A World Apart
This year I had the honor and privilege to share the judges’ spotlight in Cerilly, France with international judges Vincenzo Parmiciano, president of the Italian Molosser Club, and Anne-Marie Class of France. Included were exhibits and fanciers from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and camaraderie.
The show committee, Camille Estrabaut, new president of the Club Francais du Bullmastff et du Mastiff, worked hard organizing this two-day event, with not only the French Bullmastiff and Mastiff nationals and Mastiff World Cup, but temperament testing the entries officiated by Anne-Marie Class. Required for passing temperament is five points for each category (30 points total are needed to pass): sociable with people, no fear of noises or things that one can meet in the street, moving in the crowd, having a protective attitude when strange people follow his or her master, good control of the dog by the owner, and general attitude.
The first Nationale D’Elevage was established in 1977 and has since been the biggest collection of Mastiffs and Bulmastiffs in France. The first Bullmastiff World Cup was in Belguim in 2009 with John Williams from the Netherlands judging males, and Gerard O'Shea from Sweden judging the females. I had the honor of judging the Bullmastiff World Cup in Hungary in 2010 with Australian international judge Andrew Burt. In 2011 I judged my first French Bullmastiff Nationale, creating a passionate international interest in this club’s work.
To become a French champion it is necessary to be awarded either the CAC at the Nationale, the CAC of the French Championship all-breeds show (one of these two is compulsory or two CAC reserve at these two shows) plus one CAC at a specialty show and another one at any show. And that’s not all: The dog needs temperament and health tests (with good scores) on hips, elbows and eyes. So the CACs that are awarded are extremely important, since they are required to be a French champion.
Best in Show on the second day was between the Best of Breed winners of the Mastiff national and Bullmastiff national. It was awarded to the BOS Mastiff World Cup Winner, Zoran Del Fracasso.
Best in Show
Zoran Del Fracasso
Breeder Antonio Fracassi, owner Massimo Antoci
Best of Breed Bullmastiff Nationale
Chain of Hope Cara
Breeder Claudia Welner, owner Sandra Dereze
Best of Opposite Sex Bullmastiff Nationale
Danek’s Born in the USA
Breeders Ekstrom and Hayden, owner D. Fantin
It was interesting to note differences in the exhibits from those at the more recent American Bullmastiff Association National Specialty just months before. Reds and brindles predominantly filled the rings in all classes in France, whereas brindles in the U.S are less in number. I saw far fewer pure fawns than at the ABA National. Exhibits were more consistent in appropriate size and were more moderate in both overall type and proportion, with probably only one male in the 28-inch range. I saw fewer hypertypical exhibits (both in head type and extreme size and substance); both dogs and bitches were well within the height and weight range, but very few were what I would consider too small or too large. Overall, the exhibits were very consistent in head type, structure and movement.
General Mac Arthur Del Gorg Negre
Breeder Del Gorg Negre, owner E. Montserrat
Is a Kind of Magic Penamellera
Breeder-owner Ruben Rodriguez
Temperament in all exhibits was outstanding with only a few exceptions that were perhaps either young or too new to the show ring. The red exhibits were what I considered the correct red color, with no two-toning or lack of pigment. I noted that pigment and eye color was very good, and I saw no wry or grossly undershot bites.
Although showmanship excels in the American show rings, dogs were mostly shown ring-ready, competently and competitively to the exhibits’ best advantage. Sportsmanship and camaraderie abounded!
The main winners were well constructed with good shoulders, strong toplines, good rear angulation and correct movement. All had nice expression and strong muzzles, and I wish I could have taken one home. It was a true pleasure to have judged the finest of the European Bullmastiffs.