BCA EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
This month’s guest columnist is Russell Thomas, BCA Education Committee chairperson.
BCA Educational Activities
The education program for the Bulldog Club of America was formally started in 1973. Over the years the education committee has been successful in developing several slide/cassette programs for use at monthly meetings of BCA member clubs. In addition, the committee first introduced a day-long educational program at the 1980 national specialty and has since sponsored educational activities at each of the national events.
It is my pleasure to have reassumed the leadership of the education effort for the 1992/1993 period, after stepping down in 1986. The committee is currently involved in three primary areas of Bulldog education.
Education for Bulldoggers
In mid-1992, an educational package was sent to the eight BCA division and 55 member club secretaries. It identified education programs that are available for their use at monthly club meetings or education seminars and also provided samples of handout material for Bulldoggers. Included in the package were copies of the newly reformatted Bulldog standard, helpful hints for the novice, and illustrated Bulldog conformation – good and bad – a code of ethics developed by one of our member clubs and a newly developed program entitled “You Be the Judge!”
We have continued the education seminars held in conjunction with the national specialties. Last year we had an outstanding program on Bulldog ophthalmology by Ken Abrams, DVM, of Rhode Island. There will be a four-hour education seminar at our ’93 specialty.
The committee is actively working on a video program that will examine the gait of the Bulldog. In addition, we are updating some of our programs that were published many years ago, to reflect the current dogs and information. One of our committee members is just starting a study of treachea size in the Bulldog and corrective action required to breed the problem out of our future specimens.
Another important activity this committee has taken on is a newsletter contest. This contest was started several years ago by one of my predecessors to encourage the improvement of newsletter from the division and member clubs. Newsletters are submitted prior to each year’s national specialty show and are judged by the winners of the prior year’s contest. Awards are announced at the national banquet.
We held our fourth Judges Bulldog study group this past November in conjunction with our national specialty show. It was a two-day activity with an initial, long half day of presentations, live dog examinations and discussions, followed by a day and a half of observing the Bulldog judging ringside, assisted by a series of mentors. These study groups are primarily attended by approved judges of other breeds who are interested in judging the Bulldog as well, The attendance has varied from 4 to 10 people each year. We have also had a few Bulldog breeders attend who wanted to apply for their judging approval. They and the non-breeder-judges have said they greatly benefited from the breeders’ presence.
We also have a mentor program that provides prospective Bulldog judges with a basic Bulldog information package plus a list of Bulldog breeder-judges whom they can refer to as mentors. One of our committee members has written an excellent paper on how to judge a Bulldog that is sent to prospective judges.
Since the AKC initiated the (900) 407-PUPS phone number for people interested in obtaining information about various breeds, I have received 10 to 15 requests for breeder information per week. A basic mailing package to respond to the requests contains a cautionary message as to people’s responsibility in bringing a dog or puppy into their lives, the name and phone number of the secretary of one or more Bulldog clubs in their area, a copy of the Bulldog standard, helpful hints for the novice and a list of Bulldog breeders. The package also encourages people to join the Bulldog Club of America and is often supplemented with other information in order to address specific, individual questions.
Here are a couple of items readers can assist us with:
1) Any Bulldog breeders who have a concern with treachea size and have collected X-ray or size data (puppy and adult) as correlated to weight and age are requested to provide whatever information they accumulated to Patti Merke, 5426 Orinda Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89120. She has taken on the rather large task of gathering data, pursuing methods of size detection and providing information on selective breeding the problem out (or avoidance).
2) In order to build a more complete list of Bulldog breeders, I am requesting that breeders who commonly have puppies for sale provide me with their name, address, locale (nearby large city) and phone number. I will assume that they will all act as responsible dog breeders and make sure any buyer understand that they are taking on a large responsibility, hopefully for the lifetime of the puppy or dog. Further, BCA will assume no responsibility for the outcome of any agreement between the breeder(s) and the buyer(s). If you are interested please mail your information to Russ Thomas, 15992 Avenida Villaha #8, San Diego, CA 92128. – RT
Thank you to Mr. Thomas for providing an overview of our BCA education activities to the readers of this column. He would appreciate any constructive comments or suggestions for his committee.
Ray Knudson, 4300 Town Road, Salem, WI 53168.