Friday, April 20, 2012

Coat Color & Pigment Related French Bulldog Health Issues

WOW, I've just run across the SINGULARLY MOST IMPORTANT research article on color in French Bulldogs I've ever seen.  It's linked right below this paragraph.  If you haven't read it, READ IT and follow ALL the links on the page.  The historical content is INCREDIBLE.  The color research IS IMPECCABLE.  Never seen a BLUE MERLE Frenchie?  You will find one here.  What colors are linked with sight, hearing defects?  You will find them ALL HERE.  Why should you never breed pied to pied?  READ IT HERE.  SUPER INFO - don't miss it, folks!!!

This entry consists of a list of links to health related issues in blue/liver dilute colored dogs.  I will also try to place links to consumer complaints about health issues in the blue and dilute colored French Bulldogs.  You are welcome to contribute your own links and suggest resources.  I am seeking links for Frenchie Rescues that are equipped/qualified to deal with dilute colored dogs and their health issues.

DILUTE BLUE coat color alopecia links:
-there is a secondary link on this page for blue coats that includes merles and also refers to solid blue coated dogs which you really should check out -
-excellent in depth info which interestingly explains that this color is found in "mice" - so perhaps the mouse description in the breed standard was quite appropos in its day
-great link about bringing in blue dilution coat in the Min-Pin and breeder controversy over it
-interesting overview of many canine color related skin and coat problems
-anecdotal breeder information on blue born Yorkies
-good information of blue and liver dilute in Dobes

DEAFNESS links to color in dogs and cats:


















Monday, April 16, 2012

Blue Moon, Super Bulli and The "Rare Color" Phenomenon in Frenchies

I've had it with the hounds of hell prodding and poking at me with their silly speculation.  It's much more fun, evidently, to sit around in your armchairs on your fat petudes gossiping than learning the truth.  Research.  The work that you should do when passing on information, especially information about other people is called research.  As it turns out, 'other people' are also REAL and do have feelings.  They are not plastic objects strung across the internet like so many patio party lights.  Get the facts straight when you deal with real people instead of soap opera characters.  So let's start with the facts about Blue Moon.

Blue Moon was a slate gray, blue French Bulldog male puppy bred by kennel Lebull, not Sonlit.  Blue Moon's sire was Ch.Lebull's Bart Simpson, a superb honey pied, black masked fawn dog whose dam was the exquisite brindle, National Specialty BOS bitch, Ch. Sonlit Europa (a littermate to my Duggie) and whose sire was the blue brindle pied import, Banerjee BonHomme.  Trophy was linebred on Wilcott and DeLaParure breeding through his dam, Lebull's Violacea. "Trophy" or Blue Moon was dropped off one day by his breeder in a great hurry.  I quickly figured out WHY.  He, like all her dogs, had giardia at that time and she had to get them off the property until she found the cause.  (Which would to turn out to be the fecal matter left strewn over the property by the pet pigs and a few wild animals actually inherent to the area.)  Kennel Lebull, did, in fact, have kennels but they typically went unused.  I suspect the proprietor didn't believe in them. Perhaps they were thought cruel and unnatural, sort of like braziers and panty hose. 

When I learned that the pup had giardia, I went into a mini panic myself.  I had pregnant bitches and giardia can be dangerous to them.  Sanitation times ten ensued and Blue Moon became the one and only house dog until his departure.  She offered to give him to me but like I told her, he was going oversize and besides he was "blue."  The best he could be was a big, sweet pet, so I christened him, Once In A Blue Moon.  Some time later she called up to tell me she had sold him to a buyer I referred to her from Australia.  We almost never had anything for sale at Sonlit so I gave dozens upon dozens of referrals each year, many of them to Kennel Lebull.  I asked her why a show buyer would want a "blue dog" - could they show them in OZ?  She said he wanted the bloodline.  Nothing I could do about it, I never owned him....I just dogsat him and named him.  My part of the subsequent and so called, illicit color crimes against French Bulldogdom are all summed up right there.  Either someone from Lebull came and got him or we toted him back home, I cannot recall which anymore.  He was a very sweet, laid back kinda boy of beautiful type with great yellow eyes like a hoot owl but off he went to Australia to start a whole new breeding program that helped fuel the color fad worldwide known as, "blue Frenchies."

