Delilah had an upset stomach last week, so she’s been getting Kefir daily with her food, and she loves it. I’ve now started adding it to everyone’s food, since it is such a rich, healthful and relatively inexpensive way to add nutrition to their diets, and to support immune and digestive function. Similar to yogurt, Kefir is made by fermenting milk (goat, cow, sheep or even coconut) with a bacterial and yeast starter known as ‘kefir grains’. Read more →
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Thanks to the ever wonderfully informative Carol Hawke (of “Sonlit” French Bulldogs fame), comes this informative history of the ties between the rise of Blue French Bulldogs and North American French Bulldog breeders.
This is important, because an awful lot of relatively new French Bulldog people associate Blue French Bulldogs most closely with a handful of European French Bulldogs breeders, when in actual fact, Blues can most commonly be traced back to kennels in England, where a closed gene pool and limited range of colors led to the occasional occurrence of dilute fawn Frenchies, in pied, brindle or solidly marked patterns.
UK French Bulldog breeders had traditionally been rigorous about petting out their DQ (short form for ‘disqualified from showing’) colors, although a few slipped through the cracks when they were sold to North America, where they were used in breeding programs. This is how the lovely blue brindle pied male, Banerjee Bon Homme, ended up in the United States with Arlie Alford of Kennel Le Bull renown.
Frankie (as he was known) was sired by Wilcott Edison, a full litter brother to Wilcott Eureka (call name Yuri), who was imported into the USA by Pat Mentiply, of Pelshire French Bulldogs. Yuri was a lovely black masked, fawn pied dog, compact in size, and bred to Carol Hawke’s Cox’s Goodtime Allspice, he sired the littermates Ch Sonlit Europa and Ch Sonlit Daring Esprit (Lily and Duggie). Duggie, Lily and Yuri are all behind my own dogs, as is Ch Player Edwardpuck, sire of Maxine, the first (true) Black and Tan French Bulldog most modern fanciers had ever seen. In spite of this abundance of ‘rare’ color options running strongly through my pedigrees, we’ve never, as of yet, produced a blue French Bulldog, which only proves that, in my opinion, you have to work pretty hard at it to actually get one intentionally. And by ‘working hard’, I mean “Ignore everything else in your breeding program other than ‘what kinds of colors can I get?”, to which – no thanks.
That’s where Carol’s blog (now gone) comes in.
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 De La Parure 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.
updated and reposted
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Felix had crossed paths with Rasputin on several occasions, none of which he seemed to enjoy. He referred to Rasputin a “that beggar” and “that dirty man”, and spoke disparagingly of him to several friends and correspondents. He was, however, careful to exercise caution in who he shared this opinion with, as he knew that Rasputin was regarded with an almost religious awe by the Czarina and her family. Rasputin was rumored to have healed Aleksy, the Czar’s hemophiliac son, by a simple laying on of hands when the child had suffered a terrible bleeding episode. After that, Rasputin could do no wrong in the eyes of the Royal Family, and to speak ill of him was to risk the wrath of the Czar.
Felix Yussupov claimed his murder of Rasputin was done out of political considerations and loyalty to Russia, but his real motives are elusive. Certainly, Felix had never shown any interest previous to this in politics or his country, and murder seems rather an extreme way to express this newly formed interest. His claim in questionable especially when seen in light of of the numerous mentions of a ‘scandal’ involving Felix that Rasputin was threatening to take to the Czarina. This scandal apparently involved Czar Nicholas’ young first cousin and ward, Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov. Nicholas and Czarina Aleksandra were concerned about Felix’s ‘bad influence’ on Dmitri, although they never expressed in writing what their specific concerns were.
Felix himself intimates an intense relationship with Dmitri in his memoir, without illuminating the full extent of their attachment. It seems obvious something was being concealed, and Felix mentioned to several friends that he was worried “Rasputin means to malign me to the Czar”.
Felix’s involvement in the death of Rasputin is well known from his own accounts of the murder – albeit in several different versions. In brief, Felix, the young ward Dmitri and a sympathetic Royal guard all conspired to lure Rasputin to Felix’s palatial home on the Moika. Arriving at the door to the apartments of Felix and his wife Irina, Rasputin was escorted downstairs into the family’s private chambers. What happened next is not clear.
Felix claimed they tried to poison Rasputin with rose cream cakes and Madeira laced with cyanide. Due to his reported ‘superhuman strength’, Rasputin was not knocked unconscious by the poison, but rather revived on a bear skin rug, where he ‘leered’ at Felix and screamed “I shall tell the Empress”. The panicked conspirators then grabbed a revolver and shot Rasputin in the courtyard of the palace. Dragging his body to a remote canal, they dumped it through a hole in the ice, and prayed it would drift away on the current.
Some experts are skeptical that the events took place in the melodramatic manner recounted. The details seem inflated to create the idea that Rasputin was a ‘mad monk’, a man imbued with powerful, dark, evil powers which he was exercising over the Royal family.
Most recently, a story has arisen that asserts Yussupov wasn’t actually even the one who murdered Rasputin. A headlining story in the Telegraph UK Newspaper asserts that it was Oswald Rayner, a member of the British Secret Intelligence Bureau who was working at the Russian court in St Petersburg, who fired the shot that finished Rasputin off.
A French Bulldog Fancier in Exile
Prince Felix and friend with French Bulldog, 1909
Whatever the truth of the circumstances leading to the death of Rasputin, Felix and Dmitri were sentenced by the Czar to exile for their part in it, a punishment that possibly saved the life of Dmitri, since it placed him far from the revolution that killed most of the Russian Royal family.
With the murder of Rasputin, Prince Felix became a minor hero to the Russian populace. Fame, however, didn’t last long with the coming of the revolution. When popular opinion turned, and the Czar and his family were put to death, Felix and his wife fled to the Crimea with their families. Ever resourceful, Felix managed to retrieve a few valuables from one of his palaces before his final flight to exile. Felix later sold two Rembrandts to help fund his new life. The paintings now hang in the National Gallery in Washington, DC.
Felix Yusupov and French Bulldog in Paris, 1929
Felix eventually settled into a life of exile in Paris, where he and wife Irina established “Irfe” – a haute couture and perfume line. A model for the house of Irfe describes Felix as “dressed like a Khan” in middle Eastern splendour, his “French Bull at his side”. She also mentioned Felix never hesitated to try on a dress himself, in order to show the models “how it should best be worn”.
Felix continued to own and love French Bulldogs, as he himself mentioned in his memoir, “Lost Splendour” –
“I have always been an admirer of style, and no pet could be as stylish and smart as a French Bulldog”.
Felix Yusupov in his Paris apartment, 1960’s
While in Paris, Felix and his wife Irina became friends with the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Like many expatriate friends of the Windsors, Felix owned several Pugs, but he never lost his particular fondness for French Bulldogs – and for the name Gugusse, a moniker he gave to four of his Frenchies. There is speculation that Felix and Irina, like many fashionable people in their circle, dabbled in breeding French Bulldogs, but no concrete proof of this exists outside of this brief line in a letter Irina wrote to a friend:
We have thought that the puppies would be most splendid if we did breed our French Bull girl, for she is a wonderful example of her kind. If we do, I should be happy to send one of the puppies to you.
In his memoir, Felix said that he hoped to “never be without (a French Bulldog)”, a goal he seems to have achieved.
https://i2.wp.com/bullmarketfrogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Copy_of_yusupov.jpg?fit=410%2C510&ssl=1510410frogdogzhttps://bullmarketfrogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/bullmarket-logo.pngfrogdogz2015-12-14 12:00:162015-12-14 17:12:54Part Two - The Man Who Killed Rasputin