Now, in the case of the Saint Bernard, Collie, Dachshunds, and Chihuahua (as well as many other breeds), they have broken out the AKC standard to include a variety of coat lengths. Prior to this, many of the pups of these breeds were shunned. Interestingly, the Saint Bernard - which most people think is supposed to have that longer hair like the 'Beethoven dog' - was originally bred to have a short coat - thought occasionally (prior to the infusion of Newf blood) they would also have longer-coated dogs. The dogs used by the hospice for rescue were short coated because the longer hair tended to form ice and thus hinder the dog in doing his/her job. So, they would give the longer coated pups to the villages and farmers below. Since the longer coat IS part of this breed's history, the national club has broken out the breed into two varieties - Rough & Smooth coated. The same happened with the Collies - not all Collies are supposed to look like the legendary 'Lassie', although that is what many of the public believe.
By keeping something like this a deep dark secret, the specific breed (in my opinion) is losing out on some outstanding examples. Many of the 'fluffy' Mastiffs have incredible bone, structure, and temperament - exactly what the breed should have. There are also fluffs that have earned their championships in the conformation ring - but these dogs were trimmed/shaved. Because of all the gossip and whispering surrounding the longer haired dogs, many breeders are ostracized when they have a 'fluffy' in the litter. Many, many moons ago, Cocker Spaniel breeders would drown or 'cull' any puppies that were parti-colored. They did this because it was a no-no to have a puppy of this color and any breeder that had one was then gossiped about and maligned. Since then, thankfully, the national club has come to their senses and included this variety in the Cocker Spaniel standard. The same happened with the Labrador Retriever - there was originally only black and yellow; the chocolate Labs were not acceptable.
Personally, I would like to see the MCOA (Mastiff Club of America) break out the two coat types. When this has been suggested, some say that the fluffs don't have a standard ~ some are fluffier than others, some have longer tail feathering, some have longer ear feathering, and I'm sure other variations. My response to this is that the 'standard' coated Mastiff ALSO has coat variations. Some have a double coat while others do not. Some have a very plush coat and yet others have a more Dane-like coat. Yet, they are acceptable. So, I really don't see any reason why there cannot be a rough variety, other than the fact that many breeders don't like our fluffies. Longer hair is a part of this breed's history and should not be shunned. The longer hair is not a deformity, it is not a health risk, and it is not indicative of a 'poor' heritage - it simply is part of the breed and should be treated as such. Having a 'fluffy' Mastiff does not hinder the dog in any way, shape, or form. As it stands now, good breeders that DO have a 'fluff' in their litter will put exactly the same love, dedication, and research into finding their kid a good home - the same that they do with the shorter coated sibling. The only difference is cosmetic. My own fluffy boy has his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and is currently working on obtaining his TDI (Therapy Dog International) title. The 'fluffs' are Mastiffs - not something to be ashamed of or something to be hidden or gossiped about. The only difference between my fluff and your standard-coated Mastiff is that mine has more hair :)
The views stated here are mine and are not necessarily shared by others that have a 'fluffy' Mastiff.
If you look around, there are many breeds that normally have short coats that DO have longer coated dogs - it is simply a matter of that recessive gene. It DOES NOT mean that the dog is not 'pure'; it DOES NOT mean that the dog is 'sub-standard'; it DOES NOT mean that the dog is of 'mixed' heritage. Personally, I have seen longer coated Dalmatians, Bullmastiffs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Corgis, Siberian Huskies, Saint Bernards, Collies, Dachshunds, Whippets, Chihuahuas, and Basset Hounds, as well as many others. There are also 'wooly' Alaskan Malamutes! I've also seen dogs, like the Golden Retriever, that instead of having that longish coat that have had shorter coats like the Lab - it's all a matter of that recessive gene coming into play ;)
WHY A WEBSITE FOR FLUFFS?: This site came about for two reasons - both of equal importance to me. The first being that I am quite naturally proud of my fluffy boy, as is his breeder. Because of him, I now have a deep and profound love of the breed. He is a great introduction into the world of Mastiffs and his sweet and loving nature made me want to share him with others :)
The second reason, and the one that 'inspired' me to write my feelings on the subject here, was because some people were very rude to both me & Pai ;) I took Pai to several dog shows; not to show in any event, but to socialize and so that Pai could see other Mastiffs - which we don't have very many of where we live. Well, we got the usual 'ohhhhs' and 'ahhhhs' and Pai got his share of attention, but what bothered me was when Mastiff folk would come up to us and INSIST that Pai was NOT a purebred Mastiff or made some other derogatory comment about him. I honestly got a couple 'he's not pure', 'he must be mixed', 'they shouldn't exist', and one even went so far to tell me that all fluffies should be DROWNED AT BIRTH. The ignorance was amazing to me - especially coming from what was supposed to be 'knowledgeable' Mastiff people. This happened to us with enough regularity that I realized that some Mastiff folks really did not know they existed and others didn't want to reminded of the fact that they DO exist. Thus this website was born, where ALL that have a fluffy can proudly show them off :)
THEORIES ON THE FLUFFS: Some people think that fluffies came about because other breeds were mixed in after WWII, however, I've yet to see proof of this being the case. It IS true that other breeds were mixed in when the Mastiff, as a breed, was created - but that isn't the only trait that was incorporated and adopted into the Mastiff. What gives me reason to think that fluffies existed PRIOR to WWII is that there are photos of them before this happened AND documents that describe them - which would mean that it's not any infusion of other breeds that gives us that recessive gene but something that happened before the World Wars, which makes it an integral part of the breed and is part of what makes a Mastiff a Mastiff.
