They grow up so fast…

Luke attends show handling class

Luke attends show handling class

It’s hard to believe that our last round of French Bulldog puppies are almost seven months old. With age comes the thought of show ring careers, so I thought we’d update you on what’s going on with our budding beauty queens (and king).

Over in Illinois, Andrea Morden Moore and the lovely Luke are getting ready for their show ring debut. Luke has already been doing some ring training, and Andrea says he is progressing quite nicely. I’m very pleased with him, albeit only from his photos.

Luke will be making his ring debut at the Chicago International Kennel Club show, which takes place the last weekend in February.

You can learn more about the IKC show on their web page –

Luke and Andrea will be showing during the ‘benched’ portion of the show. The Westminster Kennel Club website has the description for “Benched” shows –

Originally, most shows were “benched” in some fashion, where the entered dogs were required to be in assigned areas (on benches) at all times when not being judged in the ring. This allowed for interaction of dogs and their owners with spectators and other owners and breeders as an educational process.

What this means, in essence, is that all the dogs of a single breed are set up in the same area in between showing. All of the French Bulldogs, for example, will be together, which means you’ll also have easy access to all of the French Bulldog breeders and exhibitors who are at the same show. Many times, people will set up little informational booths and displays, often with the breed clubs or local breed rescues also offering a display.

There are very, very few benched shows left in the world, and while exhibitors might complain about them, there are really no better shows for the average public to attend.  Benched shows are ultimately intended to provide a way for the public to interact with large groups of breeders and exhibitors, all in one place, and most people who enter benched shows do so with the understanding that they will make themselves available to answer questions about their dogs and their breed.

If you live in or near the Chicago area, Luke and Andrea would LOVE to have you come out to meet them, and to cheer for them. As I mentioned, they’re only entered in the ‘benched’ portion of the show, which is Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be posting entry times as the show dates gets closer, but please let me know if you plan to attend, so that they can keep an eye out for you.

Up in Michigan, Sue Simon had been hoping to attend the IKC show with Luke and Leah’s dad, Dexter. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t great right now, so she’ll be entering him in some local Michigan shows, including Cobo Hall – which just happens to be another benched show!

This means another great chance to come out and meet with dogs and their owners, including the Dashingly Devious Dexter. Please give him a head skritch from me, and tell him to try to behave himself for Sue!

French Bulldog in the snow

Leah 'enjoying' the snowy CT weather

Over on the East Coast, Luke’s sister Leah is also getting ready for her show ring debut. We’re currently working out details for the Lovely Ms Leah to head up to Canada, where she’ll be ably handled by the ultra talented Kay Reil, who finished Butters for us last year.  I have high hopes that Leah will make it up in time for the CKC’s Charitable dog show event, the Purina National dog show. This year’s show should have a great turn out, as it’s being held at the Interational Center near the Toronto Airport.

Last year, Butters made her debut at the Purina National, and it would be nice to see Leah do the same. We’ll be offering a breed information booth at the Purina National this year, and again – we’d love to see you come out to meet us, and to learn more about Frenchies.

Also on the east coast is Finlee, Delilah’s Dexter daughter. Finlee and her new mom, Amanda, will be making their ring debut some time later this spring, and we look forward to hearing more about their progress. We also need Amanda to send us more photos – Flickr is your friend, people!

Last but hardly least is our own little Dex-ette, Pickle. She’s coming along quite nicely – her body is lovely at this stage, but her head needs to catch up with it. Right now, she looks like she’s got a mature body, with a puppy head. We’re going to give her some time for all of her bits to catch up with each other before we put her in the ring. Some pups just aren’t fully finished until a year or so, and I’m in no rush to get her out there. We’re aiming for early summer, with our fingers crossed. In the meantime, we’re going to do a local obedience class, as I think it will be good for her confidence.

I hope Barb can’t read the blog from Heaven – she used to freak out when she heard I was putting show puppies into obedience class! It’s that lingering, old school belief that “if you teach them to sit, they won’t stand in the ring!”. I think they can learn to do both, and I think it’s good for them to be stimulated and learning something other than just to be pretty faces.

How about you – if you have show prospect puppies, are you making plans for spring? If you’re a pet person, have you ever attended a dog show, or would you ever?

Kate McGarrigle & Lhasa De Sela

Kate McGarrigle, one half of the Canadian folk/alt duo The McGarrigle Sisters, has passed away from cancer on January 18th, 2010. Kate and her sister Anna were iconoclasts, singing, writing and performing in a way uniquely their own.

