In both Canada and the USA, there is a section in our breed standard that sets a limit on the maximum amount a dog can weigh, and still be allowed to compete in the ring.
In the USA, the standard has this to say about weight –
Weight not to exceed 28 pounds; over 28 pounds is a disqualification.
In Canada, weight is still split into two classes:
A lightweight class under 22 lb. (10 kg); heavyweight class, 22 lb. and not over 28 lb. (10-13 kg).
Weight is listed clearly among breed disqualifications:
over 28 lb. (12.7 kg) in weight.
I find it interesting that the Canadian standard calls for a division of the weight classes, because the original weight limit on French Bulldogs was, in fact, 22 lbs or under. From the original draft of the first written French Bulldog standard:
The weight shall not exceed twenty two pounds; that of the bitch twenty pounds.
Over the years, weight has crept up, as it does in many breeds. In Europe, the FCI standard of today specifies –
The weight must not be below 8 kg nor over 14 kg for a bulldog in good condition, size being in proportion with the weight.
Two things are notable about this – first, that 14 kg is slightly higher than the American and Canadian weight limits of 28 lbs or 12.7 kgs. – 14 kilograms is roughly 30.864717 pounds. The second difference is that weight is not listed in the FCI standard as a disqualification.
Personally, I think weight is a slippery slope. A limit exists to keep our dogs true to their original purpose as a lap dog and compact companion breed. While I don’t want to see tiny ‘toy’ French Bulldogs, neither do I want to see huge 40 pound Frenchies lumbering around the ring.
Currently, there is rumor of a movement to change the 28 lb. (12.7 kg) weight limit in the Canadian standard from a Disqualification to a ‘fault’. This slight change in wording would give judges licence to reward dogs who weigh in excess of 28 lbs, if the judge finds them to be the superior dog in the ring.
Personally, I think that this change would spell the end of co operation between US and Canadian breeders. American breeders aren’t going to want to breed into Canadian lines that they feel tend to be over sized – few things, after all, are more frustrating that bringing along an excellent show prospect, only to have them weigh 29 pounds at eight months.
How do you feel about this? Do you think it’s time to raise the weight limit on Frenchies, or do you feel that breeders should conform their breeding programs to the current standard as it is written? I’ve created a poll to let you express your opinion – two polls, actually. One is for breeders in Canada, and the other is for anyone in the world, breeder or not (that’s the one you’ll see below). If you’re in Canada and a French Bulldog breeder, please click here for the alternate poll.