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American Breed Standards (February 1992)

GENERAL APPEARANCE That of a symmetrical animal, showing great strength, endurance and alertness, powerfully built but active. The foundation breeding was 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog. The breed was developed in England by gamekeepers for protection against poachers.

SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE Size. Dogs 25 to 27 ins. at the withers, and 110 to 130 Ibs. weight. Bitches 24 to 26 ins. at the withers, and 100 to 120 Ibs. weight. Other things being equal, the more substantial dog within these limits is favoured. Proportion. The length from tip of breastbone to rear of thigh exceeds the height from withers to ground only slightly, resulting in a nearly square appearance.

HEAD Expression. Keen, alert and intelligent. Eyes. Dark and of medium size. Ears. V shaped and carried close to the cheeks, set on wide and high, level with occiput and cheeks, giving a square appearance to the skull, darker in colour than the body and medium in size. Skull. Large, with a fair amount of wrinkle when alert; broad, with cheeks well developed. Forehead. Flat. Stop. Moderate. Muzzle. Broad and deep, its length, in 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 undesirable. 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.

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 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.

FOREQUARTERS Shoulders muscular but not loaded, and slightly sloping. Forelegs straight, well-boned and set well apart, elbows turned neither in nor out. Pasterns straight, feet of medium size, with round toes well arched. Pads thick and tough, nails black.

HINDQUARTERS Broad and muscular, with well-developed second thigh denoting power, but not cumbersome. Moderate angulation at hocks. Cowhocks and splay feet are serious faults.

COAT Short and dense, giving good weather protection.

COLOR Red, fawn or brindle. Except for a very small white spot on the chest, white marking is considered a fault.

GAIT Free, smooth and powerful. When viewed from the side, reach and drive indicate maximum use of the dog's moderate angulation. Back remains level and firm. Coming and going, the dog moves in a straight line. Feet tend to converge under the body, without crossing over, as speed increases. There is no twisting in or out at the joints.

TEMPERAMENT Fearless and confident yet docile. The dog combines the reliability, intelligence, and willingness to please required in a dependable family companion and protector.

Reproduced by kind permission of the American Kennel Club.

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