NOTE:  the color term"blue," is referenced in the breed standard under "mouse."  The modern sales descriptor "chocolate" applied to Frenchies is actually "liver" under the breed standard.  These are breed standard disqualificatons, along with "black and tan" and "black."

A few years earlier I had leased a bitch from Pelshire's.  The bitch was a BM fawn named Chelsea (Pelshire's Miss Chelsea), short bodied, muscular and stout with a sweet, dark eye but nosey.  I bred her to Duggie, which is why I leased her, to double up on the Tommyville.  She refused to free whelp as hoped but produced three nice boys.  One pied boy I petted out because I thought his jaw was off perhaps.  My favorite was a red fawn pied male that was later named, "Mario."   He had a patch over one eye and on his little rumpkus but was white as snow otherwise.  He was my pick but the BM fawn male, which was second pick was ill.  He had contracted an upper respiratory and we were doing all we could to help him recover, which he eventually did.  I named him Ch. Sonlit Topaze and he turned out a clear, gorgeous red fawn with deep black mask and etchings.  But Pat was owed a pup so reluctantly I sent her Mario whom she would christen, "Ch. Pelshires Sonlit Mario."  Mario was a big, mushy sweet laid back boy with a gorgeous headpiece, big black eyes and stunning conformation.

Pat didn't like his laid back personality and gave him to her pug friend, Doris Aldrich of Kendoric.  Doris kept him as a pet after Pat finished him.  I know Pat didn't like his color, she was a brindle and fawn person.  I would have adored it.  But as it turned out, she bred Mario and from that came a bitch she then bred to her English import Tikka or Ch. Allstone Douglas.  Tikka was a nearly black brindle dog, smallish and with a rather mediocre headpiece...nosey, narrow muzzle over a big wide backskull and narrow eyes I thought.  But he was compact and sound enough to move well and she loved him.   Down the road a couple years, the Tikka daughter was bred to a Cox/Delaparure dog.  The final product was a most handsome brindle boy with Pat's kennel name on it (assumption: Pat's dog) which was then exported to Europe.  His name was Ch. Pelshires Picasso and he is behind many of the top winners and producers throughout Europe...and by way of being imported back to the USA, now many American and Canadian winners as well.   He is behind the red fawn pied European grand champion winner, Ch. Super Bulli Monarchia-Mirabeau, from where these clear red fawns and red fawn pieds with black masking have in no small part, emerged. 

Fast forward a few years; a fellow breeder here in Minnesota suddenly discovered a black and tan bitch in her litter of purebred French Bulldogs.  There was no accounting for where this color pattern emerged from but many speculated she was crossbred.  She was not but she was from such respectable bloodlines it was hard to account for her illicit color.   Still, she was of good type, beautiful in color and her owner bred her several times.  The color was never reproduced even in subsequent linebreedings...which many legitimate breeders held a keen interest in.  Yet, her color made its way into the pedigrees of Frenchies worldwide through a dog exported by Belboulecan Kennel in Canada to Europe, named Ch. Belboulecan Du Champagne Mondo.  Mondo, was a BM fawn gr. grandson of the brindle pied Hollylane bitch (Ch.Sunoak Sunspot) that was also granddam to the black and tan.  This top producing bitch is behind the brindle American BIS. Winner Ch. Affabulls King of Diamonds.  From there, the illusive pattern began to reappear, in various odd new forms.  None of the subsequent black and tans have reportedly possessed her quality to date but perhaps that is the fault of how the progeny were bred rather than the color itself. 

So, let's put this all together in a way that makes sense.  I've spent the past two years looking for what is left of my bloodline and the past few weeks poring over pedigrees from kennels producing French Bulldogs worldwide.  The Internet (the world's library) has helped me conduct my homework and I've reached a few startling conclusions.  The combination of Tikka and Mario was  a stroke of brilliance on Pats part (I assume) because it created a virtual inbreeding on the dogs behind Tommyville, which of course, were actually Grimmelsburg, just as they are behind DeLaParure. The top winning kennels worldwide appear to have all emerged from the same basic kennel in Germany with some additions here and there.  However, with the same stroke that the du Shepherd, Sopianae Imperator and Super Bulli bloodlines of Europe were created, the so called "rare colors" were unleashed simultaneously.

