Monday, December 30, 2013

A Mastiff Christmas 2013

The dogs had a great holiday.  They are so spoiled!  Got to go see Santa, got lots of treats and to visit lots of other dogs at Lizzi and Rocco’s while seeing Santa.  Presents abound, grunting toys, Zukes chews, dehydrated trachea, dehydrated lamb lung.  Visits to both grandmas and more toys!  Hope your pets and families enjoyed the holiday’s as well!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Gryphon Mastiffs Update - October 2013

I absolutely cannot even fathom where the last year has gone.  We have had a very busy spring and summer.  I haven’t had a ton of computer time, so I’m trying to get back in the swing of things and get everyone updated.  The good news is that everyone is happy, healthy, drooly, and doing well.  The bad news is that the breeding we tried to do with Brinkley in July didn’t take (we’re blaming fedex for that one, but that’s another story for another time).  The good news is that nearly all my ‘puppy people’ are/were dedicated enough to understand and are willing to wait until the next go ‘round for a puppy.  I expect Brinkley to come into season in January or the first part of February, puppies 2 months later (April) and going to new homes 8-9 weeks after that (June).  I actually think this might have been a blessing in disguise because I will be so much less busy at work and won’t have to stress about missing so many weeks of it.

In the meantime, Mr. Wally (hopfully soon to be puppy daddy) has been tearing up the show ring here in the states.  He now has numerous group placements, a BISS (Best in Show Special at a Mastiff specialty show) and is currently the #5 Mastiff in the USA.  I expect with that last win that he will bump up to #4 for sure, and probably knock out #3 as well.  He’s pretty much an awesome dude. He also earned his TT title (Temperament Test) while here in the US. I have no doubt that he and Brinkley will make AMAZING babies together.  I’m so excited (can you tell). It’s going to be a great winter, looking forward to getting outside with the pups more, and next spring will hopefully by filled with drooly fur balls all over my house.

If I have lost touch with anyone or anyone wants to chat or has any questions for me drop me a line.  You can email me at or on facebook (, or if you want to chat on the phone message me for my cell number.  I would love to hear from each and every one of you and know how your summers are going.  I posted some pictures of the pups below for everyone to enjoy!



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dogs and Heat Stroke... Know the signs and how to save your dogs life

I don’t think I could have said this better myself. PLEASE know the signs of heat stroke and be proactive about preventing it.  It could mean life and death for your pet.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Boone was Featured in the Paper!

Boone made the paper!  He’s such a good boy and such a great ambassador for the Mastiff breed. Here’s the beginning of the article as is was published in the Columbia Missourian. You can read the entire story here.

Pets, owners mingle for a cause at Columbia Pet Expo Unleashed
Owners brought their cats and dogs out to the Columbia Pet Expo Unleashed at the Canine Sports Center on Saturday. The event raised money for No Kill Columbia and featured several vendors offering natural foods and toys for animals. 

COLUMBIA — A 175-pound mastiff named Boone lowered its drooling face to sniff a small white puppy and its pocket-sized companion at the first ever Columbia Pet Expo Unleashed on Saturday.
The mastiff and dozens of other dogs and their owners attended the daylong event at the Canine Sports Center. The gathering was an opportunity for pet product vendors and local animal shelters to interact with pet enthusiasts while raising money for animal advocacy organization No Kill Columbia....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Involvement in the Mastiff Breed

This article is reposted with permission of Cedar Hollow Mastiffs

Whether your breed is The Mastiff or any other breed…much of what I am about to say will apply. It is very long but I hope you will take the time to read it all. 

Your interest in The Mastiff may stem from childhood memories; seeing them in a movie or on TV; meeting one on the street, at a park or in a store…but what brings you to this page is your interest in the breed. You might be a first time Mastiff owner or a ‘seasoned’ Mastiff owner. One thing that we all have in common for the breed is a passion. Those of us that choose to take our Mastiff ownership to the next level and show our dogs and possibly even breed them, take on an entirely new responsibility. We are shaping our breed, in the show ring and in the whelping box. In America, The Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) have a ‘Breed Standard’ set in place to help guide us on the ideal Mastiff specimen.  

