-A +A
Arthur Craven was the first to write a book about the "Bull-Mastiff," though he never once lived with the breed.

'The Bull-Mastiff As I Know It'

An excerpt from the first-ever book published about Bullmastiffs

Ironically, the first book on the Bullmastiff was written by a man who himself never owned one.   An all-round judge in Great Britain in the 1930s, Arthur Craven reportedly judged Bullmastiffs at a championship show only once – at Sheffield in 1931. A year later, he self-published “The Bull-Mastiff As I Know It” as a paperback, and issued a revised hardback edition in 1937. Though the Kennel Club had been registering Bullmastiff crosses since the 1880s, it was not until 1924 that the breed was formally recognized in its country of origin, listed as “Bull-Mastiff (pure-bred)” to distinguish it from its crossbred brethren.  

The book contained Craven’s illustrations and advertisements from breeders, but no photographs of dogs of the day. Augmenting this excerpt are some photos of well-known Bullmastiffs from the 1900s through the 1930s.  

Craven also applied his “As I Know It” formula to Borzoi and Boston Terriers, self-publishing books on both breeds.

 

 

 

The Evolution of the Bull-Mastiff

  It can safety be said that the Bull-Mastiff is a beautiful animal, if not a bonny one, because it undoubtedly pleases the eye. Its noble appearance and massive strength, coupled with its dignified carriage, command for it an eminent position, which, in face of strong opposition, it has not only gained but held.  

What is a Bull-Mastiff? Where does it come from? What are its qualities? As these questions might arise in the mind of many of my readers, perhaps it will be as well if I deal with them in their respective order.  

1. The Bull-Mastiff is an animal that owes its inception to the crossing of two distinct breeds, the Bull-Dog and the Mastiff, in order to produce for mankind the foundation of a breed that would be larger than the Bull-Dog, smaller than the Masitff, and embodying the best qualities of both. From the first cross we produce what is termed a Bull-Mastiff (cross-bred), an animal that is not under such circumstances eligible to grace our show bench and be exhibited as a pure-bred specimen. In crossing these two breeds many difficulties first arose, and we produced an animal that was not to our ideal; therefore we used the offspring of the first litter and one of its ancestors to get nearer the requisite type. Once this was accomplished the breed was kept pure, and today a true Bull-Mastiff (pure-bred) is an animal whose parents for at least the past three generations have been Bull-Mastiffs and no other breed has in any way been resorted to.  

2. The Bull-Mastiff is not only a British production, but it is British to the backbone  

3. Its qualities are very numerous, and many are the stories that are told about the faithfulness and sagacity of the breed. It is the playmate of the child, the guard of the adult, and the companion of the aged; it has strength, courage and brains, and knows exactly how to use them. You will find it a faithful animal, docile in every degree providing it is properly trained, and possibly you will arrive at the conclusion that as an intelligent creature it possesses the master mind.  

 

The famous nightdog Thorneywood Terror was exhibited around Britain in the early 1900s at gamekeeper’s shows; it is said he was unbeaten in knocking and holding a man down during demonstrations. He was typical of the working dogs his breeder and trainer William Burton produced – brindle and free of ballast. He weighed a trim 90 pounds.

 

Now let us review the breed. We find that those stalwarts who set about to produce it for us were undoubtedly men of clear foresight, and without doubt were not at first fully appreciated for their predetermination. It must, however be borne in mind that these men did not evolve the Bull-Mastiff by accident, neither did they meet with disappointment at the results obtained; they had previously given careful study to even minute details, and therefore were aware that at first onset they would not produce their ideal, and that it would be necessary to cross again (keeping, of course, to the original respective strains) to accomplish their object.   

Let me at this juncture transgress slightly in order to explain some of the many difficulties which often arise when we try to produce something different. In animal life we are governed to a great degree by what I term the positive, and irrespective of what we do or how we do it, that positive will ever remain the predominating factor.  

How many fanciers can, by just looking at a dog, say which points the animal has that are positive, and which are negative? The average person does not study these problems; in fact, few dog owners are aware that such things as positive and negative points even exist.  

