BULLMASTIFF INTERVIEWS submitted by American Bullmastiff Association, Inc.
1. Where do you live? 2. What do you do “outside” of dogs? 3. How important are head and body proportions in the Bullmastiff? 4. Does the average person on the street recognize him for what he is? 5. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? 6. Are there any misconceptions about the breed you’d like to dispel? 7. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? 8. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 9. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 10. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 11. As an AKC Judge, what is your opinion of dog shows today and how do you see the future of the sport? 12. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 13. What is your favorite dog show memory? 14. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? DENISE BORTON Number of years judging Bullmastiffs: I judged my first sweepstakes in 1993 and I am licensed to judge 24 Working breeds with full or nearly full credit to apply in the remain- ing 12. I have judged numer- ous specialties and supported entries in the United States and Canada, the Bullmastiff Club of Victoria annual specialty in Australia and the ABA national specialty in 2013. In 2018, I was the all-breed judge for the American Bullmastiff Association Top 25. Breed Involvement: I have loved the breed for 49 years and counting. I’ve attended national specialties in the US, Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Crufts. I bred the first triple-titled (long before agility was a recognized event) Bullmastiff, Ch. Lady V’s Hot Shot Shelah, CDX TD who was also the first to earn the TD title. I was the top owner-handler for four consecutive years with Ch. Ladybug’s Lady Caitlin, TD who won seven all-breed BIS, two national specialty BOB, two regional specialty BOB, two supported entry BOB, 64 Group placements, 28 Group One, BOB/Westmin- ster KC, the fourth to earn a TD and whose conformation record stands today as the #3 Bullmastiff/top-winning bitch of all time. I also breeder/owner-handled Ch. Ladybug’s Heartlink to Cait, TD who earned all championship points from the BBE class and was the seventh to earn a TD. With this bitch, I won BOS back-to-back at our national specialty in 2001 and 2002. Her littermate brother, Ch. Ladybug Shastid Brahminson, was an all-breed BIS winner as well as a Gold ROM producer
Dog Club Service/Offices/Recognition: I am a lifetime mem- ber of the ABA and a member of the Midwest Bullmastiff Fanciers (49 years). I have served as an ABA director (14 years), committee member for Judge’s Education, assistant editor to the ABA Bul- letin (five years), ABA Futurity Chair (12 years), ABA national specialty show secretary (four years), tracking test secretary/chair (three years), involved with health and research opportunities/ blood draws/Broad Institute (five years), various national specialty committee positions (14 years), certificates of appreciation from the ABA (three years), formal recognition in outside publications (six different books) that include Caitlin’s picture and accomplish- ments, author of seven articles for the Hoflin Annual and was the recipient of the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award in 2009. I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the southwest corner of the “Mitten.” My degree is in Agricultural Science with a double minor in biology and chemistry. I retired after 28 years with the Upjohn Company, bench trained in veterinary pathology, conducting and writing the clinical phase of drug safety studies for the FDA. I am very proud of my eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchil- dren and have been married to their grandfather for 39 years. I enjoy raising beef cattle, gardening, orchid growing, quilting and travel—when time permits. How important are head and body proportions in the Bullmas- tiff? The headpiece and nearly square profile defines the Bullmas- tiff in the Working Group and sets it apart from other breeds. A Bullmastiff is identified by its headpiece. A dog that does not have the correct “square on a square” head might as well be a mongrel. Since the head is the business end of the dog, its function is to ram and hold. The standard is very clear in describing the expression, ears, skull, muzzle, stop, nose, flews and bite. The majority of the language in the standard is dedicated to the description of the head. The Bullmastiff accompanied the Gamekeeper at night to protect not only his master, the territory they covered, take out the poacher’s dog and apprehend a desperate individual who could be punished by death. The Bullmastiff had to be fit, athletic and mindful of its purpose to perform its ancestral duty; they were never intended to be simple companions or dogs of royalty. While there is no longer a modern-day use for the Bullmastiff, breeding correct and true to the standard dogs that are well received in performance events, all- breed Groups and Best in Show rings is a form of art, not an exact science. This is what allows a Bullmastiff to be uniquely different from one another and more specifically from any other breed. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most likely not. The Bullmastiff is often mistaken for other Molossor breeds or incredibly—dogs from another Group. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? There should not be, but self-colored dogs seem to be rewarded more than brindles. The brindle is the preferred color for the Gamekeeper at night, blending in with the features of the landscape and dark- ness. Additionally, the brindle is prized by breeders to maintain correct pigment. The biggest misconception about the Bullmastiff? Tempera- ment that is appropriate for any Working Dog is usually not the same as a dog from another Group. The Bullmastiff was an inde- pendent worker and lived with the Gamekeeper and his family. They are to be confident and fearless, protector of family and home. That does not mean dull, spiritless or unreliable. Most Bullmastiffs tolerate and even enjoy showing in the conformation ring and par- ticipating in performance events. However, never assume them to be tolerant of being stared at, hovered over during a physical exam,
148 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MAY 2020
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