Mastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight

q&a mastiff

BB: Massive, powerful, loving. MB: Large, massive and symmetrical. L & DH: Noble, massive, rectangular.

They should be sound coming and going but it’s not a race—and this is not a racehorse. Mastiffs, as most dogs, are best judged at a moderate speed. BH: I love to see a beautiful head, but really don’t care for sloppy looking “over done” dogs. The head should be large or as I call it, “big melon‚” but I don’t like to see dogs that have flews so long and floppy you can’t actually see the shape of the head. PL: The Mastiff should have moderate angles. Early on, mas- tiffs were extremely straight in the stifles. Breeders have done a good job correcting this problem. Being a giant breed, over angulation does not allow for a well-balanced sound dog. HS: Narrow fronts and narrow heads. 6. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? CA: The mastiff as a breed is much improved since I first began showing and judging. The breed as a whole is much more sound than it was 30 or more years ago. When I began showing, we often saw dogs with magnifi- cent heads that couldn’t move well, or dogs that could move well but lacked breed type. Today’s mastiff gener- ally displays both type and soundness. BB: No. I think we are losing bone, substance and proper proportion (head and body). MB: Yes. The movement has improved with stronger hind quarters and better reach and drive that is required in the Standard. L & DH: Trends that we would like to see continued: the great direction we are going in overall soundness, bone, topline, bites and balance front to rear. Trends that are unsettling: narrow eye sets, narrow under jaw, lack of true breadth, spring of rib, weak muscularity, the straight shoulders and short upper arms that is occurring in far too many breeds. BH: Well, since I’ve only been judging for 4 years, it’s hard to compare. However, in the past 30 years that I’ve had Mastiffs, I’m very happy to see the improvements that breeders have made in soundness. Soundness has always been there, because there have been some great dogs over the years. But now we are seeing more dogs with this quality, which means that breeders are doing their job right. Toplines and angulation have greatly improved. PL: No. Not since I have started judging, but definitely a large improvement in health, soundness, and temperament. HS: I have found that location plays a huge role in the quality of dogs I’ve seen. Some areas of the country have better dogs than others. Overall, I think this breed’s popularity and size make them unique. They are huge, gentle giants that cost a lot of money to buy and care for. Puppies are incredible cute and cuddly. We have many breeders that protect the breed by finding good owners and mentor

BH: Loyal Gentle Giants. PL: Loyal Gentle Giant. HS: Massive, gentle, dignity.

4. 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. 5. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? CA: While I don’t “fear” that particular traits are becoming exaggerated, breeders should remember that mastiffs are dogs that by definition are dignified. A certain level of “showiness” in the breed seems to be needed for the mas- tiff to be competitive in an all-breed ring, but it should be coupled with great “presence.” Mastiffs are bred to be powerful guardians. The standard states that dignity, rather than gaiety, is the Mastiff’s correct demeanor. BB: No. On the contrary, I fear many are being minimized or lost. MB: I often see males lacking the necessary mass and a bal- anced head. The females tend to be more balanced with the mass than males that I see in the ring. L & DH: Traits that are becoming exaggerated in the Mastiff—too much focus on showy, over-moving exhib- its—this is not a flashy dog, it’s a functional workhorse.

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