French Bulldogs in Swimming Pool

Hot Weather Preparation Tips for French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs in Swimming Pool

Prevent heat stroke in dogs with a few easy tricks and tools

It’s that time of year again – time to prepare your French Bulldog (or any other breed of dog) for summer and to prepare an emergency kit against heat stroke and heat exhaustion. I’m going to assume that anyone reading this knows to NEVER EVER leave your dog inside a hot car. Doing so is a recipe for heat stroke in your dog.

First off, remember the ice cream rule:

Your dog is made of ice cream. If the weather is warm enough that you wouldn’t leave your ice cream inside your car for ‘just a few minutes’, then please do NOT leave your dog in there, either.

When it comes to outside fun, apply the palm of the hand measurement to decide if it’s too warm for your dog:

If you can’t leave your hand palm down on the ground or pavement for more than 60 seconds without being uncomfortable, it’s too hot for your dog.

A lot of fingers get pointed at French Bulldogs and other flat faced breeds when it comes to warm weather risks, and it’s true – flat faced dogs are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion, which is why good breeders are concentrating on breeding dogs with a less exaggeratedly short face.

That said, please do NOT assume that because your dogs isn’t one of those dogs that he is not vulnerable to heat stroke. Every year, dogs of all sorts of different breeds die of heat stroke during walks in the park, while playing frisbee, or from being left inside the car for ‘just a few minutes’ (and do not get me started on people who leave dogs tied up in the back of pickup trucks in full sun exposure).

Dogs of any breed do not by nature expand a lot of energy when it’s hot out – they know better! They find a shady spot and hunker down for a nap. Even the so-called “Desert breeds” stay as cool as possible during the heat of the day.  Nature knows best – and she sure knows better than some of the humans who put their dogs at risk all summer long.

Now that I’m done ranting, let’s examine a few things you can have on hand to keep your dog cool and prevent heat stroke. For an ‘in case of heat stroke’ kit to have on hand, click here.

Keeping Cool – Items to Help Prevent Heat Stroke

Cooling Coat

The first, best thing is a cooling coat. There are a few kinds available – from high tech fabrics to terry cloth towels with Velcro attached. They all work by the same principal – wicking heat away from your dog’s body. I personally prefer the ones that wrap around and underneath my dog’s belly – keeping internal core temperature cool is priority one, for preventing heat stroke.

Cooling Mats

If you’re going to be outside for a while, bring along a cooling mat. The principal is pretty basic – your dog lies on the wet mat, and it wicks heat away from their body. This is the same principle that causes dogs to lie on cool tile floors or shady dirt.

Super Low Tech Cooling Mat – a Towel

Bring along a towel soaked in water inside a plastic bag. For extra cooling, keep in fridge or freezer until ready to leave.

Portable Water Source

This is pretty basic – your dog needs access to tons of fresh drinking water in the summer. Water is also handy for soaking dogs down – the head, the belly and the groin region, in particular. Since you can’t count on there being any where you’re going, it’s up to us to bring it along. You can do this with just bottled water, but I suggest also bring a bowl, or a fancy gadget to use as a portable bowl.

Portable Fans

These are great for crated dogs. Put a cooling pad down inside the crate, and keep a re chargable, portable fan aimed at them. Also works if you have to leave them under a tent at a show or event.

Kids Pools

Nothing makes my Frenchies happier than flopping down in a plastic kiddie pool. Some lie in them, some splash around in them, and some just like to head over for a quick drink. Either way, make sure you clean them out, including scrubbing the interior surfaces, and to change out the water at least every other day.

Hot Dog Emergency?

No matter how good your plans and preparations, even responsible owners can be ill prepared for a dog overheating. If this happens to you, use what you have on hand to get your dog’s core body temperature down, as quickly and safely as possible.

Soak paper towels in cool water, and wrap them around your dog, including their head and belly. If possible, get your dog to lie on the soaked paper. Swap it out frequently as it warms up.

Soak your dog down with water – bottled, from a tap, or dip them into a pond or creek. You want to soak them down, to help wick away heat. If you have a body of water you can safely stand with them in, immersed up to their neck, do it – but stay in there with them.

Limited drinks – too much water can cause vomiting, which will worsen their distress and further impair breathing.

Nothing is helping? Head for the vet! Call the closest emergency vet, and head on it. Your dog’s life may depend on it.

When Your Lap Feels Empty

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

I have always had a general rule of thumb when it comes to the question of “how many dogs is too many dogs?”, to whit: more dogs than can fit on your lap at any one point in time.

I fully admit, I have less lap that I used to, but even so – two dogs on your lap leave an empty space, both there and in your heart.

It’s been a rough two years when it comes to loss. Delilah, who left a weird, unique, one in a lifetime hole in our hearts. Kelda, who went too young, too soon, and too shockingly to be processed. The puppies I lost, again, too young, so young that they never had names, in such a mysterious way (a virus, so say the expensive and yet frustratingly non specific pathology reports from the University of Guelph, and how can something so mundane as a “flu virus”cause such trauma?).

