A QUICK STUDY OF THE MASTIFF with CAT ANGUS, BONNIE BLINK, MARY ANNE BROCIOUS, DAVID & LAURA HAGEY, BETSY HARVEY, PAM LAMBIE & HOLLY SCOTT
1. Describe the breed in three words. CA: Grandeur, dignity and good-nature. BB: Massive, powerful and loving. MB: Large, massive and symmetrical. L&DH: Noble, massive and rectangular.
conformity to the breed standard is critical and the standard calls for a dog that is large, massive, and has a powerful structure. Depth comes from depth of body, not length of leg, so the idea of a taller dog does not equate to a “bigger” dog. A correct dog is massive and of appropriate height, with depth of body, is pro- portionately powerful, and should be able to fulfill his function as a protector.
BH: Loyal, gentle giants. PL: Loyal, gentle giants. HS: Massive, gentle and dignity.
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? CA: Good temperament and size coupled with soundness are critical for the Mastiff breed. BB: Substance, good nature, proper silhouette, substantial bone, box on a box head, height from depth of body not length of leg, powerful movement with reach and drive. MB: Masculine males with all of the attributes of the breed standard in a symmetrical, balanced frame. The females can be smaller, but must still maintain a proportional, yet powerful frame. L&DH: Must haves in the Mastiff would be a stable temperament first and foremost. This is a huge dog which must be safe and sane in all situations. They also must have breed type and soundness in the same package—a typey Mastiff who is not built soundly is not functional, and a flashy Mastiff with great movement must also look like a Mastiff to be correct. There should be no ques- tion as to what breed you are looking at when you see a Mastiff in the ring. This is a breed that has been around for millennia—born and bred to protect its family by the hearth, gentle and thoughtful—but also a working dog capable of bursts of speed and athleticism. BH: Definitely breed type is important, but I really like to see a nice sound dog that moves with great reach and drive. I love to watch a big dog that moves easily with power‚ it’s very impressive. PL: Solid temperament is most important. HS: Breed type, soundness (mental and physical), balance.
“A CORRECT DOG IS MASSIVE AND OF APPROPRIATE HEIGHT...”
BB: Absolutely not. But all other things being equal, bigger is better. MB: No bigger is not always better. According to the Mastiff standard the dog does have to be a large, mas- sive, symmetrical dog of great power through out. The largest dog in the class may not have balanced mass and symmetry which are necessary for every Mastiff. The largest one may not demonstrate the reach and drive that is described, and the largest one may not have a strong head that is in balance with the rest of the dog. BH: I don’t hold to this belief. The standard does call for large and massive, but it also calls for a well-knit frame. To me that means well put together with power and strength. The Mastiff is a Working dog, so I believe that it should be able to move easily to do its job. I’m very will- ing to forgive a little size for a nicely balanced dog. The key words being “a little size.” PL: No, not better. However, we must remember this is a giant breed. Size does matter! It is one of the characteris- tics that make a Mastiff a Mastiff. HS: No. 27 ½ " for bitches and 30" for dogs is our standard. Those are very large dogs when grown up. The Mastiff is the heaviest breed, their bone is dense and heads are large. However, a 180-lb. dog may be just as worthy as a 210-lb. dog. Balance, soundness, type are considerations, not size. (Fat dogs are not big, they are fat!)
3. This is of course a big breed. Is bigger always better?
CA: It depends. “Big” can be a good thing if the dog is sound, strong, and has well developed musculature. “Big” that comes solely from adding weight to a dog that doesn’t have appropriate muscle development and tone is not desirable. All in all,
232 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2017
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