Question: I'd like to try showing my Bulldog but he isn't a puppy anymore. What is the best way to get an older dog used to showing/handling, etc?
Answer: The first thing I would do is to start practicing at home. Having a large mirror is a great idea for help. This way you will be able to see how you are showing the dog and change things to make your dog look better. If you are a novice, I strongly suggest you go to some handling classes and to some dog shows so that you won't be surprised by the proceedings. Remember every judge will want to look into your dogs mouth to see the bite. Some will ask you to show it and others will open the mouth themself. Your dog must be prepared for either scenario. Try to get friends to practice examining your dog when he/she is set up too. This will help when you are showing to the judge and once again your dog will be prepared for it.
Talk to some breeders about grooming as well. Oh, yes, bulldog do get groomed contrary to what a lot of people think in other breeds. It takes time to get your bully ready. You might want to trim the whiskers off his face to give him a cleaner look. Also, make sure to bath your dog the night before the show. There is nothing worse from a judges point of view than having to go over a dog that smells. Show that you are in the ring to win, and prepare your dog with that thought in mind.
Q2- Is judging about the same in Canada, USA, Japan,etc?
Answer: In most ways it is the same. I use the same ring procedure no matter which country I am in. However, in different countries, the breed standards may change a little and so do the disqualifications. It is very important that the judge be aware of the standards in the country they are. The system in North Americas is unlike FCI countries (another system). The main difference is FCI* countries is that they critique the dogs as well as judge them.
Q3- Can a near term bitch be shown with any real expectations.
Answer: Yes she can be shown, but I would not advise it. First of all she will not look her best and will be at a disadvantage, and secondly, why put her through it at such a crucial time. There can be a lot of stress at a show, and there is no reason she could not be entered later after she is back in shape and able to compete on a level playing field with the others.
Q4- Have you ever needed to excuse a dog from the ring, and what warrants doing that.
Answer: Yes I have excused dogs several times, including Bulldogs. Limping is the main reason, although there are other reasons when excusals can be made such as 'lack of merit' and 'attempting to bite'. If a dog actually did make contact with you it is to be disqualified.
Q5- Is it proper to see a 7 month old puppy get BISS, can one truly evaluate a immature specimen to the point of winning BISS.
Answer: Judges are required to judge the dog 'on the day'. We are not supposed to try and imagine what the dog is going to turn out like in the future. It is uncommon at a specialty show that a puppy would win the breed, however it is very possible is the puppy is very good. Again, it is the opinion of the judge to determine the merit of the puppy. We won two specialties with one of our dogs as a puppy in Canada, however the shows were very small in comparison to the U.S. but still they were breeder judges who did it. This dog ended up being the number one bulldog in Canada for three years and still holds the record for best in shows wins by a bulldog while being breeder owner handled. His name was Comepatabull's Gettin Respect, known to all as 'Rodney'. He certainly was the best dog we ever bred and competed on all levels. He finished in the U.S. at 4 shows winning at specialties including the Milwaukee Bulldog club specialty. Our dog of a lifetime. He will always be missed.
'Bulldogs are my love, not my living'