Anyone that chooses to take this next step in Mastiff ownership ‘should’ find themselves someone with a number of years ‘in’ the breed. By ‘in’ the breed, this means someone that is active in the breed, has shown their dogs to their championships, bred more than a few litters over a number of years (not just all in one or two years), knows the pedigrees involved, is knowledgeable of the health testing available and how to perform such testing, knows (and is known by) other Mastiff breeders around the country, etc. This person will HOPEFULLY have also assisted Rescue in some way throughout their years of involvement. (If you don’t rescue…don’t breed.) 

Some people that are ‘new’ to the breed but still choose to breed their dogs without showing will state that the show ‘scene’ isn’t for them. Too much drama, etc. Well, I hate to say it…but…yes, drama is there. It is in everything we do. So, suck it up. You can choose to be a part of the drama or not. There are many people in the ‘show world’ that do not participate in the drama. Your choice…  go with those in the drama or not. But, especially as a new person to the breed…get out there and show your dog. YOU need to learn all aspects of the breed standard and how it applies to real dogs. Not some line drawing. Learn the differences in angulation and how it applies to the movement (side movement as well as coming and going) of a dog. Learn about ‘fronts’. You will hear a lot about fronts…but in reality very few people really understand about ‘fronts’. There is more that makes up a ‘front’ on a dog than a rear. How about lay back of shoulder vs. lay on of shoulder? Short upper arm? Can you tell when the shoulders are set too far forward on a dog? How does all of this affect the movement on the dog? (I often shake my head when reading comments on movement photos of dogs. Comments about the great movement, reach and drive, etc. Yet the dog is often crossing over, paddling, crabbing or any number of other “no no’s” and yet many people don’t recognize these traits for what they are…incorrect structure.) Go to the shows and learn. Go to the National Specialty and go to the breeder and structure seminars. YES…there is a lot of room for personal interpretation in The Mastiff Standard. However, a lot is general canine structure. So, when you say that the show scene isn’t for you and you choose to breed your dogs anyway…how do you know you are really breeding to the breed standard? How do you really KNOW the breed standard? Let’s face it…every one of us can walk our dog through PetSmart and hear over and over again how wonderful our dog is, how beautiful, etc…does that make it breeding quality? No. How closely it matches The Mastiff Standard is what makes it breeding quality. 

Health testing: This is always a hot topic. Health testing is NOT the same as a vet check. Anyone that takes on the responsibility that comes with breeding these dogs OWES it to the breed, both now and the future generations, to health test. Health testing is a tool. Just like the tool box in your garage…it contains many individual tools. And as you go along you add to that tool box. Health Testing Mastiffs is very similar. 20 years ago they tested hips. Then they added Elbows and Heart. Today there are many tests that are used to evaluate breeding dogs and make our educated decisions on proper pairings. While part of this Health Testing is done at your regular veterinarian…it involves other agencies as well; OFA, CERF, Optigen, etc. These are not things that are done just on your general practitioner’s say so. Some people will claim that they don’t want to risk their dog’s health by putting them under sedation to have their hips and elbows x-rayed. Well, this is a cop out, IMHO. First of all…there are hundreds of qualified vets around the country that can and do offer OFA x-rays without sedation. If this is a deal breaker for you…then go the extra mile and find one that does it without sedation. Secondly…have their hearts done PRIOR to the x-rays. If there is no heart problem evident the risk of sedation is minimal. Thirdly…if you are willing to put the dog at risk by breeding it (potential c-sections, etc) then what is the difference in using sedation for Health Testing? By doing all of the appropriate health testing on today’s dogs we hope to reduce the health problems in the Mastiff breed for future generations. Does it mean that you won’t have the occasional health problem pop up with health tested parents? Of course not. But…at least YOU know, as a responsible breeder, that you have done everything in your power to ensure that the puppies you produce are the best they could possibly be.

Even after you do all of your health testing…the responsibility does not end there. Then you need to find the appropriate mate to your dog with suitable and complimentary structure, temperament and health testing. RARELY will this be to the dog in your own back yard! The odds of having a dog in your own back yard that match up conformationally and though health testing is very low. It takes years of breeding with this in mind to increase your odds. Your responsibility as a breeder is to work to improve the breed…not breed for convenience. That will usually mean that the stud dog of choice will be across the country, out on a show circuit, etc. when it comes time to breed your girl! Murphy’s Law. But…if you are doing things right you do what you have to do. 

