Illustrated Points 1883

 Illustrated Points of the Mastiff - dated 1883

During history various opinions have been expressed as to the correct shape of the ideal Mastiff . It is , however , a characteristic of human nature that those opinions have been governed to some extent by the dogs owned or bred by the people expressing them . To give a clear unblased view of the situation one is bound to fall back on the observation of the few who , although having evinced the keenest interest in the breed for long periods , have never been owners .

A typical example is Mr Arthur Wardle , that celebrated artist who may be described as probably Britain’ greatest living painter of dogs . All are familiar with his work , and his pictures have been a conspicious feature at the Royal Academy exhibitions during the past 45 years . He has painted many Mastiffs , the writer being particularly fortunate in possession of  a portrait of Goldhawk Imperator by this great man . Mr Wardle considers that the ideal Mastiff should conform to the standard description laid down by the OEMC . He thinks that ch Beaufort (see above at left)  was the finest specimen of the breed he ever saw .  Source  ~Fred J Hawkins Our Dogs’ contributor to Mastiff Mems [1931] . Note ~ Beaufort’ grandaughter Frigga Secunda (see above at right) was chosen together with her dam Frigga as model for Arthur Wardle’ Ideal Mastiffs .

General character ~ Large , massive , powerful , symmetrical , and well-knit frame . A combination of grandeur and good nature , courage and docility .

General description of head ~ In general outline giving a square appearance when viewed from any point. Breadth greatly to be desired, and should be in ratio to length of the whole head and face as 2 to 3 .

General description of body ~Massive , broad , deep , long , powerful built , on legs wide apart and squarely set. Muscles sharply defined . Size a great desideratum if combined with quality . Height of less importance than substance , but desirable , if both points are proportionately combined .

Skull ~ Broad between the ears , forehead flat , but wrinkled when attention is excited . Brows [superciliary ridges] slightly raised . Muscles of the temples and cheeks [temporal and masseter] well developed . Arch across the skull of a rounded flattened curve , with a depression up the centre of the forehead from the medium line between the eyes to half-way up the sagittal suture .

At left -  Crown Prince ; in the middle the head type adapted by the OEMC and drawn by Richard Hewitt Moore who also drew ch Beaufort’ head in profile [at the right side]. Champion Crown Prince , born 22 February 1880 , presumably has been played model  for the OEMC standard concerning head properties. He was bred by Mr Woolmore and owned by Dr LS Forbes Winslow who sat in the chair at the inauguration meeting of the OEMC on  19 January 1883 . At that moment Crown Prince has already gained an overwhelming palmares  : 1881 , Alexandra Palace , champion ; Burton-on-Trent , 1st ; Leicester , 1st & cup ; Macclesfield , 1st ; Maidstone 1st , champion cup for Beaufoy’ Nerot ;  Margate , 1st & cup  & 1st (puppyclass) ; 1882 , Hertford , champion ; Dudley , 1st ; Alexandra Palace , champion ; Torquay , 1st & cup ; Margate , champion ; Sheffield , champion ;  Colchester , 2nd beaten by Taunton’ Cardinal ; Bournemouth , cup (champion class ) (variety breed) ; Maidstone , 1st (champion) ; Crystal Palace , champion ; 1883 , Crystal Palace 2nd (champion class) 2nd  beaten by his brother Prince Regent .

Face or muzzle ~ Short , broad under the eyes , and keeping nearly parallel in width to the end of the nose ; truncated , i.e., blunt and cut off square , thus forming a right angle with the upper line of the face, of great depth from the point of the nose to underjaw . Underjaw broad to the end ; canine teeth powerful, healthy , and wide apart ; incisors level , or the lower projecting beyond the upper , but never sufficiently so as to become visible when the mouth is closed . Length of muzzle to whole head and face as 1 to 3 . Circumference of muzzle (measured midway between the eyes and nose)  to that of the head measured before the ears)  as 3 to 5 .

Ears ~ Small , thin to the touch , wide apart , set on at the highest points of the sides of the skull , so as to continue the outline across the summit , and lying flat and close to the cheeks when in repose .

