Bullmastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight



within the breed standard and cannot standalone as simple faults. Bullmastiffs must possess the strength and endurance referred to in our breed standard. When feet are splayed, the fleshy part of the foot is exposed, unprotected, and easily traumatized. Splay–footed animals usually have longer toes as well and are sometimes down in the pastern which makes them more susceptible to fractures. Our standard calls for “pasterns straight, feet of medium size, with round toes, well arched”—essentially a cat foot. Therefore, one can see how the quality of soundness and endurance is compro- mised in a Bullmastiff with splayed feet, not to mention contrary to our standard. Cow hocks affect strength and proper movement and the dog’s ability to track properly and utilize the power in its hindquarters. As a Bullmastiff moves and accelerates to the point of breaking stride and running, the feet should converge under the body and be in- line, attempting to converge below the dog. In mild to moderately cow–hocked animals this is extremely difficult. In severely cow– hocked animals it is impossible as the hocks would actually collide. The amount of power that is possible from a cow-hocked rear is also limited. The limitations in both of these serious faults hinder the dog’s ability to do its historic work and make him virtually useless to the gameskeeper. There are two other areas that I believe require further consid- eration: Toplines and tailsets. “Topline: Straight and level between withers and loin.” Straight and level, not sloping, nearly square, back short; key words to describe a Bullmastiff’s outline. A one- piece dog with a smooth outline is very desirable. Some Bullmas- tiffs, however, have an excess of skin along their topline, particu- larly on their shoulders. Although not always pleasing to the eye, if the outline remains correct and there is not wrinkle from tip of nose to tip of tail, a small amount of wrinkle over the shoulder should not be heavily faulted. If you feel the difference between the thickness of the skin in a Bullmastiff and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, you could understand this feature. The Bullmastiff worked in often harsh weather. It is a thick-skinned dog to protect against weather, the heavy brush and, ultimately, the dagger of the poacher. “Tail: Set on high, strong at the root and tapering to the hocks. It may be carried straight or curved, but never carried hound fash- ion.” There is no need for a Bullmastiff’s tail to be carried up, it is not waving at the hunter (gameskeeper) to locate the dog or the game (poacher). In fact, it would be a deterrent to warn the poacher of its presence. We see far too many tails carried too high, some over the back. It takes away the seriousness of the look of a Bullmastiff, throws off the look of balance in the silhouette, and (my opinion) just plain unattractive!

” Some faults are, of course, more serious than others depending on the breed, lack of breed type being the most serious of all faults. Should a light eye be more heavily faulted than a lack of balance or an unsound rear assembly? Is a poor tail set a more significant flaw than a weak front or sagging topline? Are not the goals of the judge the same as the breeder? Both have the responsibility to this sport to select the best dogs to make the next generation better than the previous. Both have the opportunity to improve the breed and this article points out only a few features to pay attention to and think about. It is the judge or breeder with a true eye for quality who can sort through the minor imperfections to find that special and rare thing we call true quality. Dog breeding is about protecting a breed, not about one great win or winner. Seasoned, ethical breeders don’t settle for just good enough, but strive for the very best for future generations. Let’s hope that someday we can produce consistency in litters that are bred for correct breed type and are evaluated and judged with a keen, educated eye… the eye of an esteemed judge, the wisdom of a master breeder. AND ENDURANCE IS COMPROMISED IN A BULLMASTIFF WITH SPLAYED FEET, NOT TO MENTION CONTRARY TO OUR STANDARD.

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