Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I view health testing as a screening tool. When we OFA our dogs' hips, elbows, patellas, hearts, and thyroid we can eliminate dogs from our breeding program with these problems. ALL dogs should be DNA tested for PRA or be cleared by parentage before breeding. ALL dogs should have a CERF exam to detect other genetic eye abnormalities. By eliminating dogs with health problems, the odds for producing dogs without health problems should increase each generation.
Is it a 100% guarantee? No, it's not; some health problems can be recessive and one will never know they are there until the right two dogs are bred to create it. Yet, myself and many other breeders feel this is much better gamble for us as breeders and for you as buyers than buying a puppy from untested lines. Could you spend $5-6,000 to replace both hips in a dysplastic dog? Would you be able to care for a fearful dog blind from PRA? Would you be able to care for a dog with epilepsy?
Any dog breeder who tells you they have no genetic problems in their line is a liar. American Mastiff ( a cross breed-7/8 English Mastiff and 1/8 Anatolian Shepherd- not AKC recognized) breeders state their dogs are free of health problems often present in English Mastiffs. Yet when asked to prove this statement, they can not produce health testing to back up this statement. Where are their health testing results? There is no evidence to document any health testing done in foundation stock (as the founder claims) or in present dogs used for breeding at the "primary" breeding facility of the considered "founder" of this "breed." When asked to produce documentation and list the Mastiffs she used as her "foundation stock"--she has refused. She can provide no documentation that her "American Mastiffs" are bred from dogs clear of genetic problems or that she has health tested any of her dogs.
Can one truthfully state they know of no problems--IF they don't test? Is a 100% guarantee you will find NO problems if you DON"T health test; but your dogs are not FREE of health problems--you just don't know what you have! ALL dogs lines have genetic problems. It's only through health testing that we can detect, isolate and breed to decrease genetic problems. An ethical breeder will truthfully disclose any known health problems in their lines to puppy buyers and breed to eliminate those problems.
No breeder or owner can look at a dog move and "know" whether they have hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or patella problems The same with cardiac Problems, eye problems, and vWB; but a simple exam by a qualified vet can Clear and "verify" the health status of your dog. No dog should be bred if it has genetic health problems. This is why ethical breeders health test--so as to eliminate dog with health problems from their breeding programs.
Anyone can pull up this information on the OFA site for any OFA tested dog. An informed buyer can verify the health testing of the parents, grand-parents and any other dogs they wish.
The OFA site is listed as a link here on my blog--please do verify the health information on any of my dogs.
I am proud to state that in 25 years of breeding, I have NEVER produced a dog that developed bilateral hip or elbow dysplasia nor have I ever BRED a dog that had bilateral hip/elbow dysplasia. I have never bred a dog that developed epilepsy or PRA. There are not many breeders who have breed over 20 years that can make those same statements truthfully.
I am appalled at the breeders who breed dogs with bilateral hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA, and epilepsy. There can be no justification for breeding dogs with known health problems; I don't care how much you paid for the dog, or how much you spent showing and obtaining it's AKC Championship, or who it's sire and dam are; these are not reason to justify breeding a dog with health problems. As a breeder, if two of your dogs are bred and they produce puppies with these health problems--why would you REPEAT the same breeding? The breed would be better off if you spayed/neutered the dogs and never bred them again.
I have very little respect for breeders who do not health test. I have no respect for breeders who bred dogs with or to dogs with known health or temperament problems. These type of actions do not lead to the overall betterment of our breed. To create a "designer breed" and then claim it to have "superior" overall health because of "hybrid vigor" and lack of "genetic problems"and use no health testing to establish this claim is a lie.
It is the ethical duty of all breeders to breed to improve the overall health, longevity, temperament, intelligence, and trainability of any breed. Our goal should be to produce dogs that are trainable, have an increase life expectancy and less health issues, and are a joy to live with as family companions and pets.
In the long run that's better than a Best in Show win any day. Of course, that just my opinion.