Kate passed her musical gifts on to her son and daughter, Rufus and Martha Wainwright.

Kate McGarrigle’s death comes on the heels of the death of another fabulous Canadian singer/songwriter, Lhasa De Sela.

Lhasa De Sela was also from Quebec, but was born in upstate New York. Of Mexican American descent, she performed in Spanish, French and English. Seeing her in concert was an utterly mesmerizing experience, and I regarded her as one of the best singer song writers performing today. I’ve added one of her videos, after the cut.

Here’s Kate on stage at Radio Music Hall, performing “Talk to Me of Mendocino”, with Rufus and Martha performing back up vocals.

Lhasa De Sela performing Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire”, after the cut.

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Why I Hate HSUS

Everything you could possibly need to know about HSUS, in one convenient sentence:

“In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spent just HALF of ONE PERCENT of its total budget on organizations providing hands-on care to dogs and cats.”

Dig that one out, the next time some nit wit tells you how awesomely awesome HSUS is.

Remember this, as well – every dollar that HSUS manages to suck into its giant, gaping maw is one less dollar donated to an actual, working Humane Society, rescue, or animal welfare group. Every dollar they don’t get, is one less dollar that can be used to save animals. Every dollar they don’t have to use to save animals, is one more animal that can’t be saved. And every animal that can’t be saved is an animal that’s potentially dead. Therefore, donating to HSUS kills animals.

See? I can use AR logic, too.


And, once again – “Why is anyone still donating money to the Humane Society of the United States?”

Video – Choosing a Dog Breeder

Eukanuba has a video up that gives a good overview of what to look for when selecting the breeder of your new puppy.

Like many other viewers, I do have one quibble – the outdated vaccination information. The video suggests that your puppy should have two sets of shots by eight weeks. Honestly, I don’t know of a single veterinarian who is still suggested this outdated vaccination protocol. Personally, we follow Dr. Jean Dodds’ minimal vaccination protocol, which I’ve outlined below the cut, as well as provided a link to. In essence, she suggests that the puppy receive its first shot at 9 – 10 weeks, and that this shot should consist only of Distemper and Parvovirus.

This brings us to the second question – when should is your puppy old enough to go to its new home? Joanna, on her Ruffly Speaking blog, has provided a wonderful argument for the choice to send puppies home at 8 weeks of age.

I have, over the last few years, been slowly keeping my puppies longer and longer. In part, this is because of my preference to not give their first shots until ten weeks. I then prefer to keep them here at home for a week after they’ve received this first shot, in case of any adverse reactions. I agree with Joanna, however – it’s very difficult to give an entire litter of puppies the kind of constant, varied socialization that they require if you plan to keep them this long. We’ve done our best, but it rapidly becomes a full time job. I take puppies in to work with me, as well to the Hardware store, the bank, the Co Op and any where else that pets are welcomed. Even so, this means that I’m going one to two pups out at a time, max.

Keeping puppies for this long also means that I tend to form very strong attachments to them. I’d like to think this is mutual, but in typical French Bulldog fashion most of them seem to barely spare me a backwards glance. For my part, letting two of the older pups from my last litter go left me absolutely devastated, and swearing that I’d never, ever go through that again.

I’ve decided that, with our upcoming litters, we’ll do our first shots at seven and a half weeks, with the goal of having them leave by eight and a half. This means that the puppies I am keeping will get their fair share of socialization, and that the puppies that are leaving get to their new homes in time for that crucial socialization period.

I will not, however, be sending them home with two sets of shots – and neither should any other breeder who isn’t still living in the 1950’s.

Full Jean Dodds’ Minimal Vaccination protocol, below the cut.

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Friday Zen – French Bulldog Mouth Wars

Today’s moment of zen comes to your courtesy of Pickle and Mae. I don’t know what other dog owners call this game, but around our place, it’s called “mouth wars”. That’s when your dogs play bite, without ever actually gripping each other. Well, I say ‘without ever’, but there’s the occasional incident of face grabbing, which is usually either tolerated, or corrected swiftly, depending on the dogs involved.

Mae and Pickle will play this game for a good forty minutes straight, before they both pass out. Pickle thinks it’s the most awesomely awesome game ever invented. Mae is pretty much just humoring her.