What are positive and negative points? The answer is: A positive point is that which you cannot breed away from, irrespective of how you try; a negative is something which you can breed away from  

Every animal has its positive and negative points. Let us, for instance, take some breeds, and we find that with them ear carriage is positive; therefore, irrespective of what breed we cross with them, a similar ear carriage would produce itself. Let us then take another breed, and we may find that their particular ear carriage is a negative point; therefore, by crossing these two animals we are bound to result in the positive being present in all offspring. We can keep on breeding, cross and recross to any extent, but the positive is always with us; we cannot get away from it  

There are many points that are positive; therefore, in attempting to produce an ideal from the combination of two breeds, we come up against numerous difficulties, and often find some of the particular positive points are in our way. That being so, I am not going to be bold enough to claim that all our “made breeds” are exactly as their pioneers first imagined. Still, to those who know the Bull-Mastiff’s history, I think it can safely be said that few disappointments, if any, was not evolved by mere chance; on the other hand, only after a deliberate and set programme had been laid down.

  

Farcroft Fidelity, the first Bullmastiff to ever win a first prize, in 1925. He was bred by S.E. Moseley of the Farcroft Kennels, the first breeder to “market” the breed extensively to the general public.

 

If we are to produce a useful animal from two different breeds, it is absolutely necessary that we select those with blood that will blend, and never attempt to use those that have blood lines that do not assimilate. Some breeds of dogs appear to an extent to be alien to others, therefore offspring from such matings would produce freak specimens. Blood will undoubtedly tell, and if rightly acquired is in most instances beneficial; but if the wrong blood is brought in haphazardly, it will be like oil and water, and never mix  

Now in order to better help to illustrate my point, let me state that at the close of the eighteenth century, Greyhounds as a breed had considerably declined in courage, and this deficiency it was desired to remedy. The question to be considered was, which breed should be used as a cross. Lord Orford who was an ardent courser, knowing that the Bull-Dog was at that period a most courageous animal, selected it, and believed that it would have the desired effect.  

Although he was ridiculed by many people for assuming that the Bull-Dog was a suitable animal to cross with a hound, that mattered little. Having made up his mind, he brought it into practice, with the result that after the crossing of the two breeds, and the resulting stock afterwards being bred back to pure Greyhounds, in six generations all vestige of the Bull-Dog had totally disappeared.  

Before I leave the question of positive and negative points, I would like to point out that in breed production it is the negatives that cause the most trouble, and only those breeders who have attempted to retain some particular negative points when breeding from two different types of animals realize to the full the disappointments breed pioneers have in the past suffered. Often they have found their most cherished points totally disappear as the result of the first cross, never to be brought back in a manner that they would establish themselves. Negative points are, as far as breeding goes, the weaker, and they are compelled to give way to the positive, which are the stronger. Nature will assert itself, and man, with all the knowledge at his command, is still governed by it, and possibly always will be.  

If we look over the Bull-Mastiff from head to stern, and carefully weigh up the pros and cons, taking into full consideration the purpose for which the breed was produced, I doubt if we would like to see it altered. Speaking from my own point, I am clearly of the opinion that if an attempt were made to reconstruct the breed, it would lose many of the cherished points it now possesses. Of course, I do not wish to infer that all Bull-Mastiffs are ideal specimens from an exhibiting point of view – far from it … My present observations only refer to the breed on the whole, and the qualities and usefulness of it in its present form.  

Few breeds of dogs have suffered the same indignity as the Bull-Mastiff; as in the past, on account of them not being fully established, a few unscrupulous co-called fanciers, to suit ends best known to themselves, at one time attempted to improve them (as they thought), and resorted to crossing their animals with the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Newfoundland and possibly the Bloodhound to a slight degree. This resulted in a temporary setback for the breed, and had it not been for the loyalty of those fanciers who were determined that no foreign blood should be mixed with that of the Bull-Mastiff, the breed today would not have been in its present position. Therefore, I for one greatly admire those who have kept breeding pure-bred animals, and have refused steadfastly to waiver from the straight path. …  

What harm did the addition of these other breeds do? might be asked. Did they in any way benefit the Bull-Mastiff? The reply is that for a time it helped to create in the minds of the public a false impression, and shattered confidence to a degree; as regards benefits, none were received, and no sane person would have expected any.  

The Bull-Mastiff if properly bred should carry its own trademark. To any person it should be easily recognizable, as neither Mastiff nor Bull-Dog. To put it clearly, it should present itself as exactly what its name implies, a Bull-Mastiff, and we should see clearly defined in it the best and most noble points of its two original forebears.  

