This was originally posted in November, 2011. I’m reposting it so that people can see what the proposed (passed? sort of) changes to the Canadian French Bulldog breed standard consist of, and why so many of us vehemently and vociferously object to them. Bear in mind that these changes will affect EVERY breeder in Canada, and everyone in Canada who loves French Bulldogs and chooses to add one to their lives as a pet, a show prospect or a performance sport dog.
Oh, a note about the petition link – we garnered 375 signatures in total, and those 375 signatures include most of the top breeders in Canada, along with some of the top breeders in the world. Veterinarians, geneticists and presidents of French Bulldog breed clubs from around the world signed. Pet owners, obedience competitors, pet owners from across Canada – all signed.
And what good did it do? NOTHING. No one on the board of the Canadian club gave ANY weight to the signatures, or the opinions, of anyone else, even though THEIR decisions affected all of us. The Canadian Kennel Club politely acknowledged receipt, and then informed us that they ‘don’t like to get involved in club matters’.
This is why the revelation that the VOTE itself to change the standard may have been .. well, what term do we use? Held incorrectly? Wrongly tabulated? Faked? Whatever, this is why it’s all so incredibly disappointing and upsetting, and why we MUST see justice done.
related link: An Open Letter to the French Bulldog Fanciers of Canada
Canadian French Bulldog enthusiasts have been stunned by the recent move by the French Bulldog Fanciers of Canada (the Canadian Kennel Club parent club for the breed in Canada) to overhaul our current breed standard.
In almost every case that we are familiar with, a breed standard is changed in small, carefully considered increments – a single sentence change to a standard can take well over a year to finally come up for vote. This sounds unconscionably slow, to some people, but it is actually the correct way for such changes to be done. A single sentence can change the entire look of a breed, and create changes that can alter the appearance and structure of a breed for all future generations.
The French Bulldog Fanciers of Canada have pushed through not a single sentence change, nor even a single paragraph change, but rather twelve changes to the breed standard – changes which will, inevitably, result in an entirely different French Bulldog than the one we currently know today.
We are not personally aware of another single instance, in any breed, where so many broadly sweeping changes have been proposed for a breed standard. It is a monumental change, and worst of all, it is fundamentally flawed in numerous cases.
Most disturbingly, one change in particular could result in a skyrocketing instance of color linked deafness within our breed. At a time when other breeds are working within the confines of their breed standards to improve the health of their dogs, the French Bulldog Fanciers of Canada, through either ignorance of the genetics behind deafness, or a willingness to prioritize aesthetics over health, have made a change that could result in dramatically increased possibilities of deafness within our breed.
Dr. George Strain is the Professor and Interim Head of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, and is considered to one of the world’s leading researchers into Canine Deafness. Here is his comment to me on the link between pigment and deafness in French Bulldogs –
I am confident is saying that deafness in Frenchies is probably greatest in those dogs that are nearly all white. The real issue is how strongly the piebald gene acts in a given dog. If it acts strongly there will be reduced pigmentation/increased white, blue irises, and deafness.
Morally, this is simply unacceptable. We are custodians of our breed, not just for today, but for posterity. Allowing a change which can have such sweeping consequences for all future generations of French Bulldogs is beyond the boundaries of what any of us should ever allow, let alone enthusiastically encourage.
Another disturbing change is the new emphasis on the word ‘powerful’ throughout the standard – this, combined with a removal of the upper weight limit, a newly added penalization of dogs weighing less than 9 kg (19.8 pounds), and the removal of the word ‘short’ to describe the body conjures the image of a completely different dog than the one we currently know today – a larger, longer, heavier, more aggressively built dog.
Is this the image that we want for this most ‘charming’ of companion breeds? Is this the image that you, as a fancier, envision when you think of a French Bulldog?
Shockingly, even with these objections being raised by Frenchie owners and breeders from across Canada, many with decades of experience in the breed, the French Bulldog Fanciers of Canada still voted to pass their proposed changes. This move, by a minority of Canadian French Bulldog breeders, will affect every single Canadian French Bulldog breeder, exhibitor, owner and enthusiast.
These changes will also affect French Bulldog breeders and enthusiasts from the USA who have traveled to Canada to show and exhibit their dogs, and who have incorporated Canadian bred French Bulldogs into their breeding programs.
Will the new, altered version of the standard make American bred French Bulldogs noncompetitive in the Canadian ring?
Will American French Bulldog breeders still want to use Canadian bloodlines in their breeding programs, if our entire breed alters so drastically from the US standard for French Bulldogs?
We ask you to join with us to make our objections to these changes known to the Canadian Kennel Club, so that the CKC can evaluate the feelings and concerns of ALL Canadian Frenchie fanciers before they approve these proposed changes. Please don’t allow a few people to speak for our entire breed.
If you are an owner, breeder or simply an enthusiast of French Bulldogs, please click here to sign our petition
Below the cut, you will find the ENTIRE proposed changes, with annotations, along with links to word document format files outlining the changes, and our draft of our objections to the changes.
This letter of objection is endorsed by the French Bulldog Club of Western Canada, and the Eastern Canada French Bulldog Club (pending CKC recognition). PLEASE share this post, and ask your friends to sign the petitions. We appreciate your support, on behalf of Frenchies, and the people who love them.