Temperament: Another Hot Topic. Just because you read on the internet that a dog has a wonderful temperament doesn’t make it so. Just because a dog has passed a CGC, TDI, TT, etc…doesn’t make it so. The Temperament tests ARE a good start…BUT…they can be trained for. Also, ideally, you want to see a dog (and as many relatives as possible) outside of the home…in many other settings. Watch the dogs at shows. Watch how they interact with each other and people walking by. Watch how they respond to the judge. Watch them on more than one day. (Every dog can have a good day or a bad day…just like us.) Are they happy well-adjusted dogs day after day? Do they look like they would prefer to be any place other than there? Are their tails tucked, hanging freely, wagging happily or held ‘erect’? Are their ears relaxed, back, at attention? What about their eyes? What expression do they exhibit? Body language states a lot. Watch them in and out of the ring. How do they react to strollers, wheel chairs, small children, small dogs, etc. Indifference? Interest? Caution? Assertiveness? Is the person holding the dog relaxed? Do they have a ‘death grip’ on the lead? Watchful? Protective? Just because someone says their dog has an awesome temperament doesn’t make it so. 

Size: For many people Size is a BIG deal. Well, The Mastiff Standard says that males need to be minimum 30in tall and females 27 1/2in tall. There are no weight requirements. Proportion is very important. You rarely (if ever) see someone advertising a male and stating that they are 30in tall. Human nature leads to exaggeration. If you brought a wicket (the official measuring tool) to the MCOA National Specialty and measured each and every Champion in the ring…chances are that very few would measure ‘up’ to what the claims are in advertising. Same thing goes for weight. Here is something to keep in mind (as a guide)…those flat wooden (often painted blue) boards that are the legs on show rings…the accordion partitions attach to them to make the show ring…are 24in tall according to the manufacturers. There are very few Mastiff males that are at a proper weight for their structure, that TRULY weigh over 225lbs. I will even give 5lbs +/- for variations in scale accuracy. That doesn’t mean that there are not those boys that weigh more…but it is not that common. And more often than not…they are overweight. I am more impressed by the owner that claims a believable weight/height on a dog as it makes me more likely to believe other claims they might make. (Willing to stretch the truth a bit in one area?? Why not others?) 

I hope that you have taken the time to read this…I know it is long. There isn’t a single person in the Mastiff community that can say they know everything and have nothing left to learn. Keep an open mind. Be willing to listen to those with more experience. Chances are they have been there and done that. This isn’t ‘elitist’ or ‘cliquish’, etc. If you don’t like what you are being told…be honest with yourself…sometimes the truth is the hardest to accept.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Really Important Things to Remember About Your Mastiff Puppy

The other day I was thinking about when I send a puppy to their new home what do I really want to emphasize to the new owners.  My original puppy packet is now a 110 page book.  While I would love for new owners to read and take to heart all of that info, in reality that’s unrealistic, so here are a few of the biggies, in no particular order.

1 1/2 lbs to 175lbs in 2 years!
Although he is big he is DELICATE.  Your puppy will grow to be nearly 200 times the size he was when he was born in approximately 2 short years.  This means he grows FAST, sometimes upwards of 5lbs per week.  This also means his bones are fairly soft because they are growing at such an exponential rate.  Here are some things that are unacceptable for your Mastiff puppy and can cause permanent bone and joint damage.

Don’t let you puppy play or run on surfaces like tile, hardwood, linoleum or any slick surface. A slip the wrong way can be harmful to your pups joints.
Never put any kind of weight or pressure on your Mastiff’s joints or back.
NEVER let your children lean, drape over or sit on your Mastiff.  Not only can it damage your puppy’s joints it’s a very unsafe activity to let any child do to any dog and children that aren’t taught how to treat and interact with dogs appropriately are much more likely to get bitten.
Never let your Mastiff jump off of anything until they are at least 18 months old, preferably 2 years.  Jumping down off of things can put severe and extreme pressure on their front legs and cause the growth plates to be damaged or bones to be fractured.  If your Mastiff needs to come down off of something, like out of a vehicle guide them down gently or use a ramp or stair steps.
Mastiffs get BIG, we all know that. So just like ANY other dog, NEVER let your Mastiff puppy do anything that you don't want it to do when it's 200lbs. Untraining a behavior is undeniably more difficult than properly training a behavior to start with.
Also remember that your Mastiff puppy is a Giant breed, not a large breed.  If you chose to switch your puppy off of the raw diet he was raised on and feed your puppy a kibble diet make sure it is NOT puppy food.  It is important to keep your calcium/phosphorus levels to 1:1 or as close as you can get to that.  The food also needs to contain under 28% protein, 26% or lower is much better. Advice from most veterinarians in regards to the nutritional needs of giant breed puppies is WRONG.  If you plan to switch your puppy’s food please consult us so we can help you review the quality and ingredients of the new food. We reccommend supplementing your Mastiff with Vitamin C, Glusocamine/Chondroitin and Fish Oil for the life of your pet.
Brinkley graduating from puppy kindergarten. 
Socialization is the key to a well balanced Mastiff.
Mastiffs NEED socialization from the beginning.  If you want a well-rounded puppy that can behave around other dogs and people you need to start socialization no later than 3 months.  This includes things such as taking them to your local pet stores where other dogs and people are, taking them to public events or the park, and dog training classes.  As agreed upon when you purchased your puppy and signed your contract with me you are required to take you puppy to at least one round of puppy training classes or obedience before they are 6 months old, however additional training classes are highly recommended.