 

Illustrations of the period: Bullmastiff, Bulldog and Mastiff from Craven’s book.

 

If you see a so-called Bull-Mastiff with a shaggy coat, look upon its breeding as being alien; possibly some blood of the St. Bernard, or even the Newfoundland, is running through its veins. If you likewise see a Bull-Mastiff with a Great Dane muzzle, pass it by; you cannot afford to take risks, and no animal that is termed a Bull-Mastiff (pure-bred) should resemble any breed other than the two which are claimed to have been originally used.  

In the past so-called Bull-Mastiffs have been bred that had a coat of such length as to make us realize the danger which the breed was at one period running; still, we should remember that when we see an animal with a coat of a length that calls for stripping, it is not a genuine Bull-Mastiff. A true-bred specimen may occasionally vary to a slight degree in length of coat, but we should remember we have only one variety which is termed “smooth coat,” and if you drop across a “rough coat,” irrespective of how good its other points appear to be, I would advise you to look with suspicion upon it, and under no circumstances whatever either purchase or breed from it.  

It may be possible that some of my readers who know the breed might well think the foregoing remarks will make prospective buyers wonder how they stand, and prevent them from selecting an animal of the breed, because of any danger they might run; but, as author of this book, I have arrived at the conclusion that this will not be so, and by explaining these facts, they will be better able to get an animal that will give satisfaction.  

Let me, however, point out that the average Bull-Mastiff fancier and breeder would not under any circumstances buy, breed or sell the misfits I have referred to; therefore, although I have referred to these details, little risk would be run today in this direction when making a purchase, and as this is the first book published that deals exclusively with the breed, it is my duty to endeavor to give the history of the Bull-Mastiff as I know it.  

What Bullmastiffs Really Are

The Bull-Mastiff is what might be termed the light heavy-weight of the canine race, and is without doubt one of the cheapest animals to purchase, taking ito consideration its size. We find it fostered by every class of the community, and irrespective of whether it graces a mansion or cottage, it appears equally at home. Even at dog shows where the breed is scheduled, animals belonging to wealthy owners are exhibited against those of working-class fanciers, and the sporting spirit that prevails at these fixtures appears to make us all feel equal. It cannot be denied that dog shows are indeed cosmopolitan places, as they bring dog lovers closer together.  

What was the original purpose for producing the Bull-Mastiff, and was it necessary to create a new breed for the particular requirements which the pioneers had in mind? In view of the fact that we have over one hundred different breeds of dogs, I can imagine this being asked; yet, if we only stop to think  a little, we arrive at the conclusion that just as motors have in many instances superseded horses, in order to keep pace with the times, so will one breed of dog possibly displace another, and if we are to adapt ourselves to prevailing conditions, we must of necessity produce that which is suitable.  

Originally the Bull-Mastiff was known by the name Bull and Mastiff dog, but about 60 years ago breeders in certain districts altered its name to that of Night Hound. Why I have never been able to understand. For them to have called it a Night Dog may have been quite all right, due to the dogs being used at that period to protect gamekeepers, for history tells us that in the Counties of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire they were at the time so employed, but the name of Hound when applied to a Bull-Mastiff is bewildering, because it is not a hound in any sense of the word.  

The Bull-Mastiff is without doubt the enemy of the poacher, as by his immense strength, vice-like grip and quick action, he can when desired overpower any human being. Firearms do not hinder him in his work; his method is to down his foe, pin him to the ground and hold him there. Bull-Mastiffs have been known to keep an enemy down for hours, and never relax their vigilance until they have delivered him to their master. Even then they have kept a careful watch to see that all was well, and at the least sign of the poacher resisting, the dog has again taken charge of his man, and without worrying, has tired him out, letting him know that he must go and do exactly as his master bids.  

In the year 1900, the first Gamekeepers’ Dog Show was run, and it was at this fixture that the Bull-Mastiff made its first public appearance, where, in order to bring the breed’s qualities more before the public eye, “man and dog fights” were staged, and the Press and public alike were astounded at the wonderful performances which were put up.   The method adopted was to muzzle the dog firmly, and the demonstrating poacher, after being well muffled up, was given a good start before the dog was sent after him. The animal not only speedily succeeded in reaching his foe, but by hurtling his weight against him, brought him to the ground and held him there until his owner called him off. Never once did a dog fail to carry out the duties which were required of him.  

