This section is from the book "All About Dogs - A Book For Doggy People", by Charles Henry Lane. Also available from Amazon: All About Dogs: A Book For Doggy People.
This, which is usually considered one of the National breeds of this kingdom, is a splendid fellow, stylish and imperious in manner and bearing, and fit to be the associate of the very highest in the land. I don't think I can do better than quote the opinion of Mr. M. B. Wynn, whom I well remember as a frequent exhibitor, breeder and judge of this variety, some years ago. He says: - " What I consider a true type of the British Mastiff. Head, this is the most important feature, it should be broad between ears, and broad between the eyes. The "stop" should extend up the face to a considerable length; forehead wrinkled and flat; cheeks very prominent; muzzle broad, blunt and heavy, and as deep as possible; profile square, and the under jaw, if any thing, to be undershot; eyes small and to be deeply set, with a deal of loose skin down the sides of the face; ears small and either half erect, or wholly pendant, and thin to the touch. Body: Chest deep and thick through, broad between forelegs; loin, broad, flat, heavy; body long. Stern: Many good breeders prefer a long one, but I do not care for it to reach much below the hock. Legs, broad, round, massive, straight. Height: this is a much disputed point. The taller the better, provided the weight corresponds in proportion.
A dog standing twenty-eight inches high, ought to weigh in good condition one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and for every inch in height above that (i. e., twenty-eight inches) the weight ought to increase from eight to ten pounds. But over thirty inches, a still greater increase, in proportion. Many good dogs are only twenty-eight and twenty-nine inches high, but from thirty-one to thirty-three are to be desired. Height should ever be accompanied with massive build and length, and should proceed from the shoulder to the elbow, rather than from the elbow to the foot. I mean the height of the dog should be derived from the depth of the chest, rather than from "over-legginess," as this must tend to develop the weight, more or less, of the whole animal. Colour, after all, is the last requisite, since you may breed in a few generations, any colour you please. The purest fawns have descended from the most decided brindles, and from time to time, the white face, especially, has and will occur, and generally in the finest specimens, and those which most closely resemble the paintings of their progenitors.
I am an advocate for fineness of coat, but not at the expense of other more characteristic features.
MASTIFF CH."BEAUFORT" W.K.TAUNTON owner.
The show points of this breed have been set out as follows: - Head large and massive, skull flatly rounded, muzzle square, broad and deep, teeth level, eyes dark brown or hazel coloured and wide apart in setting; front legs straight, muscular and with great bone; chest deep; loins strong and wide. Size of secondary importance, so long as symmetry is retained. Colours: brindled, or apricot fawn, in both cases noses, muzzles and ears black. General appearance that of a massive, dignified and fine looking animal, well suited as a guard or reliable companion.