Blue Moon, meanwhile was doing in OZ what, apparently, Picasso and Mondo had been doing in Europe.  Improving breed type.  These were quality dogs of quality breeding - and ours at least, Pats and mine, were health tested breeding stock.  The notoriously shy black and tan coat pattern disappeared into the American woodwork only to reappear in the hands of european dog profiteers (puppy millers) later, who seemed to make the color pattern magically appear at will.  Keep in mind that the champion dogs I've described were superb specimens from top bloodlines whose progeny fell into nefarious hands.  They always do when breeders fail at their primary job, which is to PROTECT their lines.  When you share stock overseas, there is no way to guarantee that their prodigy will not end up in nefarious hands.  (Nefarious, for all practical purposes here, will mean "those who profiteer dogs.")  As with all products that are saleable, profiteers seek a 'hook' to snag buyers with and having found it in so called 'rare colors', have pimped it to the max.   Let me tell you, the dilute colors were not rare.  They were HIDDEN.  Hidden by breeders who were ashamed of admitting they occurred in their own breeding programs.  Why?  For one thing, the present fad phenomen dilute blue and liver coat hues were always associated with some physical defects.  If you could ignore those, the yellow eye pigment remains abominable!  It is abominable in EVERY color and coat pattern of the French Bulldog.  Again, why?  We don't want a ghostly look, a haunting expression or a frightening, hobgobblin appearance to this breed.

It is antithesis (that means the exact opposite) of the character of the dog which is sweet, loyal, dignified and trusting.  Yellow eyes are reserved for dog breeds that serve to protect or warn.  The average French Bulldog will welcome strangers into your home.  They are not guard dogs or protection dogs and do not serve this function.  The yellow eyes utterly prevent the true warm, gentle, loving character of the dog from being seen and appreciated privately and publicly.  The desirable deep, dark orbs should melt your heart and gaze right into your soul - not raise the hair on your arms.  It is precisely the blue and liver colored dogs with yellow eyes that the fruitcakes of the world seek to cross with pitbulls and other guard and fighting dog breeds.  These crosses will not benefit anyone as they will result in the loss of the true character, size and beauty of the breed and render it untrustworthy and potentially dangerous.

It's one thing to own a dog with a funny crossbred name that amuses you and another to be hauled into court for having that dog attack a neighbors innocent child.  Let us summate here; there are cumulative health defects genetically associated with blue and liver dilute that will begin to make a heavy toll on the puppy millers color breeding programs.  From what I have studied here in my office, I speculate this will occur in approximately 18 - 24 mos.  Based upon the sheer number of the "rare" color dogs in this country being randomly bred dilute to dilute with no health testing in place to prevent defects from being reproduced, the dog profiteers will encounter the most severe health issues in the next generation or two and I suspect that these "rare" colors will return to their hidden status within a decade.  This is my prediction based upon current genetic studies and information passed from reliable european sources.  Furthermore, owing to this ongoing, complete lack of health testing by dog profiteers in a breed that REQUIRES it for healthy future generations, I believe we will see skin and coat (allergy type) issues inundate these inbred puppy mill fad dogs, with orthopedic and breathing problems predominating until the profiteers face countless "puppy lemon law" suits around the nation.  The legal drain alone would effectively counterract their desire to randomly produce fad Frenchies.  Buyers are wising up because money isn't growing on trees in America anymore.  All of us are realizing it day by day in this artificially pumped up Oconomy.

Most of these rare color dogs are being purchased through online brokers such as "EUROPUPPY" or through other millers who bought from them and bred.  As the color fad passes, the puppy millers all over America will begin to experience dramatic losses in interest and revenue and begin dumping formerly "rare" colored dogs everywhere.  We will need highly qualified Frenchie rescues to prepare for this catastrophe as I believe, it will happen nearly at once.  Between the incessant and costly caesarian sections, inundation with untested, inbred dilute color related health defects and potential lawsuits, the breed will have become tedious to the dog profiteers and they will swiftly  move onto the new and easier to produce, 'rare' breeds where the big dollars are now headed.   The uncomeliness of the yellow eyes, potential color related alopecia and sight/hearing defects will render these 'rare' colored Frenchies a soon forgotten fad but where will we find homes for literally hundreds of them when they are abandoned by their breeders? 