 

Tigers Vindictive, a well-known dog of the 1930s.

 

No dog has ever been bred that excels the Bull-Mastiff from a gamekeeper’s point of view. Not only is the animal powerful, but he is usually a silent worker, and when on duty refrains from giving voice, unless it is to let his master know his exact locality when he has secured his prisoner. This breed, if properly trained, will accompany their keepers and walk at heel; they will when required stand practically as still as statues, and if necessary conceal themselves in a clump of trees, but once given the signal they will quickly emerge, and with the alertness of a terrier, the strength of a lion, and a tiger-like spring, they will drop and capture their man, and make sure he does not get away. It would indeed be more than a superman that could free himself from these animals when captured, and even if the enemy was armed it would matter little, for what use are firearms if one does not get the opportunity to use them?  

Bull-Mastiffs have saved the lives of many gamekeepers, and by their use on estates they have been the means of keeping poachers away. If more of these animals were used for this purpose, game would be better preserved, and the worries of keepers considerably minimized.  

 

Osmaston Turk, bred and owned by Joseph H. Biggs. His dam, Old Nell, was said to be half-Mastiff, half-Bloodhound.

 

It might be said that the Bull-Mastiff is an animal that can see in the dark, and one that possesses a wonderful ear; in fact, no animal excels him on these points, and although he is termed a non-sporting dog, he has on occasions been trained to retrieve, and has carried out these duties in an efficient manner. I do not, of course, claim him to be a gun-dog in the strict sense of the word – far from it; nevertheless he has in the past been used by many owners for work in the field, and has put up a performance that belies his appearance, proving himself to have a soft mouth and to be an intelligent creature. The breed, of course, was never intended for work in the field, and it would indeed be a bold person who would claim that they could equal at this task those animals that have been specially bred and trained for that purpose. Still, facts are stubborn things, and if the Bull-Mastiff has been used by some owners to do the work of a Retriever, it goes to prove that he is an animal easily trained, and capable of undertaking many duties.  

Bull-Mastiffs are today mainly used as guards and companions, in addition to assisting the police, and for the latter requirements, as well as the former, they fill their position in an admirable manner, for, apart from attacking, they are splendid animals at tracking and have an excellent nose. Thus we find many of these dogs being used by officers of the force, for to those who are on night patrol in the lonely districts these animals are invaluable, as on the trail they are steady; hence many offenders owe their capture to the fact that their presence has been detected by these dogs, and they have been held until they have been arrested. As a police dog, I doubt if the Bull-Mastiff can be equaled; certainly at this work no breed can excel him. …  

 

“There is no Bullmastiff in the world today that does not have Roger of the Fenns as an ancestor,” wrote British breed specialist Douglas Oliff. “It is also highly probable that this same dog features in postwar Mastiff pedigrees.”

 

How Bull-Mastiffs Were Produced

When was the first Bull-Mastiff bred, and where? I am afraid this would be impossible for me to answer definitely, but let me point out that the Bull-Mastiff as we know it today is not just a 50-50 dog, but something better.  

The breed should be made up of approximately 60 percent of the Mastiff and 40 percent of the Bull-Dog to enable us to produce the most suitable type of animal. Now let us see how breeders have produced stock of such proportion. If we take two animals of the different breeds, we will produce in their offspring 50 percent of the blood of each. Let us then take this offspring and put it with the mastiff, and we will have in the progeny 75 percent Mastiff and 25 percent Bull-Dog. Then put this latter offspring with an animal containing a 50-50 percent and the results are that we then produce stock embodying, say, 62½ percent Mastiff and 37½ percent Bull-Dog, which is getting near to the percentage we require. This then allows us easily to level up to the correct proportion by breeding on slightly varied bloodlines.  

By the above principle we produce foundation stock, which we term “cross-breds,” but if we continue to mate animals with this proportion of blood, we will after the third generation have produced what are termed “pure-breds,” and these would not only be eligible for registration at the Kennel Club, but also to compete at shows as pure-bred specimens where classes have been provided for the breed.  

