March 1999

AKC Gazette

March 1999

  1. WILLIAM ANDREE

COLOR IT BRINDLE

 

One thing that seems to have been fairly consistent through the years among Bulldog fanciers is their fascination with color. Preoccupation with color is especially evident in prospective pet owners and novice breeders – they seem to be color-conscious above all else and invariably inquire about it first. Gender and age often rank a distant second and third on their priority lists. Many prospective buyers simply will not consider purchasing a Bulldog unless it is of a certain color.

For some reason not obvious to me, solid white seems to be the most preferred color among those not specially familiar with the breed. Red is another preferred color. It is usually the choice of people who are interested in breeding Bulldogs, and it is especially popular among those interested in showing. People who previously owned and loved a Bulldog of a certain color often want another of that color; I suppose that is as valid a reason for a color preference as any I can think of.

Curiously, brindle (especially color brindle) is seldom a preferred color. Perhaps this is partly because the term is unfamiliar to many people, and partly because there are so few solid brindles on the market or in the show ring these days. Brindle is a blend of at least two or three colors, with one of them being predominant. Red brindle, fawn brindle and gray brindle are the most common brindle colors. Brindle coloring almost always includes hairs of black or very dark brown, with these sometimes appearing in patterns similar to tiger stripes on the legs and body.

Strangely, solid brindle and reds with minimal or no white markings and solid whites are rarely preferred by modern breeders and exhibitors. Colors that are enhanced by flashy white markings around the face, chest and neck are more popular.

However, the Bulldog standard approved by the Bulldog Club of America clearly specifies that the coat of the ideal Bulldog should be “uniform” from head to toe. The standard lists solid red brindle as the most preferred color. (A small white patch on the chest is permitted on an otherwise all-brindle or all-red dog.)

Notice that I have not mentioned the solid black or predominantly black coat. Black is historically not a preferred color for the Bulldog. In fact, a solid-black dog is termed “very undesirable” in the Bulldog standard. Yet the standard also states that black is “not so objectionable if occurring in moderate degree in piebald patches” on a white coat.

Correction. In the December AKC Gazette, this columnist’s reference to the breed’s November 1998 national was inadvertently printed as “last summer” rather than as “last month,” which would have been correct.

  1. William Andree, 204 S. Beach Dr., Monticello, IN 47960.