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Recently, FBRN has seen an increase in surrenders of fad-color Frenchies. Many of these dogs have health issues that must be addressed before they can be adopted. That is nothing new for us. Many of our foster dogs require extensive vet care regardless of whether or not they happen to be a fad color. Indeed, it is difficult to say whether the increasing surrenders of fad-color dogs are due to health problems related to the dog's coloring, or if there are just more fad-color dogs in the general population. Regardless, we feel that we, as a group dedicated to the well-being of French Bulldogs, should address the issue of fad colors.

fad-colors-Bulma.jpgFirst, let's define the term "fad color". Also referred to as "non-standard" colors, "fault colors" and (by unscrupulous breeders trying to sell dogs for inflated prices) "rare" or "designer" colors, a fad color is any color that does not conform to the breed standard. According to the French Bulldog Breed Standard published by the American Kennel Club, the acceptable colors for the French Bulldog are white, cream, and fawn (ranging from light fawn to a red fawn). Allowable markings and patterns are: brindle (yep, brindle is a marking pattern, not a color), piebald, black masks, black shadings, and white markings. Dogs of any other color and pattern do not meet the breed standard.

And yet some breeders loudly proclaim that they specialize in "rare colors". Website upon website advertises blue, blue fawn, chocolate/liver, Isabella/lilac, merle, sable, black, black and tan, blue and tan, blue brindle... the list goes on. We would be only mildly surprised to see "highlighter yellow" or "bubblegum pink" Frenchies hit the market at this point.

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The proliferation of fad colors is so recent, we do not yet know what health problems might be associated with each new color. What we do know so far is:

• Blue and lilac coat colors are the result of color dilution, which is caused by a recessive mutation in the melanophilin gene. A rare skin condition called color dilution alopecia, in which excessive pigment clumping causes breakage of the hair shafts and abnormal or stunted hair growth, seems to affect only dilute-colored dogs. There are currently three known variants of this mutation, but it is assumed that there are others that are as yet undiscovered, because the known variants do not account for all color dilution in the French Bulldog. It is too soon to tell what health effects might come part and parcel with these unknown variants.

• Pure black French bulldogs with the dominant black (K-gene) mutation of the CBD103 gene will pass it on to their offspring. This can eventually wipe out all fawn in the bloodline... No more fawns, no more brindles, just black. Solid black dogs are not the only ones who could cause this phenomenon. Solid blue and lilac dogs could also have the dominant black mutation in combination with a dilution mutation, and would also eventually wipe out the traditional coat colors.

• According to the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, merle dogs, especially "double merle" dogs, have an increased chance of deafness and serious eye abnormalities. Additionally, double merle dogs can have multiple abnormalities of skeletal, cardiac and reproductive systems. It should be noted that the purebred French Bulldog gene pool does not carry the merle gene. All merle "French Bulldogs" have been produced by introducing another breed, usually a chihuahua, into the mix.

Is it possible for a breeder of fad-color Frenchies to produce relatively healthy, sound dogs? Yes. A fad-color breeder can employ scrupulous selective breeding and genetic testing. It seems, however, that the majority of fad-color breeders are not selecting for healthy, conformationally sound bloodlines. They are not investing in the health and genetic testing commonly practiced by reputable breeders. They are merely breeding dogs that carry a certain color because they can convince members of the public to pay exorbitant prices for dogs with an unusual appearance. They are driven by profit, not a commitment to produce healthy dogs.

Let's face it... French Bulldogs are not among the healthiest of breeds. They have a well-documented high incidence of allergies, intervertebral disk disease, hemivertebrae, hip dysplasia, brachycephalic airway syndrome, cleft palate, and so on. This begs a couple of questions. Firstly, why introduce further risk factors? Secondly, if some breeders are selecting for coat color above all else, aren't their puppies more likely to suffer from the myriad of health issues that conscientious breeders are trying to weed out of the gene pool? Is that why we are seeing an increased number of fad-color Frenchies in rescue?

Obviously, we are not trying to discourage people from applying for a fad-color rescue Frenchie if they feel that they can offer the little guy or girl a great home. That dog will have been spayed or neutered, so she or he will not be propagating the potential problems. Besides, s/he is just as deserving of a second chance at a good life as any of our other little frogs. We just ask that people be cognizant of the potential for far-reaching damage that irresponsible breeding and fad colors can cause to the breed we all adore.

For more information about fad colors in the French Bulldog, please visit the following:
The French Bulldog Club of America web page at http://frenchBulldogclub.org/nofadcolors/
VCA Animal Hospitals web page at http://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pe...netics-in-dogs
UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory web pages at http://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/dog/Merle.php and http://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/dog/dilute.php
Webb, Aubrey A. and Cheryl L. Cullen. Coat color and coat color pattern-related neurologic and neuro-ophthalmic diseases. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2010 Jun; 51(6): 653–657.

Winter Tips for Your Frenchie

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If you walk before sunrise or after sunset, carry a flashlight and wear clothes with reflecting qualities. There are devices that flash like bicycle warning lights for dogs' collars or you can put them on their leash. Be visible.

For Frenchies in cold climates:

Invest in a good quality coat for your Frenchie. Frenchies don't have much undercoat to keep them warm and some literally don't have the sense to come in out of the cold, so it's your job to protect them.

Don't allow your dog to stay outside very long. No unaccompanied time in the yard. If it's too cold for you to stand outside without a coat, it's too cold for your Frenchie to be out there--even with a coat on. Of course, it goes without saying that Frenchies are not outside dogs in even balmy weather. 