Friday, November 9, 2007
For the first 3 weeks , breeders work to keep their puppies fed and warm. Their eyes open, and soon it's time to begin soft food. We allow ourselves a sigh of relief; we can feel a sense of relief for our first big hurtle is over. Then overnight, the puppies begin to lose weight; they don't eat or even nurse, and then they begin to die. One by one they simple "fade away" and Fail to thrive.
Often a vet can find no active disease or health reason for puppies to Fade. A very over looked possible cause is Canine viral herpes. For a breeder, it's an unbelievable nightmare. Often by the time the diagnosis is made, all the puppies have died or become too sick to survive. CVH shuts down the immunity system of the puppies allowing secondary infections to set up and often it;s theses secondary infections that kill the puppies. The puppies fail to respond to routine treatment; they present with symptoms similar to distemper or Parvo but will test negative.
Canine Viral herpes often is brought into a breeders home by a visiting dog or even your own dog who has been to a show or boarded at a kennel. One may even may contract the virus at doggy day care or the dog park. It's usually not a life threatening illness in an adult dog; a healthy dog will have a runny nose and mattered eyes for a few days. A Owner may attribute these symptoms to seasonal allergies or even a "cold." Without any special care the dog gets better in about a week. However during this time, it can infect every dog it comes in contact.
When this virus is introduced shortly after you have bred a bitch (the first 3 weeks), she will absorb her puppies. If introduced in the second 3 weeks (week 4 to 6 of her pregnancy), she will abort or prematurely deliver stillborn puppies. A bitch exposed in her last 3 weeks of pregnancy may deliver her puppies, but they will be undersized, weak, and often exhibiting poor ability to nurse. A breeder may become frustrated at the overall poor quality of these puppies. After a few days, they begin to die off one at a time, and a Vet may attribute it to "fading Puppy syndrome."
We can expose our dogs unintentionally to this virus and bring a breeder's worst nightmare into our homes. To make this lost all the more potent; in Europe there is a vaccine approved and in use to prevent CVH; however, it is unavailable to Vets and dog owners here in the United States. Two simple vaccinations given to your brood bitch can eliminate and prevent this disease from occurring. However according to sources at Merial ( the company who produces the Vaccine in Europe), FDA approval in the US may never occur because this vaccine will not "fit" the USDA requirements for Titer rise.
In July of 2007, I experienced CHV in my two Mastiff litters. Nothing the vet or we did could save 9 of the 10 puppies from the first litter. As I was reeling from the loss of these beautiful babies, my second litter at age 6 weeks began to show the same symptoms. Within 49 hours, I lost my only male from my second litter. It was at this point, I put out a plea to my fellow Mastiff owners via the Internet for help and input from anyone who had experienced the same problem with a litter.
It was through networking, with the Mastiff community and the input various breeders gave me that I began to develop a treatment plan. The virus had completes destroyed my puppies' immunity system leaving them open to any and all infections. I began my puppies on a combination of Clavamox and Metronidozole antibiotics, subcutaneous IV fluids ( Normal Saline and Lactated Ringer's) to prevent dehydration, Kayro syrup to maintain blood sugar, and Pro Biotics paste to help correct and re-establish intestinal Flora, and serum injection from one of my older dogs.
Research on the Internet lead me to try a very controversial treatment to save my puppies-the use of serum from one of my older bitches. A previous study done in England had shown that by giving puppies the serum of an older dog, a passive immunity could be passed onto the puppies. One should pick an older dog who is healthy with an intact immune system, whom has had an exposure to other dogs ( a retired show dog is an excellent example), and one who has possibly already been exposed and has developed an immunity to CVH.
CVH is a ubiquitous virus and is part of the kennel cough complex--it is extremely common, so trying to prevent it's spread between adult dogs is pointless. Transmission occurs through direct contact--simple nosing, licking, sniffing, drinking water from a common container, etc--and may also be passed through sexual contact. The ability of an infected dog to maintain antibodies is variable--some infected dogs after a few months show no antibodies and others will have an antibody level persisting for many years. An active infection will cause a four-fold ride in antibody levels within a 10-14 day period. So the highest titers will be in dogs exposed within a 3-4 week period.
