French Bulldog Takes Group First at Westminster

Robobull Fabelhaft Im On Fire

Robobull Fabelhaft Im On Fire wins Group First

Congratulations to Bru – aka American/Canadian Champion Robobull Fabelhaft Im On Fire – for his incredible wins at the Gardens yesterday.

Bru, who was bred in Canada by Shelley St. John, took Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show yesterday, and then went on take a stunning First Place win in the Non Sporting Group. This is the first time in my memory that a French Bulldog has taken a Group First at Westminster, although I can’t confirm that for sure just yet.

Frenchies were out in full force at the Gardens, with a total breed entry of 36 making them one of the best represented breeds at the show.

French Bulldogs were also one of Westminster’s most popular breeds – as group was taking place, announcer Michael J. LaFave mentioned that the French Bulldog breed judging video was the most watched video on the Westminster Kennel Club website.

Tonight, the final groups are judged, followed by Best in Show. Seeing a French Bulldog in the ‘big ring’ is a thrill – and even more so, a Canadian bred French Bulldog. I’m not even going to discuss the mixed feeling about possible surges in popularity that this might bring – for now, let’s just enjoy the show, and root for Bru.

Go team Canada!

Here’s the breed judging video from Westminster – take a look, and make your own choice for best of breed in the comments.

Westminster Handler Gives Ultimate Gift

Westminster handler gives owner ultimate gift

Westminster handler gives owner ultimate gift

It’s Westminster Week (and congrats to Canadian bred dog Ch Robobull Fabelhaft I’m On Fire, who took Best of Breed in French Bulldogs). Westminster week is a big, big deal for dog show people in North America, and we’ve all gotten rather reluctantly used to the spotlight that this inevitably shines on our sport.

Stories about dogs in diamond collars, handlers who fly first class with their ‘clients’ sitting on the seat next to them, and articles about how much money it can cost to make it to the Gardens are rampant, and leave all of us feeling (and usually looking) a little bit silly.

In amongst it all, one story illustrates the real reason why most of do this, weekend after weekend – the friendships we make. If donating a kidney to one of your owners doesn’t illustrate that, I don’t know what does.

From the New York Daily News

Sandy McCabe would love for dog handler Wade Koistinen to lead her fluffy black-and-white Havanese to victory in Madison Square Garden.

But for McCabe, even a Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show would pale next to what Koistinen has already given her – one of his kidneys.

“I’m just happy to be alive for this,” McCabe said Friday at the Pennsylvania Hotel, surrounded by borzois, bloodhounds and scores of other dogs and owners, all checking in before the show begins on Monday.

McCabe, 49, who breeds Havanese with her husband, Kevin, in rural Iowa, has diabetes and was facing renal failure last summer before her friend Koistinen told her he would help.

“I could just see her getting sicker and sicker. I had to,” said Koistinen, 51, holding McCabe’s entry in the show, Rumor, an outgoing little 4-year-old whose full name is Ch. Heartland’s Rumor Has It.

“I couldn’t walk more than 10 feet,” said McCabe, who was told that it would be four to six years before she climbed to the top of a national waiting list for kidneys. None of her family members was healthy enough to donate one.

But Koistinen, who lives in Kansas City, volunteered. “He stepped forward and said, ‘I will give my kidney,'” McCabe said.

Read more:

Westminster French Bulldog Results Are In

Results are in from breed judging at Westminster — Kudos to all the winners!

LeBull’s  Midnight Confessions  — Best of Breed
Robobull Fabelhaft I’m On Fire  — Best of Opposite Sex

Awards of Merit went to —
Raindrop’s Justus Life’s A Game
Femme De Puisance
Jauger’s Clairice Jamel
JustUs I’m Your Man
Fabelhaft Robobull Too Darn Hot
LeBull's Midnight Confessions

LeBull's Midnight Confessions

Best of Breed (or BOB) winner LeBull’s Midnight Confessions – aka Lola –  is a bitch, which is always nice to see taking breed. If you watch the Westminster group judging tonight on television, it’s her you’ll see in the group ring representing French Bulldogs (update: Lola took a Group Second).

Lola was bred by Arlie Alford, Kennel Le Bull, and publisher of the world’s longest running French Bulldog Magazine, the French Bullytin. Arlie also happens to have been the co breeder of my own Westminster Best of Breed winner, Ch Bullmarket Versace (who just so happens to be the sire, via frozen semen, of our Delilah).

Lola was the winner of the 2007 FBDCA National Specialty. Winning ‘breed’ at Westminster is a big deal, but winning Best in Specialty Show? The biggest. Westminster is just the icing on Lola’s already well frosted cake!

The videos don’t seem to be operational yet, but eventually you’ll be able to see the breed judging via this link —

In the meantime, here’s a video of Lola at the Eukanuba shows in California:

French Bulldog entries at Westminster were scarily high this year, with French Bulldog entries second only to Labs (or some sporting breed or other – I’m too lazy to go look it up right now).  Unusually for this year, the weather doesn’t seem to suck too badly, thus spoiling a long standing tradition of shutting the city down with a great big heaping pile of snow.