Black and tan as a coat pattern is associated with notable terrier traits and has yet to be proven an asset to the breed itself.  Red fawns, golden fawns, red pieds, honey pieds, black masks or no masks make no difference.  These are just fawn dogs with more or less white and more or less black on them.  Fawn in this breed can range from palest honey hue to deep red.  It has never been rare and has always been part and parcel of the breed.  Pieds, not piebalds (the term pied is a contraction of the color descriptor' piebald,' but the latter term is never used to describe French Bulldogs) are harder to breed for show because the  markings make a HUGE difference in how the dog appears.  The acceptable colors and patterns have little effect on the health of these dogs, genetically so they are chosen by breeders for their appearance for show rather than coat pattern.  I can recall English breeders and even Janis Hampton complaining of the "stag" colored fawn.  They were referred to as 'dirty' or 'smutty' fawns, possessing black or deep gray guard hairs over what was a preferred single hued fawn coat with a black mask.  The overlay of an almost sable pattern detracted from the appearance of substance in the dog, which is important in this breed.  A sable or grizzle patterned dog will more easily blend into the environment and is meant to do so by nature.  This is unnecessary and even distracting in the show ring.  Some dog judges and some breeders will look past that grizzled fawn but others will find it very difficult.

These grizzled or smutty fawns remain an acceptable variation of the coat colors and color patterns allowed in Frenchies but the dilutes with their haunting yellow eyes are not.  Some of the dilutes eyes will deepen with age to a greenish amber or deep golden gray. Yet they never deepen sufficiently to allow the correct expression of the breed.  I don't know of any country in which the dilute colors have proven acceptable. Even if the dilute colors were not associated with genetic defects, the eye color and lack of dark pigment render them lacking in true breed character.  People who love the breed don't intentionally breed away the true character of the dog which is expressed in great part, in its warm, dark expression.   This is to some degree why pieds without hoods (patch over one or both eyes) are not as admired by breeders and judges.  The missing hood often leaves the eyerims unpigmented which a large, dark eye can to some degree compensate for...but never completely.  The dark eyerim, flew and nose pigment add to the depth and fullness of the warm, welcoming expression of the dog.  Fully hooded dogs are more prized for show by breeders but not to the point of ever creating a breed fad. 

The so called, "rare colors" did not originate in Minnesota (or North America, for that matter) although, by my descriptions it might appear so to the casual reader.  Think more deeply.  Blue dogs did not originate with Kennel Lebull but in Europe and in this case, the UK from whence they came.  The red fawns and red fawn pieds did not originate at Sonlit but came from the very origins of the breed and have been seen in it for well over a hundred years.  The black and tan did not originate at Hollylane, and while we have no further explanation for this color pattern, know that it did exist in the earliest history of the breed in America or else it would not have been forbidden in the creation of the breed standard.  Moreover, the dogs that produced these colors, both illicit and not, were of high breed quality...originally.  No such claims can be made for the breedings that have followed.  What was done with their offspring by subsequent caretakers of the breed must be placed into fullest consideration.  Show dogs are sold in trust.  That trust requires respect and when it is not respected, the responsiblity falls directly upon the ones who failed to hold the trust they were provided.  This color fad phenomenon in Frenchies today should be blamed squarely on the profiteers of the dog world who cared so little for the breed that they turned trust into monetary gain.

A good dog may have "no color," according to the old adage but a good show Frenchie must have dark eyes, dark nose and dark facial pigment to express the fullness of his magnificent character. 


Bullistik said...
'Trophy' aka LeBull's Once In a Blue Moon was sired by Ch. LeBull's Bart Simpson.

Bart is out of CH. SONLIT EUROPA (bred by Sonlit?) bred to the UK import blue pied male, BANERJEE BON HOMME.

His dam is LeBull's Violaceae.

You can find photos of aformentioned dogs in Arlie's book Celebrating Frenchies, pg. 216 and 217
Lesley Thorpe said...
Great read - very interesting to a student of pedigree who has been doing much the same puzzling, but without the breed experience, for the past 6 months. It is very hard to get past the "hidden" aspects, but taking a blue, liver or black and tan puppy as a starting point and tracing the lines back has been an absolute eye opener. Thank you for increasing my knowledge of the breed.
Anonymous said...
I am personally aware of at least 2 blue french bulldogs that have made it into rescue, so your prediction is beginning to come true. Second the Black Masked Fawns with the black guard hairs are sometimes referred to as "smutty" in other countries.