The colder the weather, the shorter the walk should be.

Frenchies' ears are very susceptible to frostbite. Yes, your dog will look a little silly, but if it is under 30 degrees and there is a breeze then that doggy needs a hat.

winter-safety2.jpgIf your area salts the roads and sidewalks, be sure to wash your dog's feet when you get home. A povidone-iodine wash is great--povidone is the generic for Betadine and it will clean your dog's feet as well as disinfect them in case he got any small cuts or scrapes on the ice. You can get it inexpensively at any drugstore. To use it, blend 1 part povidone-iodine to 10 parts water (or until it is about the color of iced tea.) Put some in a plastic container (a 16 oz cottage cheese tub works well) and soak your dog's foot for about 20 seconds. Wipe the foot carefully, dry it, and repeat with the other feet. If your dog will accept it, some people have their dogs stand in a dish pan or even a 9x13 cake pan. The kitchen sink works if you have a little Frenchie. An even faster way to rinse toxins off is to just put him in the tub and use the shower head on his feet. Be sure to dry between the toes. At the very least, a wipe with a warm, wet washcloth will help remove salt and other toxins from your dog's feet and legs. If you have a dog that will tolerate them, you can also use protective boots or rubber booties.

Moisturize! Your dog's skin, nose, and paws can get just as dry and cracked as your own skin. Invest in a good nose butter for your dog's nose if it looks crusty. Paws can be moistened with a little coconut oil, and ask your vet about a good moisturizing shampoo if your Frenchie's skin starts to flake. Some vets suggest adding a bit of coconut oil to a dog's meals, but make it a small amount to avoid gastrointestinal upset and weight gain.

Older Frenchies might really feel their aches and pains in colder weather. If your dog has had any back problems or suffers from arthritis or joint conditions, be especially careful to avoid icy stretches. 

Even if your Frenchie is a snow lover, there is a limit to how much cold weather exercise even healthy young Frenchies can take. Keep an eye on your dog's breathing, and if they seem to be having a hard time, call it a day.

Florida Frenchie Owners:
Beware the Cane Toad!

Most Florida residents are well-aware of the invasive species of toad that can grow to nearly a foot in size and which spews a poisonous white fluid that can sicken people and pets alike. 

The downpours this spring have resulted in larger than usual numbers of toads in multiple breeding cycles, the most recent just this week. 

Some Floridians, particularly those near the Miami area, can barely walk in their yards without stepping on the toads or encountering them in near-misses.

If your Florida Frenchie has a strong prey drive – or can't resist taste-testing things they find in the yard - consider fitting them with a special basket-type muzzle meant for brachycephalic dogs. If your dog does encounter a cane toad and gets some of the toxin in his mouth, immediately and thoroughly rinse his mouth out and either call your vet or hie thee and your frogdog to the ER vet right away. Time is of the essence! Rinsing the toxin out of his mouth can buy you time to seek medical advice but might not be enough on its own to prevent illness -- or worse. 

An Orlando Weekly article from March 22, citing the University of Florida, advises residents to humanely euthanize as many toads as possible. Dog owners would be wise to patrol their yards at least once a day wearing gloves and prepared to euthanize these invasive creatures. Another option is to call a trapper (https://public.myfwc.com/HGM/NWT/NWTSearch.aspx) . “If you see a cane toad, you're most definitely encouraged to destroy it. According to the University of Florida, the most humane way to euthanize a cane toad is to ‘rub or spray 20 percent benzocaine toothache gel or sunburn spray (not 5 percent lidocaine) on the toad's lower belly.’ This will apparently make it become unconscious, which at that point UF says to put it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 24-48 hours. A cold peaceful death. Just be sure to wear gloves.” 

Be careful to leave ordinary, harmless toads alone! The photo below will help you identify the differences—apart from enormous size—between the cane toad and the native southern toad, a friend that consumes lots of bugs and does not poison our pets or even cause warts. Here’s a photo from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to help you correctly identify the visitors you come across.

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French Bulldog Rescue Network

dog_of_the_week.jpgIsla in VA

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Are you a devotee of drowsing? A supporter of snoozing? Do you suffer from fear of missing out…on adequate rest? If so, then you and Isla might be the perfect match. This sweet girl is looking for a full-time snuggle-buddy, who will make sure that she gets off the couch once in a while for some exercise and physical therapy. Isla has weak hindquarters and must wear a diaper to prevent accidents, but she’s worth that bit of extra work. So have a stretch, grab some coffee, and apply for her today!

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Gold Paw Stretch Fleece

Our superb year round popover jacket is the best you’ll find anywhere! This is truly a fantastic and useful garment that you’ll reach for over and over again. All of our solid colors contain recycled polyester and 7% spandex for 4-way stretch. The finish is unbelievably soft, like velvet. It’s a piece of cake to put on and moves with your dog, making it the most comfortable coat around. Washes like a dream! Check them out HERE!

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 Gold Paw Stretch Double Fleece

Check them out HERE!

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FBRN's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home French Bulldogs in need from commercial breeding kennels, import brokers, public shelters, private rescue groups, owners or Good Samaritans. Our organization is comprised solely of volunteers who nurture and foster these dogs as well as provide education and training. Our goal is to place healthy and happy French Bulldogs into forever homes.

**FBRN does NOT use Facebook messenger to communicate. Any communication will come through email. Please never share any personal information with anyone who indicates they are a volunteer unless it is coming through the correct channels. If you have received a FB messenger message, please send it to andrea.francheville@fbrn.net so we are aware.**

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