A friend and I were having a discussion the other evening during which she expressed her frustration with breeders who advertise and sell "rare blue" French Bulldogs.
In her search for a reputable source from which to purchase her next frenchie, she came across several websites of breeders who, claiming to be recognized as Breeders of Merit, were advertising for sale blue or mouse-colored puppies, which is a disqualifying fault in the breed.
More disturbing to her yet is that these breeders are asking double or in some cases triple the average price for these dogs, and getting it.
Disqualifying color? Let me explain. For the average dog owner, color is a non-issue. If it's pleasing to your eye, that's all that matters. It's a part of your dog's personality, and what makes him or her unique.
But in purebred dogs what is acceptable in such things as eye and coat color, height and even the required number and placement of teeth is contained in a written breed standard.
A breed's standard gives a detailed description of the desired attributes that set that breed apart from others, as well as a list of faults which penalize, or in the case of serious faults, disqualify a dog from being shown.
A dog with a standard disqualification will still make a great pet and is generally sold at a reduced price because the ethical breeder has eliminated it from their breeding program to avoid passing that trait on to another generation.
Unscrupulous breeders, on the other hand, are seeing the public's fascination with anything frenchie as an opportunity and are breeding the blues and other unacceptable colors and then charging their uninformed buyers more.
Now once the blues get too common, these breeders will move on to the next trend; word is that will be merle frenchies. I guess you could call the merles rare since it seems that frenchies don't carry the color pattern for merle. So to produce the merle color these breeders (and trust me, I say that word through grit teeth) breed a frenchie to a similar sized merle-colored dog of ANOTHER breed and then sell the ones that look the most like frenchies as purebred. Nothing unethical there, right?
Add to that deceit the fact that breeding puppies from these matings, merle to merle, can produce such serious health problems as deafness, blindness, or even missing eyes, and you can see why the skyrocketing popularity in this breed is probably causing serious concern for hobby breeders who have dedicated themselves to producing healthy puppies.
But these faux-breeders are not alone in creating this threat to the frenchie's future or for that matter any other purebred breed that gains by leaps and bounds in popularity.
It is the public itself that fuels the fire for these unethical practices by failing to educate itself and being gullible enough to pay the absolutely obscene $4,000 to $5,000 asking prices these breeders place on their puppies.
But then, what's an extra couple grand when you can brag to everyone that "it's rare?"
Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.