distance from eye to ear. Light coloured eyes are a bad fault, and eyes of different colours are a disqualification.

Nose.—Black, like the lips and muzzle.

Ears.—Erect, known by the name of bat-ears. Medium size, wide at the base and rounded at the points. Placed high on the head, but not too close together and always carried erect. The entire orifice should be seen from the front. Leather soft and fine. Rose ears not admissable.

Chest.—Broad and deep.

Back.—Short, broad and muscular, showing a graceful curve, with the highest point at the loins, and dropping quickly to the tail.

Loins.—Short and muscular, giving plenty of liberty to the movement.

Belly.—Tucked up at the loins; not fat or drooping.

Legs.—Forelegs short, wide apart, straight and muscular. Hindlegs strong and muscular, with hocks well let down.

Feet.—Small, compact and slightly turned out. Toes close and well knuckled up. Short thick nails. Hind feet slightly longer than forefeet.

Tail.—Set on low, thick at root, short and tapering, either straight or screwed and devoid of feather. A gay carriage of tail is a serious fault.

Coat.—Short, close and soft. Should be neither hard nor thin.

Colour.—Dark brindle preferred. Black and tan a disqualification.

Height.—12 inches at the withers.

Weight.—Dogs under 22 pounds; bitches under 20 pounds.

Flews should be pendulous.—J.W.

Miniature or Toy Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Miniature Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Here’s an interesting chapter on the original differences (and similarities) between “Miniature” or “Bantam” Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs.

It’s taken from “The Complete Book of the Dog“, written By Robert Leighton, and Published by Cassell and Company, Ltd. of the UK, in 1922

Miniature Bulldogs.

Bantam Bulldogs are not really toys ; they are simply little ones, answering to the same standard of points as the ordinary Bulldog excepting that their weight is not more than 15 or 16 lb. Some few years ago this variety of our national breed entered into close competition against the bat-eared French Bulldog, and many remarkably good ones were brought forward by Lady Kathleen Pilkington, Mrs. Carlo Clarke, Mrs. Burrell and other ladies ; but there appeared to be no

great advantage in cultivating small size in a dog which was already so firmly fixed in type as the greater Bulldog, whereas the Miniature had no outstanding attractions, excepting those of ear carriage, which were not present in the Bouledogue Fran9ais. Miniature Bulldogs, of course, still exist ; but they are no longer being forced into public notice, and I doubt if they are still being designedly bred to the aim of diminutive size.

The French Bulldog.

It was from the English variety of pygmy Bulldogs that the now fashionable French Bulldog was evolved. In the early ‘fifties of the last century there was a constant migration of laceworkers from Nottingham to the coast towns of Normandy, and these people frequently took their little Bulldogs with them. The process may have been intentional or accidental, but it is commonly believed that it was from these little Nottingham dogs that the French Bulldog got all but its large tulip ears. When this altered variety was imported into England somewhere about 1900 it entered into competition with our English Miniatures. The two were interbred, and there was confusion. Ultimately the Kennel Club decided that they must be kept apart under different breed names, and the French dog thereafter became officially recognized as the Bouledogue Francais.

In 1903 the French Bulldog Club (nb: of England) issued the following description :

General Appearance: The French Bulldog ought to have the appearance of an active, intelligent, and very muscular dog, of cobby build, and be heavy in bone for its size.

Head : The head is of great importance. It should be large and square, with the forehead nearly flat; the muscles of the cheek should be well developed, but not prominent. The stop should be as deep as possible. The skin of the head should not be tight, and the forehead should be well wrinkled. The muzzle should be short, broad, turn upwards, and be very deep. The lower jaw should project considerably in front of the upper, and should turn up, but should not show the teeth.

Eyes: The eyes should be of moderate size and of dark colour. No white should be visible when the dog is looking straight in front of him. They should be placed low down and wide apart.

Nose: The nose must be black and large.

Ears: Bat ears ought to be of a medium size, large at the base and rounded at the tips. They should be placed high on the head and carried straight. The orifice of the ear looks forward, and the skin should be fine and soft to the touch.

Neck: The neck should be thick, short, and well arched.

Body: The chest should be wide and well down between the legs, and the ribs well sprung. The body short and muscular, and well cut up. The back should be broad at the shoulder, tapering towards the loins, preferably well roached.

Tail: The tail ought to be set on low and be short; thick at the root, tapering to a point, and not carried above the level of the back.

Legs : The forelegs short, straight and muscular. The hind-quarters, though strong, should be lighter in proportion to the fore- quarters, the hocks well let down, and the feet compact and strong.

Coat : The coat of medium density ; black in colour is very undesirable.

As companions and friends the Miniature and the French Bulldogs are alike faithful, fond, and even foolish in their devotion, as all true friends should be. They are invariably good-tempered, and, as a rule, sufficiently fond of the luxuries of this life to be easily cajoled into obedience. Remarkably intelligent, and caring enough for sport to be sympathetically excited at the sight of a rabbit without degenerating into cranks on the subject like terriers ; taking a keen interest in all surrounding people and objects, without, however, giving way to ceaseless barking ; enjoying outdoor exercise, without requiring an exhausting amount, they are in every way desirable pets for both town and country.

