Head Type vs. Bite By Betty Baxter
Reprinted with permission from the Winter, 1993 OEMC Newsletter - Letters to the Editor
I feel that I must take issue with Tom Horner when he suggests that our breed standard should
be "revised" (surely this is something for the committee to consider) and also for his com-
ments on the mastiff "bite".
It may well be true that a level bite leads to the teeth being worn down somewhat, but
what our breed standard says in effect, is that the mouth may be undershot (the lower jaw
may protrude beyond the lower but never so much as to show when the mouth is closed.)
If Tom Horner had ever bred mastiffs, as opposed to danes with their longer and
narrower muzzles, then he would realize as we all do, that it is almost if not entirely impossible
to get the truly deep, broad and wide, muzzle which is so essential, with a scissor bite, as this
leads to a narrowing of the jaw and leads to the snipey look which is so much to be deplored.
The difficult task is to achieve the beautiful square muzzle (not a dane's elegant
foreface) and to allow us to try for this the breed standard appreciates that a scissor bite just
does not fit the bill. Hence the permission for the "lower jaw to protrude beyond the upper".
I think Tom Horner once had something to do with boxers -- although they are much more
undershot than mastiffs, with an upturned jaw which we deplore, surely he would not expect
them to have a scissor bite? Yet the requirement for the shape of the muzzle is, on the whole,