Any responsible breeding program should be conducted gathering as much information as possible regarding the dogs and bitches that are going to be mated. An accurate pedigree of both future parents alone is not enough. After all, a pedigree is nothing more than an impressive-looking document with a collection of names on it. Unless you are willing to research the attributes and faults of each of the dogs in the pedigree, the piece of paper is meaningless.
Breed history shows that many top-winning champion dogs and bitches have produced mediocre offspring. Fortunately, the reverse is true as well, namely that there have been those dogs and bitches who have produced high-quality stock regardless of which dogs they were bred to.
If dogs and bitches of the latter category are bred to each other, then their offspring, most likely, if bred intelligently, could become the foundation of the most successful families.
However, as we already pointed out, the number of champions that can be counted on the collective pedigree of the two dogs to be mated is not a guarantee for the quality of the offspring. As John Mc Gibbon, a successful and longtime breeder and author of the book The Bulldog, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, points out: "The abbreviation Ch. appearing in front of an individual dog's registered name does not necessarily mean that dog is an outstanding example of its breed. It simply indicates that any dog so entitled met the requirements for earning its conformation championship. As with anything else, there are outstanding champions and average or even mediocre champions. The measure of any dog is the extent of its individual merit compared to the Standard as a producer. " Concerning the champion count in pedigrees the same author adds: "Much of the "to-do" about the champion count in pedigrees generally is the result of the breeder being more concerned about the price that a puppy will bear when sold to a novice or first-time buyer, than in seriously trying to improve the Bulldog breed."
John F. Gordon's point of view is that "there are probably worthier Bulldogs out of the rings you attend than in them, either for reasons of their owners' inability to visit the big shows or their lack of interest in exhibiting.
Decades earlier, Enno Meyer, a world authority on the breed who spent the better part of a long life-time studying purebred dogs, shared the same point of view and warned breeders that they "should not be swayed too much by show records which may not invariably possess the worth attributed to them. In fact, some champions have won their titles in very mediocre competition. This is where personal attendance at shows, in order to study specimens in competition, becomes important, for here and only here can each fancier see for himself the true worth of a win."
What does this mean ?
It means that the pedigree may be a valuable tool for the breeder, provided that he/she is willing to research the complete lineage of the dogs, and asses the quality and prepotency of the parents, but also the grandparents, etc. Were those Bulldogs sound and did their confirmation fit the breed Standard ? Did they possess good temperament ? Did the litters they produced reflect above-average overall quality, or did just an occasional quality specimen result ?
This also means that it is as important to research previous litters, (half-)brothers and (half-)sisters, aunts and uncles of the potential breeding partners of your bulldog than it is to consider the quality of its direct ancestors.
The study of breeding also involves a careful study of the sire and dam themselves as specimens, as whatever their qualities - good, bad or indifferent - they may transmit them. This study should not be limited to physical characteristics, but one should also judge the dam and sir's character and temperament (shyness, aggressiveness, etc.)
Buyers bear a responsibility in this overemphasized champion count as well. Often, novice bulldoggers or breeders-to-be favor champion-dense pedigrees forgetting that some breeders possessing excellent breeding stock just are not always avid show-goers, the only reason why their dogs bear no Ch. in front of their names...
Does that mean that pedigrees are worthless ?
Of course not. They are a valuable tool for transmitting information and exercising control over breeding lines provided they are interpreted and used in an intelligent way.
Let's conclude by saying that they are a pre-requisite, a condition sine qua non, an absolute necessity rather than a ticket to success.