The Bulldog and the BCA

ORGANIZATION & CHALLENGES

The Bulldog Club of America (BCA), the Parent Club for Bulldogs in the US, was founded in 1896. The official BCA/AKC standard was written in 1896 and is still in use, with only a format change and a DQ added for untypical colors (coat and eye color).

ORGANIZATION

BCA is divided into eight Divisions, with each Division acting as its own club with full Executive Committees and Boards as well as Committee Chairs.

Within each Division, we have local specialty clubs, again, with full Executive Committees, Board of Governors, and Committees.

There are four clubs that are AKC Member Clubs with AKC Delegates.

Much of what is accomplished by the Club is done through the work and effort of our Club Committees. There are two types of Committees: Standing and Ad Hoc. Standing Committees are established by the BCA Council; Ad Hoc Committees may be established by either the Council or the BCA President. Chairpersons, unless specifically appointed by the Council, are appointed by the BCA President with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee.

Committees include Legislative, Health, General Education, Judges Education, Communications and Publicity, Hall of Fame/Gallery of Winners, Long Range Planning, Audit and Finance, Archives and Historian, National Guidelines, Standard Operating Procedures, Rescue, and Performance.

Our National publication, The Bulldogger, is issued three times a year. Plus, we have an excellent website as well as a presence on Facebook and Instagram.

The Council meets once a year at the National Specialty. Also held during National Week is the Annual Awards Banquet where we recognize individual achievement in both members and dogs. We have a Hall of Fame for Breeders, Stud Dogs, and Brood Bitches. We recognize Performance Dogs as well as Platinum and Diamond Level Ambassadors for Health.

CHALLENGES

The breed currently faces two big issues.

The first one involves the sudden, rapid, and explosive rise in popularity of dogs of non-recognized colors. In some areas, these strange dogs and their breeders outnumber BCA breeders by a disturbing margin. Not to even mention that, in some cases, these dogs are not even purebred. Their breeders have no real knowledge of the breed, and our rescue groups are getting filled with these dogs at an alarming rate.

The basis for the popularity of these dogs are the terms “rare” and/or “exotic” as well as a very aggressive marketing strategy. The very alarming truth is that the correctly bred, health-tested, and breed-typical Bulldogs are now, indeed, the “rare” ones.

The other problem comes at the hands of the animal rights people and the very aggressive “anti-brachycephalic” people. They have stated very emphatically that they do not believe our breed should be allowed to exist due to what they call poor health, a short lifespan, and an inability to reproduce on their own. Unfortunately, BCA has never been contacted by any of these groups to open a dialogue of any sort.

The AR people don’t recognize our Health Ambassador program and completely ignore the growing number of successful performance Bulldogs. As for lifespan, there is now an entire Facebook page devoted to celebrating the Oldest Bulldogs Around the World. A recent post featured a 20-year-old Bulldog, with many “teenage” Bulldogs featured regularly.

The constant barrage of negative reports about Bulldog health has done absolutely nothing to help. Instead of reporting on the growing number of Bulldogs gaining their Health Ambassador status, they continually mention the worse problems the breed can potentially face.

The breed maintains high popularity despite the negativity. If the AR people would report on the potential the breed has as far as outstanding health, it could educate and, hopefully, inspire the general public to seek out and demand a healthier dog.

BCA and its members continue to do their best to educate people and promote the breed in its best light. With luck, the breed will emerge on the other side of this popularity boom in good shape.

  • Elizabeth Hugo Milam is a lifelong, second-generation, Bulldogger who has bred/owned over 50 Champions. She is a BCA Hall of Fame Breeder and has been involved with BCA Judges Education since 1990. Elizabeth is currently BCA Judges Education Chair and she’s the current President and AKC Delegate for the Bulldog Club of Philadelphia. She is also Vice President of the World Bulldog Club Federation (WBCF). Elizabeth has been a Judge of Bulldogs since 1993 and a Breeder-Judge of French Bulldogs since 2011. She has judged the BCA National Specialty three times (Intersex once, Bitches and Junior Handling twice). Elizabeth has judged WBCF twice (in conjunction with the WDS in Budapest and Leipzig) and has judged numerous US Independent and Divisional Specialties. She has judged National Specialties in the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil (twice), France, Spain (twice), Holland, Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Elizabeth has judged Championship Shows in England twice, awarding CCs at both Blackpool and the Junior Bulldog Club, and she will judge the British Bulldog Club’s 135th Anniversary show.

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