1) Why did you choose the French Bulldog ?
The breed chose me. I always had Bullmastiffs, and never considered another breed. My good friend Louise Sanders had given my young son our first frenchie as a gift. Her name was Dinah, Ch. Lebull’s Adams Dina of Ragtime who became my first champion Frenchie, and I was hooked. They were great with my children, wonderful with the Bullmastiffs and never realized they were little dogs. I often said I needed to show them a mirror so they would realize their true size.
I then studied pedigrees, looked at as many breed magazines as I could and found what I felt to be the look and line I wanted to follow. Within a few years and several litters, I bred my first big winner, Ch Bandog's Earnin' Respect, who won 3 National Specialties and 11 Best in Shows. His first National and 4 Bests, I won breeder owner handled.
I was determined then to continue to breed and show the best Frenchies I could. I have never bred a lot, and I personally grow up all my puppies that I decide to keep in my breeding program, either for showing or breeding.
Now after almost 28 active years of breeding and only having Frenchies (no more Bullmastiffs) we have bred dogs who have won 36 all breed Best in Shows, Best of Breed at 5 FBDCA National Specialties, over 400 Non-Sporting Group 1' s, not to mention group placements and best of breed wins; and this record is with dogs of our own breeding.
I do actively still breed and show and hope to be lucky enough to add to those numbers.
2) What are the differences I saw then compared with today's dogs ?
I feel it was a turning point for the breed, at the time I became involved in breeding. We had several successful important breeders who were stopping breeding who had a very strong influence on the breed, especially in head type. So as strong lines died off, the breed was turning a corner and being reinvented.
I strongly feel our dogs now have lost some strong breed characteristics. Dogs are getting smaller, including their head pieces and bone. They are becoming low, level and long, which is totally lacking the breed characteristics that say French bulldog. I feel there is a real lack of the beautiful outline that differentiates our breed from others.
3) Is there a difference in quality or conformation between American and European Frenchies?
Yes there is. Since FCI allows for a larger dog, I find that dog’s being bred and shown under FCI rules carry stronger breed characteristics. Especially in regards to big square head type, and heavy bone. I feel they have a more bully look due to the size. I also see a little more back length in many of the European dogs. I have always felt that to get the proper shape of the breed,(a pear body with a roach) that you need the back length in balance.
As far as color, you see many more pieds, and many more brindle being exhibited and bred in Europe. For many years cream had not been a recognized color.
I do see here in America many of our judges have become accustomed to seeing primarily creams and brindles only, not the variety of colors you will see in Foreign shows.
4) AT WHAT AGE DO YOU CHOOSE A SHOW PROSPECT AND WHAT ARE THE MAIN DETAILS YOU PAY ATTENTION FOR THAT SELECTION.
It is a process that does not begin at one specific age. I start by seriously looking at my puppies a few weeks after they are on there feet walking well. I immediately evaluate head, good straight legs, moderate back length, and good bone. If a puppy does not meet these they are spayed or neutered and placed as pets.
Then I do not look at again till they are almost 6 months. The only exception is if a puppie’s movement gets bad or a mouth goes off, then again those are placed as pets. Generally bad movement does not improve.
Also, at an early age if I am considering to keep a puppy for breeding and showing, they go through many health screenings. Patella’s can be a problem in the breed, so all are evaluated, and if they are anything but perfect they are gone.
I also routinely do what I call cleaning house. By this I mean older dogs in the breeding program are re-evaluated when younger dogs and possibly better dogs are growing up. Also after two litters most of my bitches are spayed and placed in pet homes due to the fact that we keep a small number of dogs in our home.
Then I look again at 12 months old. Our dogs go through a last growing spurt at 9-12 months. Then they are generally what they will be except for some natural maturing. I also look at pedigrees closely since we do believe in linebreeding. You have to do outcrosses every few generations, so when we are evaluating who to keep, then the pedigree comes into play much stronger, as I always have a road map as to the direction I am going in. I never sacrifice type and soundness for pedigree. Never ever.
From about 4 months I pay special attention to the personalities of all the puppies. If I am looking for what might have the potential to be an important show dog, they must possess not only great breed type, and sound movement, but the personality to bring the big wins home.
A great dog without the personality would be important to a breeding program, but will not cut it in the show ring. And we as breeders must be able to differentiate between the two, and realize the importance of both in a breeding program. There is no room in a good breeding program for a showy dogs who lacks breed type. Yet there is always room in a good breeding program for a great dog who lacks the love for the show ring.
One of our best producing dog’s has never seen a show ring. He hates it. But he is very strong in what he produces in the whelping box. Everyone must remember that dog’s we exhibit are being judged as breeding stock.
5) WHAT ARE THE VIRTUES YOU WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT IN THIS BREED, AND WHAT ARE THE FAULTS YOU CANNOT ACCEPT.
I think allot of this has been answered in questions 2-4. I would highlight the big beautiful bat eared heads, the correct unique toplines, and pear shaped bodies. These to me are the essence of the breed, that say: French Bulldog.
One thing I always say is take a French bulldog in the moonlight on a fence, can you tell it is a Frenchie?
I love a great moving dog no matter what the breed. I feel all dogs need to be able to run, play and have a full day of fun. In order to do this for its whole life it must be sound.
I will not tolerate a poor head, very light eyes, flat backs, or bad fronts. They ruin the characteristics of breed type.
With that being said, some things, once you get them in your line, are very hard to eliminate. I have found once you get a poorly constructed front, it is by far the hardest to correct in any breed. Topline is also the same, as are light eyes. They will haunt you for many generations. I do think that a head can be improved in a very few generations.
6) TELL US OFF A FRENCH BULLDOG(NOT BRED OR OWNED BY YOU) THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IN YOUR HOME?
That would be the wonderful pied Champion Balihai Quad, and the great brindle , Champion Ch Trussardi De La Parure.
7) WHO WAS, IN YOUR OPINION THE STUD MALE THAT MADE THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE BREED ?
Champion Adam’s Unique Physique (Rocky), is behind many of the dogs that you see in our modern pedigrees. His son, Ch. Cox’s Goodtime Ace in the Hole sired Ch. Cox’s Goodtime Charlie Brown, probably the breed’s most prolific sire. Charlie Brown along with Ace’s grandson Ch. Bandog’s One In A Million and great grandson Ch. C and D’s Laboss Mon Buntin are the top three US producing stud dogs in the breed. All of these dogs are directly down from Rocky.
8) TELL US THE NAME OF THAT FRENCHIE THAT YOU INDENTIFY MOST
Champion Balihai Quad. In my mind you look at him and see what the essence of the breed is. I wish he were frozen and available for breeding.