As puppies they are delicate, and require constant care and supervision ; but that only adds a keener zest to the attractive task of breeding them, the more so owing to the fact that as mothers they do not shine, and generally manifest a strong dislike to rearing their own offspring. In other respects they are quite hardy little dogs, and—one great advantage—they seldom have distemper. Cold and damp they particularly dislike, especially when puppies, and the greatest care should be taken to keep them thoroughly dry and warm. When very young indeed they can stand, and are the better for, an extraordinary amount of heat.

Over Weight French Bulldogs and the Canadian Breed Standard

In both Canada and the USA, there is a section in our breed standard that sets a limit on the maximum amount a dog can weigh, and still be allowed to compete in the ring.

In the USA, the standard has this to say about weight –

Weight not to exceed 28 pounds; over 28 pounds is a disqualification.

In Canada, weight is still split into two classes:

A lightweight class under 22 lb. (10 kg); heavyweight class, 22 lb. and not over 28 lb. (10-13 kg).

Weight is listed clearly among breed disqualifications:

over 28 lb. (12.7 kg) in weight.

I find it interesting that the Canadian standard calls for a division of the weight classes, because the original weight limit on French Bulldogs was, in fact, 22 lbs or under. From the original draft of the first written French Bulldog standard:

The weight shall not exceed twenty two pounds; that of the bitch twenty pounds.

Over the years, weight has crept up, as it does in many breeds. In Europe, the FCI standard of today specifies –

The weight must not be below 8 kg nor over 14 kg for a bulldog in good condition, size being in proportion with the weight.

Two things are notable about this – first, that 14 kg is slightly higher than the American and Canadian weight limits of 28 lbs or 12.7 kgs. – 14 kilograms is roughly 30.864717 pounds. The second difference is that weight is not listed in the FCI standard as a disqualification.

Personally, I think weight is a slippery slope. A limit exists to keep our dogs true to their original purpose as a lap dog and compact companion breed. While I don’t want to see tiny ‘toy’ French Bulldogs, neither do I want to see huge 40 pound Frenchies lumbering around the ring.

Currently, there is rumor of a movement to change the 28 lb. (12.7 kg) weight limit in the Canadian standard from a Disqualification to a ‘fault’. This slight change in wording would give judges licence to reward dogs who weigh in excess of 28 lbs, if the judge finds them to be the superior dog in the ring.

Personally, I think that this change would spell the end of co operation between US and Canadian breeders. American breeders aren’t going to want to breed into Canadian lines that they feel tend to be over sized – few things, after all, are more frustrating that bringing along an excellent show prospect, only to have them weigh 29 pounds at eight months.

How do you feel about this? Do you think it’s time to raise the weight limit on Frenchies, or do you feel that breeders should conform their breeding programs to the current standard as it is written? I’ve created a poll to let you express your opinion – two polls, actually. One is for breeders in Canada, and the other is for anyone in the world, breeder or not (that’s the one you’ll see below). If you’re in Canada and a French Bulldog breeder, please click here for the alternate poll.

French Bulldog Jamboree – Tentative Schedule of Events

We’re getting SOOOO close! I’m happy to announce a tentative schedule of events, which is still subject to some change. For now, here it is:

Friday May 22cnd (weekend and overnight guests)

Arrive during day
Dinner at your leisure (ribs, chicken, steak are all on the menu, apparently)
Poker tournament, with $500 pot
Hang out time at cabins, camp fire with marshmallows, possible sing along if we get drunk enough (God help us all)


Saturday, May 23rd

11 am: Arrive and check in for those not staying at the resort ($5 per person, or $8 per couple or family for day’s events – included for those staying at the resort)
11:30 am: Obedience clinic and general meet and greet time (obedience clinic is donation based)
12:30 am: Fun match
1:30 pm: BBQ lunch, with raffle to follow. BBQ is included for those staying at the resort – prices otherwise are on the website
2:30 – 3:00 ish pm: costume contest with prizes
4:30: additional obedience clinic time, if needed

End of events for those not staying at the resort, or stay for optional dinner (dinner included for resort guests).

The resort is fully booked for our event and a wedding, but there are area motels for those who decide to stay overnight. Advance reservations suggested. Contact us for a recommended list.


Sunday, May 24th

Breakfast/Brunch at your leisure
Animal Communicator will be doing readings during the day (still subject to the AC’s schedule – we’ll know for sure by the end of this week)
Lunch of your choice – hand out sheet will have suggestions for area
Optional tour to St. Jacob’s, Ontario – Mennonite Village, Mennonite farmer’s and craft market (individual vehicles). Great quilt and gift item shopping.
Dinner for those staying overnight to Monday

Anyone arriving before Friday is welcome to email me directly – we’re having a small get together at my house, five minutes from the resort, if you’re feeling up to it.

ps: Please bring your raffle items with you if you’re attending. Make sure to include a card with your name or the name of the donator, and any other info you’d like read out at the raffle and included on the website.