Penelope, however, leaves us with a hole in our hearts, a space in our laps, and an ache that we are still trying to fill. Our tiny little teddy bear girl, who sat up on her hind legs like an imbalanced Buddha, balancing on her butt like a circus seal. Who loved to randomly bark at the ceiling, apparently for the sheer joy it. Who shrieked to introduce herself to every new person she met (“Here I am! Say hello! hi hi hi hi!”).

I don’t care how old your dog is, a death from cancer is never a good death. We took her home for one full week after her diagnosis, a week filled with ice cream and laps and extra treats, and walks that usually ended up being ‘carries’, not that we minded. Weeks come to an end, however, and when pain outweighs joy, it is time to say goodbye.

I have last photos of her, but I won’t share them, because she is and always will be our small, shining, silly girl, running alongside the lake with her sister, her mother, her grandmother, all of them now – gone, and gone too soon, and the holes they leave in your lap and your heart and your life, are holes that no other dog can fill, even though they in turn will leave their own holes, too, and too soon.


Fawn and Brindle Pied French Bulldogs

Pied French Bulldogs – Coat Color Inheritance

There are few things I love more than well marked Brindle Pied French Bulldogs. Among serious breeders, pied is the “Rolls Royce” of French Bulldog color patterns – easy to achieve in theory (just breed two pieds together, and you’ll get more pieds), but nearly impossible to achieve perfectly.

Brindle Pied French Bulldogs, after all, have no camouflage. A solid patterned dog, be it brindle, cream or fawn, has the benefit of a canvas in a single color. A pied needs not to have not just markings, but markings well placed, symmetrically located, and properly pigmented. A badly placed marking on the back can give a structurally correct dog the appearance of a sway back. A lopsided marking on a rear leg can make movement look off gait. A non symmetrical head marking can detract from a dog’s appearance and overall type. Worst of all, lack of pigment, even when unseen, can have serious health ramifications for a pied dog, no matter how pretty they look.

The pied pattern is recessive to that for solid coat (solid coat includes fawn, cream and brindle – and more about brindle later).

A Punnett Square can help you visualize the possible breedings that would result in a pied dog.

Click any images to view full sized.


Pied to pied 

 Predicted outcome per offspring: +Sp/+Sp - 1:1 (100%)

Predicted outcome per offspring: +Sp/+Sp – 1:1 (100%)

Breeding pied to pied will have an outcome of 100% pied offspring.

Pied to a solid marked dog that carries pied

 Predicted outcome per offspring: +S/+Sp - 1:2 (50% Solid Marked offspring that carry pied) +Sp/+Sp - 1:2 (50% pied offspring)

Predicted outcome per offspring:
+S/+Sp – 1:2 (50% Solid Marked offspring that carry pied)
+Sp/+Sp – 1:2 (50% pied offspring)

We could expect 50% of the puppies produced to be pied. The other 50% we would expect to be solid marked dogs that CARRY the recessive pied allele.


Pied to a solid marked dog that does NOT carry pied

Predicted outcome per offspring:<br /> +S/+Sp - 1:1 (100%)<br /> All offspring will carry pied, but be solid marked.

Predicted outcome per offspring:
+S/+Sp – 1:1 (100%)

None of the offspring will be pied, but 100% of the offspring will carry the pied allele. The following Punnett Square will illustrate what could occur when you breed two of these solid marked, pied carrying offspring together:

Solid Marked Pied Carrier to Solid Marked Pied Carrier

Predicted outcome per offspring:

+S/+S – 1:4 (25%)
+S/+sp – 1:2 (50%)
+sp/+sp – 1:4 (25%)
So, 25% would be solid marked offspring that do NOT carry pied.
50% would be solid marked offspring that DO carry a pied allele.
25% would be pied offspring.

Pied Marking Patterns

Pied, as you might know, is a wide spectrum of marking types. A heavily marked pied dog can be referred to as a blanket, boston marked, or mantled pied, while an ‘extreme’ pied can be a dog that appears essentially white.

This is a diagram that I’ve always found really helpful in understanding pied patterning. It’s adapted from a diagram by G. M. Allen, published in 1914, and is considered to be the ‘blueprint’ for how pied markings pattern themselves.

Coat Color Inheritance Brindle Pied French Bulldogs

Coat Color Inheritance Brindle Pied French Bulldogs – Click to view full sized

As you can see, the drawing even in 1914 specified that pied is an ABSENCE of patterned areas, and an increase in white (I mention that only because sometimes people think that a pied dog is a white dog with patterned areas overlaid).

In Frenchies, this drawing would illustrate a brindle pied Frenchie. If you picture all of those same areas as fawn, without a brindle overlay, you can picture a fawn pied with the same markings. The masking allele is separate and separately inherited.

