If you try to enter Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker Street, you’ll find a precondition posted on the door. The familiar red circle, a universal warning to all who plan to enter, is cut diagonally, like a wheel of Brie, to outline what is not permitted beyond the circle.
On the other side of this slash line of death is an image of frenchbulldogsofflorida.com. Is there no room for Frenchies? A shop selling luxury items imported from, in some cases, France? Paris would not be pleased with this. Cultural bias is enough to prohibit dogs from purveyors of food or drink. The act of discriminating against a particular breed is pure prejudice. Does this mean that English bulls are exempt from being tied to lampposts while French bulls are? What is the limit of favoritism? You cannot ensure the safety of any eatery if you exclude one breed. They won’t even be allowed in as paying customers, not even chocolate labs, café-au-lait poodles, and champagne pugs!
Don’t worry about pit bulls. There are places in New York and San Francisco where dogs of all shapes, sizes, and coat colors are singled out arbitrarily and denied passage for no other reason than their looks or family background. The worst atrocities of Ellis Island make an appearance at artisan coffee breweries and overpriced cupcake emporiums, their portals marked in those same red insignia that excluded undesirables from the inner circle, reminiscent of old elite clubs associated with racial restrictions. It has been said that golden retrievers should be put out of their misery. There are those who label beagles as outliers. There is one league of labs (in silhouette profile, all labs appear black). Some people hate pugs because they are too ugly. Border collies rank lower than Chihuahuas in Boston, and Boston terriers are least welcome in the south.
We talk about inclusivity and not judging dogs, but many self-proclaimed dog lovers really are breed lovers who can only see what’s in their own personal winner’s circle. Specialists take their narrow definitions of “dog” so seriously; they invest so much of their identity in this or that model; woe to nonmembers who dare discuss matters they cannot possibly comprehend as dog amateurs. Several times, I and other canine critics have defended ourselves against online attacks from the dread English Bulldog Mafia when we reminded them their breed is among the sickest on the market and suggested they stop buying these wretched, poor dogs. Their picture-perfect clones, miraculously, have never suffered a sickness in the lives of their bully apologists, who are extremely well organized and bullheaded.
Purebred extremists should invest as much time, money, and outrage as they do defending their God-given right to buy dogs that are designed to have problems – which brings me back full circle to those Frenchies who can’t get into Murray’s cheese salon.
Unlike many once healthy, intelligent, skillful, and useful breeds that have become couch potatoes and beauty queens through show-ring mutation and overbreeding to meet the demand for four-legged luxury items, French bulldogs have never lost their practical purpose. The Frenchies, whether purchased from puppy mills or society’s so-called “reputable” breeders, have always been dysfunctional. This specious defense for keeping ornamental pets is even less applicable here since Frenchies have been pure form since Dog Adam in the 1890s. Their traditional function, as it were, is to advertise the discriminating taste, social standing, and spending power of the company they keep. In other words, to display the good breeding of their owners.