Bullmastiff Breed Standard
Breed Standards Comment
Temperament. Today the bullmastiff breed is bred as a guard dog, which is effective in the daylight and very attentive at night. The character is restrained, with no expressed aggressive reaction, but at the same time dogs of this breed should tell friend of their owners from potential enemies.
General Appearance. Bullmastiff should combine the power of mastiff and activity and vital firmness of bulldog. The power means strong skeleton, developed musculature filled with energy; wide and deep chest. Weight is in the limits stated by standards. Unfortunately lots of dogs taht have a light skeleton (especially this concerns bitches) appear on Russian dog-shows. To hide this drawback owners abuse the situation by overfeeding their pets and cover thin bones with fat. It may seem that the weight reaches the desired point, but at the same time this abruptly reduces the functional abilities of the bullmastiff. Sometimes an excessive massiveness of body is marked off (especially typical for males) due to an increase of muscular weight. Here one should remember that bullmastiff should be brawny but not too massive, as the functionality is one of the criterions for animal. Bitches despite their feminity should keep a strong figure of bullmastiff.
Head and Skull. Head is square-shaped, broad and strong, covered with skin wrinkles. Skull is slightly rounded. Wrinkles are typical for bullmastiff, especially in the area of cheeks. On the majority of cynologists' opinion wrinkles are always on bullmastiff head and not "only when alert" as the standard describes. Forehead is wide and square. Muzzle length to be about one third of head length. Here one must know if bullmastiff muzzle is shorter than specified length, its shape approaches to shape of bulldog muzzle. This change correspondingly affects other parts of head, namely, first of all, it makes upper jaw shorter, impedes the air to come easily through the nasal ducts, promotes lower jaw protrusion, disturbs a normal order of tooth raw. All this results in pronounced and numerous wrinkles on head and cheeks, overhanging of brows, more expressed undershot. In other words bullmastiff gets a bulldog-like look. Therefore muzzle that is a little bit longer than one third of head length from the tip of nose to an occipital hillock is more desired as doesn't entail disturbance of respiratory physiology. An apparently long, and moreover, narrow muzzle is undesirable as well. Therefore the optimal variant would be a muzzle, which length is not less than one third of head length, which goes smoothly to a frontal region. Nose is wide and square, its height is equal to width, nostrils are wide open and black colored.
Eyes. Wide and deep seated, middle-sized and almond-shaped. Closely set eyes are a gross defect, as well as big or round. The latter characteristics are inherited and persistent through generations. A developed third eyelid (ectopy), introversion of eyelids with a symptom of screwed eyelashes (entropy) and intensive eye egesta are also considered as defects. Light colored eyes change an expression of muzzle. This is a fault, which is stable through generations and hard to be eliminated. Eyes should always be dark colored.
Ears. V-shaped, set on broad and high at the level of occipital hillock, not large, carried tight to head, darker in color than the body. Tips of ears when alert should be set at the same level as eyes.
Bite. Big, straight and white teeth. Bite is level. Slight undershot is admitted but undesirable. Today bullmastiffs with incomplete set of teeth or a considerable undershot and narrow lower jaw that is protruded forward so much that the lower raw of teeth is out can be met. Considerable undershot at which the muzzle doesn't have a desired look and the profile looks like a bulldog muzzle is absolutely inadmissible. However this problem has another consequence of the same importance. Normally bullmastiff has 42 teeth. Upper jaw has 20 teeth, lower - 22. Each jaw has 6 incisors. Big teeth, curved saber-like at each side of incisors are called fangs. Behind each fang there are 4 premolars at each side of jaw (the smallest teeth located behind fangs). At each side of the upper jaw there are 2 big molars behind premolars and three molars on each side of the lower jaw. During taking food in case of slight or considerable undershot teeth change its functional destination. So if the bite is level or with a slight undershot incisors serve to nibble pieces of food. In case of considerable undershot incisors play like fangs operating to grab and hold prey; big premolars of the upper jaw and the first lower molar act as incisors - they cut pieces and grind them. The degree of wear of teeth system is much higher in bullmastiffs with considerable undershot in comparison to a normal bite.
