Mastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight

q&a mastiff

their buyers. Mastiffs are wonderful guard dogs that make folks feel safe around them. With popularity has come the indiscriminate breeder that is producing their own brand of “show dogs”. You will see these at the shows.

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!) 8. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? CA: I don’t think that new judges misunderstand the breed as a rule. Judges have to meet established quali- fications and breed knowledge to be approved. I think, however, that it is important to remember that form follows function, that the standard is the measure of the breed ideal, and that as a giant breed, the mastiff is a dog of extremes, not averages. BB: I don’t know about just new judges, but I think too many put more emphasis on showiness and elegant movement over bone, substance and type. MB: Many think that it is just a giant breed. They don’t apply the usual canine anatomy and required movement. Sometimes they just select a big one and not necessarily a sound one. BH: Perhaps that size is most important. Try to find a nicely balanced dog with a pretty head that is solid and sound. PL: Approach the breed confidently! HS: Mastiffs are a guardian breed-at home! Those new to judging this breed should expect many owner-handlers. This breed does best with their own people, although many are campaigned. A Mastiff will welcome you with a soft eye and a gentle wag of the tail. They are not prone to bite or growl. Approach them from the front with a smile and a scratch under the chin. Also, see question #7. Please remember that this is a WIDE breed. Judge from the side and front to prevent putting up narrow speci- mens. A good practice is to have all exhibits show their fronts. It’s hard to correct a pinched front. And they CAN move correctly, so expect it and reward it! 9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. CA: I think that as breeders strive to breed for both pheno- type (what the dog looks like) and genotype (what the dog can produce genetically), they must remember that temperament is also of paramount importance to this breed. Shyness should never be condoned and vicious- ness cannot be tolerated. The hallmark of the Mastiff is its character rather than its personality.

7. 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, 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. 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

“they love to Be With their faMilieS and SuPerviSe Whatever

it iS that you do. YOU DON’T OWN THEM, THEY OWN YOU!!”

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