Remember, puppies from Gryphon Mastiffs are raised holistically.  They are weaned to a raw diet and they have been vaccinated once for Parvo and Distemper.  They will need one additional booster shot when they are 13 weeks old (please be sure that your vet does not use combination shots, those are the most harmful to your pet)The booster for the Parvo shot and the Distemper shot should be given at least a week apart to avoid vaccine reactions.  They will also need a rabies vaccine at 4 weeks after the last booster shot, then one year after that to boost the rabies immunity.  While we hope your Mastiff is already on a Vitamin C supplement, if not Vitamin C helps the body rid the toxins introduced during vaccination, so we reccommend supplementation during vaccination if you aren't already doing it.  After these shots we recommend you do not vaccinate your dog again, instead you do a yearly titer test on them to see if they have immunity already in their systems.  Most commercial vaccines last 7+ years.  If the titer shows your dog is protected then there is no need for an additional vaccine.  For more info on vaccine reactions and how vaccines can alter the DNA structure of your dog contact us.
Finally, I should be your first point of contact for anything Mastiff you need, training questions, diet, exercise, behavior, etc.  While I may point you in a different direction for assistance I want to be here for the life of your Mastiff.  That’s my job as a breeder!

Remember you can Rescue!

If you are looking for a Mastiff, but are unsure if you want to go through the puppy stages remember there are so many Mastiffs in rescues across the country looking for thier forever homes. Contact me if you would like help in locating your perfect Mastiff rescue.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Verify a Mastiff Comes From Health Tested Lines

The Mastiff breed as a whole is prone to numerous genetic health issues, the following of which can be tested for in breeding dogs to help ensure that these genetic problems are not passes on to the next generation:
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patella
  • Cardiac
  • Thyroid
  • vonWillebrands
  • Degenerative Melopathy
  • Cystinuria
  • Canine Multi-focal Retinopathy (CMR)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • CERF 
Of these tests some are DNA tests, meaning that if both parents of a litter are DNA clear then there is a 0% chance that any off the offspring between this pairing will have the gene for the disorder.  These DNA testable issues are; PRA, CMR and Degenerative Melopathy.  Recently a DNA marker for Cystinuria has been located and there is now a DNA test for the marker, but even if your Mastiff tests clear for the marker there is a slim chance they can express the disease.  Hopefully research in the next few years will isolate the genes for the other types of Cystinuria so we can have a 100% yes or no answer on the disease. 

Some disorders are polygenic, meaning that they are a mix of genetics, environment, diet, etc. While the genetic factor in these issues is a huge part of the determination of whether a puppy will be affected by the issue, other factors do play a part.  These testable issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patella’s (knees), cardiac or heart, eyes and thyroid.   

So how do you verify if a Mastiff has had the appropriate health testing?  There is a wonderful little thing called the OFA (orthopedic foundation for animals).  Every test can be traced through the OFA if the breeder elected to do so when the test was performed.  If they elected not to make sure that the breeder provides proof that the test was completed and what the result was. 

Here is an example of the paper proof that a breeder might provide to prove the testing was done on a specific dog:

To look up a dog on OFA’s website direct your browser to  On the left hand side of the screen there is a quick lookup bar.  Type the dogs AKC # or part of the name into the bar and hit search.

