We are often asked why do we not breed fad colours - lilacs, merles, blues, black and tans etc? There are a number of reasons.
Long before there was research there were breeders breeding and seeing health issues when certain coloured coated dogs were bred. This was not just in French bulldogs, breeders saw it in other breeds as well. Those breeders globally set standards for their breeds or as I see it pathways for others to follow and as part of that fad coloured dogs such as blues and merles, black and tans, recent tri coloured dogs etc were and are all excluded or disqualified under those standards worldwide. Nor should the fact breeders be or aren’t geneticists make their views less relevant. It is to breeders that scientists and researchers will generally go to get their information and observational evidence.
But perhaps one of the simplest explanations comes from my husband (he’s as black and white as it comes). His answer is those dogs are not French bulldogs, they are cross breeds.
The fad colour genes are not traditionally carried in the French Bulldog breed, and their recent appearance indicates crossbreeding with other breeds eg blue staffordshire Bull Terriers or Greyhounds that carry these colour genes to get those colours. There are health issues with these popular fad colours with the blue/dilute locus is a risk factor for follicular dysplasia and merle a risk factor for deafness and eye abnormalities. I do not believe the clubs nor responsible breeders wish to or should introduce or deal with the implications of other non-Frenchie disease related genes being introduced into the registered population. Nor frankly do we want to legitimise those dogs through registration and be complicit in approving or including those dogs carrying these "new or fad" colours within the breeding gene pool.
So, if you are wanting to add those colours you are not wanting to improve the health of the breed rather you are trying to add issue.
The national dog body here DNZ, the Bulldog Clubs support the breed standard. Myself and other breeders support the recognised French Bulldog Breed Standard and because of this we breed and test away from nonstandard colours just as we breed and test away from other features which cause health issues.
My husband and I personally breed for the overall package of a healthy happy French bulldog. We know however that if we get a brindle pup that coat colour would not immediately raise a health concern that would make us worried about the pup getting ill and therefore we would be concerned about placing that pup in a home. I would absolutely have that concern with a blue or a merle pup for example because of identified health issues with those nonstandard coloured dogs. So why would we breed for those colours?
People who want to breed fad coloured dogs will continue to do so at exorbitant prices while there is a market for those colours. The fact that they do so does not mean that the clubs, DNZ or the breed standard should change to suit them. Breeding is a passion and responsible breeders will still be doing so when the market falls out of fad colours just as it has and is overseas. We don’t need to change the breed standard for that either it is not and was not ever intended to be an economic tool for controlling the market for our breed. Like other dog breeds who have all had their popular stages, frenchies will fall out of fashion. If you are breeding for money you won’t continue.
So why do we breed? I will tell you we breed for health and the love of these little characters. Scott and I will both tell you the best thing about breeding is having our dogs loved and living healthy happy lives with their families. None of that comes with breeding nonstandard coloured dogs.