Eyes ~ Small , wide apart , divided by at least the space of two eyes . The stop between the eyes well marked , but not too abrupt . Colour hazel-brown , the darker the better , showing no haw .

Nose ~ Broad , with widely spreading nostrils when viewed from the front ; flat (not pointed or turned up)  in profile .

Lips ~ Diverging at obtuse angles with the septum , and slightly pendulous , so as to show a square profile .

Neck ~ Slightly arched , moderately long , very muscular , and measuring in circumference about one or two inches less than the skull before the ears .

Chest ~ Wide , deep , and well let down between the fore-legs . Ribs arched and well rounded . False ribs deep and well set back to the hips . Girth should be one third more than the height at the shoulder .

Shoulder and arm ~ Slightly sloping , heavy , and muscular .

Fore-legs & feet ~ Straight , strong , and set wide apart , bones very large . Elbows square . Pasterns upright . Feet large and round . Toes well arched up . Nails black ;

Back , loins and flanks ~ Wide and muscular ; flat and very wide in a bitch , slightly arched in a dog . Great depth of flanks .

Hind-quarters and thighs ~ Broad , wide , and muscular , with well developed second thighs, straight to stifle , hocks bent , wide apart , and quite squarely set when standing or walking . Feet round , and without dew-claws .

Tail ~ Put on high up , and reaching to the hocks , or a little below them , wide at its root and tapering to the end , hanging in repose , but forming a curve with the end pointing upwards , but not over the back, when the dog is excited .

Coat ~Short and close-lying , but not too fine over the shoulders , neck and back .

Colour ~ Apricot or silver-fawn or dark fawn brindle . In any case muzzle , ears , and nose should be black , with black round the orbits and extending upwards between them .

At left ~ A part of the large shield made by one of the authors of the breed standard , Dr Sidney Turner , Chairman of the Kennel Club .

The Shield was presented to the Kennel Club in 1920 by Dr Turner’ widow Emily Jane and was awarded for Best Brace at the Kennel Club’ show ; engraved silver roundels and silver dogs’ masks modelled by Dr Turner , who was an accomplished sculptor , surround the silver shield .

The head at the base of the shield is Dr Sidney Turner’ interpretation of the ideal Mastiff head . It finely displays what Dr Turner describes as ~ ‘that bevelled-off look which we see so well shown in Hotspur’ or in other words ‘the drop from the skull to the muzzle’ and which is quite differently shown by ch Crown Prince vs Beaufort ; in regards to proportional length of muzzle of this silver piece of Mastiff art seems be rather shortcoming …

Coming back to the OEMC head model (here above in the page centre) drawn by RH Moore it may look as if being too short in muzzle [less than ~ ‘length of muzzle to whole head and face as 1 to 3’ ] . It’s therefore a pity there’s no identical head drawn in profile . The collage here below represents at the 1st row the OEMC head model and two pics of ch Havengore Hotspot’ son Milf Murias b 1960 and at the 2nd row two other pics of Murias ch Havengore Bill b 1925  .

Looking at the left sided photograph of Murias (2nd row) , one can definitely consider the length of muzzle , certainly not too short, nevertheless the thick-set head impression of the frontal image [above in the middle] which does incline to cause a rather telescopic view , in other words,  to shrivel up the view of depth regarding the subject ;  the downwards faced depictions [under in the middle & at right] display a familiar likeness between Murias & Bill .

The standard asks for lips diverging at obtuse angles with the septum ; if fore lips display the Dogue de BX-like rounded form , then there’s no sufficient angle . In order to create a full square muzzle end it's of major importance that fore lips are proportionately short (instead of longish & = 'hanging') , in that way providing  to the (in profile) level  and (in front) broad lower lip the necessary 'room' to fill up the gap in between without pushing forward the upper lips , iow to become a muzzle end cut off squarely aka 'HAMMER-LIKE' . 

