Welcome from our Late President, Mrs Vivien Watkins,
The French Bulldog Club of England was founded in July 1902. So over one hundred years have now elapsed since a small group of enthusiasts met at 32 Eaton Place, London, the home of a veterinary surgeon, Mr. F. W. Cousens, for the purpose of founding a club for our breed. Lady Lewis, a leading pioneer in England in the struggle to get the French Bulldog recognised as a separate breed in its own right, was elected as the Club's first President, a post she held for 18 years. In addition to their determination to achieve that recognition, the new Committee laid down in the Club's original Rules that its purpose was: " Promotion of the breeding of pure French Bulldogs and to urge the adoption of a definite type upon breeders, judges and exhibitors, as the recognised standard by which French Bulldogs shall be judged."
It was some years before the Kennel Club finally granted the full recognition which the Club was seeking, granting the French Bulldog its English name rather than Bouledogue Francais upon which they had hitherto insisted.
Meanwhile, the Club was prospering and a large number of Members had joined and were giving it their support. The first Club Show was held at Tattersalls as early as 1903. Up to 1939, these shows were mainly held in London and often in conjunction with another breed. From 1945, the pattern of holding a Championship Show and an Open Show annually, with the addition latterly of a Members' Limited Show, has been maintained. From 1945, these shows have been held in halls in the Home Counties. For the past 10 years the club has converted the members Limited Show to a second Open Show.
In addition to the Shows, an End of Season Party is held annually. Seminars are run from time to time on various aspects of the development of the breed as well as the mandatory seminars required by the Kennel Club for potential judges of the breed. The Club is administered by a Committee of twelve Members, elected by postal ballot of the Membership and serving for a term of three years, four of the Committee being subject to election annually, either by standing for re-election or retirement. The Committee elects its own Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Honorary Treasurer. It is served by an Honorary Secretary appointed by the Committee. The President, too, is elected by postal ballot and serves for three years on the same basis as the Committee Members.
A twice-yearly Newsletter, The French Connection, is issued to Club Members and a unique handbook is published every two or three years. First published in 1934, its early editions are rare collectors items and command high prices.
Since the earliest days of the breed, the Frenchman's instant appeal, because of his quaint clown-like and endearing appearance, has drawn him to authors and artists of all types, leading to his reproduction in silver, bronze, porcelain and all forms of pottery, let alone a few jewelled examples made specially for royalty. Interestingly, much of the best of this work dates from the turn of the last century and its early years.
As has long been the tradition of The French Bulldog Club of England, it remains our resolve never to lose sight of our personal responsibility for the welfare of our gay, lively and affectionate little dogs, who bring so much joy into our lives through their love and wonderful companionship. On behalf of us all, I send a warm welcome to all who visit our website and to Frenchie lovers everywhere.