From Pluto to OEMC

From Pluto until the OEMC standard

This painting by George B Cole [1810-1883] is inscribed ‘Reputed to be the Marquis of Hertford’ Mastiff Pluto  used by Thomas HV Lukey as his foundation stock’. George B Cole , born in Portsmouth , was a self taught portrait, landscape & animal painter who began his career producing advertisements for the proprietor of a traveling circus .  Following this , he went on with his studies of animal painting and even went to Holland to study the Dutch Masters . He exhibited for the first time at the British Institute in 1840 , and from 1849 to 1882 he showed at the Royal Academy . By this time he had turned to landscape , and produced views of the home counties as well as of Cornwall and Wales . He was the father and teacher of George Vicat Cole , Royal Artist.

It was along Hyde Park’ Serpentine lake that Mr Lukey met the Marquis of Hertford’ magnificent black Mastiff Pluto whom was probably also well-known amidst gentry lounging along Park. ‘ Mr Lukey told me in 1851 the Marquis of Hertford’Pluto was black and was the largest and best Mastiff in all points he ever saw . I believed I am justified in saying that Mr Lukey was indebted in a great measure to this dog in producing his fine breed . However we may gather he was a dog of vast size , hardish coat , and with a tendency to throw roughish progeny , resembling the Newfoundland somewhat in character.’ dixit James Wigglesworth Thompson of Halifax , the great early Yorkshire breeder favoured by Malcolm B Wynn . One decade later dog shows emerged and they rapidly made clearly the necessity of breed standards written by Dr John Henry Walsh mentioning also that ‘ if we take Mr Lukey’ breed as the foundation of most of our strains , it is indisputable that the brindle is a true Mastiff colour‘.

Cynological authorities , in case of the Mastiff , were foremost  Stonehenge [rather adherent of the Lukey’ strain] and later on Malcolm B Wynn , champion of JW Thompson' strain . Stonehenge [aka John Henry Walsh 1810-1888] of Putney near Mortlake , London  ~ Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons , was an ophthalmic surgeon  but gradually abandoned it on account of the success of his many works on the subject of sport . December 1857 he became editor of ‘The Field’ magazine founded in 1853 by a/o RS Surtees who envisaged ‘a sporting, a farming , and a sort of high-life-in-London paper with a summary of all that is going on’. Walsh not merely transformed a loss-maker into a profitable business but established The Field as indisputably the sportsman'  newspaper .

Stonehenge was one of the judges on the first dog show , held in the ‘ New Corn Exchange ‘ Newcastle-upon-Tyne , the 29th & 30th June 1859 [Newcastle Race Week], confined to Pointers and Setters ;  23 entries for Pointers and 37 for Setters , many being from distant parts of the kingdom . Besides JH Walsh it were  Mr J. Jobling of Morpeth and Mr Thomas Robson of Newcastle appointed as judges . The show was organised by Richard Brailsford , b. 1796 at Knowsley , breeder & trainer of to Edward Stanley , 13th   Earl of Derby of Knowsley Hall - Prescot Lancashire , prominent zoologist , creator of the country' largest  menagerie outside London Zoo and correspondent with the world famous naturalist Charles Darwin .

Dr Walsh wrote & published the first breed standards as an aid in judging and a goal for breeders  . While privately written , theirs merits were quickly recognised and many eventually were adopted by the Kennel Club as official standards until later improved or revised . His Points of the Mastiff [1859] were given a/o as following ~ ‘red or fawn , brindles and blacks , or fawn-and-white , the eye small , the tail carried high over the back when excited’ ~ Lukey' Wallace b 1855 chosen as illustration [see at left] .

His points [1866] mention a/o ~ ears small and wholly pendant , lying close to the cheek [though set on farther back than in the hound] ,  eyes mild & intelligent , square muzzle , not too tapering towards the point of the nose ; teeth level sometimes  a slight projection of the lower , legs straight , with great bone [this point is not generally well displayed , owing to confinement [small sized kennelled or chained] , as is also the case with all large breeds] ~ Lukey’ Governor , born 1861 as Pluto' f5 descent  [see at right] chosen as illustration drawn by L Wells [ditto Wallace] & engraved by Butterworth & Heath .

Although Governor wasn’t a great winner , his exceptional height [33 inches] portended a fad for great size until the early 1870ties and generated winners , particularly originating from Edwin Nichols’ stock which goes back to Lyme Hall Leo owned by the influential artist Richard Ansdell , a/o Hales’ Lion , Aglionby’ Turk & Nichols’ Punch ; another winner of definite height was Green’ Monarch , a great-grandson to Lyme Hall Sultan .

It seemed that in those days Lyme Hall blood was almost unanimously considered as  ‘breeders’ gold’ until the appearance on the show bench of MB Wynn [1870] who rather relativates its value ; by investigating the matter it wasn’t so obvious that Lyme Hall provided that antique pure bred strain of high quality specimens but rather found itself in decline [maybe due to isolement or shortage of knowledge] .

