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A Hundred Years of Bullmastiffs

British show celebrated the breed’s official century-old birthday

This year marks the 100th year of recognition by the Kennel Club of England of the Bullmastiff as a distinct breed. In honor of this recognition, four Bullmastiff clubs of the Breed Council — British Bullmastiff League, Bullmastiff Society of Scotland, Northern Bullmastiff Club and Southern Bullmastiff Society — planned a weekend of celebration from February 9 to 11, 2024.

A lot of detailed planning and hard work went into this spectacular event. It was held at the Holiday Inn Runcorn just outside Liverpool. It drew Bullmastiff fanciers from England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.


The coveted UK All Winner Ribbon.


On Friday, February 9, a Breed Appreciation Day was held with a breed seminar given by the chairman of the Breed Council and the Breed Education Coordinator for the Bullmastiff, Mr. Billy Brittle. He is well known as a breed specialist throughout the Bullmastiff world and popular in American Bullmastiff circles. He has made up many Bullmastiffs in a partnership with Anne Colliass of Oldwell fame. Billy has judged our American Bullmastiff National Specialty in 2010, and most recently judged his sixth specialty show at the Delaware Valley Bullmastiff Fanciers Show in October.


Breed Appreciation Day presented by Bullmastiff breed specialist Billy Brittle.


There were 42 participants who attended the seminar and 25 qualified to take the multiple-choice exam to progress in their studies. As part of his duties, Billy will help those who pass with further mentoring sessions. Later that evening there was a welcome dinner for arriving fanciers.


After All Winner 2024 competition was the awards dinner and auction.


All Winners


On Saturday, February 10, the 2024 Bullmastiff All Winners Event took place in the breed ring. It has become quite a popular event and now is planned on a yearly basis.

In some ways, it resembles our Top 25, and in others it is quite different. This year there were 64 dogs in attendance. It is by invite only for CC winners, RCC winners and specific winners from abroad (specific shows). Judges are selected by one person nominated by the Breed Council and they have to be passed to award CCs. Their identity is not known until the day of the competition. This year’s judges were breed specialists Daniel Brown (Sundabish) and Chris Roberts (Joybull), and all-rounder Margaret Widman-Wildox.


UK All Winner 2024 Ardhub Nice and Spicy with Braerron handled by Lynn McGroarty and owned by Leigh Wilson.


The All Winner’s competition comes down to three dogs: The Best Veteran, Best Puppy and the Best Adult compete against each other for the title of UK Bullmastiff Winner 2024.

The Veteran class is mixed sexes, and they all come into the ring at the same time. The three judges go over the entrants, and each judge marks his or her winners without consultation with their fellow judges. The results are then given to the steward. Each judge’s placement is worth a number of points, and the steward tabulates the results and gives them to the coordinator, who then announces them to the audience.


All Winner 2024 Best Veteran Ch. Ardhub Black Bomb At Findhorn with owner Helen Forsyth.


For the Puppy and Adult Matches, the numbers of the entrants are placed in a hat and paired for the first round of elimination. Each pair of dogs enters the ring and goes to either a red or blue mat. After examining the dogs, each of the three judges communicates their choice by holding up a red or blue paddle. The dog with the most votes goes to the next round. They continue these elimination rounds until there is one winner.

The Puppy Male winner then competes against Puppy Bitch winner for Best Puppy. Same procedure is followed for Adult Dogs and Bitches.


All Winner 2024 Puppy Winner Danek’s Born In The USA. Bred by Janet Ekstrom, owned by Daniela Fantin. Handler Ilene’s Copetti.


That evening, Lindy Whyte of Tryumphe Bullmastiffs and I were able to attend the black-tie All Winner’s dinner. Awards for seven new champions, Top Bitch, Top Dog and Top Breeder for 2023 were presented, as well special awards for different individuals. An auction and raffle followed. The ballroom was so beautifully decorated, and it just put everyone in a festive mood. It was quite the gala with excellent food, drink and dancing to tunes from a fabulous DJ.

At our head table were Mr. Chris Quantrill, a well-known judge of Bullmastiffs under the Licassa prefix, President of the Southern Bullmastiff Society and his wife, Jan; Grant Slater, Chafs Bullmastiffs, show chairman of the Southern Bullmastiff Championship show, and Steve Hall, Secretary of Blackpool Championship Show who was joined by his daughter, Michaela Hall. Michaela is a very successful breeder-judge of Old English Sheepdogs under the Shenedene prefix and Lhasa Apso. She has also campaigned two champion Shih Tzu and an occasional Bullmastiff. She was the Stakes Judge for the Saturday championship show.


Centenary Show


Sunday, February 11, 2024 was the Specialty Centenary Championship Show hosted by the Southern Bullmastiff Society. There was an entry of 139 Bullmastiffs, which topped the entry at Crufts. Mrs. Jan Quantrill and Mrs. Hillary Norbury served as my stewards and capably guided me through the classes and ribbons. The quality of the dogs and bitches was outstanding.

Interestingly, the Veterans class in both dog and bitch was judged first. I really liked that order as in a sense, all the entries are then measured by mature animals with allowances for age. This year marked the first Baby Puppy class judging, and I had two lovely males.


First-ever Bullmastiff Baby Puppy class winner, male Bhailekeron Glory Hunter (IKC), owned and bred by Steve Havern.


It was a pleasure to see so many headpieces with the correct ratio of one-third muzzle to two-thirds skull, and depth and width of muzzle with undereye fill. Flews were tight, giving a clean look to the lower muzzle. The English standard calls for feet to be a well arched, cat-like with rounded toes. It was enlightening to see how shorter digits tighten the overall shape of the foot.