The dogs in the OFA database matching your search entry will show up. Click the dog you are interested in health testing information on.
You will be directed to the page for this specific dog.  You can also see relatives of the dogs listed below and their relationship.  This makes it easy to verify multiple generations of health testing.
While every breeders contract will be just a little bit different, it is important to make sure that a health guarantee is in place.  I recommend a guarantee on genetic issues that lasts for a minimum of 26 months, this gives 2 full months after the puppy turns 2 years to complete the health testing. Here is an excerpt of the health guarantee in my puppy contract.
“The following conditions apply unless the Mastiff becomes dysplastic due to an injury, incorrect diet, or obesity. Gryphon Mastiffs guarantees this puppy against genetic hip and or elbow dysplasia for 26 months.  At 24 months he/she can have his/her hips and elbows rated by OFA to clear them of dysplasia.  As part of this guarantee, Buyer agrees to have OFA hip and elbow rating done on the stated Mastiff no later than two years and two months of age.”

In closing, it is important to remember that regardless of written guarantees, no breeder can 100% guarantee you won’t have some issue pop up with your puppy, nutrition and environment play just as important a role in the puppy's health as genetics do. A reputable breeder will be there to offer guidance and suggestions as well as an empathetic ear for the life of the puppy.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mastiff Breeder Lists - Locating a Mastiff Breeder

One of the biggest things I get asked and I see asked on message boards and facebook groups is “Where can I find a list of reputable Mastiff breeders.”  I’ll tell you that there is no magic list of these breeders, it is going to take a little time on your part in finding what you are comfortable with in a breeder and lifelong support line.  There are a few places to start though.

1.      Devine Farm ( This webpage was put together by a long time Mastiff breeder.  It contains tons of articles and info on Mastiffs, health, breeding, training and so much more.  All the information was provided by those involved in the Mastiff fancy, many being long time, experienced Mastiff breeders.  There is  a specific page that lists upcoming litter announcements as well as a stud dog listing.  I always recommend that people start their search on this webpage.

2. ( This webpage and database was put together by Goldleaf Mastiffs, who have been in the Mastiff breed for a very long time.  They maintain a message board and forum where you can ask questions, a stud dog listing, there is a litter announcement section on their forum, and last but certainly not least there is a very nice listing of Mastiff breeders, some of which it even indicates whether or not the specific breeder does testing on their breeding stock.  Last time I was on this site some of the links to the breeder webpages were broken, but a fair number are still active and it’s a great resource.

3.      The MCOA breeder referral list: The Mastiff Club of America will send you a listing of their member breeders to begin your search.  The list does cost a few dollars to mail, and I have heard from some that it is not that great of a resource, but if you are wanting all the options available to choose the best possible puppy it is an option to research into.

4.      Finally, there are several Mastiff forums I recommend checking out.  All have a plethora of information regarding everything Mastiff.  These places are great to network with other Mastiff owners and breeders and ask for advice and referrals onto breeders.  Several of the forums I am active in are The World Mastiff Forum (, Mastiff Forum (, Mastiff Online Community (, and Mastiff Chat ( 

One tip I have when contacting a breeder is to call them.  So many people what to email or contact through a webpage, but in all honesty a lot of breeders have webpages, but don’t update them regularly and sometimes those email links get broken or emails don’t get checked.  If you really are interested in a puppy from someone pick up the phone and talk directly to the person. 
In closing, remember that you as a puppy buyer retain the sole responsibility of verifying all health testing has been completed on the breeding stock of a breeder.  These lists and resources are simply a jumping off point to begin your search.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Missouri Folks - The 2013 MCOA National Specialty is in YOUR state!

I just wanted to put a word out to Mastiff lovers everywhere that the 2013 Mastiff Club of America National Specialty is in Joplin, MO this year, May 13th - 19th, 2013. Good news for me is that’s barely a 3 hour drive.  If you are new to the breed or a long time Mastiff lover this is the place to meet, greet, mingle and make lifelong friendships as well as love on tons of Mastiffs for a whole week. 

