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Steve Wacksman
Make Mine Mastiff!
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Cindy McEderry of Northland Bordeaux with Finn and Molly.
Yesterday I enjoyed what's become an annual tradition for me: an afternoon spent amongst the dogs competing in the Westminster Kennel Club's Dog Show. As many of you know, I am a dog person - more specifically a big dog person. While I love all breeds, I am especially fond of the quiet majesty, calm, and self-assuredness of the Molossers. This year's WKC show was special in that it was the first year the Dogue De Bordeaux, or French Mastiff was eligible top compete in an AKC event. As a proud owner of a Dogue it was especially gratifying to be amongst like-minded people and to meet many of the heavy-hitters of the breed. To see the revered Brando (best of breed at Westminster this year) in the flesh was quite an experience.
Best in show ....according to me.
My absolute favorite dog at the show this year, however, was this Bullmastiff. He had a gorgeous brindle coat and a sweet, playful and easygoing temperament which immediately endeared me to him. He didn't fare too well in the ring, but in my eyes was a real standout. I'm afraid I forgot his call name, but his owner/breeder/handler was Mr Rick Blanchard of Nix Bullmastiffs. I rather strongly disagreed with the judges dismissal of him, as he was the sole brindle entry. And this is one of my grievances with the AKC: they judge working dogs on type and beauty. Bulmastiffs were developed to guard estates from poachers. They were meant to silently prowl the grounds and , upon encountering an intruder, pin him and alert the night watchman. The brindle coat made the dog almost invisible at night and thus was preferred. At Westminster there were 25 Bullmastiffs -24 were red or fawn. These colors are seemingly the preferred colors today; brindles rarely do well with today's judges. It seems counterintuitive to me, especially as the sport of purebred dogs is ostensibly to preserve history.
 
To every parent who assured his child monsters don't really exist, I present to you the Neapolitan Mastiff
Also memorable was the Mastino, or Neapolitan Mastiff. This dog is thought to be a descendant of the fabled Roman war dogs, and it is truly breathtaking. It is a living gargoyle and would certainly give any intruder pause. To see one of these massive, lumbering, wrinkled dogs in motion is a sight unlike any other.
After an early morning judging, a Dogue likes to kick back with a large latte and a pack of Strawberry Newtons.
Ch Highpoint's Four On The Floor taking Best Of Breed in the Bullmastiff judging.
Lastly, congratulations to 'Stump'. the Sussex Spaniel who took home the cup
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