I had an older bitch who fit this bill, Vidalia. She was exposed at about the same time as my litter dams, had showed a few minor symptoms but had been fully recovered for several weeks. My rationale was that she would have the highest level of antibodies to this virus. As a previous show dog--she may have also been exposed to the CVH on an earlier occassions and a re-exposure would have cause an additional rise in her titer. Thank Good, my vet was willing to try this approach, for it worked.
I began the serum injections and saved one of Boudi's puppies--my Gidget. I lost the male from Mona's litter, but save all 4 of the girls with 3 of them never getting ill. Hope was the sickest, but turned the corner in five days , began to improve and is now growing normally. (P.S. Hope completed her AKC Championship at 1 year and 15 days and is maturing into a very lovoely, completely normal bitch. Sister Gracie has also almost completed her AKC Championship annd is completely normal. Gidget is on the small side, but completely normal.)
It's an experience I hope never to repeat. Ironically, if I had been in Europe, two simple vaccinations for each of my girls would have saved all their puppies. We need this vaccination here in the United States, but due to red tape and years of paperwork via the FDA and USDA we may not see it here for another 10 years.
If the commerical breeding kennels began having a mass outbreak of CHV in their breeding facilities, I bet we would have approval of this vaccine within a few months instead of years. Money talks and the average hobby/show breeder does not produce enough "business" for the vaccine companies to make money. What ever happened to helping others? We need a researcher for canines much like Jonas Salk was for the children of the world.
I do have my "miracle Babies"--Grace, Hope, and Gidget. Go to their blogs and see my wonderful, loving babies.
Monday, August 27, 2007
On Friday Ollie went Winners' Dog under Breeder Judge Teresa L. Hudspeth for a 4 point major (his second major).
On Saturday, Ollie went Winners' Dog and Best of Winners for his second 4-point major of the weekend under Breeder Judge James Hudspeth.
Ollie is from our Vidalia and Willie Litter. He is pictured above winning Winner's Dog for a 5 point major, Best of Winners, and Best of breed under Judge Don Teague his second time in the ring! To make this Best of Breed win all the more sweeter--It was over several special including 3 national ranked dogs. Quite a nice win for a 19 month old dog. Ollie certainly made heads turn that day! Needles to say his owner, Geri Hillgress of Canton, Georgia was speechless.
Ollie also went Winner's Dog for three days back-to back wins for two 4-point majors, and for a 2 points win to finish his championship at the Priceville, Ala. shows which were also SSMF supported entries. Anytime a dog can stand toe to toe with other Mastiffs from across the southeast and win under two breeder judges--you have an exceptional dog. What a great way to finish a championship!!
Ollie is Geri's first Mastiff and first show dog. Geri did all the right things--she took him to puppy obedience classes, socialized him and raised him to be a good canine citizen. He is a happy go lucky boy in the ring full of piss and vinegar. He is a handful but he is expertly shown by C. J. Farve, PHA. Than you CJ for ALL your hard work! Your expertise made Ollie look his best and you made both Geri and myself very proud of Ollie.
Ollie was co-bred by myself and Karen & Micheal McBee of Stonehouse Mastiffs and is a wonderful tribute to his late sire, Ch. Stonehouse Steamboat Willie. Although he was bought to be a "pet", Geri and family recognized what an exceptional dog Ollie is and agreed to show him. Boy, are we happy she did!!
Thank you Geri and family for giving our boy a wonderful loving home and letting him show the Mastiff world that a beautiful, funloving family Mastiff can be an exceptional show dog.
Here is Wesley winning Winner's Dog and Best of Winners for his second 3-point major under Judge Dr. Ronald L. Spritzer shown by his co-breeder, Catie Arney.
Wesley is a littermate to Ollie and is owned by Karen and Miceal McBee of Stonehouse Mastiffs. Wesley is a combination of his sire and dam's best qualities. He is funloving and a bit hard-headed, but tempered with a loving and kind demeanor. Karen and Wesley visit local schools, where Wes is a "reading" dog. Wesley makes the third generation of school therapy dogs owned by the McBees.