Here is a link to the Specialty website that outlines the entire schedule:
A few highlights are:
Monday Night: Puppy Fun Match
Tuesday Morning: Futurity/Maturity Show
Tuesday Afternoon: Breeders Cup
Wednesday Afternoon: Sweepstakes
Wednesday Night: Welcome Party
Thursday Night: Tournament of Champions
Friday Morning: AKC Dog Classes
Saturday Morning: AKC Bitch Classes
Saturday Night: Awards Banquet
Sunday Morning: Best of Breed Competition

And a few pics from last year...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tips and Methods to House Training Your Mastiff Puppy

One of the easiest ways to potty train a puppy is to simply pay attention and watch for signals. Make sure your puppy is always where you can see him when his is loose in the house. You may need to use baby gates or close doors to keep your puppy from wandering off and going potty in the house. When you notice the puppy sniffing around or if you see him start to squat, quickly scoop him up and take him outside.

After the puppy eats or drinks, take him outside to go potty immediately. A puppy will always need to go to the potty shortly after eating or drinking. Control when the puppy eats, as well. He does not require a full bowl of food available at all times. He should be fed on a consistent schedule.
When you take the puppy outside after eating or drinking, do not use this time to play. Simply stand or sit off to the side and wait until he finally goes. When he does what he is supposed to and potties make a HUGE deal out of it. Praise, treats, excitement, make sure he knows he did good. Additionally, every time the puppy goes potty or when you are waiting for him to go, use the word you want to associate with training him to go. For example, you might repeat, "Go potty, good boy! Good potty!" This will train him to understand what you want him to do, which is go potty in the designated spot.
Crate training is also imperative in house training a puppy, as well as teaching the dog a crate is a good thing. There’s nothing worse than trying to crate a 200lb dog that has never been in a crate before. Choose a crate that is large enough for the puppy to stand and turn around in; never use the crate as punishment, such as a "time out" corner. It should be a place where the puppy feels safe and comfortable. Take the puppy outside to go potty before putting him in his crate. He can be safely crated for three to four hours; puppies rarely use the crate as a potty and will learn to hold it while in the crate. Take him outside to potty as soon as you let him out of the crate. While you may feel like you are imprisoning him, puppies who are crate trained begin to appreciate the safety and security of their crate, and it becomes a safe place for them. I always give a tiny treat when they go in their crate and eventually turn it into a command the dog knows. When I say crate, the dog goes in the crate. It actually becomes quite handy.
Repetition and consistency are two key factors that will help your puppy learn to let you know he needs to go potty. Whenever you take the puppy outside to go potty, always take him through the same door and to the same area of your yard. This will help to train him to go to that door when he needs to go potty. I have also had luck in making your puppy sit before he goes through any door, anywhere. This teaches the puppy two important things: not to pull you through a door or run out of a door and secondly, to go sit down in front of a door when he wants to go outside. I prefer this to the bell on the door knob methods because some dogs simply ring the bell incessantly just to go out and play, which can get pretty annoying pretty fast.
If while training the puppy does have accident inside NEVER punish or scold the puppy unless you catch them in the act. Dogs don’t generalize and if you punish them after the fact they really don’t know what they are in trouble for. Other unacceptable behaviors that have been popular in the past are hitting the dog with a newspaper or rubbing his nose in the accident. These are not productive training methods and in my personal opinion would be considered abusive. 
On a side note if you have a dog that has been potty trained for a time and all of a sudden starts having accidents inside, the first step is a vet visit. The dog could be suffering from a urinary tract or kidney infection and not be able to control their bodily functions.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Considerations of a Puppy Buyer | Tips to Establishing a Relationship With Your Breeder

If I’m on the side of the fence of a puppy buyer, it’s all about me. If on the side of the fence of the breeder, it’s all about the puppy and it’s quality of life and safety. Where do we compromise?  Well usually as responsible breeder’s we don’t.

While responsible breeders do ‘sell’ you a product, a puppy, this is not one of those ‘the customer is always right’ situations. This is a living, breathing creature. Common sales practices and procedures do not apply. Here are my suggestions if you are looking to add a puppy to your home. 

A quality puppy is worth the wait.
Look for a breeder, not a puppy.  If you’re only search is for a puppy at a specific time, say next summer, you are severely limiting your options.  Many reputable Mastiff breeders only have litters once a year (or less).  You are far better off to find a breeder you are comfortable with, when they have a litter you will get your puppy then. Now this may sound like exactly what you don’t want to do, but puppies are not interchangeable.  Breeder #1 might have several litters per year, but they are more than likely in the business of dog breeding to make money.  Their dogs probably don’t have the breed specific health testing done and their dogs are less than stellar when it comes to conforming to the standard.  Breeder #2 only breeds for their next puppy, they have all the relevant genetic health testing done on their dogs, because they don’t want to pass anything on to a future generation.  Because their dogs are family they live in the house.  They only have a litter every few years because when breeding for their next keeper puppy they have to make sure they have room in the house for a new family member. If you take a puppy from Breeder #1 because they have puppies now instead of waiting 6+ months for a puppy from Breeder #2 then you have just done yourself a huge disservice.

