FOR THE ENGLISH MASTIFF
KENNEL CLUB OFFICIAL BREED STANDARD
The mastiff is a large, massive, symmetrical
dog with a well-knit frame. The impression is one of grandeur
and dignity. Dogs are more massive throughout. Bitches should
not be faulted for being somewhat smaller in all dimensions
while maintaining a proportionally powerful structure. A
good evaluation considers positive qualities of type and
soundness with equal weight.
Dogs minimum 30 inches at the shoulder. Bitches minimum
27,5 inches at the shoulder. Fault: Dogs or bitches below
the minimum standard. The farther below the standard, the
greater the fault.
Rectangular, the length of the dog from forechest to
rump is somewhat longer than the height at the withers.
The height of the dog should come from depth of body rather
than from length of legs.
Massive, heavy boned, with a powerful muscle structure.
Great depth and breadth desirable. Fault: Lack of substance
or slab sided.
In general, outline giving a massive appearance
when viewed from any angle. Breadth greatly desired.
Set wide apart, medium in size, never too prominent.
Expression: Alert but kindly. Color of eyes brown, the darker
the better, and showing no haw. Light eyes or a predatory
expression is undesirable.
Small in proportion to the skull, V-shaped, rounded
at the tips. Leather moderately thin, set widely apart at
the highest points on the sides of the skull continuing
the outline across the summit. They should lie close to
the cheeks when in repose. Ears dark in color, the blacker
the better, conforming to the color of the muzzle.
Broad and somewhat flattened between the ears, forehead
slightly curved, showing marked wrinkles which are particularly
distinctive when at attention. Brows (superciliary ridges)
moderately raised. Muscles of the temples well developed,
those of the cheeks extremely powerful. Arch across the
scull a flattened curve with a furrow up the center if the
forehead. This extends from between the eyes to halfway
up the skull.
The stop between the eyes well marked but not too abrupt.
Muzzle should be half the length of the skull, thus dividing
the head into three parts - one for the foreface and two
for the skull. In other words, the distance from the tip
of the nose to stop is equal to one-half the length of the
occiput. Circumference of the muzzle (measured midway between
the eyes and nose) to that of the head (measured before
the ears) is as 3 is to 5.
Short, broad under the eyes and running nearly equal
in width to the end of nose. Truncated, i.e. blunt and cut
off square, thus forming a right angle with the upper line
of the face. Of great depth from the point of nose to the
underjaw. Underjaw broad to the end and slightly rounded.
Muzzle dark in color, the blacker the better. Fault: Snipiness
of the muzzle.
Broad and always dark in color, the blacker the better,
with spread flat nostrils (not pointed or turned up) in
Diverging at obtuse angles with the septum and sufficiently
pendulous so as to show a modified square profile.
Healthy and wide apart. Jaws powerful. Scissors bite
preferred, but a moderately undershot jaw should not be
faulted providing the teeth are not visible when the mouth
Powerful, very muscular, slightly arched, and of medium
length. The neck gradually increases in circumference as
it approaches the shoulder. Neck moderately "dry"
(not showing an excess of loose skin).
In profile the topline should be straight, level, and
firm, not to swaybacked, roached, or dropping off sharply
behind the high point of the rump.
Wide, deep, rounded, and well let down between the forelegs,
extending at least to the elbow. Forechest should be deep
and well defined with the breastbone extending in front
of the foremost point of the shoulders. Ribs well rounded.
False ribs deep and well set back.
There should be a reasonable, but not exaggerated,
Muscular, powerful, and straight. When viewed from the rear,
there should be a slight rounding over the rump.
Wide and muscular.
Set on moderately high and reaching to the hocks or a little
below. Wide at the root, tapering to the end, hanging straight
in repose, forming a slight curve, but never over the back
when the dog is in motion.
Moderately sloping, powerful and muscular, with no tendency
to looseness. Degree of front angulation to match correct
Legs: Straight, strong and set wide apart,
Elbows: Parallel to body.
Pasterns: Strong and bent only slightly.
Feet: Large, round, and compact with well
arched toes. Black nails preferred.
Broad, wide and muscular.
Well developed, leading to a strong hock joint.
Moderately angulated matching the front.
Wide apart and parallel when viewed from the rear. When
the portion of the leg below the hock is correctly "set
back" and stands perpendicular to the ground, a plumb
line dropped from the rearmost point of the hindquarters
will pass in front of the foot. This rules out straight
hocks, and since stifle angulation varies with hock angulation,
it also rules out insufficiently angulated stifles. Fault:
Outer coat straight, coarse and of moderately short
length. Undercoat dense, short and close lying. Coat should
not be as long as to produce "fringe" on the belly,
tail or hind legs. Fault: Long or wavy coat.
Fawn, apricot, or brindle. Brindle should have fawn
or apricot as a background color which should be completely
covered with very dark stripes. Muzzle, ears and nose must
be dark in color, the blacker the better, with similar color
tone around the eye orbits and extending upwards between
them. A small patch of white on the chest is permitted.
Faults: Excessive white on the chest or white on any other
part of the body. Mask, ears, or nose lacking dark pigment.
The gait denotes power and strength. The rear legs should
have drive, while the forelegs should track smoothly with
good reach. In motion, the legs move straight forward; as
the dog's speed increases from a walk to a trot, the feet
move in under the center line of the body to maintain balance.
A combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and
docility. Dignity, rather than gaiety, is the mastiffs correct
demeanor. Judges should condone shyness or viciousness.
Conversely, judges should also beware of putting a premium
November 12, 1991)