Above: Best Puppy Bitch and Best Puppy in Show Ardhub Rite Back At You Braerron, bred by Lynn Mc Groarty and Leigh Wilson. Below: Best Puppy Dog Lynn Mc Groarty’s Ardhub In His Stride. The two are littermates.


My winners to me were outstanding with so many desirable breed qualities. Interestingly, my Best in Show bitch’s grandsire was the ABA National Specialty winner in 2010 under Billy Brittle!

It was a thrill and honor of a lifetime to judge the Centennial Championship Show. I have included several photos of the winners from the UK All Winner competition and the Championship show. I want to extend my thanks to Caroline Kennedy for videoing the events, and Cath Lewis for some 3,000 shots that she took throughout the weekend. She also prepared the catalog, coordinated entries and helped Billy with literature. I was thrilled with the work that she did for the Meet the Breeder article for the Northern Bullmastiff Club yearbook. The layout and her work with the photos were outstanding. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me and an opportunity to showcase many of our successful American kennels.

Thank you again to Billy Brittle for your help with preparing this article as well as your guidance and advice regarding my assignment. To Grant Slater, chairman of the Southern Bullmastiff Society Championship Show, a most sincere thank-you to you and your committee for giving me the opportunity to share in this momentous occasion.



BIS & Bitch CC

Ch. Paris De L’Arche Des Loupes Anges Avec Optimus (IMP FRA)

Owned by Peter and Deborah Myers, bred by Bertrand and Laura Brunet-Colin. Pictured with judge Mary Barbara Walsh and Southern Bullmastiff Society Chairman Grant Slater (Chaf’s Bullmastiffs).

A standout in a quality Open Bitch class. Feminine yet substantial. For me, she is the picture of Bullmastiff type as it flows from her nose to the tip of her tail. She is so balanced. Her classic headpiece has the correct muzzle to skull ratio coupled with a broad and deep muzzle. She has a good bite with equal upper and lower muzzle width. Cold black pigment on her ears and muzzle against her clear fawn coat draws you in. Eyes are dark. Nostrils are wide and open. Front is straight, feet are tight. Chest is broad with good depth of brisket. Neck is muscular and arched. Front and rear assembly are moderately angled and are equal in development of bone and muscle. Body is compact with a level back. Loin is short, wide and muscular. A well developed second thigh is present. Tail is set on high with length reaching to hock. She moved with reach and drive and an economy of motion. Her side gate was effortless — balanced and powerful. She was presented in excellent condition and had such a rapport with her handler as evidenced by her rapt attention and wagging tail.


RCC and Best Veteran in Show

Ch. Optimus Pandora (AI) JW

Homebred by Peter and Deborah Myers

Stunning 7-year-old fawn who still appears to be in her prime. She is so balanced with her lovely headpiece and beautiful construction of body.

Correct skull to muzzle ratio with broad underjaw and equally broad upper with good fill under eyes and depth of muzzle. Good bite. Excellent pigmentation on ears and muzzle coupled with dark eyes. Nose is broad and open.  I loved that she seemed to make eye contact with me immediately. She has such a lovely softness of expression. She is balanced front and rear. She has excellent bone and substance and a lovely correct front with width and depth of brisket. Her neck is arched and flows into moderately angulated shoulders. Back is short and level. Body is compact. Rear is well muscled with excellent second thigh.

Rear angulation matches her moderate front angles. Tail set is correct with good length. She covered ground effortlessly. Clean coming and going.



RBIS, Best Veteran Dog, Dog CC

Int. Multi Ch. Phoenix Never Dies Du Monde D’Elias (ATC FRA)

Owned by Sylvie Loosevelt. Bred by Barbara Stevens.

This handsome 7-plus-year-old red male was a standout from the very beginning. He certainly hasn’t lost his “joie de vivre,” for he could hardly wait to go around the ring. He is still the picture of a dog half his age. He was presented in excellent condition. I know that he was a handful for his handler and she did a wonderful job containing his energy.

Head- Correct muzzle to skull ratio with fill under eyes and breadth and depth of muzzle. Excellent pigmentation on ears and muzzle. Eyes are dark and expression was alert and engaging. Nostrils broad and open. Broad underjaw with undershot bite. He still has good cheek development and flews were tight. Front assembly was broad, and brisket was deep for his frame. Good bone and feet were still tight. Neck was arched and followed into moderate angled shoulders. He was equal in development front and rear. He still had good substance and muscle throughout his body. Topline was level and body compact. Rear assembly was also moderately angled with good second thigh still present. Tailset was correct with length to hock and trailed when moving. Movement was clean coming and going. His side gait is lovely to watch. He is balanced from tip of nose to tail.


RCC and Open Dog

Multi Ch. Pump Up the Jam De L’ Arches (ATC FRA)

Owned and bred by Bertrand & Laura Brunet-Colin.

Handsome, short-backed male with a wealth of desirable breed characteristics. To me, he is a breeder’s dog. Head – correct muzzle to skull ratio, excellent pigmentation on ears and muzzle. Eyes are dark. Nostrils are broad and open.

Upper and lower jaws are broad with fill under eyes and depth to match. Good bite.

Cheeks are well developed. Flews are tight. He has a fair amount of wrinkles on his headpiece but not excessive. Neck is arched and connects to moderate layback of shoulders. Good depth of brisket and width of chest is present. He has wonderful bone and substance.

Back is short. He is equally developed front and rear. I would like to see a tad more length of leg with bend of stifle to rear assembly. A well-developed second thigh is present. Correct tailset but slightly shorter in length. Hocks short. Feet are tight.  He is very light on his feet for his size and moved clean coming and going.


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