I am so very proud of this lovely boy. We expect to see him finish his championship.
Mirra is our pick puppy from our Reba (Kiokee Get "Er Done) and Oscar ( Ch. Morrigan's Cu Mac Shimidh) litter whelped 3/7/2007. Mirra is pictured above winning Winner's Bitch, Best of Winners and Best of Opposite Sex ( over an adult special) . She is being handled by her co-breeder and co-owner--Jennifer McKemie of Lithia Springs, Georgia. Mirra is also proudly co-owned by Sandra McCurry of Snellville, Georgia. This was just Mirra's second weekend out on the show circuit. What a wonderful win to begin a show career!
Athena is also from our Reba & Oscar litter. She is owned and loved by the Tammie & Dean Anderson family in Bellevue, Nebraska. Although placed as a family companion dog, Athena is blossoming into a therapy and obedience dog. Tammie enrolled in puppy classes--just as we advise and instruct all our puppy buyers--and discovered the absolute joy of a true working dog.
Athena showed herself to be an outstanding student; so much that Tammie and Athena are now enrolled in the Bellevue Obedience Club and have begun Beginner's Classes. Her puppy class instructor and her Vet have recommended her to enroll and begin training as a therapy dog.Jennifer, Leila, and I are so very proud of this lovely girl. Athena is just what we were hoping to produce when this litter was planned. Our goal was to produce dogs with good conformation but that were also intelligent, trainable, and loving to all. Beauty and brains--what more could you ask for in a dog?
Thank you Tammie & Dean for raising your girl to be a good canine citizen.
Kiokee Lionhearted Cleo
Cleo at 6 months of ageCleo belongs to the Hampel Family here in North Carolina where she is the beloved family companion and pet. Cleo is out of our Mona and Max litter and is a litter sister to Paris, Hope, and Grace.
If you have any questions about our planned breedings, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you. Catie Arney
Thursday, July 19, 2007
As you search for your perfect puppy and try to screen prospective breeders, here are a few thoughts and questions that could be helpful.
How long have you been in the breed? Why did you begin to bred Mastiff? What other dogs have you bred?
You probably want to avoid anyone who has "switched" breeds every couple of years, from popular breed to popular breed. Are they breeding Mastiffs Just because they get premium prices for the puppies? Look for someone with some experience with the breed. If they are new to the breed, do they have experience with a similar large breed?
Also, be very wary of people who have multiple dog breeds. It is not uncommon to find people breeding more than one kind of dog (for example, quite a few Akita breeders are also interested in Shibas), but a breeder producing litters of many different breeds of dogs and/or "designer dogs" (which are in fact mixed breeds) is not going to be your best source, and probably should be suspected as a puppy-mill or disreputable breeder.
What kind of congenital defects are present in this breed? what steps are you taking to decrease these defects? Do you do any health testing?
Avoid and run like hell for the door when anyone says "none" or "not my dogs!". There are genetic problems that are present in almost every breed. Do some research and look for the information you will need to know what kind of answer you need to get from the breeder. The Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) has a health section with lots of information on genetic problems. Devine Farms site also has lots of health information in it's article section. Both are listed as links to my blog. Tons of good dog books are available online at local book stores that can help explain health problems and health testing.
As a breeder, I can not stress how important it is for you as the buyer to have a good idea of what the correct answers should be. Find out what you need to expect before you fall in love with that cute puppy face. A breeder who can't tell you what kind of things affect their dog breed is not going to be breeding to avoid those same problems.
A reputable breeder should be able to tell you what kinds of problems might be present in Mastiffs (for example, hip dysplasia, entropian, thyroid problems, etc.) and what kind of testing is done to rule out these problems. It goes without saying that the breeder should be doing those tests on all their dogs before breeding. Any dogs that are showing signs of any of these problems should not be bred--avoid anyone who is breeding dogs with genetic problems, or who is not testing their dogs and bitches.
Do you have the parents on site? Can I see them?
