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.
Size, Proposition, Substance
Size-Dogs, minimum, 30 inches at the shoulder.
Bitches, minimum, 27-1/2 inches at the shoulder.
Fault-Dogs or bitches below the minimum standard.
The farther below standard, the greater the fault.
Proportion-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 leg.
Substance-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.
Eyes -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. Ears- 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.
Skull- 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
skull a flattened curve with a furrow up the center of
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 distance between the stop
and 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.
Muzzle- short, broad under the eyes and running
nearly equal in width to the end of the 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 the 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.
Nose- broad and always dark in color, the blacker
the better, with spread flat nostrils (not pointed or
turned up) in profile. Lips -diverging at obtuse angles
with the septum and sufficiently pendulous so as to
show a modified square profile. Canine Teeth-
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 is closed.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck- 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). Topline-In profile the topline should be straight,
level, and firm, not swaybacked, roached, or dropping
off sharply behind the high point of the rump.
Chest -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. Underline-There should be a
reasonable, but not exaggerated, tuck-up. Back-
muscular, powerful, and straight. When viewed from
the rear, there should be a slight rounding over the
rump. Loins- wide and muscular.
Tail -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
Shoulders- moderately sloping, powerful and
muscular, with no tendency to looseness. Degree of
front angulation to match correct rear angulation.
Legs- straight, strong and set wide apart, heavy
boned. Elbows parallel to body. Pasterns- strong
and bent only slightly. Feet- large, round, and
compact with well arched toes. Black nails preferred.
Hindquarters- broad, wide and muscular. Second
thighs- well developed, leading to a strong hock joint.
Stifle joint- is moderately angulated matching the
front. Rear legs -are 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--Straight stifles.
Outer coat straight, coarse, and of moderately short
length. Undercoat dense, short, and close lying. Coat
should not be so 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 upward 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
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 toward 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 Mastiff's
correct demeanor. Judges should not condone shyness
or viciousness. Conversely, judges should also beware
of putting a premium on showiness.