The further you go down this chart, away from patterned areas and towards extreme white, the greater your chances for color linked deafness.

Deafness and Pieds

Color linked deafness is an interesting thing. Its technical name is “pigment-associated hereditary deafness”.

The cochlea is the spiral cavity of the inner ear, and it is lined with cochlear hair cells. These hair cells, when healthy, generates and amplify sound. In pigment-associated hereditary deafness, the death of the hair cells after birth (2-4 weeks, for dogs) leads to deafness.

These hair cells and the underlying structure require a very specific environment to remain healthy – specifically, high K+ and low Na+ levels. Pigment cells – melanocytes – are responsible for maintaining this level.

When the cochlea has no pigment cells, the stria degenerates, and the high K+ levels in the fluids surrounding the hair cells is not maintained. This leads to the eventual death of the cochlear hair cells, and to deafness in the dog.

Anything that increases the chances of less pigmented inner ears, increases the chances of pigment associated deafness. As you can see on the pied inheritance chart above, Mother Nature does everything in her power to retain pigment on the ear, which decreases the chances for deafness (but does not eliminate it – a dog with pigmented or colored hair on the ears, can still have no pigment on the inner ears).


Kefir for Pets - a cure all for digestive upsets

Kefir Benefits for Dogs and Pregnant Bitches

Delilah had an upset stomach last week, so she’s been getting Kefir daily with her food, and she loves it. I’ve now started adding it to everyone’s food, since it is such a rich, healthful and relatively inexpensive way to add nutrition to their diets, and to support immune and digestive function. Similar to yogurt, Kefir is made by fermenting milk (goat, cow, sheep or even coconut) with a bacterial and yeast starter known as ‘kefir grains’. Read more

Banerjee Bonhomme - Blue French Bulldog

A Not So Brief History of Blues in North America

Thanks to the ever wonderfully informative Carol Hawke (of “Sonlit” French Bulldogs fame), comes this informative history of the ties between the rise of Blue French Bulldogs and North American French Bulldog breeders.

This is important, because an awful lot of relatively new French Bulldog people associate Blue French Bulldogs most closely with a handful of European French Bulldogs breeders, when in actual fact, Blues can most commonly be traced back to kennels in England, where a closed gene pool and limited range of colors led to the occasional occurrence of dilute fawn Frenchies, in pied, brindle or solidly marked patterns.

UK French Bulldog breeders had traditionally been rigorous about petting out their DQ (short form for ‘disqualified from showing’) colors, although a few slipped through the cracks when they were sold to North America, where they were used in breeding programs. This is how the lovely blue brindle pied male, Banerjee Bon Homme, ended up in the United States with Arlie Alford of Kennel Le Bull renown.

Frankie (as he was known) was sired by Wilcott Edison, a full litter brother to Wilcott Eureka (call name Yuri), who was imported into the USA by Pat Mentiply, of Pelshire French Bulldogs. Yuri was a lovely black masked, fawn pied dog, compact in size, and bred to Carol Hawke’s Cox’s Goodtime Allspice, he sired the littermates Ch Sonlit Europa and Ch Sonlit Daring Esprit (Lily and Duggie). Duggie, Lily and Yuri are all behind my own dogs, as is Ch Player Edwardpuck, sire of Maxine, the first (true) Black and Tan French Bulldog most modern fanciers had ever seen. In spite of this abundance of ‘rare’ color options running strongly through my pedigrees, we’ve never, as of yet, produced a blue French Bulldog, which only proves that, in my opinion, you have to work pretty hard at it to actually get one intentionally. And by ‘working hard’, I mean “Ignore everything else in your breeding program other than ‘what kinds of colors can I get?”, to which – no thanks.

That’s where  Carol’s blog (now gone) comes in.



Blue Moon was a slate gray, blue French Bulldog male puppy bred by kennel Lebull, not Sonlit.  Blue Moon’s sire was Ch.Lebull’s Bart Simpson, a superb honey pied, black masked fawn dog whose dam was the exquisite brindle, National Specialty BOS bitch, Ch. Sonlit Europa (a littermate to my Duggie) and whose sire was the blue brindle pied import, Banerjee BonHomme.  Trophy was linebred on Wilcott and De La Parure breeding through his dam, Lebull’s Violacea.

“Trophy” or Blue Moon was dropped off one day by his breeder in a great hurry.  I quickly figured out WHY.  He, like all her dogs, had giardia at that time and she had to get them off the property until she found the cause.  (Which would to turn out to be the fecal matter left strewn over the property by the pet pigs and a few wild animals actually inherent to the area.)  Kennel Lebull, did, in fact, have kennels but they typically went unused.  I suspect the proprietor didn’t believe in them. Perhaps they were thought cruel and unnatural, sort of like braziers and panty hose.  

updated and reposted