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I?m getting an English bulldog puppy and I was considering getting into showing her - I know nothing about it but it?s something I think I would like to get into. However when i went to see the puppies they told me they were keeping their two show quality pups and the one I had picked wasn?t show quality due to a fault with her tail. I still liked the pup regardless and left a deposit. However now that I have had time to think I?m beginning to wonder should I hold out for a show quality pup - as my friend was telling me that when I?m spending so much money I should at least have the option to show her and she also said it may be an issue down the road if I ever wanted to breed her?

What are people?s thoughts on getting into showing dogs? I know it?s a lot of work and you can hear lots of negatives about your dog etc.

A pet was obviously my first choice but it?s a lifelong commitment and I want to be 100% sure...well I?m 100% sure i want a bulldog just not what one!!
 

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In order to get a show quality dog (especially a show quality bitch), you're likely going to have to enter into a co-ownership situation with the breeder. The breeder will have certain expectations of you and your effort towards titling the dog. If you think about it from the breeder's perspective, they don't want a dog with show potential to go to a wishy-washy show home and then never make it into the ring. The dogs with potential are the dogs they want try to title and potentially breed to further their lines and better their breed.

You picked your own puppy? What kind of tail fault does she have? Have you seen health clearances for both the sire and the dam of this litter? What titles do the parents have?

Showing is very hard work, and takes a lot of time and effort and commitment. The following is just a personal opinion, and not an attempt to insult you or the breed. I have friends who have owned quite a few English Bulldogs over the years, which is why I feel this way about the current state of the breed. Are you sure you want to be involved in the showing of English Bulldogs? At this point in time, most English Bulldogs are complete disasters - breathing issues due to their extreme brachycephalic heads, fold dermatitis due to their unnatural faces, elbow and hip dysplasia due to their ungainly and poorly conformed bodies... They have a tendency to get pneumonia and to overheat. They cannot exercise for lengthy periods of time, they can barely run and most cannot swim. They are intolerant to heat and to cold. Most bitches can no longer give birth naturally due to the puppy's heads being so large that they cannot fit out of the birth canal (which makes the breeding of English Bulldogs very expensive).

Just personally, I think that anyone who loves the English Bulldog's personality shouldn't be participating in the further destruction of the breed by titling or producing more dogs who are ridden with health issues.

Personal opinion aside. I think you'd be better off getting the puppy you're currently committed to and taking some handling classes and participating in some low pressure shows (like non-AKC events). That way you can get a feel for handling and see whether you like the atmosphere of dog shows. Then, if you really do want to campaign with a real prospect, your next puppy could be a show dog from your current breeder who you will have a relationship with and who would be able to mentor you throughout the showing and breeding process.
 

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There's typically nothing wrong with "pet quality" dogs from a reputable breeder, they just have a fault such as, like you mention, a tail set not quite right, ears set not quite right, a fault in the coloring. Very minor, minor things that don't matter unless you plan on breeding and showing the dog in conformation. It can be as minor as a white speckle where breed standard says there should not be a white speckle. The dog still functions like a normal dog, and only a conformation judge or a breeder would really notice! It would be like a person having ears that are slightly lopsided, but unless you know what you're looking for, you probably won't notice, and it doesn't effect how you hear. Because of those minor faults, the dog probably won't win in a conformation ring and would not be considered breeding quality (because only the very best, both temperamentally and physically) should be bred.

Later, even those "show quality" puppies may grow up and their conformation is off, or they have a fault in their temperament, like being a little too shy or too nervous.

That doesn't mean your pup can't compete in other events such as obedience or other AKC events. I have a mutt and I can compete in AKC events if I want. I would stick with your current puppy, join an obedience club, learn about it. There are often people there with all sorts of dogs. The club I take classes at has people who compete in all events, both with mutts and purebreds, and they are always willing to talk about their experiences. Retired AKC judges attend. Breeders attend. It's a great, low pressure environment where I have been able to learn about different events and get a feel for how much work some of the members put into their show quality dogs.
 

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I would absolutely use this pet quality puppy to experiment and experience and learn about conformation. Take the handling classes, do a few small or UKC trials, and do some practices talk to people in the community and really decide if it's the thing for you.

All dog sports are expensive and time consuming. Confo in many ways, at least when seriously campaigning a dog, more so because of the travel often involved in pursuit of getting to shows where enough of your breed is present.
 

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Hiraeth is very much correct - any breeder willing to sell a show quality puppy will co-own with you, and their 'pick of the litter' will often cost more to purchase than on a pet contract. Atlas' breeder co-owns him with me (otherwise he would have been purchased on a spay/neuter contract, hopefully like you will sign with your puppy's breeder). In this case, she's pretty much letting me do what I want with him for now, just offering tips and suggestions here and there. (Like how to tape his ears when he was younger.) I am working on agility and rally obedience with him right now, and thinking about placing him back with her next year to show if she thinks he's ready - I will hopefully get his championship on him, even if that's all we do in the conformation ring. And yes, it's a lot of money if you can't groom and handle them yourself in the ring! I'm lucky as his breeder will probably help me out quite a bit, but she's also 6 hours away from where I am. (I am also prepared he may not love the conformation ring, and I am ok with that, as I think we will do well with other sports and he's my pet first, and a show career second.)