For most breeders this is a trick question--most breeders will not own both dogs. They will own the mother (and you should be able to see her), but the best match for that bitch probably belongs to someone else. So. if you see both parents on site, you should be a little suspicious and ask further questions. It could mean that the breeder has a large pool of dogs and is carefully matching them to breed a certain line; or it could mean that they had two attractive dogs in their backyard and had either a planned or unplanned breeding. It's never a good idea to breed two dogs because of connivance--just because you own them does not meant they need to be bred together.
You should be able to see the mother and any other dogs on site when you visit. If the breeder hesitates, you should wonder why. Are the dogs kept in clean, healthy conditions? Are they too aggressive to let loose? You should be very comfortable with any reason not to see the dogs.
Please remember that you should not be interacting with very young puppies, and might be prevented from seeing puppies that are less than 4 weeks old. This is OK, and is simply the breeder trying to eliminate ant chance of illness in the puppies. Breeders don't know what kind of dog diseases you may be carrying, and don't want the litter to get sick.
What are the good and bad points of the parents? Do the Parents have any titles?
Breeders will usually gush and begin to enumerate all the wonderful qualities of their dogs, but the best will also point out their flaws. What you're looking for here is temperament, possible aggression, how the dogs deal and interact with people, and how they are not "perfect."
As for titles, reputable breeders show their dogs, and should be working toward a championship if not a champion already. This is important--while there are many wonderful dogs out there that haven't seen the inside of a show ring, if the breeder is truly trying to improve the breed , they will be comparing their dogs to other breeders and trying to breed dogs that match the standard. The only way to do that is to show their dogs.
Many breeders compete in obedience as well, and will have Companion Dog (CD) or other obedience titles for the parents. AKC also awards the Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) to dogs who pass a temperament certification. Dogs with Therapy Dog International (TDI) titles have also passed a test requiring obedience and temperament parameters. Titles at the end of the name are just as important as titles in the front! Any of these titles are good benchmarks to judge temperament and behavior in the parents.
Can you explain the puppy's pedigree?
A good breeder should be able to tell you something about the dogs in your puppy's pedigree. A good breeder should be able to give you a 3-5 generation pedigree on the litter. Have them explain the often cryptic letters and titles awarded, and get a good feel that they know the lines they are breeding from well. At the very least5, they should be able to provide you with a 4 generation pedigree and be able to tell you about the dogs in it.
If you see the same dogs listed a few times on the pedigree, the breeder should be able to point out any line breeding and inbreeding and explain the benefits and dangers of both.
How Many litters do you have a year?
Some small breeders may breed 1 or 2 litters every year or every other year. Most serious Mastiff show breeders breed every year and the number of litter may vary from breeder to breeder. The Mastiff Club of America accepts 8 litters every 24 months as an acceptable limit.
Definitely avoid anyone who "always has puppies", or who is breeding their bitch more frequently than twice every two years. If someone has three or more litters (especially if they note that it was "unexpected") on the ground at the same time--they are certainly not planning these puppies. All litters should be 'expected' and well planned. If they are not, it's a crap shoot as to whether you're going to get a good puppy or a nightmare.
What guarantees do you have for this puppy?
At the very least, the breeder should guarantee the puppy against any debilitating genetic problems, insure the puppy is in good health, and place these statements in a contract.
A breeder should be prepared to take back any dog for any reason--part of being a ethical breeder is making sure that the puppies they bred have good homes and that it stays that way.
When Can I take the puppy home?
Puppies usually go home between 8 and 12 weeks. Avoid anyone sending tiny puppies home.
Need more information? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Whether you want a couch potato, or a Best in Show winner, a good temperament test is the place to start to help you to figure out which is which. Over the last 20-30 years, many different temperament tests have been developed and used. Any temperament test will help you in one way or another.
In the 1970’s, I used the “Super Puppy Test”: this test had been utilized to determine which puppies would make the best seeing eye, hearing-ear, and drug detection dogs. I tested all my puppies, kept records and followed up at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years of age to evaluate my results. After questioning my buyers on their needs and wants in a dog, I based the placement of my puppies on their test results. I never misplaced a puppy, nor did I have to replace any puppies. My buyers all raved how “perfect” their puppies fit into their family.
