THE AKC STANDARD: OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE BULLMASTIFF
comparison with that of the entire head, approximately as 1 is to 3. Lack of foreface with nostrils set on top of muzzle is a reversion to the Bulldog and is very undesir- able. A dark muzzle is preferable. Nose— Black, with nostrils large and broad. Flews— Not too pendulous. Bite— Preferably level or slightly undershot. Canine teeth large and set wide apart. The standard gives its greatest emphasis to the section on the head for two reasons: because the head is composed of so many individual parts and because a good head iden- tifies the dog as a Bullmastiff rather than a Bulldog, a Boxer or a small Mastiff. Taken as a whole, the head should have a square appearance, just as should the overall body structure. One of the characteristics the breed legitimately inher- ited from its Bulldog ancestors is a broad, shortened skull. The Bullmastiff lacks what is known in other breeds as backskull. This means that the occipital bone on a Bull- mastiff is set between the ears, rather than extending to some point behind them, as in the Mastiff. Viewed from the top, the portion of the head from the stop to the occiput should roughly equal the width of the head from cheekbone to cheekbone, but not including the cheek muscles which should also be clearly present on a good representative Bullmastiff head. For symmetry, the head should be approximately as deep as it is wide, thus forming a padded cube. An old rule of thumb was that the circumference of the head, mea- sured from a point in front of the ears, should be equal to or slightly greater than the height of the dog from ground to withers. Ideally, the muzzle is to be broad and deep with a length in profile that is one third of the entire head from tip of the nose to the occiput—in other words, one-third muzzle, two-thirds head (skull length). The width of the muzzle should be approximately the same as the length and the depth, forming a padded block that is securely attached to the square head. Some slight wrinkling across the muzzle may be per- mitted, but a Bullmastiff should never have so much nor so little wrinkle on the forehead that the expression and wrinkle pattern on the head does not change when the dog is alert and comes to full attention. This point is functional as well as aesthetic, because it serves as a form of commu- nication between dog and owner and has been prized since early gamekeeper's days. The dark, medium size eyes are set wide apart to allow a full range of vision and to avoid injury to both at one time in a skirmish with man or beast. Cosmetically, they square off the center area of the face and contribute immensely to the keen, alert and intelligent expression. Few faults are mentioned in the AKC standard, so when a particular characteristic is pointed out, it should be carefully noted" "Lack of foreface with nostrils set on top of the muzzle is a reversion to the Bulldog and is very undesirable." This is not to be confused with a pugnacious chin resulting from an undershot jaw. To differentiate between the two, look at the angle of the nose as it departs from the bridge of the muzzle. In profile, if the front of the nose forms a 45-degree angle with the top line of the nose, it should not generally be considered a reversion to the Bulldog. A far more common nose fault in Bullmastiffs are small or pinched nostrils.
BIS BISS Ch. Ladybug Shastid Brahminson, a Gold Register of Merit producer.
The mouth is broad and the canine teeth set wide to square off the jaw. It has been argued that the level bite is not normally considered functional. In the case of the Bullmastiff, which was developed to knock down and hold a man without mauling or inflicting unnecessary injuries, this type of bite is indeed suited to the purpose. The very "inefficiency" of the level or slightly undershot bite allows a person to be held without much of the ripping or slashing often encountered with the scissors or pincer bite found in many of the herding or guarding breeds. Excessive flews would be a hindrance to a dog attempting to securely hold a struggling felon. Aesthetically, the deep, square lower muzzle should come from strength and depth of underjaw and not from an illusion created by floppy flews. Ears are V-shaped and darker in color than the body. Although a dog may be forgiven for not possessing black ears, the darker coloring should be preferred by breeders to prevent loss of pigmentation on this point. When alert, the ears come forward slightly and frame the top half of the face. The ears should not be large, but rather in proportion to the head. Well set ears of correct size and shape greatly enhance the expression and contribute to the overall square look. Although the AKC standard only remarks that the dark muzzle is preferred, it is probably best for breeders to strive for the black muzzle and masking con- sidered essential by the British and Canadian standards. A Bullmastiff with a faded or absent mask departs from accepted breed type for showing or breeding and ranges uncomfortably close to the coloration of the Dogue de Bordeaux. The head is therefore one of the signature characteristics of type in the Bull- mastiff and should never be such that there could be the slightest confusion with the Mastiff, Bulldog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dogue de Bordeaux or any other breed. NECK, TOPLINE, BODY Neck— Slightly arched, of moderate length, very muscular and almost equal in circumference to the skull. Topline— Straight and level between withers and loin. Body— Compact. Chest wide and deep, with ribs well sprung and well set down between the forelegs. Back— Short, giving the impression of a well balanced dog. Loin— Wide, muscular and slightly arched, with a fair depth of flank. Tail— Set on high, strong at the root and tapering to the hocks. It may be straight or curved, but never carried hound fashion. This section of the standard describes a thick, powerful, compact dog that is capable of working. Compactness and a short, level back are the keys to the ideal, well-balanced Bullmastiff body. The tail is set on high and should be an exten- sion of the topline. Low-set tails have become common-place, as well as equally incorrect rounded croups more appropriate to coursing dogs. A sudden drop in the croup ruins the square outline and weakens the stability needed for the dog to keep its balance when subduing an intruder.
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