From the above remarks, it will be readily seen that any person may, if he so desire, produce for himself a definite strain of Bull-Mastiff, and providing he has in every case used the right type dogs, he should breed animals full of quality, embodying the positive points and losing the negative ones, thus arriving at a type that should prove not only a credit to the breeder, but also the foundation of a winning strain.  

After reading this you might feel inclined to say, “Oh, yes, it’s easy,” and to an extent it is. Yet, apart from the time that must elapse for you to accomplish the object enumerated, you should realize that there are pitfalls; therefore, if you are not practical enough to guard against them, they may just upset your calculations, and bring about disaster instead of success. Experience is without doubt the master of theory; it is often a hard school, as well as an expensive one. Therefore, to the novice I say, Follow the pioneers, and make your start where they have finished off; this will be easier than starting at the commencement, quicker, and altogether more profitable.  

Let us clearly understand that with any new breed it is not just a question of breeding type, it is the difficulty of retaining that type and reproducing it in future offspring. We may easily breed one good specimen and never after breed another which is its equal, because of the fact that the type has not got definitely fixed; therefore, if we are to reproduce good stock, we must not only have good animals to enable us to do it, but their qualities must to a great extent be firmly bred in, or their offspring may not carry the good points. With the Bull-Mastiff as we know it today, it has not become as yet what might be termed “firmly standardized”; therefore, as time goes on, we should see in the future even greater headway and better all-round stock produced.  

 

Above: Basil Kennedy, a British judge and breeder who handled dogs for royalty, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Glouchester’s Hussar Stingo (left) and Ch. Wisdom of Wynard. In 1937, Arthur Craven presented the second edition of his book to the Bullmastiff-owning Duke (his first edition was presented to King George V and the then-Prince of Wales six years before); all the royals graciously accepted it. Below: Another view of Hussar of Stingo, owned by the Duke of Glouchester.

 

Let us carry this subject a little farther, and we find that even those who have pioneered the breed did some years ago produce what we might claim to be almost ideal specimens. But what happened afterwards? All the stock that was bred in these kennels did not come up to the same standard. No, because with animals we have such a thing as breeding backwards, and we find occasionally, even in one litter, stock that neither resembles the sire nor the dam; in fact, this same stock may reproduce themselves similar to their great-grandparents. With any bitch, irrespective of the sire you use, it is a gamble as to what her offspring will resemble, like the “lucky dip” where you are never sure at the time what you will get. Of course, this does not say that you should not, to the best of your knowledge, try to improve on your young stock, but demonstrates only that you cannot guarantee in advance what nature will provide for you.  

Go to some of the dog shows where a number of Bull-Mastiffs are benched, and what do you find? If you carefully survey them you will see quality animals, taking them all around, but not just that uniformness of type or size required. Up to about three years ago you would have noticed as much as 3 inches difference between the smallest and largest animals (measurements taken at shoulder height). Of course, other breeds have suffered from a similar discrepancy, but we are now dealing with Bull-Mastiffs, and it is for them we are wanting to secure correct uniformity of size.  

Time along, together with breeding from the right stud dogs, will guide us, and assist in bringing this about; but we must “hasten slowly,” and even if it takes a little longer to gain our ultimate aim, we must keep in mind that type comes first and last, and under no circumstances must we do anything that injures our object, or what we have so far gained we may lose.  

What is type? With an animal it is that which is emblematical of all that goes to make a perfect specimen, and above all embodying in every degree the true character for the breed. Of course, it must be borne in mind that no perfect animal is bred, and the best specimens that have ever seen the light of day, irrespective of what breed they were, have been born with faults. Are not dogs in this respect like humans – none perfect?

 

Early Bullmastiffs Vindictive Prince and Princess Nada.

 

One of the greatest faults with present-day Bull-Mastiffs is teeth. Too many animals are bred that are under-shot (bottom teeth extending beyond the top teeth). The formation of the teeth should not resemble too much the Bull-Dog mouth, but should be level in our breed, and fit vice-like; still, a slight projection of the lower set does not at the present disqualify a dog when being shown, although if it competes against one with a perfectly level mouth, all other points being equal, it would certainly be penalized by any officiating judge who knew his work.  

