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Link Newcomb | Newcomb/Coastbull Bulldogs

Newcomb

Interview with Link Newcomb, Breeder of Newcomb/Coastbull Bulldogs

Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Link Newcomb: I live in Southern California and have bred Bulldogs as an adult for about 35 years. Having said that, both my parents, Bob and Brenda Newcomb, breed, show, and judge Bulldogs, and they had one as a family pet before I was even born. So, literally, I’ve always had Bulldogs in my life.

What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Link Newcomb: I have used both the Newcomb name and the Coastbull name at various times over the years. Right now, I have four dogs in my kennel, three of which are retired show dogs.

Which have been my most influential sires and dams?

Link Newcomb: CH Newcomb’s Valiant Jerry was the most influential sire in my own breeding, and my foundation bitch was CH Coastbulls Mytemugshot Checkers.

Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Link Newcomb: We are lucky to have a standalone indoor/outdoor kennel at our home in Orange County and in Palm Springs. One has five individual dog runs and the other has eight. They both use a simple system for washing down runs, have automatic water lickets, and a dog washing and grooming station. The dogs also love the ceiling fans in both kennels.Bulldog puppies are no easy task. My Mom has whelped several litters for me in Palm Springs over the years, and I’ve tried to use experienced puppy whelpers for the first four weeks whenever possible. The demands of my business career have always prevented me from devoting my energies full-time to puppy whelping.

What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? Performance puppies?

Link Newcomb: I wish I could say I had a process. I like to pick puppies as late as the situation allows and certainly no earlier than 8 weeks. Although it may not be the best approach, I tend to judge puppies based on how they look at the time that I’m evaluating them. I’ve never had the skills of my Mom in “imagining” what the puppy could look like. This has led to a few mistakes over the years.

Does my breed require any special preparation for competing in Conformance? In Performance Events?

Link Newcomb: Bulldogs are a “wash-and-wear” breed, for the most part. Keep them clean and the rest will fall in place.

In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?

Link Newcomb: In the last 30 years, I truly believe the health and general condition of the show Bulldog population have improved considerably. Breathing challenges are rare, and the dogs are capable of doing what is expected of them, including taking over the family couch. Trends are favorable on most issues. I should mention, however, that we’ve witnessed, of course, the substantial rise in what we call “DQ Color Bulldogs,” which are especially common in Southern California. Based on what I’ve been told, I think the DQ Color Bulldog may not have enjoyed the improved health conditions that we’ve seen in show Bulldogs.

Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?

Link Newcomb: Bulldogs are a world-class family pet that does not require too much exercise. And they
love everyone!

What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?

Link Newcomb: The biggest misconception is that the Bulldog is not athletic. This isn’t true. When asked, Bulldogs can be quite athletic, on skateboards, agility courses, or anything else put in front of them.

As a Preservation Breeder, can I share my thoughts on the sport today? How’s the judging these days? What do I think about the number of shows?

Link Newcomb: Bulldogs benefit from having more breeder-judges than any other breed, according to AKC breeder-judge records. But it can still be a difficult breed for newer judges coming from very different breeds. The number of shows in California has declined in recent years, and right now, we have about the
right number.

In my opinion, is social media good for the sport? Is it harmful?

Link Newcomb: Social media is great for the sport in terms of exposure, ease and speed of communication, etc. So many Specialties are live-streamed and can be watched from anywhere. On the other hand, social media can be harmful because it seems that it has eroded good sportsmanship and been the vehicle for some truly nasty exchanges that do no one any good.

What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole today and how can these be addressed?

Link Newcomb: The aging of the fancy is a huge concern of mine. We have had substantial declines in club membership of all types (parent and local clubs) and have failed to attract young members as our older, experienced members have passed on. At some point, we’re going to lose relevance if we cannot appeal to a younger audience. What are some of the positive changes I’ve seen in my profession and in the dog show community over the past decade? The rise of the Grand Champion titling has been tremendous. I also think the breeding process has benefited from more readily available testing that is intended to more precisely identify when a bitch is ready to be bred to achieve the best outcome. Health testing has also become standard practice in Bulldogs, and I think, has contributed to better breed health generally.

If I could share one suggestion with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them about my breed?

Link Newcomb: Sometimes I hear judges refer to Bulldogs as a head breed and then focus all their attention to the head when judging. But in fact, in the Bulldog Standard, points given to head characteristics and body characteristics are about equal. For me, that means the ideal breed type is the strongest combination of the head and body (i.e., “balance”), and I prefer to reward that combination rather than just finding the dog with the biggest head.

For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Non-Sporting Dog?

Link Newcomb: What comes to mind is more amazing than it is amusing, but we had a situation where a Bulldog went into a swimming pool and the dog’s partner in crime went “full Lassie” and alerted the neighbors that her companion was in distress and needed help. All’s well that ends well.