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, Proportion, 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.
Head: 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
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 motion.
Forequarters: 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.
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
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
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.
Gait: 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
Temperament: 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.
Approved November 12, 1991
Effective December 31, 1991