Another fault we find in some animals is muzzles. Here we often see weakness where strength should prevail. Some people say many of our present-day specimens show too much of the Mastiff muzzle; a few people give other reasons for this fault, which personally I rule out, because one can afford to ignore these cranks, who in most cases know absolutely nothing about the many subjects they discuss, but do their best to try and get others to imagine they are experts. In Bull-Mastiff circles we find a number of these self-claimed authorities at practically every dog show, but fortunately few people listen to their claims.  

Before leaving the question of muzzles it might by some readers be wondered if the fault is positive or negative, and whether we can breed animals with good muzzles without resorting to further crossing. Let me assure everybody interested that this particular point has been proven to be a negative one, because of the fact that most animals that are now bred possess only “good muzzles,” but level teeth. That being so, it clearly proves that this particular fault, when it arises, can be remedied in time; and if we pay a little more attention to the question of breeding, I look for this defect to be totally eliminated shortly, and once this is done, it should with reasonable care never trouble us again.  

 

Vic Smith, breeder of the first Bullmastiff dog champion, Tiger Prince, with some of his earliest stock.

 

The Color Question

If we turn to the standard laid down by the Bull-Mastiff Association, we notice that it is clearly stated that brindles or any shades of fawns are permissible, and although we see many brindles at shows, it cannot be denied that the majority of exhibits are biscuit fawns and reds. In fact the reds now appear to be the most popular of all.  

The colors that usually govern Bull-Mastiffs are black, fawn and red. Occasionally we see white markings crop up on the chest, toes and the tip of the tail. In a brindle specimen the chest markings are no fault whatever, and white patches are not a disqualification with any Bull-Mastiff at the present, but possibly the time will come about when this will be remedied. Let me point out that pigmentation spreads. It carries itself along the head, body and legs, finishing at the toes and the tip of the tail. That being so, when we see these latter parts void of it, we are safe in arriving at the conclusion that it is the effect not only of a combination of close in-breeding, but due to the bitch being in poor condition during the period of gestation. With some breeds white toes are a disqualification, and many fanciers will under no circumstances breed from such a specimen. The time may come when Bull-Mastiff fanciers will act in a similar manner, but until that day dawns, do not let us penalize white markings, irrespective of the color of animal same are present on.  

Speaking about white, a few years ago I met a very old fancier and friend. He informed me that he had bred a Bull-Mastiff that was practically all white, and he wondered if it was eligible to exhibit. My reply was yes, and I pointed out that under present conditions, any of the colors, of combination of colors, that came from the Bull-Dog, or the Old English Mastiff were permissible. I even went so far as to say that I would like to see the puppy that he had bred, and hoped that on some future occasion when I was judging, he would exhibit it, in order that I should have the opportunity of running the rule over same. Unfortunately the dog was sold later on, and as it has to my knowledge not been exhibited, I am unable to give my readers further details as to its qualities, judged by the breed’s standard.  

Now in my first edition of this work, the following appeared … : “If we view the color question from a point of appearance, I am inclined to believe that a red specimen is more pleasing to the eye.” You may think that there is very little in that, and so did I when I first penned it, but somehow or other, it appears that some of the readers of my first edition of this work, have taken those few words to imply that I am up against brindle Bull-Mastiffs, and will not give them a fair crack of the whip when I judge the breeds, in spite of the fact that further on in the chapter which I have already referred to, I wrote the following: “Let me, however, point out that I do not wish those who officiate as judges the breed take my remarks to mean that they should give priority to red Bull-Mastiffs, as this would, under present conditions, be entirely wrong. Every judge should, to the best of his ability, when officiating, hand out his awards in a manner that shows the true interpretation of the club’s standard; and as this clearly defines that any shade of fawn or brindle is permissible, he should not allow his personal prejudice (if he has one for color) to enter into it.” Surely my remarks were very clear, and I cannot for the life of me understand why so many exhibitors have got the wrong impression. I do not mind accepting blame for what I write, providing those who blame me keep to the facts.  

 

Pridzor Supreme, owned by Vic Smith, and whelped in the early 1930s.

 

What about color you may wonder? How can you breed to it, and away from it? So I will just briefly deal with the subject, hoping it may be of benefit to breeders. Now in the first place let me point out that in breeding for color it is usually the male that predominates. That being so, if you require darker colors, use a stud dog that is darker in color than the bitch, if you require lighter colors, select a stud dog that is lighter in shade.  

