French Bulldog National Specialty 2013

September 26, 2013

Dog Show National Specialties Are Like Family Reunions

Dog DNAYou see people you love, people you loathe and others that make you go, “Meh.” Yep, just like family gatherings, the annual event know at “THE Nationals” is always a mixed bag of agony and ecstasy (like that old ESPN clip). I always laugh that we talk about the Nationals for months and then by Wednesday are exhausted and ready to go home!

The French Bulldog National Specialty 2013 was held in Topeka, KS and the show committee did a great job of organizing and making sure every minute of the day had Frenchie-Full events and fun. Thank you to all who worked so hard behind the scenes!

For those of you not involved in the insanity known as showing dogs, here is the rundown. Every year each breed has a big shindig (shin-dog) known at the national specialty. In some breeds the location moves around the country and others stick with the same location for years. It seems as if some of the giant breeds tend to stay in a central location. Makes sense. There is usually a “Supported” entry put on by a local club and then the main event. Some breeds also offer Agility, Obedience and Rally. Plus, there are breeds that have events and competitions unique to their breed or group. For example, Lure Coursing, EarthDog and Cart Pulling. I am snickering thinking of a French Bulldog cart pulling, but I have seen pictures – it has been done! Here is a link to a more in-depth breakdown of how it all works.

Each evening there are banquets, auctions, costume contests and various debaucheries at the bar or area restaurants. Plus, health and breeding seminars are also offered for continuing education for the breeders. Health clinics where your dogs can be tested for a variety of health issues are usually available. These are critical to the longevity of any breed!

This year I traveled with The Dude, Jackpot! The Dude Abides StandBayou. I must say, in 25 years of traveling to dog shows with dogs, The Dude was BY FAR the easiest to travel with. Scared me a little, I thought he was setting me up for a really bad practical joke.

We tested every inch of him at the health clinics and he was a trooper. I am a fainter and got a bit weak-kneed at the blood draw and had to leave the room. I am still giggling at the withering look Dorit Fischler, DVM gave me.

Here is a bit of what was tested for:

  • Patellar Luxation (knees)
  • Congenital Deafness (Baer Test) – Lori Hunt, DVM stuck electrodes in Dude and he listened via earbuds
  • Congenital Heart (heart-duh)

The Dude passed these three on the spot.

There was also testing available for the following genetic issues that can present in French Bulldogs. To learn about the other tests visit AnimalGenetics.us.

  • DNA for parentage
  • Canine Cystinuria
  • Degenerative Myelopathy Testing
  • Hereditary Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of lens of the eye caused by a breakdown of tissue in the eye. This generally results in an inability to see clearly, and can cause total blindness. In canines, cataracts are often familial; this type is known as Hereditary Cataracts. A mutation in the HSF4 gene causes this type of cataracts in several breeds of dogs. In this case, the dog is typically affected bilaterally, in that both eyes are affected by the cataracts. The cataracts associated with HSF4 also occur in the posterior region of the lens. They usually begin small and grow progressively, though the speed of growth is highly variable. Some cataracts will grow so slowly that the dog’s vision remains relatively clear, while others will grow such that the dog will quickly go blind. Corrective surgery is possible, though it is costly and is not always effective. One HSF4 mutation causes the recessive form of Hereditary Cataracts in Boston Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and French Bulldogs. Because it is recessive, a dog must have two copies of this mutation to experience this form of cataracts. This mutation is only responsible for early-onset hereditary cataracts, which typically occur between 12 months and 3 years of age in Staffordshires, and between 2-3 years in Boston Terriers.

Canine Cystinuria is an autosomal recessive disorder that affects a dog’s ability to filter cystine out of urine. Normally, tubules in the kidney are responsible for reabsorption of cystine, filtering it out of the urine. However, in dogs with Canine Cystinuria, the tubules are unable to transport the cystine, allowing it to accumulate in the urine. Cystine is generally insoluble in the acidic conditions of canine urine, allowing it to crystallize and form caliculi, also known as stones.

Not every dog that has the mutation responsible for Cystinuria will exhibit symptoms. Stones causing inflammation and blockage are often more common in males, due to their long, narrow urethra. Females exhibit symptoms much less frequently, and may be completely asymptomatic.

I hope this bit of info on health testing will help you in your quest for knowledge!

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