Today, I use Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude test. I have found it easy to use, interpret, and to explain results to others. It is an excellent test to help you place puppies with suitable owners and in the right family environment. It can be utilized in a breeding program to assist the breeder in determining which puppies to keep for future breeding by determining characteristic traits. A breeder who needs to correct certain behaviors (i.e. excessive shyness, aggression, sound sensitivity,) can test for these traits and choose puppies to eliminate or lessen negative behaviors. Likewise, if you want a dog for obedience or agility competition, these same tests can assist you in choosing the right puppy for you. Let’s examine puppy aptitude testing (PAT) and the how’s and whys. Please refer to the link here on My website.
VOLHARD’S PUPPY APTITUDE TEST
Wendy Volhard developed a system for testing puppies in which one could indicate the dog’s basic temperament and indicate the dog with the most obedience potential. This resulted in the development of the Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT) since it indicates which pup has the most aptitude for the desire task or purpose. When administered in a standard form, testing results at 7 weeks of age follow true into adulthood. This test can be examined and broken down into test sections. The temperament sections will exam socialization, forgiveness, dominance & passiveness, independence, and active & passive defenses. The obedience section will exam trainability, touch, sound, and sight sensitivity.
EXCITABILITY VS. INHIBIT ABILITY
This trait is an inherited tendency, which in the excitable dog makes it extremely responsive to external stimuli. Some also refer to excitability/inhibit ability as prey drive. Prey drive is important because it functions as the “stress relief” in a dog. The more you teach a dog, the higher its’ stress. Prey drive is the relief valve—it releases the pressure.
For temperament testing, we break prey drive into three sub-divisions: Ball drive, rag drive, and retrieve drive. Testing these subdivisions in a puppy can tell us where we may expect to see training problems later. For example, a pup with little or no prey drive will make a good couch potato but will be only able to handle the stress of mild household obedience. This is the conformation dog that walks into the ring with its head down, tail tucked, and stressed to the max. To expect more of this dog would be unfair to him and frustrating to you. However, if you need an agility dog or a high-level competition dog, a high prey drive would help this dog adjust and deal with specialized training.
The inhibited dog shows more self-control. This dog is more easily trained to react only upon certain cues. Obedience dogs are a good example.
The balance between excitability and inhibit ability is a poised, assure dog; a dog who rolls with the flow and adapts to his surroundings well. The extreme of excitability would be a wild uncontrollable dog. The extreme of inhibitiability would be the withdrawn, rigid and lethargic dog.
ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE DEFENCE REFLEXES:
This trait is the inherited tendency to react to stress by biting, freezing or running away, and is also called a defense drive. A dog with a strong defense drive will make an excellent watchdog. The dog with a passive defense reflex will be induced to bite only under extreme duress. A dog with little or no defense drive will show a burglar where the family silver is , supervise while he bags it up, and escort him to the door as to say, ”Have a nice day!”.
A more passive dog should be selected for a family with small children, while a single adult may want a dog with more active defense reflexes for personal protection. A more active defense reflex when combined with a tendency toward inhabitability will allow an owner to train the dog to be defensive only in specific situations. Most Mastiffs exhibit this trait.
DOMINANAT VS. SUBMISSIVE
The dominant dog is the one who would have grown up to be the pack leader if it and the other puppies had been left to grow up on their own in the wild. He will show dominant behavioral tendencies by biting, growling, mounting, direct eye contact, walking with head up, tail up, hackles up, etc. The dominant dog will have first pick of the food, places to sleep, etc. Dominance has been selected for in many terrier breeds.
A dominant dog may challenge his human master and need a constant firm, calm handling. Lack of leadership on the owner’s part with such a dog will result in the dog assuming leadership. This may result in response such as nervousness, over-protectiveness, refusal to obey, and interfering with owner’s interactions with other people. A non-obedient adult dog can present many problem for it’s’ owner.
