It was my honor and a privilege to judge the 40th championship show of the Bullmastiff Club of Victoria at the K.C.C. Park in Skye, Melbourne, Australia. I have been in love with the Bullmastiff breed for over 40 years and have observed the fascinating development of these magnificent dogs from historical documents that depict those that worked alongside the Gamekeeper to the dogs that we see today. Credit must certainly be given to those diligent breeders who work so hard to produce dogs that are well received in the all-breed group and best in show rings. Breeding beautiful and correct Bullmastiffs is a form of art, not an exact science and it is this methodology that allows them to be uniquely different from one another and more specifically, from any other breed.
I was so honored by this club and its members....from Mr. & Mrs. Collecutt (who graciously retrieved me from the airport and spent a day introducing me to Healesville Sanctuary and the local sites), Mr. & Mrs. Ellis (who spent two days of their time sharing the magnificent Melbourne coast and generously hosting me in their home overnight before my departure to the airport the following day) and lastly, Mr. Harrison whose astute and savvy procedure as chief ring steward allowed me to concentrate on the dogs and not worry about anything else. I was so pleased to enjoy a lovely luncheon catered by the Boxer club and afterwards, treated to a private tour of the dog museum on the show grounds. Congratulations to all who really understand what is meant by hospitality and fellowship....this could not be more apparent and genuine within the members, officers and directors of this club. I thoroughly enjoyed the awards ceremony (the trophies are fantastic!) and was humbled to be a small part of that special time.
It was inspiring to see the overall quality of dogs in such a fine entry. My overall impression was that the breed is in excellent condition in Australia. I was concerned however, that some of the bites in the class dogs were wry, some bites were narrow and undershot and some muzzles not as square as the standard calls for. To maintain the correct and beautiful headpiece that define the breed, attention must be paid to the bite which is anatomically part of the foundation for the square muzzle. For the most part, front and rear angulation were balanced yet in a few exhibits, fronts were a concern. Straight shoulders and short upper arms combined with more angulated rears compromise the effortless gait that the breed is required to have. Tails should be set on high and I saw some that were lower with slightly sloping croups. Light pigment is an issue with some exhibits and combined with light eyes give the dog a feral look. That is a bane of the breed and can be very difficult to remove from a breeding program and I saw a handful of those. Ears that properly frame the face are most pleasing but those that are set on high or rose can spoil the entire expression. I did not see the serious faults of splay feet or cow hocks, however, I saw some with slight separation between the toes which flattened out the foot. Remember that those feet have to work all night and cover alot of ground. Clear coat color is most attractive when combined with the black pigment of the muzzle and face. When there is a two toned color, the entire appearance of the coat is compromised. Keep in mind that in the darkness of night, the lighter coat or white markings could have been detected by the poacher. With one exception, all dogs were sound minded and a delight to have in the ring.
When I first look at a Bullmastiff, I place an imaginary template of the standard over it. The dog or bitch must have the type that defines it as Bullmastiff and then the structure to go with it. Standing still, it should be the same as when on the move....or at least that is what one hopes for. Secondly, a Bullmastiff should have the character to go with the Gamekeeper all night. It must be fit, athletic and mindful of its purpose. This dog is to protect the Gamekeeper, the territory it covers and the mindset to eliminate the poacher's dog as well as track, knock down and hold the poacher. Remember that poaching was punishable by death so this could prove to be challenging to the dog that could not physically or mentally hold its own against a desperate individual. It was my duty to chose the dog(s) that I felt I would want alongside me if I were that Gamekeeper.
Thank you again for selecting me to judge the 40th specialty show of the Bullmastiff Club of Victoria. It was a wonderful opportunity to see dogs in the flesh that I normally see on paper in publications, meet people that I had only heard of through others and make new friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.
