Issues with Proportion, Weight & Crank Tails in the Bullmastiff
The Judges Education Committee would like judges to pay particular attention to the Bullmastiff Breed Standard with regard to proportion and weight. The Bullmastiff is a NEARLY square dog. The dog/bitch should be measured from the tip of the breastbone to the rear of the thigh. This distance exceeds the height from the withers to the ground only SLIGHTLY, resulting in a nearly square appearance. There are exhibits currently being shown in both sexes with excess length in the loin. This would contradict the requirement of a nearly square proportion.
The Bullmastiff Standard allows dogs to be 25-27 inches at the withers and a weight of 110-130 pounds. Bitches are to be 24-26 inches at the withers with a weight range of 100-120 pounds. Unfortunately, many of the Bullmastiff males being shown exceed the weight limit by as much as 20-25 pounds.
While one cannot bring a scale into the ring to measure the parameter of weight, consider each entry to see how many would be capable of performing their ancestral duty. Please remember that the Bullmastiff worked alongside the gamekeeper to protect the estate lands from poachers. Long hours at a trot over rough terrain required a fit and agile animal. Dogs with excess weight and muscle would not have the stamina to track, down, and hold a fleeing poacher. While Bullmastiffs no longer patrol expansive estates, they still need to be fit and agile to compete in many performance events. They are adept at Tracking, Agility, Dock Diving, and Obedience. Judges should be mindful of “form fitting function” when choosing worthy specimens in the show ring.
Lastly, we are seeing the re-emergence of crank tails. The correct tail of the Bullmastiff is set on high, strong at the root and tapering to the hock. Any break or deformity should be penalized. A correctly formed tail speaks to the overall strength of the spinal column. As always, the ABA Judges Education is available to help anyone who is interested in judging our breed.