Submissiveness is evident in the dog that accepts leadership. It is often expressed in behaviors such as nudging with the nose, pawing, tail down, ears down, crouching and rolling over on the back, lack of fighting, lack of eye contact, and submitting to command. This is a dog that can be easily influenced by his owner/leader.
The submissive dog generally responds to training and readily accepts a human leader. The extremely submissive dog will react to the slightest stress by crouching or tail tucking and may be difficult to train. It will take a lot of encouragement and very gentle handling to build confidence and help it to adapt to the stresses of living in the average household. This dog will need to have absolute confidence in its owners.
INDEPENDENCE VS. SOCIAL ATTRACTION:
The independent dog is not interested in human beings. He may be a loner or have been poorly socialized. This dog may work or hunt well on his own. Livestock guarding dogs often exhibit this trait.
The socially attracted dogs exhibits interest in people, enjoys being petted, follows humans easily, and in general wants to be where its humans are. These dogs are often described as turning into “people” and they make excellent pets for this reason.
FORGIVENESS AND TRAINABILITY-
It is also necessary to test a pup’s level of forgiveness (pain tolerance). In choosing a puppy as a family pet and companion, checking a pup’s level of forgiveness is a most crucial aspect of temperament testing. A puppy with a low level of forgiveness makes a poor candidate for almost any lifestyle. Only the most knowledgeable of trainers can manage a dog with low forgiveness. That will be clear the first time your toddler bites Rover’s ear or steps on his tail.
Trainability can also be described as a desire to please. A puppy with a high desire to please is much easier to train than one who does not care if it pleases you. Our animal shelters are full of dogs that developed bad habits and their owners could not control or train them. The easier it is to train your pup, the fewer problems you will have in your home.
TOUCH, SOUND & SIGHT SENSIVITY-
Sight and Sound sensitivity is tested in order to determine the stability of a pup’s nerves. If a dog is overly sensitive to sound and sight it will show excessive fear, crouching, urinating, or running away when confronted with a loud or sharp sound. This dog could overact to gunshots, shouted commands, children laughing and screaming as they play.
Touch sensitivity is the pup’s response to physical stimuli. The touch sensitive dog will be difficult to train with the standard training collar because the correction-snap sets off the dogs defense reflexes (biting, freezing, or running away). This is the dog that bites when he is startled by petting, or by a child stepping on its tail. The touch insensitivity dog shows little response to physical stimuli. A mighty yank on the training collar yields little response.
It is obvious that the combination of traits (drives) or tendencies with which a puppy is born will go into the formation of its temperament. Particular combinations will result in a dog more suited for some things than others. Just because a dog has active defense reflexes does not mean it will make a good guard dog. Most owners are not looking for extreme drives in their dog. They want a dog with balance drives that will work, play, protect and settle into family life.
For example, what is commonly called a “hard” dog is often a combination of dominance and touch insensitivity. If this dog also shows a strong tendency to lead (dominant), it will be difficult to train. When the owner attempts to assert himself through a corrective snap on the training collar, the dog doesn’t respond because it cannot feel the collar. The owner must then resort to more forceful methods of correction, or use a different stimulus.
Environment plays a tremendous part in developing a dog’s potential. Genetic factors are inherited, but the traits themselves can be modified by environmental factors. By training and early experience we can greatly influence these traits. Research has shown that influence on temperament occurs in puppies at age’s 3-12 weeks. Environment and experiences have the most lasting impression on a dog. Temperament traits are generally fixed after 17 weeks of age. Temperament testing gives us the advantage of knowing what we have and where we need to go with it.
ADMINISTERING THE PAT-
Now that we have given you an idea of what we are testing for and why, let’s begin the temperament test. Although much of what we test can be used for older dogs, ideally the temperament test should be given at 7 weeks of age. At 6 weeks or earlier, the puppy’s neurological connections are not fully developed. If you test puppies between the ages of 8 to 10 weeks, special care must be taken not to frighten them since this is the time frame for the fear imprint stage. You will need to have handy a tennis ball, a stainless steel bowl and spoon, and a dish-towel size rage or scrap of fake fur.
