Make your own free website on

AKC Mastiff Breed Standard


                      General Appearance

                      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
- 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
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
                      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 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.