Opposite , a range of dedicated first class Mastiff breeders as THV Lukey , E Hanbury , E Nichols , Miss Aglionby & MB Wynn [albeit deviating visions]  worked fruitfully together . In 1867 Stonehenge suggested that ‘ the Mastiff was being crossed with Bloodhounds , heads becoming narrow, eyes sunken and the haw exaggerated ; the Bulldog was used in order to get a shorter face , for the Mastiff head then was a longer head than was desired ’. In this respect , it’s interesting to know that in 1875 Reverend WJ Mellor’ Mastiff , the world-wide known champion and ancestor of many fine specimens , namely Turk b 1867 & bred by Miss Aglionby , came into the hands of the internationally known Bloodhound breeder Edwin Brough [ born1844 ~  Southfield House , Somerset ]  .

Champion Turk died in his kennels at Ballhaye Park , Leek  [Staffordshire] , a town of great character situated on the edge of the Peak District surrounded by splendid countryside . He also owned Turk’ daughter Thekla & Una , a bitch out of MB Wynn’ Formosa . The ‘Brough’ family of Staffordshire - England , takes its name from the geographical area of Brough       [ medieval ‘Burgh’ Latin ‘Bur gum’ ] .

By 1634 , Thomas Brough had acquired the title of ‘Gentleman’ and had been given a ‘tenement and land in Leek Frith, specifically accepted in King Edward VI's grant to Sir Ralph Bagnall [which was done about one hundred years earlier] . He erected a Hall in Windygates -- which still stands and serves as a beautiful farmhouse today , and which has the initials of Thomas Brough and the date the Hall was built inscribed over the top of its porch entrance ~ ‘T B 1634’ . Edwin Brough was in the silk manufacturing business for several years, but  eventually left Leek for Scarborough on Sea.‘

In 1873 the twenty-one years old MB Wynn made a description adopted by ‘The Mastiff Breeding Club’ as the standard of points in Breeding Mastiffs . While Walsh displayed an allround knowledge concerning the breed , MB Wynn may be regarded as the breed student par excellence , learned by a/o the distinguished breeders THV Lukey & Edgar Hanbury whose Rajah could have played model for MB Wynn’ first standard , nevertheless illustrated by Wynn’ ch Peeress’ .

Striking new or deviating features are a/o ~ ‘head broad between the eyes , muzzle blunt & as deep as possible, profile square , a deal of loose skin down the sides of the face , ears either half erect or wholly pendant’ . Malcolm Bush Wynn ended as following ~ ‘I append now a carefully considered scale of points , the work of Edgar Hanbury , Esq , with which I perfectly agree’ .

In 1878 Stonehenge published a revised standard , warning especially for the Bloodhound cross regarding ‘the flews should be no means be pendulous , the eyes mild in expression but without sad & solemn look, the ears without the slightest approach to a fold & no troatiness'. Further on he mentions ‘ jaws moderatly long , full upper lip, flews distinctly marked so as to make a square outlook , the neck of sufficient length to avoid loss of symmetry ‘ .

He also remarks that  ~ ‘ Sometimes white is shown on the face , but this is certainly a defect , though not a great one ‘ opposite Malcolm Bush Wynn’ vision of 1873 ~ ‘from time to time , the white face especially has and will occur , and generally in the finest specimens , and those which most closely resemble the paintings of their progenitors’…

Stonehenge 1878 goes on ~ ‘ Mastiffs were by no means a breed of handsome dogs , for we read that the feet were often weak and flat , the legs small in bone and bend at the knees , and that they frequently had cat-hams , and to gallop was quite beyond their power ’~ ‘Captain Garnier thinks that a cross of brindle is necessary to keep up the black points, but I scarcely think this can be correct , for the black is well marked in the Lyme Hall strain , as well as Mr Kingdon’ crosses , none of which are derived from brindled sires or dams ’ .

In 1880 it was MB Wynn who revised his standard , a/o ~ expression lowering , broad stop , muzzle not tapering towards the nose , line of profile level [not drooping as in Hounds] . Large nostrils , lips should fall forward [not hanging at the corners of the mouth as in Bloodhounds] , body thick-set & muscular with great length & bulk on comparatively short legs , neck short , thick & muscular . The scale of points became also adapted ~ muzzle breadth , squareness & flews 15 [Hanbury 10 ~ Stonehenge 5] ; neck , shoulders , breadth of breast 11 [Hanbury 6 ~ Stonehenge 15] ; legs , thighs , hocks & feet 13 [Hanbury 8 ~ Stonehenge 10] ; height 10 [Hanbury & Stonehenge 15] .

The  OEMC  head model drawn  by Richard Hewitt Moore vs champion Orlando , born 1882 , bred by Dr John Sidney Turner ; these pictures may be considered as the blueprints of Mastiff head type , emerged after considerable time of early dog show fancy and chosen after carefully taken compromises between doggy people carrying one common goal ~ the dedication to the ancient faithful guard of person & property .

Dr Joseph Fry , a young Quaker physician , visited Bristol one day from his home in the Wiltshire village of Sutton Benger . He stopped to look into a little shop in Small Street . That shop was to become the first home of J S Fry & Sons Ltd , the oldest firm of cocoa and chocolate manufacturers in the world , founded in 1728 . The series of dog breed cards presents also the 'English Mastiff' which shows a remarkable similarity vs a photograph of ch Beaufort' Black Prince .