Breeder and Exhibitor
A French Dog Now Naturalised in England - How the Breed Came to this Country - Its Official Recognition by the Kennel Club - Points of a Good Specimen - How to Rear the Puppies-character of the French Bulldog - Some Owners and their Dogs
The subject of this article is one of the most charming of the smaller breeds of dog, and yields to none in intelligence and fidelity. That he is not so well known as, for instance, the fox terrier, is due to the fact that he is one of the aristocrats of the canine world.
The best authorities on this breed, amongst whom should be reckoned Mr.f.w.cousens, M.r.c.v.s., to whose valuable advice and kind assistance the writer is deeply indebted, agree unanimously that the French bulldog is a French breed and of French origin, though of late years a crossing of English bulldog blood has somewhat modified the original French type.
The late Mr. George Krehl, indeed, who was one of the earliest of English authorities on the breed, went even further, and deducted, with much plausibility, its possible Spanish origin. His own purpose in introducing these dogs into England was to obtain by their help a small specimen of the national bulldog. In any case, the Frenchman has come to stay, and has established his claim to be a separate breed, distinct from the miniature British bulldog, and is now recognised as such by the kennel clubs of Europe.
His official history dates from July, I902, when a meeting was held at Mr.cousens' house to consider the advisability of forming a club for the breed as distinct from the Toy Bulldog Club, thus avoiding the confusion of the French bulldog with the purely British bantamised specimens, whose weight of twenty pounds, by the way, scarcely justified the epithet of toy. Hence originated the French Bulldog Club of England, under the presidency of Lady Lewis, and the official recognition of the breed by the Kennel Club of England as the bouledogue francais.
The club's first show was held in I903,with fifty-one pure bred French specimens; and since then the breed has never looked back, and the British variety has most sensibly received the name of the miniature bulldog, with a weight allowance of twenty-two pounds, and a different and characteristic type of its own, one as essentially British as the subject of this memoir should be essentially French.
So much for the somewhat troubled waters over which the club has sailed to its present secure anchorage. Now, it will be of interest to the novice or intending purchaser to show what manner of dog the gay little Frenchman should be. Herewith are summarised his chief essential points as laid down in the club's book, published in I903. There is such a thing as an eye for a dog as truly as for a horse, and it is a most valuable possession ; it may be explained by saying that the possessor has a true eye for type, and is not misled by separate points. In the breed in question, the salient point is that the dog should be French in character, not merely a British bulldog that looks, as Lady Kathleen Pilkington observes of the miniature bulldog, "like the larger variety seen through the wrong end of a telescope."
The French bulldog should be a cobby, muscular, heavy-boned dog, yet extremely active and intelligent. He should have a large and square head, with a flat top to it and a rounded forehead, deep stop, and well-developed, but not prominent cheek muscles. The skin on the head should not be tight, and the forehead should be nicely wrinkled. The muzzle should be very deep, short, and broad, with the lower jaw" projecting slightly in front of the upper, and turning up, though not so as to show the teeth.
Mr.F.W.Cousens famous French bulldog, "Napoleon Bonaparte," a most typical example of this fashionable breed Photo, T. Fall
The eyes should be dark and moderate in size, placed wide apart and low down ; they should not show the white when looking straight in front.
The ears should be of medium size, rounded at the tips, carried straight, and set high on the skull. They should be large at the base, have their orifice looking forward, and be fine and soft in texture.
The neck should be thick, short, and well arched.
The body should be short and muscular ; the chest wide and well between the legs; the back should be broad at the shoulder, tapering towards the loins, and well roached.
The tail should be set on low, be short, thick at the root, tapering towards a point, and not be carried above the level of the back.
The forelegs should be short, straight, and muscular; the hindquarters strong, though lighter in proportion to the forequarters. The hocks should be well let down. The feet should be strong and compact. The coat should be of medium density ; black is an undesirable colour, brindle being the most popular.
In weight the dogs range from under twenty pounds up to twenty-eight pounds.
As regards the rearing of puppies - in this breed a difficult task - the invaluable advice of Mr.cousens is again quoted. As a rule, it is best to have a foster mother, unless the bitch has proved herself a good mother. Should the pups have to be hand-fed, then plasmon and milk, with a teaspoonful of cream to every half-pint, is the exact chemical substitute for natural bitches' milk. Warmth is essential, and a hot water bottle and blankets must be supplied if the weather demands. At weaning time, raw scraped meat should be given, as well as one of the patent milk foods made with milk, and the pups should be fed every two or three hours at first. At four months old, three meals a day will suffice, of puppy biscuits dry and broken up, good gravy or soup over stale breadcrumbs, and a meal of lean raw meat. A large bone that cannot be eaten should be given to help dentition.
In character the French bulldog is affectionate, lively, and admirably adapted to a house or flat. Though not exactly a sporting dog, he is neither a coward nor a fool, and his admirers are deservedly many.
He is not the poor man's dog, any more than the thoroughbred is the poor man's steed, and a fairly high price, from £7 7s. upwards for a young puppy, according to pedigree and appearance, will have to be paid for a well-bred specimen. But, when the difficulty of rearing and the high fees demanded for the sires are considered, this will not be thought excessive, and the owner will be the first to admit that his choice is worth his cost, and, indeed, much more.
Amongst present-day owners are Lady Lewis, Mr.c.pelham-clinton, Mrs. Charles Waterlow, Mrs.townsend Green, Mrs. Romilly, and Mrs.lesmoir Gordon.
And amongst famous French bulldogs and bench heroes and heroines should certainly be included the late King Edward VII.'s Peter, who, although he was on the large side, was a dog of very considerable merit; while Queen Alexandra had a great favourite named Paul.