Ectropion and the Failed Crufts Dogs

Rejected Champion Ithani versus a more moderate Neapolitan Mastiff

To the surprise of no one, the Neapolitan Mastiff and the English Mastiff have joined the ranks of failed Best of Breed dogs at this year’s Crufts due to failed Vet checks. I predicted the fall of the Neo soon after the first reports hit that dogs were being failed for eye issues.  CC Lux/Slo Ch Ithani and Ch. Secret Charm Avec Dibest will not be seen in the groups or Best in Show.

You don't have to be the Great Karnak to predict that the Neapolitan Mastiff would have failed the eye exam at Crufts.

The (English) Mastiff people knew this was coming as well, as this “Bad Omen as Bulldog and Peke Fail” thread documents.  People in the breed state “I noticed it talked about ectropion on Mastiffs. Very few Mastiffs have no trace of ectropion,” and “Ectropin would eventually die off genetically if Mastiffs that carried it weren’t allowed to advance in the show ring.  At our present state, I don’t think any of the Mastiffs would be allowed to advance… .”

The brand new exams being carried out by Veterinary surgeons at Crufts are very limited tests, they are not diagnostic for the complete range of conditions that many breeds suffer from and the Vets are not even allowed stethoscopes to listen do a dog’s breathing. Still, a growing list of dogs have been failed by these tests for extant health conditions.

When the Pekingese and English Bulldogs failed, the rumbling was “eye issues” even though no confirmation of this has surfaced. When the Clumber Spaniel failed a photo of the Vet’s inspection sheet surfaced confirming that ectropion and secondary eye and ear infections due to that ectropion were present in the winning bitch.

What appears to be the Vet exam form for the failed Clumber Spaniel.

Despite the Vet exam documenting the ectropion, the owner claims no such condition exists in her dog and that this is a massive conspiracy because she’s from a small foreign country.

Bilateral Ectropion – particularly marked in the Right Lower Lid lead to diamond eye conformation. Has secondary conjunctivitis: right eye.  Unilateral otitis external right ear – causing only mild clinical problem not sufficient to disqualify.

Here’s a video of the owner claiming that it was simply some redness in the eyes due to exertion and a hot ring.


This stands against both the photographic evidence of the Vet report, but you can also SEE the ectropion on the dog’s eyes in the video. The claim that the ring was 100° is also suspect as visitors at Crufts have consistently commented that Hall 4 at the event has had the air conditioning blasted at full force and that it is almost uncomfortably chilly compared to the other exhibit halls. Coincidence or not, every single brachycephalic breed has been shown in Hall 4 for their breed competitions including the Pekes and the Bulldogs.

The "Champion of 30 Countries" is still an ectropion mess, regardless of the owner's claims.

Sadly, severe ectropion has come to be a breed feature instead of a fault in Bassets.

So what is Ectropion? Ectropion is an inherited genetic disorder where the skin of the lower eyelid is weakened causing the lid to fit poorly to the eye and turn outward. There is often a crase where this loose skin folds, creating a diamond shaped appearance to the eye. It is commonly seen in breeds that have been bred for excess loose skin and is likely caused by the same underlying mechanism which compromises the connective tissue, droopy “furnishings” mean droopy eyelids.

The poor fitting eyelids cause the sensitive tissues underneath the lid to become dried out and inflamed (conjunctivitis) and allow debris and allergens to enter the eye.  It is not surprising that the Clumber Spaniel was found to have both an eye and ear infection, probably caused by the ectropion.  In some breeds the nictitating membrane (often called the “haw”) becomes chronically irritated and visible and they tear constantly, discoloring the coat and giving the dogs a “hush puppy” weepy appearance.

The condition can be fixed surgically the same way that other excess and loose skin conditions are fixed, by removing some of the skin and stitching it tight.  Breeds which are particularly predisposed to this issue are: Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, Clumber and Cocker Spaniels, English Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, etc.

Until now, no one has mustered the courage to take on the wide acceptance of ectropion in many breeds, so congratulations to the Vets at Crufts for finally saying “not here, not now, not anymore.”

As Jemima Harrison noted in Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On, there are actually normal, healthy, and moderately built Neapolitan Mastiffs out there if one only takes the time to look for them.  Just look at how different this working Neo is from what is seen in the show ring.

Now compare that working dog to Ithani who won and then was stripped of Best of Breed at Crufts:

The failed Neapolitan Mastiff Ithani

A good decision, clearly a good decision, to deny a mess like this Best of Breed.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.