A recent email exchange on the FrenchBulldog-l mailing list had one overwhelming sentiment – French Bulldogs, at least well made French Bulldogs, are not supposed to be able to do agility. To do agility, your French Bulldog would automatically have to be ten feet long and look like he’s wearing stilts. That’s an interesting sentiment, and it’s also a very common one. Even breeders who’ve been around forever believe that Frenchies can’t – and shouldn’t – do agility. Or, that if your Frenchie is built in a manner that will allow them to do agility, then they’re obviously not going to be conformationally correct enough to compete in the show ring.
This is Dexter. I spent a lot of time worrying about Dexter, because he’s so damn short. I liked to say he was 23 pounds – 10 pounds of body, 10 pounds of head, and three pounds of rocks inside his head. Dexter is short, stocky and built like a truck, with a face that couldn’t get any flatter if he ran into a wall (which he does do, on occasion). In addition to being a lunkhead, Dexter is also a circus dog – that’s my term for Frenchies who never seemed to learn that the rules of gravity apply to them.
Dexter leaps from the floor to the back of the chair, and from there to the back of the couch, and from there to the top of the coffee table. At dinner time, Dexter eats in the second crate I have stacked on top of the bottom one. I tell him, “Dexter, dinner!”, and he leaps from a standing position into his crate. He taught himself that one.
He also taught himself to clear our five foot retaining wall, from the ground to the top, from a standing position. I’m less thrilled about that one.
In the fall, Dexter starts his American conformation career. He’s about as much to the standard as I’d want him to be – maybe more so, since I actually prefer a longer back and more neck. He will also hopefully start training for agility, and perhaps obedience. I know full well he’ll ace all three rings.
This is Tula.
She’s also stocky – perhaps ‘plump’ is a better word. Slightly more moderate backed than Dexter, she’s a bit low slung, but has a gorgeous head. Her tear stains (which for some reason mysteriously disappear when Tula is pregnant and nursing, and re appear as soon as her pups are weaned) are the bane of my existence, but if I can get them in control by September she’ll be making her ring debut.
This is Tula clearing the same retaining wall as Dexter, although she does have to scramble for a grip on the way up.
This is Tula’s great great great Grandmother, Fulla Bull Bullmarket Chicky.
Chicky could leap walls and climb chain link fences, a skill which ended in one of the worst tragedies I’ve ever experienced in dogs. She was my first monkey dog. Chicky was ridiculously low slung and big headed, with another moderate back that verged on overly short. She was also the love of my daughter Nicole’s life.
This is Luke, Dexter and Tula’s son. He has a plush head, a balanced body, and a lovely neck. Of all my boys in these litters, he and Po are my two favorites in terms of show prospects. He’ll be going to live with Andrea Morden Moore, who knows a thing or two about Frenchies and agility, as well as about the conformation ring. Luke will be competing in both rings, because Andrea believes, as I do, that a balanced dog has a title on both ends.
Andrea owned and loved Gunny, Bullmarket Shogun Spirit Dragon , another dog that apparently never got the memo that Frenchies aren’t supposed to do agility.