I notice that WKC is doing some sort of remote broadcast that they’re calling “All Access – Inside the Hotel Pennsylvania”.  My past experience with the Hotel Pennsylvania (which the Benny Goodman swing tune “Pennsylvania 6500 was written about) is that it more than earned its not so affectionate nickname of “Hotel Pentagram”. Mold on the walls, rat bait in the hallways, carpet with disturbing stains on it, and comforters that a CSI lab would regard as a final entrance exam all add to the ‘charm’ and ‘ambience’ of this long standing Westminster Tradition (chosen mostly for the fact that it’s right across the street, dirt cheap, and allows dogs).

I once spent a pleasant hour or so trapped in a Pentagram elevator with my two kids, a half dozen handlers, and various show dogs. After pushing the emergency button repeatedly, we were finally answered by an irate hotel employee who angrily demanded we ‘stop pushing the alarm button’. I responded that we’d “stop pushing the button when you get us out of the f*cking elevator, you worthless sack of shit!”. Or words to that effect.

Oh Westminster, the show we love to loathe… and yet we all want to win there.
Oh, and do NOT ask me why the formatting on this post is so incredibly freakin’ bizarre. Man oh man.. I love wordpress, but sometimes I am truly nostalgic for good old fashioned, plain written html. I think that’s what we call “Old Web Designer” syndrome, symptoms of which include sentences that start with “In my day, web designers had to hand code, in note pad.”

Wishbone Brakes for Westminster and Old Dogs with New Homes

This post is sort of a big bunch o’ stuff I wanted to post all last week, but couldn’t, because the internet Gods were angry with me.

I have made them an offering of a pureed 14.4 modem, so hopefully they are appeased and will keep my over priced, stupid, slow-ass satellite internet connection from crashing for just a few days, ok?


Wishbone Needs Snackage

Your dog wins BoB two years in a row, and what is he famous for? Slamming on the brakes so he can carpet surf for leftover bait.

For those of you who missed it, here’s a video clip of Wishbone’s adorable brake-slamming moment during Westminster 2008. I love how they added the brake action sound effects at the top of the second night.

Old Dogs, New Homes

I was thrilled to see a comment from Lisa Levy over on my post about placing dogs into retirement homes. Lisa adopted Blossom a few years ago (I owned her, but didn’t breed her), and I can’t think of a better home for an older Frenchie. It’s a photo of Blossom working the King David retirement home that is shown on the Wikipedia French Bulldog article that I help to edit.

It’s always so great to hear from past and present owners of dogs…

Blossom, btw, had her own website.. Frenchies are sooo tech savvy.

Blossom and Minnie at the retirement home

A Side Note to Owners of Frenchies from Absolut Bullmarket

Hey, you! I know you read this blog, at least sporadically. Get yer butt over to our group on Ning, and upload some bee-ooo-teous photos and film clips of your little flat faced friend.

It’s not scary at all, honest. You just:

sign up for a FREE Ning account

Join our group

– start uploading photos and videos, writing blogs, and chatting with other owners

I’m going to start featuring dogs and owners from our group on this blog, so drop me a line if you’d like to be featured! I love braggin’ on our extended four legged family!

Westminster Re-Cap – French Bulldogs, Patty Hearst and Unfair Hair Cut Advantages

Well, the judging is done, and yet again the Frenchie got overlooked for a frou frou poodle. C’est la vie. Apparently a poofy haircut counts for extra super duper bonus points. Actually, I don’t have a clue how good the poodle really is, since poodles are one of those breeds that all look startlingly similar to me (sorry Jan!).

It was good to see yet another of Cody Sickle’s lovely Bulldogs place well in group. Bullies, like Frenchies, are at a natural disadvantage in a group over run with spring loaded, fluffy coated yappers, so I always root for the Bulldog, in lieu of the Frenchie. I mean, take a look at the photos of this year’s Non Sporting group placers –


Notice anything? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Fluffy haircuts will get you to the big ring every time…

French Bulldog Best of Breed was taken by Ch Windmark’s What a Guy, who also won BoB in 2007. He was handled by Jodi Ghaster, who also handled Best of Opposite Sex winner Ch Shann’s Legally Blond (call name Diva). I’m apparently obligated to mention that Diva is owned by Patty Hearst (now Patty Hearst Shaw). She has owned French Bulldogs for quite a few years, so it’s old news to Frenchie people to hear that she has a dog in the ring. It’s big news everyplace else, though – the name “Patty Hearst” was one of Google’s top search terms today.

Isabella, also known as Ch Absolut’s Ooh LaLa V Amron, didn’t do anything in the breed ring, but she did make the final cut, and with 32 other Frenchies in the ring, that’s a pretty respectable showing for a 14 month old pied. I’d like to also point out that she was the only pied in the final line up, and one of only two that I can see of all the judging photos Wayne sent me. The ring was awash with creams and brindles, but the more esoteric pieds were rare, and the other colors were missing altogether.

Here’s a photo of Isabella gaiting for her handler, James Berger, for owner Toni Perone. Next year, guys…

Wayne Kovacs, co owner of Dixie and owner handler extraordinaire, was at the Gardens, and took tons of photos. You can see the entire collection here, or Isabella’s photos here.

Thanks again, Wayne!