Another point of attention is the point of divergence , ie the same standard asks for a muzzle of great depth from the point of the nose to the under-jaw . Now , if lips diverge from each other justly below the nose mirror it’s in contradiction with the aim at a muzzle of great depth . By lack of a deep septum , Mastiffs display a ‘high’ split and if combined with proportionately overlong fore-lips annex weak chin it causes a Bloodhound-like ‘loose covering up’ of muzzle end . Fore-lips  too short  combined with a broad lower jaw end , usually cause a really rounded form without any angling at all  ; and if in profile view there’s also a protuding muzzle end instead of being cut off squarely , the former front fault becomes doubled up into a Mastiff improper lowering  Bully look . Actually , it' quite simple - if one has a visual imprint of the hereabove provided OEMC head model commissioned and approved by the , dixit , 'Architects  of the Standard'   and to realize a/o the (slightly less than)  right angle betwixt both fore-lips which , by the way , suits the idea of squareness .

An excerpt from Mr Herbert Compton’  The Twentieth Century Dogs ~ Non - Sporting [1904] ~ ‘… And there certainly is a small modern minority which hold to the hound-like muzzle , provided it is accompanied with breadth and depth . In the practice of the show bench , this and the Lyme Park type are a race apart and out of the running in competition with the Bulldog type of the Mastiff , which those best qualified to judge have decided on as the proper one . On this point there’s no greater authority than Mr Robert Leadbetter , facile princeps of Mastiff fanciers .

Mr Leadbetter of Hazelmere kennels has a very strong opinion on this particular matter , which he has expressed as follows ~ ‘ Some people would have one believe that in fixing the short wrinkled heads as the correct type , which is undoubtedly so , we are altering the head . But I would mention that in 1866 my late father had a dog whose head was a facsimile of ch Holland’ Black Boy . A long-headed Mastiff is a abomination . and if you ask me why I hold this unalterable opinion I answer because if we encouraged the long-headed type there would soon be no difference between the Mastiff and a bad , coarse-headed Great Dane . The long heads are so easy to breed in comparison to the right type . As a breeder of Great Danes and Mastiffs (and a very old one) I know well it would be possible, if the long plain heads were encouraged , to chose in some litters of fawn or brindle Great Danes a puppy to win as a Mastiff . I cannot contemplate such a shocking contingency – one so derogatory to our fine old English breed – with equinamity .’

The then two opponents , at left - Robert Leadbetter'  ch Holland’ Black Boy whose size of  muzzle is exemplary in regard to the 3/5 proportion vs skull but not in regard to the 1/2 proportion vs skull , ie rather too short and thereby 'retroussé'  as if his nose is 'pushed' backward (so not cut off squarely) . At right - Hollywood actor C Aubrey Smith'  ch Colonel Cromwell , having a broad level muzzle cut off squarely but  failing in the ‘3 to 5’ proportion of circumference of muzzle to that of the head , iow lacking in proportional volume of skull .

Herbert Compton continues as follows ~‘ A dictum like this , from one who is as great an authority on Great Danes as he is on Mastiffs , sufficiently settles the point, which I would not have alluded to at such length but for Dr Turner’s award at the Kennel Club Show *,  which naturally resuscitated the hopes of those who fancy the long muzzle .* Ch Colonel Cromwell CC-winner , beating AW Lucas’ Black Prince & R Leadbetter’ Czar Peter.

The short-muzzled type has been adopted by the specialist clubs , and is the deliberate choice of the experts of the breed . Dr Sidney Turner** himself approves it , and also the scale of point values , ie 18 for face or muzzle , 12 for skull , 6 for eyes , 4 for ears , so that we have a total of 40 points for the head – a value only second to that of the Bulldog , where head and face properties count for 45 . And as in the Bulldog , so in the Mastiff , the head is the very foundation of the type of the dog . **Dr Sidney Turner , together with WK Taunton & Rev. Mellor , formed the subcommittee that drew up the OEMC standard ! That in the past there has been a divergence in the configuration of the head I make no doubt , but Mastiff-fanciers have selected the best , and the one most difficult to propagate . This is as it should be , and no one who has followed the immense improvement that has taken place in all domestical animals within the last fifty years can doubt the undeniable superiority of our modern types to those which existed in days when no attention was paid to breeding , and the reproduction of the fittest.