I had been in contact with his breeder, via facebook, for a number of years before I was able to get Atlas. This probably means that she was able to get a feel for me, and helped her feel comfortable letting me have him on a co-owner contract. It may or may not be the case, but I think it helped! I like the suggestion of getting your girl, loving her and working with her on what you can/want then maybe for your next dog look at a show quality puppy from the same breeder. I believe conformation showing is the only AKC (or in my case, CKC) event that requires them to be intact. So you can still play around with a lot of other events!

So, I guess long story short, I don't think you will regret the pet quality puppy versus the show quality. You will be able to enjoy your girl without the stress and financial burden of a show dog. But, I also suggest you sit down and talk to the breeder about their thoughts and what their suggestions might be.
 

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I pretty much agree with everyone else. The difference between a show prospect and a pet puppy can be quite small. Most breeders would be very hesitant to sell a show prospect bitch puppy without co-ownership and a contract that details the expectations of both parties.

And like Hiraeth said, a lot of Bulldogs are a mess, health-wise, due to the "if extreme is good, then more extreme is better" mentality that goes on in some breeds.* Make sure you know the health of, not only the sire and dam, but their parents, grandparents, and siblings.

*Think of the exaggerated angulation of a show-line German Shepherd, or the extreme loose skin and wrinkling of Neapolitan Mastiff and Shar Pei. You go back and look at pictures of dogs whn the breed was first getting going, and the aren't like that at all. These are just examples that I can think of off the top of my head. There are lots more.
 

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I have what I consider to be a pet quality dog that I show for fun. He has both his UKC and AKC CH and we will likely show to his GCH. You can show a pet quality dog, but you may not win depending on the competition in your area. However, I would like to know what exactly the fault is and how obvious it is? Is it just a fault or is it a disqualification?

You will also likely not be able to breed your dog regardless since it is being sold as pet quality and I'm assuming limited registration.

If I were to do it over again I would look for a dog that I consider to be show/breeding quality because it is a lot of time and money although I do have fun showing.
 

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I've been thinking about it and wanted to clarify my above condemnations of the English Bulldog as a breed.

The breed IS a mess. There's no arguing that. However, I also happen to own a breed renowned for health issues - Great Danes. I am also planning on eventually buying a show prospect puppy, and I can see many people posting the same types of arguments against Danes that I just posted about English Bulldogs if I asked for advice on a forum.

So here's the thing. IF you really want to get into showing and breeding, I would recommend doing so with the betterment of the breed in mind. I can guarantee that there are English Bulldog breeders out there who are producing more moderate dogs with longer muzzles, better angles and overall better health. These dogs may not be the most successful in the show ring due to current trends, but I think health is of the utmost importance when considering breeding a dog (and anyone who doesn't think health is important shouldn't be breeding).

In my particular breed, extremes are also taking over the show ring. Hypertypes with genetic eye issues and heart problems are becoming (horrifyingly) commonplace in the show ring. So when I began my search for a breeder I'd want to co-own with, I started locating breeders who were aiming their lines towards moderation - lean, athletic Danes without drooping eyes and hanging jowls. I also talked to them about the health history of their lines, as the three major killers of Danes (bloat, dilated cardiomyopathy, cancer) are all inherited. I ask about the longevity of the lines they have incorporated into their own, as well as how their past litters are doing health-wise. If any breeder ever says 'my dogs are completely healthy, no problems'... I wouldn't believe them without doing some significant legwork to make sure that is the case.

So my advice to you would be to locate a breeder who is health testing, tracking their lines (past just knowing the parents are healthy), and attempting to breed towards moderation and away from the extreme. The English Bulldog needs people who are willing to do the less fashionable thing in order to advocate for the longevity of the breed as a whole. And you could be one of those people, if you felt the desire to do the research and have the patience to become part of the breeder movement that may be the salvation of the breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The problem with her tail is that it is pointing upwards instead of down. The breeder said it may drop but there is no guarantees. The blood line of the parents is extremely good and they have both won lots of awards. There was no mention of any contracts when i have been talking to them or any limitations on breeding. The breeders live locally and have been very helpful when i explained my concerns. They did recommend another female pup to me that at the minute appears to be show quality but as they explained as the pup grows up they may not be show quality. I am going back tomorrow to see the puppies and hopefully i can make a decision then! They have said they would hold my deposit for a future litter if I wasn't happy with either pup but at the minute they don't have any plans for future litters so it could be a year or more.
 

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There was no mention of any contracts when i have been talking to them or any limitations on breeding.
This is a huge red flag. No reputable breeder I'm aware of will sell a pet puppy on full registration, and they all have contracts.

Obviously none of us can talk you out of it, but English Bulldogs are one of those breeds that you really need to be aware of what type of breeder you're supporting, both for the sake of the breed itself and for the health of your future dog.
 

