How ‘Show Snobs’ Spend Their Weekends

I came back from the shows on Sunday just exhausted, but decided to just ‘take a quick peek’ at my list mail – never a good idea. Seems that yet another ‘you breeders are all show snobs’ troll had popped up, accusing us all of just being ‘in it for the shows’, while she apparently is breeding French Bulldogs just out of some genuine philanthropic desire to provide the general public with an unlimited supply of awesome pets. She’s the noble one, while we who show are just a ‘bunch of snobs’.

I thought maybe it would be helpful if I explained just how so many of us ‘show snobs’ spend our weekends. Mine was spent at the Purina National Dog show, in Toronto, where I was joined by Sue and Dick Simon, of Epic French Bulldogs, along with my fellow breeder information booth volunteers Richard and Ewa Rockford of Aristocrafts French Bulldogs, and fellow fancier Mary Ellen Sinclair.

For Sue and Dick and I, the day began on Saturday morning at about 4:30 am, feeding dogs, checking puppies, packing the van and getting all the materials for the breeder info booth ready.

After a two hour drive, we got to the show site, checked in, got our entries, and found out where our booth location was. I was set up in the middle of a bunch of other real show snobs, let me tell you – people who’d obviously spent thousands of dollars on breed info, signs, displays of breed history, and printing off informational sheets. Kind of funny, considering that no one there had any puppies to sell, and that a few of the other ‘show snobs’ around me told me that they hadn’t had a litter in ten years, but that they keep coming out just because they love the breed.

Judging was done by ten, and shortly after that were back at the booth. The next five or so hours were pandemonium.

We spoke to literally hundreds of members of the general public, explaining the good things and the horrid things alike about French Bulldogs – the shedding, the drooling, the farting, the health issues. We explained brachycephalic syndrome, allergies, spinal issues and juvenile cataracts. We referred people to websites, told them about rescue and encouraged them to join our club. We let them play with puppies and meet the adults. We talked and talked and talked until my voice literally gave out – and then I talked to the media, just to top it all off.

And what did we do the next day? Why, we did the same thing, all over again.

What did we get from all this? Nothing much. None of the volunteers or myself have available litters or puppies. We didn’t sell anything, we didn’t make any money, and in fact we paid for the gas and the printing and the booth rental out of our own pockets. We did it in the hope that the general public would learn how to make an educated choice about whether a French Bulldog is the right dog for them. We did it because that’s the sort of thing that ‘show snobs’ do on their weekends.

And where, I wonder, were the people who breed and breed and breed, but just don’t manage to ‘have the time or the money’ to make it out to shows? Sitting at home, I suppose, talking about how ‘horrible’ all of us show snobs are, and how we don’t care about the people who just want to buy a nice pet dog.

Show results from the weekend, along with photos and video, coming in the next day or two.

Shelter Arrogance – BCSPCA Refuses to Return Dog to Owner

In June of this year, a purebred show dog went missing. Her handler instantly initiated a search campaign for the dog, notifying local animal control and the SPCA, and providing them with specific identifying details of the dog, including her microchip information.

While the agent was still searching, Animal Control found the dog. A scan revealed her microchip, which was registered in the name of her US breeder and owner. The owner was notified that AC had possession of the dog.

Recent border changes require the breeder to have a passport to be able to travel into Canada from the USA. Without one, the breeder had to cancel her plans to fly north to claim the dog back personally. Instead, she appointed an agent and notified Animal Control that the dog would be claimed by this person. Animal Control apparently agreed to this.

Unfortunately, AC didn’t follow through. Instead, they handed the dog over to the BCSPCA shelter. BPSPCA refuses to relinquish the dog to the appointed agent, and states emphatically that no dog leaves their shelter without being altered. They state that the dog will be spayed, and then re homed.

Read more

Thursday Thirteen – 13 Most Useful Books on Dog Breeding


Thirteen Things Most Useful Books for Dog Breeders

I should note here that I don’t think that any book can ever replace the best source of information and advice on dog breeding, and that’s a mentor. A mentor is an older dog breeder who ‘takes you under their wing’ and offers hands on advice, help, suggestions (and usually really good gossip).

That said, I’ve also gotten a lot of useful, practical advice from the following books, including a crash introductory course on canine genetics.

A caveat: books with asterisks beside them are pretty much French Bulldog specific only.

1. Born To Win: Breed to Succeed
Patricia Craige’s book is a really great crash course on how to go beyond just ‘dog breeding’ and start breeding to win.

2. Genetics of the Dog
Malcom Willis’ book is considered to be the classic ‘layman’s’ guide to canine genetics. Invaluable for understanding – or at least trying to understand – coat color genetics, in particular.

3. Canine Reproduction: The Breeder’s Guide
Patricia Holst’s book is a wellspring of practical, no nonsense advice and tips. I refer to this book at least once per litter.

4. Successful Dog Breeding: The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery
Offering more than just practical advice, Chris Walkowicz emphasizes the ethics and responsibility that goes along with breeding.

5. The Whelping and Rearing of Puppies: A Complete and Practical Guide
A great book that covers all of the ‘what ifs’ and best and worst case scenarios. Spiral binding makes it a breeze to use in the somewhat hectic conditions of the whelping room. And no, I’m not saying that just because Muriel is my editor at ‘Just Frenchies‘.

6. Puppy Intensive Care: A Breeder’s Guide to Care of Newborn Puppies
This is just about the most useful book for a novice breeder. It comes along with shopping lists, and a companion CD showing video illustrations on such topics as tube feeding and a live delivery.

7. Breeding Better Dogs
Long time breeder and judge Carmen Battaglia shows you how to apply canine genetics to your specific breeding program.

8. Another Piece of the Puzzle: Puppy Development
This useful little paperback helps breeders to develop the absolute best puppies possible, utilizing puppy’s varying developmental phases to enhance temperament and behaviors. Really useful and simple to follow.

9. The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog
This book, like “Successful Dog Breeding“, shows you how to plan out a breeding with the ultimate goal of producing a show winning litter. Helping you to see beyond just what’s down on paper, to what’s actually within your dog’s genes.

10. Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook
Every dog breeder needs a good, basic, simple to understand veterinary handbook, and this one does an exceptional job at being easy to read and follow.

11. The Healing Touch for Dogs: The Proven Massage Program for Dogs
This might seem like an odd choice for a list on dog breeding, but I’ve found that using massage on pregnant moms, moms in whelp and on puppies enhances their health and wellbeing. New, nervous moms can be calmed into accepting their pups more readily if you use massage while introducing them – especially useful if mom is shaking off the effects of anesthesia from a c-section.

* 12. The French Bulldog by Steve Eltinge
Yes, we know this book require deep pockets, but this is the classic book on French Bulldogs, and contains some fantastic photos of dogs you’ll find behind the pedigrees of most of the top show dogs in North America. Put it on your wishlist.

* 13. The French Bulldog (Kennel Club Classic)
Pockets not quite deep enough for the Eltinge book? Muriel Lee’s new book is a fantastic, more up to date alternative. Covering health, history and much more on the Frenchie, it’s an essential addition to the library of any aspiring French Bulldog breeder.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
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