One of the then examples showing a too short muzzle was Dr John Sidney Turner’ The Lady Gladys    [ch Crown Prince x The Lady Rowena] , displayed  here  by illustration & photograph ; according to The Kennel Encyclopaedia [1910] her length of head from nose to occiput was recorded as 10 inches against a length of muzzle attaining only 3 inches , half an inch less than her sis ch The Lady Isabel ; their brother ch Orlando measured respectively 12 & 4 inches  , perfectly meeting the OEMC standard . Here below at left Orlando' ch sis Elaine .

At right - A part of a print published July 3rd 1884 by ‘The World’s Penny’ newspaper  ; the whole print displays some of the [unnamed] favourites at the Crystal Palace Dog Show ~ English Setter , Irish Water Spaniel , Bulldog , Mastiff , Boarhound , Bull Terrier , Bloodhound & Sheepdog . Interesting to note is that only Bulldog & Mastiff are depicted by a front view which always gives some telescopic effect on the interpretation regarding length of head & foreface .

The Mastiff representant fairly resembles Dr John Sidney Turner’ ch The Lady Gladys’ drawing on the former page , which has been published in ‘The Kennel Gazette’ , August 1883 , illustrating a full page ode about ‘champion The Lady Glady KCSB 12,845 b. May 1883’ ~  mentioning a/o that ch Beau has been selected to be the sire of her first litter of puppies , and the result of the alliance may be shortly be looked for by admirers of the breed’ , shortly after her last entry in the KC Stud Book winning the champion prize at Crystal Palace July 1883 , and half a year after the foundation of the Old English Mastiff Club which minutes mention that the Committee was very active , organising a/o not less than ten meetings during the club’ foundation year 1883 .

No puppies of this planned litter came up in the KCSB and ch The Lady Gladys was exported to Winchell [of Fairhaven US] who later on bred ch Beaufort’ Black Prince out of a ch The Gladys’ niece , namely the Belgian Rev  HKE Van Doorne’ Gerda sired by ch Beau’ son ch Beaufort [b. July 1884] , considered in those days as the idéal breed example and whelped out of ch The Gladys’ sis ch The Lady Isabel bred & owned by Dr J Sidney Turner of Stanton House , Upper Norwood . 

In 1884 the breed was judged twicely at the Crystal Palace [January & July] ; Reverend WJ Mellor gave the challenge awards to ch Crown Prince & ch The Lady Gladys’ sis ch Rosalind ~ Dr J S Turner repeated Reverend WJ Mellor’ dog challenge award while ch The Lady Gladys’ sis Elaine got the premier honours in bitches beating ch Rosalind for the reason that ‘on this occasion she had just met with a slight accident which made her lame or she would certainly have won the Challenge Cup for the second time’.

Reverend WJ Mellor reported a/o  ’The Lady Gladys ~ blessed with an almost perfect skull ; we do not much like her muzzle ~ Rosalind has the largest frame , whilst The Lady Gladys has the better head , but , unfortunately for her , she walked lame in the ring , and so Rosalind was placed first.’ At Crystal Palace ‘83 ‘Communicated’  stated ~ ‘Mastiff Bitches were a magnificent class . Rosalind , the winner , has a long body , good skull , perfect legs and feet , and well defined mask ; she might , however , be a little broader at the end of her muzzle.’ Ch Elaine , somewhat similar to her brother ch Orlando , was a/o described by Dr Turner as ~ ‘has a grand flat skull , splendid muzzle , very wide under the eyes which are dark hazel colour , good mask & well-carried ears , capital legs , feet & tail . Although of good weight & substance , decidedly short bodied & wanting in height . ’It was a most flourishing time for the breed as also in 1886 the first breed book was published , namely ‘The History of the Mastiff’ written by M B Wynn ; in 1890 almost two hundred Mastiffs were registered by the Kennel Club but ten years later this number was fallen down to only twenty-four !

The American ‘Abbott Grocery Co’ distributed a large array of food products under  ‘Mastiff Brand’ naming  ; at right ~ Lord of the Manor , the breed in all its aristocratic grandeur!