Looking for a breeder instead of a puppy also gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection with a breeder.  You can be sure both parties share the same criteria, goals, and expectations from a breeding. If the breeder you have chosen ends up not having a litter any time soon or the breeding doesn’t take, the worst that could happen is you form a great relationship with an experience mentor. They can refer you on to other breeders with the same morals and goals you are looking for in a breeder and dogs that produce the same quality or physical appearance and temperament that you are looking for.

The next item to note is that you should expect to wait for a puppy. I would say it’s rare to wait less than 6 or 8 months for the perfect puppy for your family, sometimes a year or better. Would you rather get a puppy today with no background or that doesn’t quite fit your family? Or wait to get matched up with a puppy that will mesh will with your situation.  In the long run you will always wish you picked the later.

Waiting when you want something so bad is hard,
but in the case of a quality puppy it's worth the wait.
When contacting a breeder for the first time make sure to introduce not only yourself, but your family and current pets, as well as provide some background as to why you want a puppy and how you’ve come to the conclusion that the Mastiff breed (or whatever breed) is right for you.  Be sure to include any relevant experience with the breed you may have or what research you have done on the breed to prepare your life and family for a new addition. It is also a good idea to explain what your plans are for this puppy.  Do you just want a family pet with a stable temperament; do you want a dog to show, a service dog, a therapy dog?  These items will greatly increase the breeder’s ability to determine if what they have to offer with their line of dogs will be the best fit for your family. 

On the other hand, if you shoot a breeder an email that says, “Hey, I see you sell Mastiff puppies, how much do they cost?” they are likely to trash that email and not respond.  You have to remember while you are purchasing a puppy, they are adopting out one of their babies.  I look at this almost more of an interview process with a purchase option for approved homes than a sales situation.  If you do come across a breeder who will sell you a puppy with little to no background knowledge of you as a purchaser, you should run!  If they aren’t screening homes, they have no real interest in what becomes of that puppy.  That means in a year when you need support and help with your puppy you will likely get no help.

If you have gone through the steps above and end up with the breeder telling you no, ask why.  If they believe your home, family or life style won’t fit well with a Mastiff you should revisit why you wanted a Mastiff to start with.  If you want one because they look cool, but want a dog that can jog 10 miles a day with you, the Mastiff is a poor choice.  If you want a Mastiff because you want a big dog, but don’t like drool, the Mastiff is a poor choice, etc.  You get my point.  If you are told no by several breeders you need to reevaluate your wants and needs and be honest with yourself about what kind of dog would fit best with your family.

When the cute puppy above turns into this
slobber monster are you prepared?
If you decide you are happy with a breeder, but also like an alternative breeder and are on their waiting list too, be honest.  Let each breeder know, there is nothing worse than calling someone who you have been corresponding with for months about their ‘perfect puppy’ only to hear that they got a puppy last week from so and so.  It’s okay to be on more than one waiting list, just be honest with both breeders so a puppy somewhere doesn’t get shorted on a quality home.  I don’t want to turn someone away because I have more puppies than homes only to find out ½ of those homes got a puppy from somewhere else and didn’t tell me. Also note that many Mastiff breeders are longtime friends or at least acquaintances. All breeders know the other breeders. If you come to Breeder A and are a complete failure in their opinion as a suitable home… then you go to Breeder B for a puppy, they are going to know.

So the day has come, you have been approved by the breeder, you talk once a week about the upcoming litter… now the puppies are here!  First thing you want to do is come and see them.  Who wouldn’t want to see the babies?  Well, don’t get to upset, because you probably aren’t going to get to for some time.  It is important for breeder to keep their newborn puppies in a clean germ free environment until their first round of shots (at minimum).  I know you want to come see how adorable they are when they are only a week old, but the risk of you bringing in some unknown pathogen, a parvo cell that you picked up off the sidewalk, a corona virus you got from the park yesterday on your shoe, or any other illness, virus or germs is too high.  Even if you don’t have pets the risk is still too great.  A good breeder will keep potential buyers up to date with pictures, but don’t expect to get to visit the puppies until closer to 7 or 8 weeks of age.

