Standard is a written description of what
would be the conformationally 'ideal'
Mastiff according to the American Kennel
Club & The Mastiff Club Of America. Every
aspiring breeder should study the Mastiff
Standard closely and learn it. Only
by understanding what characteristics are
'correct' can one accurately identify the
'faults' in their potential breeding stock,
so that intelligent breeding decisions can
be made which will be more likely to produce
Mastiffs that closely conform to the
Standard for our breed. For further reading,
visit the AKC website's page about Mastiffs
The Mastiff is a large, massive,
symmetrical dog with a well-knit frame. The
impression is one of grandeur and dignity.
Dogs are more massive throughout. Bitches
should not be faulted for being somewhat
smaller in all dimensions while maintaining
a proportionally powerful structure. A good
evaluation considers positive qualities of
type and soundness with equal weight.
Size - Dogs,
minimum, 30 inches at the
shoulder. Bitches, minimum,
27-1/2 inches at the shoulder.
Fault-Dogs or bitches below
the minimum standard. The
farther below standard, the
greater the fault.
Rectangular, the length of the
dog from forechest to rump is
somewhat longer than the height
at the withers. The height of
the dog should come from depth
of body rather than from length
Massive, heavy boned, with a
powerful muscle structure. Great
depth and breadth desirable.
Fault-Lack of substance or
In general outline giving a
massive appearance when viewed
from any angle. Breadth greatly
desired. Eyes - set wide apart,
medium in size, never too
prominent. Expression alert but
kindly. Color of eyes brown, the
darker the better, and showing
no haw. Light eyes or a
predatory expression is
- Small in proportion to the
skull, V-shaped, rounded at the tips.
Leather moderately thin, set widely apart at
the highest points on the sides of the skull
continuing the outline across the summit.
They should lie close to the cheeks when in
repose. Ears dark in color, the blacker the
better, conforming to the color of the
- broad and somewhat flattened
between the ears, forehead
slightly curved, showing marked
wrinkles which are particularly
distinctive when at attention.
Brows (superciliary ridges)
moderately raised. Muscles of
the temples well developed,
those of the cheeks extremely
powerful. Arch across the skull
a flattened curve with a furrow
up the center of the forehead.
This extends from between the
eyes to halfway up the skull.
The stop between the eyes well
marked but not too abrupt.
Muzzle should be half the length
of the skull, thus dividing the
head into three parts-one for
the foreface and two for the
skull. In other words, the
distance from the tip of the
nose to stop is equal to
one-half the distance between
the stop and the occiput.
Circumference of the muzzle
(measured midway between the
eyes and nose) to that of the
head (measured before the ears)
is as 3 is to 5.
- short, broad under the eyes
and running nearly equal 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 the
underjaw. Underjaw broad to the
end and slightly rounded. Muzzle
dark in color, the blacker the
of the muzzle.
- broad and always dark in
color, the blacker the better,
with spread flat nostrils (not
pointed or turned up) in
- diverging at obtuse angles
with the septum and sufficiently
pendulous so as to show a
modified square profile.
Canine Teeth - healthy and wide
apart. Jaws powerful. Scissors
bite preferred, but a moderately
undershot jaw should not be
faulted providing the teeth are
not visible when the mouth is
Neck, Topline, Body
- powerful, very muscular,
slightly arched, and of medium
length. The neck gradually
increases in circumference as it
approaches the shoulder. Neck
moderately "dry" (not showing an
excess of loose skin).
-In profile the topline should
be straight, level, and firm,
not swaybacked, roached, or
dropping off sharply behind the
high point of the rump.
- wide, deep, rounded, and well
let down between the forelegs,
extending at least to the elbow.
Forechest should be deep and
well defined with the breastbone
extending in front of the
foremost point of the shoulders.
Ribs well rounded. False ribs
deep and well set back.
- There should be a reasonable,
but not exaggerated, tuck-up.
- muscular, powerful, and
straight. When viewed from the
rear, there should be a slight
rounding over the rump.
- wide and muscular.
- set on moderately high and
reaching to the hocks or a
little below. Wide at the root,
tapering to the end, hanging
straight in repose, forming a
slight curve, but never over the
back when the dog is in motion.
- moderately sloping, powerful
and muscular, with no tendency
to looseness. Degree of front
angulation to match correct rear
- straight, strong and set wide
apart, heavy boned.
- parallel to body.
- strong and bent only slightly.
- large, round, and compact with
well arched toes. Black nails.
- broad, wide and muscular.
- well developed, leading to a
strong hock joint.
- is moderately angulated
matching the front.
- are wide apart and parallel
when viewed from the rear. When
the portion of the leg below the
hock is correctly "set back" and
stands perpendicular to the
ground, a plumb line dropped
from the rearmost point of the
hindquarters will pass in front
of the foot. This rules out
straight hocks, and since stifle
angulation varies with hock
angulation, it also rules out
Outer coat straight, coarse, and
of moderately short length.
Undercoat dense, short, and
close lying. Coat should not be
so long as to produce "fringe"
on the belly, tail, or hind
legs. Fault-Long or
Fawn, apricot, or brindle.
Brindle should have fawn or
apricot as a background color
which should be completely
covered with very dark stripes.
Muzzle, ears, and nose must be
dark in color, the blacker the
better, with similar color tone
around the eye orbits and
extending upward between them. A
small patch of white on the
chest is permitted. Faults-Excessive
white on the chest or white on
any other part of the body.
Mask, ears, or nose lacking dark
The gait denotes power and
strength. The rear legs should
have drive, while the forelegs
should track smoothly with good
reach. In motion, the legs move
straight forward; as the dog's
speed increases from a walk to a
trot, the feet move in toward
the center line of the body to
A combination of grandeur and
good nature, courage and
docility. Dignity, rather than
gaiety, is the Mastiff's correct
demeanor. Judges should not
condone shyness or viciousness.
Conversely, judges should also
beware of putting a premium on
Approved November 12, 1991
Effective December 31, 1991