Baby Puppy Dog
1-Banobrae Bonhoffer -An eye-catching brindle that has it all together for such an early age. He had beautiful clear coat color, inky black pigment and a handsome expression with lovely head properties. He has good angles fore and aft, balance and substance. His backskull is broad and flat with correctly set ears that frame his face nicely. Mouth was good with tight fitting flews. Topline is a touch off but will most likely level out with age. A promising youngster to watch grow.
2-Banobrae Berliner Weisse-Clear red coat color, up on bone and substance, good size for his age. Handles himself well on the move with moderate angles fore and aft. Tailset is a touch low, very handsome headpiece with attractive dark pigment. He didn't quite match the maturity of the first place dog but with age will hold his own.
3-Bullsrkool Rising Son-Clear red coat color with good substance and size. Topline was off due to growth and immaturity but all the pieces are there. Handsome headpiece, ears were roseing perhaps due to teething, good depth of brisket and layback of shoulder.
Minor Puppy Dog
1-Bulavista Streets of Seattle-Clear coat color with nice black pigment. A slight roach to his back, tail set on high. Ears could frame his face better by not having a fold in the leather and set on high. Excellent mouth with a good width between the canines. Front could be a touch better as the elbows are tied in giving an "east/west" appearance.
1-Bulavista Road to Atlanta-This particular class was a bit difficult to judge because I felt that all three of these puppy dogs were in various stages of growth and maturity. This puppy was the best balanced of the 3 and the freest moving. He has a good outline and profile, beautiful mouth and adequate pigment. His topline was higher in the rear and he was slightly longer in loin giving a rectangular rather than nearly square appearance.
2-Bullgladiata Titan-Although this puppy showed well, he did not use himself as well as the first place dog on the move. His topline was higher in the rear and he seemed unsure of himself on the go around. His headpiece was the nicest of the class but his mouth wasn't as good as the first place puppy. His front was a bit shallow at this point and most likely because of a growth spurt, he did not match fore and aft angles in terms of balance which perhaps accounted for his unsure movement.
3-Volane the Golden One-This puppy was the most mature in the class. He had good size, bone and substance with a nice clear fawn coat color and correct pigment. I would have preferred that his ears were set better to frame his face correctly. He did not move well in the front, he was a bit tied in the elbows and had a hygroma on his left elbow that may have been bothering him.
1-Aussieknight Son of Texas-A lovely fawn dog that had a bit of two-tone to his coat. He has beautiful bone and was a little heavier headed which was spoilt by rose ears. He moved freely but was straighter in rear angle. He gave his handler a terrible time in the ring but he did have the presence to move out when asked to. I would like to see some spring of rib and a depth of brisket which will hopefully happen when he matures.
2-Volane the Juggernaut - A clear coated dog at the top of the standard. He doesn't have the headpiece that the first place dog has. He has beautiful pigment and bone but is a tad long in body. His front could be stronger in movement but he had a hygroma on each elbow and may have accounted for his unwillingness to move free.
3-Hyerdunscar Down Under-Smaller in stature than the two dogs above him, this boy had lovely bone and substance. He was a bit overdone in his headpiece and had stenotic nares which caused him to breathe heavier than normal. I would prefer to not see his nostrils slightly up on his foreface which is a reversion to the Bulldog
1-Ch. Costog Mompessons Home Bru -My eye was immediately drawn to this dog and his beautiful headpiece. He has a very strong muzzle with a flat backskull and handsome dark eyes. I loved how his ears framed his face. He is correctly balanced fore and aft with a strong front and short back. With good reach and drive, he's a dog that could work all night for weeks. I admired his close fitting coat in spite of it being slightly two-tone and his ring presence. I would have preferred a higher tailset and a croup that didn't have a bit of slope to it, yet it in no way interfered with his strength of movement.
2-Bullsrkool Southern Son-A substantial dog but not as strong in body as the first place dog, perhaps due to age or immaturity. He moved equally as well in front but did not have the rear drive that the first place dog had. This dog had good bone, a handsome headpiece and short back. He pushed the first place dog hard for the top spot.
