At Crowd Pleazer Frenchies we place VALUE on Functional Conformation and Health. A lot of breeders will use this phrase rather loosely because it "sounds" good. It SOUNDS ethical. But when you really dig into the details, not all who claim to make health testing a priority do the right thing, especially when no one is looking carefully.
It's easy enough to throw around a claim to "health test", but what does that really mean? The problem here is that there is currently no "standard" for what does and does not constitute Health Tested French Bulldogs in the United States.
For example, what health tests have actually been preformed? Is it just a cheek swab to identify a limited number of DNA genetic markers for disease? Or did the dog undergo physical examinations for the recommended health tests certified by OFA?
And further, did the dog PASS as Normal for examinations? Or is the dog being shuffled along under a "Breeder of Merit" badge and CHIC certified, only to find out the Hips were rated as SEVERE and at the same time, the Patellas rated Grade 1? But hey... it's CHIC certified and an AKC Champion and the breeder is boasting a Breeder of Merit Badge.
Yes... it sadly does happen.
We believe in SCREENING our dogs that are used in breeding programs, particularly those that are available to the PUBLIC. This means that our studs are OFA Certified NORMAL for the following examinations that are recommended by the FBDCA (Parent Club for AKC French Bulldogs). We also take it two steps further and routinely test SPINES and TRACHEAS, something very few French Bulldog Owners have historically done but more and more are doing now.
OUR MINIMUM OFA TESTS for Program
We screen ALL of our breeding program for the following genetic markers, with nearly ALL being certified clear of Cystinuria 3 (currently our most important priority):
Further, nearly all of our clients who contract to breed to our studs have undergone those same genetic screenings AND the majority have gone the extra mile to OFA certify their females AND they have some pretty impressive ratings.
*Note: we happen to side with OFA Director and Geneticist, Dr. Jarold Bell, DVM** and his opinion on the relevance of Degenerative Myelopathy in the French Bulldog. Many of our program dogs are clear, however we do not feel it is applicable to the French Bulldog panel based upon the evidence provided by Dr. Bell.
**Dr. Jerold Bell, Director at OFA, Adjunct Professor Tufts University, and Chair of the Hereditary Disease Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.https://crowdpleazerfrenchies.com/blog/f/dna-your-frenchie-interpreting-your-test-results
This means that your French Bulldog displays the signature markings of functional health. This MAY or MAY NOT translate into ribbons in the show ring as often what is REWARDED in the ring does not reflect on overall health of the dog nor does it remove human bias toward political selection (judging the dog on it's merit and nothing else).
We require that ALL of our dogs move well, breathe well and can offer the ability to PASS ALONG that functional health to their offspring.
GAIT WITHOUT COMPENSATION
Like many quadropeds, a clean gait indicates healthier conformation. If a French Bulldog is COMPENSATING, such as paddling, flipping, limping, lacking reach, or using it's hind end to cross the placement of back feet on a single line (like a tight rope walker), these are red flags that something else is at play and it is HIGHLY unlikely that the spinal system is not involved. French Bulldogs with HEALTHY CONFORMATION will move freely and with comfort.
Healthy Spines Aren't Just Longer
To be clear, we do not belive that a French Bulldog NEEDS to have a longer spine ratio to be healthier. And SHORTER comes with a whole slew of issues as well. Often you'll hear those who are involved with competitive show for conformation commenting on how a dog could be a little bit shorter. Sometimes that may be appropriate, but at all times it should take into consideration the OVERALL BALANCE of the dog.
Again, this is why GAIT matters and why we use a combination of both SPINE/HIP radiographs WITH gait evaluation to screen our breeding stock.
This is the number one cause of death for the French Bulldog worldwide, yet it is the one area that has limited representation in either the OFA database or in the FBDCA Parent Club recommendations for health testing.
RFG Evaluations are becoming mainstream in the United Kingdom, spearheaded by Dr. Jane Ladlaw. Researchers at Texas A&M are partnering with other universities and researchers in California to being laying down a foundation and baseline in the United States.
We are VERY MUCH IN SUPPORT of this effort to bring respiratory health to the forefront of this breed and encourage our clients and supporters to participate in this ground-breaking effort.
As a result, we are offering multiple individuals as test subjects for the research team at Texas A&M. Benny and many of his offspring have also tested clear of the ADAMTS3 gene, believed to play a part in Upper Airway Respiratory Syndrome regarding the role of an elongated soft palate.