Mastiff Conformation

​Neck, Topline, Body

  • Neck -powerful, very muscular, slightly arched, and of medium length.  Neck moderately "dry" (not showing an excess of loose skin). Topline-In profile the topline should be straight, level, and firm, not swaybacked, roached, or dropping off sharply behind the high point of the rump. Chest - 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. Underline-There should be a reasonable, but not exaggerated, tuck-up. Back -muscular, powerful, and straight. Loins- wide and muscular. Tail 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.

  • Forequarters/Shoulders - moderately sloping, powerful and muscular, with no tendency to looseness. Legs -straight, strong and set wide apart, heavy boned. Elbows -parallel to body. Pasterns -strong and bent only slightly. Feet -large, round, and compact with well arched toes. Black nails preferred.

  • Hindquarters - Hindquarters -broad, wide and muscular. Second thighs- well developed, leading to a strong hock joint. Stifle joint - is moderately angulated matching the front.  Rear legs- are wide apart and parallel when viewed from the rear.

  • Coat -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.

  • Color -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.

  • Gait -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 maintain balance.

  • Temperament -A combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and docility. Dignity, rather than gaiety, is the Mastiff's correct demeanor.

General Appearance

  • 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.

Size, Proposition, Substance

  • Size- Dogs, minimum, 30 inches at the shoulder. Bitches, minimum, 27½ inches at the shoulder.  Proportion - Rectangular, the length of the dog from fore-chest to rump is somewhat longer than the height at the withers.  Substance - Massive, heavy boned, with a powerful muscle structure. Great depth and breadth desirable

  • Head -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 undesirable.  Ears  - 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 muzzle. Skull  - broad and somewhat flattened between the ears, forehead slightly curved, showing marked wrinkles which are particularly distinctive when at attention.  Muzzle  - dark in color, the blacker the better. Nose  - broad and always dark in color, the blacker the better, with spread flat nostrils (not pointed or turned up) in 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 closed.

Click The  small Mastiff picture at right to read the full AKC Mastiff Standard