3-Ch. Gamekeeper's Will If I Want-An attractive dog in profile, this dog could use more substance and weight to be competitive. Tail was set low with a slightly sloping croup. He had a pleasing headpiece and appeared to be happy to be in the ring.
Australian Bred Dog
1-Ch. Bullsrkool Gift From Above (AUSTRALIAN BRED IN SHOW) -This dog was a clear stand out in this class. He had a beautiful profile, bone, substance under a strong topline. His tail was set on high and his headpiece is beautiful.
2-Ch. Bullmaster US Marshall-A handsome dog in his own frame. He needed stronger second thigh muscling in the rear which would have afforded him more drive. His otherwise pleasing headpiece was distracted by heavy wrinkling around his eyes and cheeks. An upstanding dog at the top of the standard, he had a clear red coat color and strong inky black pigment.
3-Ch. Bulavista Boston Firecracker-A very handsome dog standing still but when asked to move, he worried so about something that he became mentally handicapped. Because of his strong breed type, substance and bone, I felt I had to reward a placement to him. Given the chance, he moved acceptably once he stopped worrying.
1-Ch. Nightquest So You Think-Clear red dog with inky black pigment, middle of the standard in height but very balanced fore and aft. Handled well with a pleasing headpiece but with a touch more wrinkling under the eye, around the cheek and at the top of the head. Easily the winner in a tough class.
2-Ch. Treebrook Ilex-This dog was slightly taller than the winner with a beautiful topline and tailset on high. He did not quite equal the balance of the first place dog and could use a bit stronger rear. He had a pleasing headpiece and needed just a touch more sparkle in the ring.
3-Ch. Bullvalour Southern Storm-This dog did not equal the two dogs placed above him in substance however his profile was very correct. I would have preferred a clearer coat color as the fawn against the red was very distracting. He has a handsome headpiece with equal angles fore and aft, his topline was rock solid with a tailset on high. The shoulder layback was exceptional and based on his correct breed type, presence, balance and movement, I had to place him in this very competitive class.
Ch. Costog Mompessons Home Bru-This dog earned the CC with his exceptional breed type, lovely presence, handsome headpiece and pigment. My eye was attracted to his strong front, clean fitting all the way around, no excess skin, short back and bone. I admired his angles and loved everything about him. He never wavered and held his showmanship all the way to the end.
Reserve Challenge Dog
Bullsrkool Southern Son-This is a dog that will only get better with age. I am certain that once he is fully mature, he will acquire the attributes needed for his championship. He has a bit of wrinkling over his withers/shoulders and his headpiece was not as strong as the CC winner. However, he possessed such good substance, bone, breed type, structure and movement that he earned the RCC.
Baby Puppy Bitch
1-Nightquest Black Caviar (BABY PUPPY IN SHOW)-This baby puppy had beautiful brindling with strong pigment. She is very well proportioned for her age with good substance, bone and a lovely headpiece. A touch long at the time she was very attentive to her handler and managed the ring quite well. A pleasure to put my hands on, she has the presence of mind to go all the way.
2-Nightquest Gold Edition-Attractive clear red, balanced fore and aft, slightly higher in the rear than the first place puppy. Good bone and substance with a good shoulder layback at this young age. She was happy to be in the ring and enjoyed her time there.
3-Bullsrkool Bringin T Music Home-This little girl was the darling of the class, a real pistol and won the "cuteness" award hands down. She was difficult to evaluate due to her young age but had lovely pigment, clear coat color and a charismatic personality with her handler. I would have preferred a darker eye and her ears not to be set so high on her head.
Minor Puppy Bitch
1-Bullgladiata Amazon-Clear fawn with inky black pigment, good bone and substance for her size. Her angles, strong topline and tail set on high was the frosting on the cake for me. She had a lovely way of coming and going and really used herself on the move.