Also don’t expect to get to pick out your puppy.  Some breeders are more picky about this than others, but if you want the blue boy puppy for a service dog and he is standoffish and aloof he’s just not going to be the best fit.  If you want a puppy to be your first show dog and you pick a puppy deemed as “pet quality”, then you are doing yourself a disservice and setting yourself up for failure.  The breeder has been hand raising these pups for 2 months.  By this point in your breeder/buyer relationship you should trust them to guide you to the best fit puppy for your family.

All that being said, it is important to remember that a the breeders responsibility is not to make you happy, it’s to ensure each of the lives they helped bring into this world get the best chance to have a happy healthy life with the optimal environment to thrive.  A breeders responsibility is to the breed itself, bettering the breed, protecting the breed.  Just remember that the rewards of waiting to be matched with the best fit puppy far outweigh the frustration of waiting a few months to add a new family member to your household.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Photography Friday

Here are a few posters I've been working on lately. Thought I would share them with the world :)
And a few photo edit's I've done lately as well.  I hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interview With a Mastiff - Brinkley Mastiff

Tell us about your family?

First there’s my people’s.  Mommy and Shawn.  Mommy takes care of me and trains me and gives me cookies and baths and all kinds of stuff.  Shawn… or dad plays with me and I cuddle him on the couch sometimes.  I like to lick his head and ears when he’s not paying attention.  Boone is my brother.  He’s a pain in my tail, but when he’s gone or I’m gone and get back he’s the first one I look for to greet!  I guess I love da big lug a little bit.  Finally there’s that mean furry gray one that I like to stalk and chase (Molly the cat), but she beats the crap out of me if I ever get to close.  Sometimes mom gets mad at me cause I won’t stop chasing her.

Here's me doing two of my favorite things...
lying in the bed and licking (not sure what I'm licking though)
Take us through a typical day in your life.
I don’t get to sleep in the bed since that person after a long car ride cut my leg open (TPLO surgery) cause mom says jumping off the bed could really mess up my healing.  I feel great though, so I make sure to stand beside the bed and whine for a few minutes each morning cause I still want up real bad.  Then the mom gets up and feeds me, I get REALLY excited about this.  Then I go out for 2 minutes and potty and patrol the backyard.  I sleep all day while the peoples are at work, then get excited and playful for like 15 whole minutes when they get home.  I get to go for a walk a lot of days.  And then the rest of the afternoon I sleep.  At dinner time (which I KNOW of course) I start to whine and groan until the mom gets up and feeds me.  If I don’t get fed by 8:00 I whine constantly making them think I’m dying.  Then they feed me.  After I eat I go potty outside for 2 minutes, then back on the couch to sleep until the next morning. 
How do you fit in with the household?
I’m the one who makes sure no one is trying to kill us.  I make sure if the window is open and something is going on outside I bark to let everyone know.  I patrol the backyard twice a day and growl and bark at anything I think isn’t right.  I am the family protector for sure.  The Boone is too dumb for this job, he loves everyone too much.  The responsibility falls on me to keep everyone safe.
Me playing in the hose
What is you’re least favorite thing to do?
I HATE getting my toenails chopped off.  It is HORRIBLE TORTURE. I HATE it.
What are some of your hobbies?

I spend a fair amount of my time (that I’m not sleeping) waiting for food, whining about not getting the food and most of the rest of my time is spent sucking on my toys and chasing the cat. I like to play in the snow too. I eat it. I eat grass too.... and play in the water.  I looooove the water.   I love doing all these things. 

Me and Boone sucking on our toys.  I gots the big monkey
and he has his nasty love bear
Where are your favorite places to visit?
The couch and the bed.  I like walks too, but don’t like to go to places where I’m expected to do anything productive.
What would you like to tell everyone about yourself?
I have a true Mastiff guardian personality.  I love everyone unless you give me a reason not to.  Mess with my family and I’ll mess you up.  I also love to lick people.  My tongue is a good 10 inches long, it wraps around people heads real good.  If you want to be my friend give me food and let me lick you.  That’s all I ask.