Many that know about fluffies say that it is because of the Saint Bernard being used in the breed that gives us that longer coat. There are two theories on this one - one group likes to blame a certain New Jersey breeder and another group again cites the WW scenario - yet the DNA analysis done shows that it is IDENTICAL to the gene that is responsible for longer coats in the Corgi breed. I've never heard, read, or was told of how the Saint Bernard was used in the Corgi breed ;) This all leads me to believe that the Saints ARE NOT responsible for this longer hair - at least not solely.
Another theory is that the Tibetan Mastiff, who some claim is THE oldest breed of 'mastiff-type' (or molosser) dogs, was used in the creation of the Mastiff. This would certainly explain why some of our present-day Mastiffs have a longer coat, since the Tibetan is a shaggier/rougher coated breed of dog.
I think that the longer hair, being recessive for this breed, is simply a gene that many dogs of MANY breeds must possess. It is a much more reasonable and feasible explanation of why so many breeds that are usually short-coated have longer coated offspring from time to time. Rotties aren't supposed to have long hair according to the standard, yet there ARE purebred Rotties that DO have longer coats - and they are quite beautiful.
Interestingly, a DDB (Dogue de Bordeaux), Fidelle de Fénélon, WAS crossed into this breed in 1959 when she was mistakenly registered as a Mastiff. She was bred to a dog by the name of Merles Alvin (a real Mastiff). One of this bitch's descendants, The Devil of Wayside, was imported to Great Britain. So, for those that feel fluffies are 'impure', then any dog that is descended from this DDB bitch is even more 'impure' by that way of thinking. Personally, I consider them all 'pure' in that they are ALL Mastiffs now. Enough generations have passed without mixing breeds to be considered purebred.
HOW IT WORKS: In order for a 'fluffy' Mastiff to be born, BOTH parents MUST carry this gene. However, that does NOT mean that a fluff will be born, it just means that there is a possibility of a fluff. IF a fluff is born to a litter, then you will know that BOTH parents are carrying that gene AND that all pups will also have this gene - NOT just the fluffies in the litter. The fluffies will now have a dominant gene for long hair, but the standard coated offspring will STILL carry that recessive. Which means that if one of those dogs is bred to another Mastiff that ALSO has the gene, you may have a fluffy in the litter. In Pai's litter, he was the only fluffy out of three pups born, so he has the dominant gene for longer hair, but both his sister and brother are still recessive carriers because both his sister and brother have standard coats. When his sister was bred, she had a fluffy son, but the rest were standard coated.
Some breeders feel that 'fluffy' Mastiffs shouldn't be; but, if we were to weed out all those that carry the recessive (or dominant) gene for the longer coats, then we may very well be excluding over half of all Mastiffs in existence from breeding programs - even the standard coated ones because they would be carrying that recessive gene and could still pass it along if they were bred to another Mastiff carrying that gene.
Some breeders are shocked to find a 'fluffy' in the litter, and even more shocked to find that a parent or grandparent was a shaved down fluff and they were never told prior to breeding! Some have never even heard of fluffies. This all goes back to my viewpoint that fluffs seem to be hidden away and not openly discussed - which I think a shame. I've found very few breeders that post pictures of a fluffy, that they either own or have produced, on their websites or in books that they've either authored or submitted photos for. Thankfully, there are still some breeders that are proud of their kids - regardless of hair length - and display them on their websites. They are open and honest about this recessive gene and tell people up front PRIOR to allowing their dogs to be bred or studded out - which is how it should be. I have nothing but respect for those breeders that DO tell people if their dogs have produced a fluffy kid.