2-Bulavista Meet Me In Moscow-Red bitch not quite up to the first place bitch in substance, she has adequate bone, attractive headpiece and pigment. She appeared a little less mature than the first place bitch but I am confident that with age she will blossom.
3-Bullmaster Wildcard-This bitch was not as mature as the first two bitches and appeared to be in a growth spurt. She was happy to be in the ring, used herself well and had an attractive headpiece and pigment. Her tailset was low with a slightly sloping croup and her coat hair was longer than desired. I would have liked to see more rear angle to match her front.
1-Bulavista Grace the Covers (PUPPY IN SHOW)-Clear red coat color , attractive head with a shorter muzzle. Her inky black pigment was striking against the dark red, topline was acceptable for this age and she used herself well on the move.
2-Volane Izova Govinda-This bitch has had a struggle with hot spots which scarred her clear fawn coat. She has good bone, is substantial and is free moving due to her equal angle fore and aft. She is longer in back and her topline suffers because of it and is slightly narrow in muzzle.
1-Bullmaster Madison Avenue (JUNIOR IN SHOW)-An upstanding clear fawn with good balance fore and aft. She has size, bone and ring presence to compliment the attentiveness to her handler. I would like to see stronger pigment and a darker eye.
2-Kugel the Aura of a Brindle-Beautiful brindle coat color with not a white hair on her. I would have preferred a darker mask and ears but my first impression of her was the extra weight she was carrying which compromised her topline and movement. It would be difficult for her to do her job as a Night Dog.
3-Treebrook Melia-Slightly two-toned coated fawn who had a lovely outline and headpiece, spoilt by a lighter eye against an inky black muzzle. Finer boned than the two placed above her, a bit of a pistol for her owner to handle in the ring.
1-Sup. Ch. Nightquest Rose of England (INTERMEDIATE IN SHOW) -This bitch caught my attention immediately as she entered the class. She is beautiful standing still and on the move. She covers the ground effortlessly with tremendous reach and drive, her headpiece is stunning and difficult to fault. Everything about her shouted breed type and she had it in spades. If I were to change anything, I would prefer a clear coat color as she was two-toned against dark red and smoother skin over the withers/shoulders. I forgave her for those two cosmetic faults as in no way would they impede her ability to work alongside the Gamekeeper.
2-Nightquest Altesse Royal-Clear coated red, finer in bone and more moderate in headpiece than the first place bitch. I faulted her soft topline and length of back yet she covered the ground effortlessly and moved with strength and balance.
3-Arinoirmoon Mysterious Mist-Attractive brindle with good balance and substance but was not as competitive with the two who placed above her due to a more moderate headpiece, fineness of bone and substance. She was well handled but seemed reluctant to move out on the grass.
Australian Bred Bitch
1-Nightquest Star Affair-Red fawn coat that was slightly two-toned and beginning to shed. Lovely size, bone and substance, good proportion and movement. I would have preferred to see a higher tailset and less of a slope to her croup which would have complimented the topline better. Depth of chest could be a tad more however what she had was adequate. Head type was pleasing with correct pigment.
2-Ch. Bulavista Mississippi Girl-Clear coated red with attractive black pigment and dark eyes. Movement was strong when she was not worried, balanced fore and aft, substantial and with strong breed type. She did not tolerate the individual exam well and appeared very unhappy to be in the ring which I forgave due to her overall quality but the standard is clear that Bullmastiff temperament should be confident and a sound minded dog should be able to recover from any unpleasant experience.
3-Ch. Bullmaster Fifth Avenue-Clear fawn with substance, size and bone. She had lovely proportions was balanced and moved well but was more moderate in headpiece than what the first two placements were. Pigment could be stronger.
1-Ch. Nightquest Century Miss (OPEN IN SHOW)-Slightly out of coat fawn with good pigment and eye color. Striking headpiece that may be a little too masculine for a bitch but with good proportion and a very strong muzzle. Her profile is correct, lovely breed type, beautiful angle fore and aft, strong in topline, tail set on high and skillfully handled. I did not penalize her matronly figure as she was in a fit and good condition.