Say you are wishful of producing reds, and your kennel is now filled with biscuit fawns, all you require to do is to use for the next two generations nothing but deep red stud dogs, and you should achieve your object. Then you should introduce the brindle, and afterwards get back to the red again. You possibly may wonder why I recommend the introduction of the brindle, so let me mention that this is in order to try and preserve the black mask, as we do not wish to breed stock without it. If you desire to breed biscuit fawns, and your stock is red, you should select a sire that is biscuit fawn, and the females from the litter should be again mated to a biscuit fawn. Then carry this on to the third generation before introducing the brindle. By the above you will see that to get reds it is two in and one out, to get fawns it is three in and one out.  

Now, when breeding for brindles, do not make the mistake of keep breeding brindle with brindle, and carrying it on indefinitely, or you may in course of time breed self-blacks. If you will on every third occasion introduce biscuit fawn or red, you will not only help to breed a more pleasant shade of brindle, but animals whose color will better allow their good points to stand out clearly to the casual observer. 

Before I leave the question of color, it might be as well to point out that with Bull-Mastiffs a black mask is preferable. That being so, it might be argued that some biscuit fawn specimens with a black mask tend to show too much of the Mastiff appearance, and to an extent this is correct, more especially when viewed by the novice. Another point is that we occasionally see brindle-marked specimens whose markings somewhat detract from their qualities, and I have seen more than one animal (brindle) which at first glance appeared to have a small skull and long muzzle, but on examination has been found the reverse. These particular points are further reasons why fanciers should give greater consideration to the color question, as it has a bearing on their activities in the ring, when exhibiting under judges who may have a color prejudice.  

The ears of the Bull-Mastiff commencing at the skull should be the same color as the animal’s body, but the shade should gradually deepen, so as to finish black near the tips. The all-black ear is to my way of thinking no advantage, and it would be a pity if a good specimen with black ear-tips was to be penalized to make room for an inferior animal, because it carried ears that were all black. 

 


   

The First Bullmastiff Standard

The original breed standard was proposed by V.D. Thomas, the founding secretary of the Midland Bull Mastiff Club, the first specialist club for the breed. The standard was passed unanimously on Sept. 4, 1925.

HEAD … To be square and compact; on no account to be long or of the Great Dane type. Muzzle to be square. Head and fairly short neck to be set on fairly well set up shoulders. Ears on no account to be large and drooping, but rather to be of a size between the Bulldog and the Mastiff, showing an alert expression when the dog is excited or aroused. Eye to be preferably dark, although a hazel eye must not be considered a bar provided the dog confirms to type. Slight haw not altogether detrimental. An undershot mouth not to be a bar in view of the fact of the dog’s breeding. Wrinkle on skull desirable, but not essential.  

BODY … Chest to be muscular and broad. To be well-ribbed-up and not too long. Even proportions to be aimed at. Dog must not be too leggy. Legs must be straight. Tendency towards cow hocks or bowed front to be avoided. Tail must be thick at the top, gradually tapering, but not too fine as in the case of the Bull Terrier. Gay tail carriage a decided drawback. A cranked tail is not to be a bar, although the eventual type might be improved by having a straight tail. The Bulldog type of cranked tail is bound to appear from time to time. Coat must be hard and short, similar in texture to the Mastiff or Bulldog. A shaggy coat is a decided disqualification.  

COLOUR … To be fawn or brindle: any shade of fawn or brindle permissible. Black masks preferable. Slight white markings on chest or toes not to be a detriment, but patches of white on body to be avoided. Breeders to remember that a dog with a poor body and a good head is quite as bad as one with a poor head and a good body.  

GENERAL FEATURES … To be aimed at in the make-up of a Bull Mastiff should be courage, activity and strength. The dog’s disposition should be cheerful, and shyness the first thing to be avoided. Intelligence must always be kept in view. The type of dog is naturally intelligent and by careful breeding and training such intelligence can be developed very strongly.  

SIZE OF THE DOG … Bitches, 75 to 90 lb. weight, height at shoulder 23/25 in. Dogs, 90 to 110 lb. weight, height at shoulder 24/26 in. The big outstanding type of dog is to be avoided. Breeders to remember that they are not to aim at producing a dog as big as the Mastiff.

 

 

© Modern Molosser Magazine. This article may not be reposted, reprinted, rewritten, excerpted or otherwise duplicated in any medium without the express written permission of the publisher.