ABOUT THE AUTHOR
owners who understood how to approach training for these events. I’ve always explained to my dogs that I know they know a better way to do something than I do but since I buy the dog food my vote wins. Works for me. Judging the Bullmastiff should be easier than some people make it. Approach the dog confidently. Please take into account that very young dogs in the puppy class may be in the ring for the first time and a bit tentative. This timidity or lack of confidence is not acceptable in adults but a puppy’s first experience in the ring can color its attitude for the rest of its life. Do not accept any show of aggressive- ness toward humans. This is not the breed’s character. One must take into account the tem- perament and structure of each breed when evaluating it in the ring. Bull- mastiffs are not dainty and should not tiptoe lightly around the ring. Their movement should be efficient, strong without much effort. Flash is always attention–getting but it is not the ideal expression of Bullmastiff movement. Dogs should certainly show an inter- est and not appear deadheaded but the proper movement is not essentially associated with speed. A good mov- ing Bullmastiff with cover a great deal of ground with strong, steady strides converging toward a center line as the speed increases. Keep in mind how the dog actually works. It isn’t at a trot but a trot is the best way to evaluate balance and soundness. The head is the real identifying cen- terpiece of the dog but a lovely head on a working dog that isn’t a sound, efficient mover is worthless. The dog should be judged as a whole package in reference to what it was bred to do. The head is a cube on a cube with the muzzle being one–third of the entire head. The breadth of a muzzle and low- er jaw is important because part of the dog’s purpose was to hold their quarry. Nostrils should be large and open. The dog had to run rapid sprints and hold someone with their mouth engaged. They needed the capacity to bring in air easily. Stenotic nares are a serious impediment to that ability. I had men- tioned previously that some people tend to think more is better even if it is really incorrect. Remember in
judging that the dog tends slightly more to the Mastiff than the Bulldog. The head is clearly described in the stan- dard and it should not tend toward the Bulldog with the nose leather set on top of the muzzle rather than even with the front of it. The bite is level to slightly undershot. Slightly undershot actu- ally assists in holding without biting through flesh. Wry bites are not just a fault; they are a deformity in any breed. The standard calls for the dog to be almost square. It is very slightly lon- ger than it is tall—very slightly. A deep broad chest is necessary for the lung capacity needed in its job. A strong back gives the dog stamina when work- ing. Remember the back is only part of the topline. The slight arch over the loin gives the dog the ability to get its rear well under it when moving. The standard calls for moderate angulation. It would be negative for a heavy bod- ied dog to have strong angulation. That would not put the legs under the body sufficiently for support. The slight arch over the loin increases the ability for reach in the rear without heavy angula- tion. While the standard doesn’t really speak to front angulation it need to match the rear angulation. More angu- lation in the front leaves the dog’s rear unable to keep up with the front. More angulation in the rear causes the dog to interfere with the front movement or inhibit the rear movement. Either is negative to a sound moving dog. When one is going over a dog please note that this is a very short coated breed. You can see everything. There is no need to do what I call Braille judg- ing. Giving the dog a full body mas- sage doesn’t expose anything that isn’t already clearly visible. Lightly going over the dog with your hands can tell you everything you need to know. If you have a question in your mind that a handler is trying to cover up some fault just ask the person to have the dog step forward a step or two on a loose lead. Everything is clearly visible that way. The best approach to judging is to con- sider the dog as a whole package, rec- ognizing and stressing the virtues and considering the faults. Do not fixate on one factor. As a working dog, the impor- tance is being physically and mentally fit for the job the dog was developed to do.
I have owned Bullmastiffs for 45 years and bred them for 41 years. I have bred and/or owned 52 champions and there are several
dozen more champions sired by my stud dogs. In 2001 and 2003 one of my dogs was the #1 dog all systems in the Bullmastiff breed. In 2005 his daugh- ter was #2 Bullmastiff all systems. One of his sons was #1 all systems in 2006 and 2007. I have judged numerous Sweep- stakes at National and Regional Specialties over the past 30 years including two American National Spe- cialty Sweepstakes, regional sweep- stakes in Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. I judged the Futurity at the Mastiff National Specialty in 2004. I judged the Canadian National Specialty Sweepstakes in 1996 and the Specialty breed classes at the Canadian Nation- al in 2005. I’ve judged Bullmastiffs at an Open show in Newmarket England, the bitch entry at the British Bullmas- tiff League All Winners Show, The Brit- ish Bullmastiff League Millenium show (207 entries) and the Bullmastiffs at the Champ show in Malvern. May 2006 I judged the Scottish Bullmastiff League Speciality. In conjunction with another breeder, I wrote the “Practical Guide To The Bull- mastiff” in 1991 and in 1997 I wrote another handbook, “Everyone’s Guide To The Bullmastiff.” For 24 years I pub- lished yearly The Pedigree Pictorial of Bullmastiff Champions and Titlists. I also published a bi-monthly magazine for Bullmastiff fanciers called The Bullseye for over 22 years. For years I have given seminars on the breed and at present am Chair- man of the American Bullmastiff Association’s Judges Education Com- mittee. Also, co-author of the ABA’s Illustrated Standard. I was on the Board of ABA for 13 years, several years as president, have served as a liaison for Rescue, chaired both National and Regional Special- ties and at least a half-dozen local Bullmastiff matches.
244 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2017
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