Bullmastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight


8. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? VA: I believe many judges, old and new, misunderstand a part of the Bullmastiff standard that states, “Other things being equal, the more substantial dog within these limits is favored,” to mean the heavy, cumbersome dog with an absorbent amount of bone is preferred. Also, the Bullmastiff cannot function on head alone. Please look past the head and consider the whole dog. SB: Bullmastiffs are not a breed that is supposed to fly around the ring and they are more than just a headpiece. New judges tend to reward showmanship and flashiness and let that override breed correctness. SG: Bigger is not better. Color is not to be judged or passed over. Long is wrong. CL: Probably the most misunderstood part of the breed for new judges is that they are meant to have form and function. A Bullmastiff has to have substance and size such that it can knock down, hold and pin a ‘poacher.’ However, that bulk should not exceed the dog’s ability to cover ground in an agile manner. When judging the Bullmastiff, I would ask that the judge visualize whether the dog they put up is capable of performing the job they were bred for. BM: I feel they don’t understand the 3-to-1 in head type, slightly longer nearly square in body we do not need to have the length of a Mastiff. CP: Function of the breed/ability to perform the job they were bred to do. KR: I think that judges misunderstand that the Bullmastiff if wrinkled when alert and moderate angulation. They should not have the rears of German Shepherds. I think judges think of the Bullmastiff as a head breed and should be wrinkled and heavy. MW: They frequently have problems with length. The Bull- mastiff is nearly square with a compact body. We use the phrase “long is wrong” over and over in Judges Educa- tion. A slightly arched loin is also a problem for some who confuse high in the rear and roached as okay. The cube-on-cube concept of the head can also be a challenge as many judges consistently reward the wedge shaped muzzle which can be a problem in the breed. The wedge shape lacks strength and coupled with a weak underjaw puts a dog at a serious disadvantage when apprehending the poacher. Seven words in our standard, “Canine teeth large and set wide apart,” say so much and show how the second cube is formed. If one draws a line from canine to canine in the upper and lower jaw and back down a cube is formed. While one would want to see strong wide upper and lower jaws, judges should emphasize the

width of lower jaw and not reward a narrow jaw with a better bite. Dogs should always cover and some leeway can be given with the undershot aspect of the bite due to our bulldog ancestry. Also, I find that a lot of the hound judges can have problems initially with size and sub- stance when they come to working dogs. It takes them awhile to feel comfortable, particularly with the more mature dogs. 9. How do you decide whether or not to place your dogs in specific homes? (Do you try to match tem- perament of people and dogs) (Do you evaluate prospective buyers for their responsibility and abil- ity to protect the reputation of the breed) etc. VA: I evaluate puppies with temperament testing to attempt to match them with their new families. SB: This is not a breed for everyone. If you want a Golden Retriever in a Bullmastiff suit, get a Golden Retriever. I screen prospect homes extensively. I find out as much as possible about the lifestyle and activities of the prospec- tive owners. I select the puppy with the temperament and activity level that would suit the family. This power- ful breed can get itself in trouble if not given proper training, guidance and direction. It is imperative that every breeder stays in contact with new owners and provide them the guidance and direction they need to make sure each puppy is successful. I volunteer for two Bullmastiff rescue groups so I have first hand experience how things can go wrong and how the unsocialized, untrained dog can pay the price for owner’s failures. SG: I will not place a puppy in a home that has children under the age of five unless they already have a Bullmas- tiff in their home. They grow quickly and are a powerful breed. Small children can get knocked down and injured due to no fault of a growing puppy. Parents often mistak- enly blame a puppy when in fact they are just playing and being a puppy. All my puppies are temperament tested and matched to each home. I do inspect each and every home prior to placing a puppy. Most of my puppy people are repeat buyers. I say in my contract, “If for any reason you cannot keep this puppy/dog it must be returned to me no matter the age or condition.” CL: I look for potential homes that have experience with working breeds. I listen closely to what they tell me when they contact me regarding a puppy. I always ask, “Why do you want a Bullmastiff?” then I listen, really listen, to their answer. Once I decide on a home, I meet them in person, get references and see where they live. People will tell you everything you need to know to make the decision to place a dog in their care as long as


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