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I do want to point out that bulldogs are a very difficult and expensive breed to start breeding with, and I'd highly, highly encourage you to find a reputable, ethical breeder who'd be willing to to mentor you through the whole process if you're serious about it. Most English Bulldogs require artificial insemination these days, and many also cannot give birth naturally, so assume you're going to need to have quite a bit of spare money (a few thousand) on hand. And that's assuming no further complications. Do you know if the breeder you're currently talking to has lines that breed naturally and whelp freely (ie, without the need for AI or a C-section)? That's a pretty major consideration, because of course requiring surgery to give birth significantly increases the risk to your potential pup, show quality or not.

I admit, English Bulldogs are one of those breeds where I'm way more impressed by health testing and health history of the lines than I am by showing. So, so many "show quality" dogs need surgery to even breathe properly (elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, other symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome) and I highly, highly encourage you to research health problems in this breed in general, as well as those in your chosen breeder's lines, before you make a decision re: breeding. This is one of those breeds who needs passionate, informed people breeding for the best health and conformation first, but who sadly has a lot of people breeding primarily to win shows or look "cute and wrinkly" with little regard to the overall health. Even something like a faulty tail might be an issue. I'm not sure what "pointing up instead of down" means in this case, exactly, but some bulldogs have extremely curled tails - or "screw tail" - that happen because we've actually bred for deformed vertebrate. This can actually lead to other severe spine and nerve issues, including problems holding their bladder/bowels.

If this is something you really want to do, that's great! I just want you to have a realistic idea of what's involved, and how especially challenging your chosen breed is. I know the last thing in the world most people want to do is produce puppies who are ill or in chronic pain, so I always feel more information is better. Even if you decide you're not ready to breed with this girl (whichever you choose), there's no reason you can't try ringcraft classes (where they teach you how to show your dog) even if she's not "show quality". You can certainly also visit local shows and talk with breeders to get a better idea of what's involved in breeding and showing, and see if anyone would be willing to mentor you or give you advice there.

I would question why the breeder you're currently talking to doesn't have any restrictions on people breeding from their puppies, as that is quite unusual in the show dog world. I'm assuming the parents are shown and titled, and extensive health testing has been done?
 

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The problem with her tail is that it is pointing upwards instead of down. The breeder said it may drop but there is no guarantees. The blood line of the parents is extremely good and they have both won lots of awards. There was no mention of any contracts when i have been talking to them or any limitations on breeding. The breeders live locally and have been very helpful when i explained my concerns. They did recommend another female pup to me that at the minute appears to be show quality but as they explained as the pup grows up they may not be show quality. I am going back tomorrow to see the puppies and hopefully i can make a decision then! They have said they would hold my deposit for a future litter if I wasn't happy with either pup but at the minute they don't have any plans for future litters so it could be a year or more.
Again, I agree with Hiraeth - I would assume there should have been mention made of a contract at the very least. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are assuming you know there will be one... I would definitely ask. It will be a big red flag if they don't have one! If they have do, maybe ask to see it as well so you know what the expectations are of you as an owner, and what health guarantees they offer. Atlas came with a 2 year health guarantee on his contract, which is pretty standard for most good breeders.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a pet store with Atlas, and a lady came in with her dog and immediately said "THAT'S what I thought I was buying!" ... Her (still very cute) 6-ish month old pup had the merle colouring of an Aussie, but a full tail and was built exactly like a border collie. (Just want to add, I am aware many Aussies are born with full tails, and are docked - Atlas was - but it was the entire body shape of the dog that was incorrect for the breed standard.) When the lady asked how much I paid for Atlas ($1500) she said she paid $1400... Ouch. We did not get into details of course, so I have no idea if her pup came with any sort of contract or registration (but I'm a little doubtful). I think it was a case of "I want an Aussie, here are some "Aussie" puppies that are super cute, so I'm buying one!" Without any regard for anything beyond that. Anyway, long story short, we want to see you get exactly what you want from a GOOD breeder!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah I must ask about a contract, but I?m pretty sure there isn?t one. A friend of mine got a bulldog of them a few years ago and he didn?t get a contract either. To be honest, I?ve never heard of that being done in Ireland?
 

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Yeah I must ask about a contract, but I?m pretty sure there isn?t one. A friend of mine got a bulldog of them a few years ago and he didn?t get a contract either. To be honest, I?ve never heard of that being done in Ireland?
Ah, you're in Ireland! That could very well be the difference. I'm speaking from a Canadian perspective, so it is definitely possible things are just done differently over there in terms of contracts.
 

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Ah, you're in Ireland! That could very well be the difference. I'm speaking from a Canadian perspective, so it is definitely possible things are just done differently over there in terms of contracts.
Yes, definitely. Could be a difference in etiquette in different countries.

Is there an English Bulldog club of Ireland that you could potentially contact to figure out a bit more about what you're getting into and to see whether this breeder is considered reputable?
 
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