show your support

Ask The Judge - Volume 10 - Jan/Feb 2008

Question - When there is a group of dogs in the ring together,  all with faults,  do the faults then go back to the point system to which one is worth more,  or do you find judging is more personal preference? 


Answer - Every dog has faults.  I have never seen any dog in any breed without them.  However, as judges we are trained to concentrate on the positive's of the dog and not to 'fault judge'.  


I would rather pick the dog with the most good points rather than the dog with the less faults if this makes sense.  The point is every judge is only human and has their own opinions of what is the perfect bulldog.  


The standard is there to help us and be our guideline.  It is important that we pay attention to the standard and make a mental note of the point system in our breed while judging.  


Question- I have been showing Bulldogs now for almost a year. My question is regarding , length of leg. I have seen some dogs so short legged that their chests are just missing the floor, and the preference with the judges I've seen so far is leaning towards short over long. What is the ratio supposed to be?


Answer-  Let's examine the forequarters first.  "The forelegs should be short", "The elbows should be low".  I think when judging the Bulldog it is very important to look for this feature in the front end of the dog.  With 'short' and 'low' comes 'massive' and of course we all want that in our Bullies.  The longer the leg, still speaking of the front end, the less brisket the dog will have.  Brisket is a very important feature of the Bully.  We all want it, but sometimes we don't get it.  These are the pups normally sold as 'pets'.  Still I have seen dogs with little brisket win in the ring.  Lack of brisket is only one fault, but to me a very important one.  It is part of the essence of the breed.  


Going to the rear end of the Bully.  'The hind legs should be strong and muscular and longer than the forelegs.'  Of course this is where the 'showdogs' from the pretenders.  Dogs with little or no angulation in the rear, and dogs which are straight hocked and long in the leg can only pronounce other faults and also greatly affect the dog's movement.  For the dog to have the characterisic 'roll', being long in the leg is probably going to prevent it.  


There is no actual 'ratio' for the breed.  In some breeds there are, but not in the Bulldog.  Once again it becomes a subjective process for the judge and provides for different opinions on the subject.  


The exhibitor does need to keep in mind that this subject is only one facet of many in the breed.  Some of us have dogs with shorter or longer legs than others, but ultimately it usually comes down to balance.  


Question- What is the oldest age you recall a dog/bitch winning BISS and what is the youngest.


Answer- I think the oldest I've seen was 'Titus' owned by Dwayne and Caroline Miller.  It was the National show.  I had watched the dog the previous year, I believe he took an award of merit.  I'm pretty sure he was a veteran at the time of this magnificent win.  Quite a dog, and still showing his heart out.  He deserved the win.


You have to remember I don't get down to the u.s. shows too often so I have never seen a puppy win a BISS, however,  in Canada, I'm proud to say we won a Specialty in Montreal with our Comepatabull's Gettin Respect at the age of 8 months under Jim Cardello.  Two months later and still a puppy, he won his second specialty in Canada.  


Question- Is the theory that "the best show dog is on someone's couch and will never see a show ring true?


Answer- Well it certainly may be true.  Just by the law of averages, there are many more bulldogs sitting in homes watching tv than there are at the show.  As a breeder we have sold several 'pets' at 10 weeks old only to see them 'turn out' later on and be of show quality.  We like to tell people that our 'pets' are good enough to compete with the so called 'showdogs' of other breeders in Canada.  I know that we have all seen 'the one that got away', but hopefully in the long run you have kept the best ones for your breeding program.


Question- Over the years changes do occur in breed, but must our standard be ignored or revised to fit the "new fad".


Answer- As judges, we can never 'ignore' the standard.  Our standard is very old and so is our breed.  We have to realize that over 100 years ago when it was written, things were different.  The structure and purpose of the Bulldog back in it's inception was no where near the Bulldog of today.  With dog fighting being banned, the breed almost disappeared, but thankfully it was resurrected.  

Of course the dog had to be different to survive in the new more civilized society that was appearing.  

Now of course the main purpose of the Bulldog is too be a good household pet.  One of his best characteristics is his temperament with children and of course his personality.  There isn't another breed like it.  Yes there are similar ones, but we tell people once you own a bulldog, you will never be happy with another breed.  It's true.  


  I know the Bulldog of today is dramatically different.  And even the short 30 plus years I have been involved in the breed, I have seen several changes in the breed.  The most dramatic is the size and weight of the bulldogs I see being shown.  I just wonder how big and heavy they are going to end up being before something is done in the ring to discourage it.  I have seen 80 pound bulldogs competing and doing well in the rings, even at specialties under breeder judges.  This is just wrong.  I understand how hard it is to breed a 50 pound male.  We weren't able to do it either.  But lets be reasonable here.  A bulldog weighing in a 60 pds can still show the 'mass' of the breed. 


We don't need 80 pound bulldogs out there.  Of course they will be massive at that weight, but they are so far off the standard, they have to be looked past.  It is up to each judge to 'draw a line in the sand' as to what is just too much weight before we look for another dog.  I have already done this and there has been occasion where I have liked a dog,  then stopped and asked myself, "Is this dog just too much?".  Then I have looked down the line for another more balanced and lighter dog.  If judges continue to ignore the big heavy dogs they will continue to show to us and then breed.  We as judges must take a responsibility for this two.  We are guardians of the breed in a way.


More articles we recommend: