Your English bulldog is a champion in your eyes. Since she seems to be perfect in every way, you may daydream about a romp around the show ring with your pride and joy. If you return from this reverie to ponder whether your English bulldog is truly a show quality diva, consider where you purchased your bulldog and review the English bulldog standards set forth by the American Kennel Club.
The Puppy in the Window
If you fell in love while window-shopping at your local pet shop, then your bulldog likely originated from a puppy mill. These breeding establishments breed dogs for one purpose: to make money. They put little effort into maintaining standards of health or temperament. A reputable breeder produces puppies with the goal of improving the breed’s conformation, health and temperament. A reputable breeder has nothing to hide, and will proudly allow you to meet your puppy’s parents. Such breeders also do not want their puppies to go to just any home. If a puppy does not meet all of the American Kennel Club’s standards for show quality, then the breeder will opt to sell the puppy as a pet-quality English bulldog to a carefully screened owner.
Understanding Rules and Standards
The AKC sets the conformation standards for more than 150 breeds. These standards include physical appearance and temperament. Any deviation from the prescribed physical attributes can prevent the dog from winning her championship. A disqualifying factor for the English bulldog is having a brown or liver-colored nose, for example, or curly hair instead of straight. Since the encouraging motivation for showing a dog in the conformation ring is to breed perfection, spayed and neutered pets are not conformation show candidates.
Compare Your Bulldog to Standards
If your English bulldog is not spayed because you are giving the matter of breeding or showing some serious consideration, study the American Kennel Club’s breed standards thoroughly and compare the requirements with your bulldog’s traits. Her attitude should exude courage, strength and dignity, not aggression. If your bulldog exhibits every physical characteristic described by the American Kennel Club’s standards, from the shape of the head to the carriage of the gait, then you may consider entering her for a show. Your dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club to show her. Showing dogs can be a lot of work. Expenses incurred, such as show entrance fees and travel expenditures, make showing a dog a costly proposition. Luckily, there are easier options for presenting your English bulldog to the dog show scene.
Casual Fun and Camaraderie
The Bulldog Club of America hosts a number of companion, or match, shows across the nation. These shows are informal, and they do not earn championship points. If your English bulldog is registered with the American Kennel Club and you feel that she meets the breed standards, this is a good way to test the show ring waters and see if she really has what it takes. These events are designed to be fun for you and your dog, and they provide wonderful social opportunities to meet and interact with other proud bulldog owners. Many of these owners are just like you. They adore their English bulldogs, and they want to see the dogs strut their stuff in a show ring with other bulldogs like yours.