2-Ch. Ashlling Dream Weaver-Handsome clear fawn bitch with good pigment and size. Delightfully handled to let her show herself, a touch soft in topline and more moderate in headpiece. Covered the ground effortlessly and was strong fore and aft.
3-Ch. Bulavista Downunder Diva-Good size with good coat color and pigment. Lovely angle fore and aft, topline and tailset. Handsome headed with correct proportions. She didn't use herself as well as what she could have in spite of good handling, it was apparent she'd rather be home on the sofa.
Sup. Ch. Nightquest Rose of England-This was a strong moving and handsome bitch with the ability to do her ancestral duty. She has all of the components necessary to accompany the Gamekeeper every night for weeks or months. While showmanship played a very small part in my decision, I admired the attentiveness she had to her handler and her willingness to please and carry on when asked. The composure she has in the ring rivaled none and she owns the ground she stands on. I would have taken her home to Kalamazoo, Michigan in a heartbeat!
Reserve Challenge Bitch
Ch. Nightquest Century Miss-This is a deserving bitch that on any other day, would have won the ticket. Although slightly shorter in leg, she had so many virtues that would have enabled her to perform her duty. Not as strong in movement as the winner, it was the deciding factor to award the CC to the one who bested her.
1-Ch. Bulavista Deltablue Mill-Handsome clear red coat girl with dark pigment and eye, good proportions, beautiful bone and substance, lovely headpiece and delightful way of moving. A dear girl who was very happy to be in the ring again with her handler.
2-Ch. Bulavista Millsweet Sari-Clear red coat with good pigment, nice bone and substance and moved well. Perhaps not as fit and well conditioned as the first place nor did she have the presence or composure that the class winner had.
3-Zealousbull Amore-A sweet, dear fawn girl who was so happy to be in the ring with her novice handler. It was a joy to see them experience this time together and they made me smile.
Best Exhibit in Show- Sup. Ch. Nightquest Rose of England
Pushed hard by the CC dog for the top honor, this bitch won on her composure, presence, lovely way of going, soundness and strong breed type. She had strength, deliberation in movement, athleticism and footfall that is something not often seen. The partnership that she had with her breeder/owner/handler made it all the more special as this was a Night Dog that would put her life on the line for the Gamekeeper. It was a privilege to give her the top honor.
Runner Up Best Exhibit in Show- Ch. Costog Mompessons Home Bru
This dog had all that one would want in a Night Dog, presence, excellent breed type and movement. He was strong in his handsome way of going and very aware of his surroundings yet needed a touch more sparkle to keep in stride with the bitch that bested him. It could have easily gone his way on another day.
PROPERTY CLASSES - JUDGE: MS DOREEN DUFFIN (VIC)
Puppy Sweepstakes (6-12 months) (8/8)
1st - Bullgladiata Amazon
2nd - Bulavista Streets of Seattle(AI)
3rd - Bulavista Meet Me In Moscow(AI)
Best Head Dog (5/5)
Ch Nightquest So You Think (Best Head Overall)
Best Head Bitch (10/11)
Ch Grizzmuffley Valentina
Best Movement (7/9)
Ch Grizzmuffley Valentina
Best Brindle (5/5)
Ch Banobrae Boston Legal
Best Fawn (2/4)
Ch Sweetbryar Simply Wicked
Best Red (8/8)
Ch Bulavista Millsweet Sari(AI)
Best Owner Bred and Handled (4/5)
Sup Ch Nightquest Rose of England(AI)
Best Interstate Owed Exhibit (4/5)
Ch Treebrook Ilex
Best Dam and Progeny
Ch Bulavista Mississippi Girl (AI)
Best Sire and Progeny
Ch Bullmaster US Marshall(AI)