The Kennel Club (UK) has published their list of proposed changes to the French Bulldog breed standard.
Any underlined text indicates a change or addition.
Square bracketed text indicates a deletion.
Characteristics Full of courage, yet with clown-like qualities. Bat ears and short [Delete ‘undocked’] tail characteristic [delete ‘essential’] features of the breed.
Head Head square in appearance and in proportion to dog’s size. Skull nearly flat between ears, domed forehead. The skin covering the skull and forehead should be supple enough to allow the dog to show facial expression. Well defined muzzle, broad, deep and set back, muscles of cheeks well developed. Stop well defined. Lower jaw deep, square, broad, slightly undershot and [delete ‘well’] turned up. Nose black and wide, relatively short, with open nostrils and line between well defined. Lips black, thick, meeting each other in centre, completely hiding teeth. Upper lip covers lower on each side with plenty of cushion, never so exaggerated as to hang too much below level of lower jaw.
Eyes Preferably dark and matching. Moderate size, round, neither sunken nor prominent, showing no white when looking straight forward; set relatively wide apart and on the same level as the stop. [Delete ‘low down in skull’].
Ears ’Bat ears‘, of medium size, wide at base, rounded at top; set high, carried upright and parallel, a sufficient width of skull preventing them being too close together; skin soft and fine, orifice as seen from the front, showing entirely. The opening to the ear canal should be wide and open.
Neck Powerful, [delete ‘with loose skin at throat, but not exaggerated’] well arched and thick , but not too short.
Body [Delete ‘Short’] Cobby, muscular and well rounded with deep, wide brisket and ribs well sprung. Strong, gently roached back. Good ‘cut up’. The body while broader at the shoulders should narrow slightly beyond the ribs to give definition to the relatively short, thick, strong, muscular loin.
Hindquarters Legs strong, muscular and relatively longer than forelegs, with moderate angulation. [Delete ‘thus raising loins above shoulders’]. Hocks well let down.
Tail Undocked, [delete ‘very’] short, set low, thick at root, tapering quickly towards tip, preferably [delete ‘either’] straight, [delete ‘or kinked’] and long enough to cover anus. Never curling over back nor carried gaily.
For comparison purposes, here’s the complete copy of the existing standard:
Sturdy, compact, solid, small dog with good bone, short, smooth coat. No point exaggerated, balance essential.
Full of courage, yet with clown-like qualities. Bat ears and short undocked tail essential features of the breed.
Vivacious, deeply affectionate, intelligent.
Head and Skull
Head square, large and broad but in proportion to dog’s size. Skull nearly flat between ears, domed forehead, loose skin forming symmetrical wrinkles. Muzzle broad, deep and set well back, muscles of cheeks well developed; nose and lips black. Stop well defined. Lower jaw deep, square, broad, slightly undershot and well turned up. Nose extremely short, black and wide, with open nostrils and line between well defined. Lips thick, meeting each other in centre, completely hiding teeth. Upper lip covers lower on each side with plenty of cushion, never so exaggerated as to hang too much below level of lower jaw.
Preferably dark and matching. Moderate size, round, neither sunken nor prominent, showing no white when looking straight forward; set wide apart and low down in skull.
‘Bat ears’, of medium size, wide at base, rounded at top; set high, carried upright and parallel, a sufficient width of skull preventing them being too close together; skin soft and fine, orifice as seen from the front, showing entirely.
Slightly undershot. Teeth sound and regular, but not visible when the mouth is closed. Tongue must not protrude.
Powerful, with loose skin at throat, but not exaggerated. Well arched and thick, but not too short.
Legs set wide apart, straight boned, strong, muscular and short.
Short, cobby, muscular and well rounded with deep wide brisket; roach back; strong; wide at shoulders and narrowing at loins; good ‘cut up’, ribs well sprung.
Legs strong, muscular and longer than forelegs thus raising loins above shoulders. Hocks well let down.
Small, compact and placed in continuation of line of leg, with absolutely sound pasterns. Hind feet rather longer than the fore-feet. Toes compact; well knuckled; nails short, thick and preferably black.
Undocked, very short, set low, thick at root, tapering quickly towards tip, either straight or kinked, never curling over back nor carried gaily.
Free and flowing.
Texture fine, smooth, lustrous, short and close.
Brindle, pied or fawn. Tan, mouse and grey/blue highly undesirable.
Brindle: a mixture of black and coloured hairs. May contain white provided brindle predominates.
Pied: white predominates over brindle. Whites are classified with pieds for show purposes; but their eyelashes and eye rims should be black. In pieds the white should be clear with definite brindle patches and no ticking or black spots.
Fawn: may contain brindle hairs but must have black eye lashes and eye rims.
Ideal weight: dogs: 12.5 kgs (28 lbs); bitches: 11 kgs (24 lbs). Soundness not to be sacrificed to smallness.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
On a personal note, I have nine French Bulldogs here at home. Of the nine, three have tails long enough to cover anus – Have fun with that one,UK breeders, considering that the previous version of the standard called for the tail to be ‘very short’. As well, I can’t even think of a single dog I’ve owned/known whose ears weren’t already wide and open.
I get the impression that half of these changes are arbitrary, short of those intended to call for less exaggeratedly short muzzles. I believe that more could have been done to encourage the breeding of dogs with free, clear breathing – words to that effect could easily have been added. I’d also not have been adverse to a prohibition against exhibiting dogs who have had palate clips, although I’m not sure if the KC’s scope would also allow for a prohibition against the breeding of dogs who have had palate resections.
Tell me what you think of the changes to the standard – good, bad, pointless?