Cynologists all over the world so far can't clarify the question of estimation of most breeds of Molosser group by the teeth system. It is still unsolved if the presence of complete teeth formula and the following culling of many non-standard individuals is of higher importance than humility to absence of premolars entailing the unwarranted risk of gradual worsening of health in groups of big-sized dogs. The use of dry foods in feeding of bullmastiffs and substitution of natural bones with artificial bones are very essential. Regular use of them reduces the load of masticatory apparatus of dog. This stimulates an active formation of calculus and, as a result, loosening and shedding of teeth because of gums asthenia.
Yes, false foods and false bones at first - false teeth at last.
Neck. Well arched, of moderate length, very muscular, and almost equal in circumference to the skull, smoothly passes into a muscular body. It's important that the neck keeps its proportions. Of cause, a slightly stretched neck along with a mighty constitution provides a dog a certain original look. Whereas a short and loaded neck is met in individuals that are short and have a developed pendant.
Chest. Wide and deep, spread down to the elbows. Though if a dog that is short has such chest it may seem that its muscular system is too developed and impedes its movement. Narrow chest often goes with sweep of forelegs. This is a serious fault. Today one has to see sometimes bullmastiffs with small depth of chest, most often in those from Europe population and their offspring. This serious defect affects its functional ability - thus the volume of lungs of such individual is much smaller and correspondingly its endurance is lower.
Forelegs and forepart of body. Forelegs are straight and parallel to each other. Only at this condition movements of legs could be rectilinear.
Back. Straight, short and sturdy. A little bit elongated back is not a fault in case if the dog moves naturally. Sagged back is a fault. The hind and fore parts of body are well balanced. The topline is as if coming to naught. Loin is broad and muscular. Hind legs are properly set, strong and muscular as the forelegs. Hocks are slightly sloped; the distance between the hock and ground is not large. Bullmastiff is a dog with compact body; its figure is brawny. Narrowly set hips, splash hocks while walking along with turning of paws inside are widespread drawbacks.
Hind legs. High, feline-like, well arched. Loosen legs is an often fault caused by long claws and not enough training at solid ground.
Tail. Reaches hocks by its tip. Strong at the root and tapering to its tip. Tail is set high and as if curving upwards, naturally following the back. In quiet state it should slightly bend to the right or to the left but never should hang like in hound. During movements it should not rise vertically. Tail deformation, on my opinion is a serious fault. The degrees and forms of deformation can be different. My data indicate that such a defect is often accompanied with dysplasia of hip joints, narrow hipbones, expressed undershot. This defect is inherited by posterity. The standard states the tail to be straight, that is, raised higher than the back and only its tip is slightly curved. But it's impossible to put a deformed tail in this position even in quiet state let alone its negative affection on dog movements.
Hair. Short, rough and thick. Long or wavy hair is a fault. Color should be plain and solid, except for brindle. A small white spot on chest is admitted but not desirable, except for dogs colored brindle. Today one may note a dangerous trend of increasing of number of red two-tone colored bullmastiffs, which color is cleared up to pale-yellow and has white chest, belly and inner surface of legs. Douglas Oliff warned about this disturbing situation as early as in the middle of 80ths. "Sable" coloring, that is, dirty color due to black tips of hairs, is a serious fault.
Movements. Bullmastiff should be a good runner and keep balance while moving. Legs move straight, pushing off the ground. Fore legs should turn neither in nor out. They straightly give pushes to body from the ground. Hind limbs are parallel while darted forward. There should not be any hovering of hind-part while running.
At observance of all requirements of the standard American expert cynologists give preference to more massive individuals.
Vladimir Piliugin "Practical Guide for Dog-breeders". Moscow, 1999