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.
Here in Brazil we officially follow the FCI standard and from time to time I tend to see some huge frenchies around. I am not pro minifying them, but I think some sort of limit of weight should exist all around.
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I would not wish to see over 28 pounds as being acceptable in our breed. I feel that we are seeing larger frenchies in the ring these days because of the importation of the larger size being imported from Europe – as much as I feel that some of these dogs contribute good things to our gene pool I think that you can take the good things from a dog and still breed a frenchie that confirms to the US and Canadian standard without going oversized. Dont change the standard to fit the dog – change the dog to fit the standard that is why we have a standard.
i personally believe that we should be diligent in breeding to our Standard in all respects……..not revising a Standard to fit what we are breedng. frenchies are supposed lap dogs…..i dont know about you, but carrying a 25 pound frog for any distance is all i can do any more……i certainly dont want one bigger. i will continue to breed to Standard, judiciously culling toads from my program based on health and quality and do the best i can to encourage others to do so also……an uphill battle.
Many years ago, I bred Mini wire dachsunds, and was a club member. This was a Canadian Club, that changed the standard to suit the breed. I did not agree with it then as now. We should not go this route with Frenchies. Check out a local meet up, what is the weight of the average dog?We should be breeding to standard not fitting the standard to the breed.
One problem is that many people don’t weigh their dogs, and just imagine how much this or that dog could be.
Even I belong to FCI and do like a male looking as a stud, I can tell you that 31 pounds is quite a big frenchy. Those that really interact with their dogs will note the difference.
Said that, I’d prefer a standard with weight limits in both directions, no more than ….. and no less than …
That would be a good guide for new people coming to the breed as would make more clear what is the healthy range that the National Club set for the breed.
I’m not a Frenchie person, but size creep in both directions is damaging to all of the breeds I have really spent the time to be active again- whether it’s 90 pound collies or 50 pound Cardigans.
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i have a frenchie who varies between 28 and 30 lbs. i have zero desire to show him: he’s the sweetest dog ever, no snarling, no growling, you can ever take food or a bone from his mouth and he just sort of looks at you like “that’s ok, i know you’ll give it back”. even when we play rough, he won’t bite or anything like that. the sweetest, most sensitive dog ever in my opinion. should i be worried that his is over 28 lbs. sometimes?
The english bulldog standard varies a bit in ideal weight standard to standard, but no disqualification exists.
In the US, 50 lbs for a dog, 40lbs for a bitch, in FCI and the UK, 55 and 45lbs.
Not actually that common to see 40 lb bitches or 50 lb dogs, they look small. In part that is because the standard would probably be well served by adding a recommended height. The dogs of the 19th century stood over roughly the same ground but were more lightly built. To have a 50 lb male with the substance desired now, the whole dog is scaled down.
There also was in the US , until the 70s, an under 40 lb class offered by AKC. It was dropped for lack of entries. IMO a mistake.
We have had periods, the 70-80s stand out, wherein bulldogs became enormous. 80-90 lbs was not uncommon. Today, anything over 55-60 lbs in a bitch or 65-70 in males really sticks out. Regrettably, 40-50 pounds does too!
Very few people will bother to show a bitch or a dog below standard weight as they look truly diminutive. I have finished, without much difficulty, both a 39 lb bitch and 64 lb bitch. very different experience showing them!
Currently I have a beautiful 6 month old male who will top out in the low 50s. I also have a one year old who is a big boy (grandson via frozen semen of a large champion from the 1980s) and will be in the low 70 lbs. He is too big, but lordy lordy he is sound, and has one of the best heads and jaw I’ve seen in a long while. So far he has flown through every screening test thrown at him as well. I’ll be trying to finish him and hope he can pass on his qualities (assuming he screens well at two years old) in a somewhat smaller package.
I will say that the lack of a disqualification has led to some very large dogs. And the damage done to some lines has never fully resolved. On the other hand it does allow some larger dogs with merit to be included in the gene pool.
reinstating the under 40 lb class for EBs would serve as a nice counter-balance and encourage people to show the “little” ones. Not sure if a disqualification would be a good thing. But if you want to stir the pot on an english bulldog list, start asking about size.
Do any of the frenchie standards discuss height?
I’m with Cait, on size changes being a big deal to me, and not in the good way. IMO dog show standards should stay rather true to form, promoting the dogs who can function best, in the setting they were bred for.
Huge Frenchies (And other lap companion bred breeds) shouldn’t be allowed, and neither should oversized working breeds. My breed, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is becoming too massive to work in many kennels, moving more like Basset Hounds, than a driving, herding breed. Many breeds are getting a “Bigger is better” trend too, as bigger dogs catch your eye, and look flashier in the ring.
I find it a shame when correctly sized, typey dogs in any breed are looked over by judges, for an extreme, flashy in a cosmetic manner, not as correct dog. Not all judges do it, but I always wince when I see extremes pulled, over typey, correct dogs.
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I want a teacup Frenchie. One I can carry in a shoulder bag. Without sagging. Whatcha think? 6 pounds max.
Breeding standards to me, are of utter nonsense.
Say no to breeding standards 🙂
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I’m glad I ran across this topic. I’ve spent the last couple of days in a bit of a depression over the size of my dogs vs the lumbering behemoths that we are seeing in the ring and the judges are putting up. I certainly hope that neither club raises the weight. The first breed standard for the club states mature dogs should not be more than 22 lbs and bitches no more than 20. And at one time they did have weight classes.
Overweight should stay as a DQ. In fact I think that a dog/bitch should have to get on a scale before entering the ring. They do it in boxing!
I have a stunning little guy who is about 22-24lbs,compact, alert, and correct. In fact if you superimposed him over the illustrated version of the standard he would fit almost perfectly. However it took me what seemed like forever to finish him because the judges were putting up, and are still putting up HUGE dogs that can barely move around the ring! Big FAT blubbery dogs with very little muscle or tone to them!
And they are now doing that with the bitches as well. I have a beautiful little brindle girl who’s grandsire is Jackpot! Money, Money, Money. She also is very correct but has a feminine quality to her, which a bitch should. But once again, the judges put up big females who the only way I could tell were bitches was to look underneath! It’s like giving Janet Reno the Miss America crown over Eva Longoria!
You are completely correct, our companion breeds should stay small enough to be the lap dogs that they were meant to be. The dogs should fit the standard and should be healthy, and friendly.