AKC Gazette

September 2008




One of the benefits of writing a column in the AKC Gazette is the mail I receive from people in the Bulldogs as well as those in other Breeds. I am happy that what I have written has provoked some to take the time to write me in response to a particular column. The column “It’s In The Breed,” which appeared in the March issue of the Gazette, generated a variety of responses. Here are some of the comments I received.

            Jan Grebe, the Gazette’s French Bulldog breed columnist and chairman of the FBDCA health and genetics committee, wrote: “I begin my presentation at seminars by pointing out that the reason to show a dog to a championship is to establish that he is worthy of being bred. Someday, I hope enough judges will come to understand this that they will stop putting up dogs who are well conformed but who have obvious problems. Then maybe breeders will start breeding for health and temperament as well as beauty.”

            Amen to that. Too many people lose the fact that we are showing breeding stock. Dog shows are not beauty contests!

            Jan is 100 percent right when she mentions the importance of temperament, Breeders should pay more attention to temperament and stop sweeping it under the rug. Make no mistake: This is an inherited characteristic. Bad temperament is one of the major reasons that dogs are given up to rescue. Such dogs are a liability and can be dangerous. A dog with poor temperament should never be bred.

            I received a letter from someone who spoke about the health testing and research support that fanciers of that breed support. The letter noted that quite a few breeders still breed dogs that produce problems, but added the caveat that those lines are better, so it’s OK!

            Another writer discussed how their club has one of the most extensive health committees and gives a lot of money to the AKC Canine Health Foundation, yet one of their top dogs failed the heart holter, and the dog is still being used at stud. The owner believes this is fine as long as the people using the dog are told up front that the dog failed the test.

            Another comment I received was from an individual who has shown Bulldogs. He wrote, “I watch Bulldog people stick their heads in the sand and not eliminate anything or test for anything as long as they can win in the ring.”

            Finally, let me close with a response from Robert Newcomb, the AKC Delegate from the Bulldog Club of America. “I enjoyed your article and thought you made a good point. Hopefully, we people go to breed our dogs, they consider the health problems first.”

            To all who wrote me to response to my column, I thank you.

Amelia Averil, 8 Willow Brook Rd., Hillsdale, NJ 07612.