Puppies are tested individually, away from the dam and littermates in an area free from distractions and new to them: a small enclosed yard, garage, porch, living room, or whatever. Puppies should be tested before a meal when they are awake and lively and not on a day when they have been wormed or given puppy shots.
The sequence of the tests should be the same for all puppies. The test is designed to alternate a slightly stressful test with a neutral or pleasant one. If one follows the chart format, this principle can be followed. For your connivance, we have attached a standardized form that can be copied and used which includes the test, its’ purpose, and how to score the puppy’s response.
To help eliminate human error, or the puppies being influence by a familiar person, someone should administer the test other than the owner of the litter. A friend of the owner or a prospective buyer can easily learn to give the test. I find that having a fellow breeder assess conformation and temperament helps me to determine which of my puppies are “show quality” as well as “pet quality”.
When I am asked to temperament test a litter of puppies, I always asked to observe the parents, preferably both but at least the dam. If the sire and/or the dam have undesirable characteristics, there is a good chance some, if not all of the puppies will have inherit these traits. It is my opinion that a dam with undesirable traits is more apt to pass those characteristics to her pups by heredity and by example (modeling).
If you are considering purchasing a puppy, always observe the parents. The safest and easiest thing to do when faced with undesirable temperament in the parents, is to look for another litter of puppies whose sire and dam more closely conform to you needs and ideals. If you must have a pup from this litter, pay close attention to the test scores of the litter and do not select a pup, which shows any tendency toward undesirable traits.
INTERPRETING YOUR SCORES-
Mostly 1’s-a puppy that consistently scores 1 in the temperament section of the test is an extremely dominant, aggressive puppy who can be easily provoked to bite. His dominant nature will attempt to resist human leadership; thus requiring only the most experienced of handlers. This puppy is a poor choice for most individuals and will do best in a working situation as a guard dog or police dog.
Mostly 2’s- This pup is dominant and self-assured. He can be provoked to bite; however, he readily accepts human leadership that is firm, consistent, and knowledgeable. This is not a dog for as tentative, indecisive individual. In the right hands, he has the potential to become a fine working dog or show dog and could fit into an adult household, provided the owners know what they are doing.
Mostly 3’s-This pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. He has a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environment, provided he is handles correctly. May be too much dog for a family with small children or an elderly sedentary couple.
Mostly 4’s- A pup that scores a majority of 4’s is an easily controlled, adaptable puppy whose submissive nature will make him continually look to his master for leadership. This pup is easy to train, reliable with kids, and, though he lacks self-confidence, makes a high –quality family pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3’s, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate.
Mostly 5’s- This pup is extremely submissive and lacking in self-confidence. He bonds closely with his owner and requires regular companionship and encouragement too bring him out of himself. If handled incorrectly, this pup will grow up very shy and fearful. For this reason, he will do best in a predictable, structured lifestyle with owners who are patient and not overly demanding, such as an elderly couple.
Mostly 6’s-A puppy that scores 6 consistently is independent and uninterested in people. He will mature into a dog who is not demonstrably affectionate and who has a low need for human companionship. In general, it is rare to see properly socialized pups test this way: however there are several breeds that have been bred for specific tasks (such as basenjis, hounds, and some northern breeds) which can exhibit this level of independence. To perform as intended, these dogs require a singularity of purpose that is not compromised by strong attachments to their owner.
The remainder of the test is an evaluation of obedience aptitude and working ability and provides a general picture of a pup’s intelligence, spirit and willingness to work with a human being. For most owners, a good companion dog will score in the 3 to 4 range in this section of the test. Puppies scoring a combination of 1’s and 2’s require experienced handlers who will be able to draw the best aspects of their potential from them.
Ch. Kiokee Drunk in Publick Too --"Cooter"
This is Cooter at 22 months and at about 185 lbs.
Paternal Grand Sire-C. Skamania's Tug Beau-T HOF
Sire-Ch. Skamania's Dusk to Dawn
Paternal Grand Dam-Storm Sweet Dreams Skamania
Maternal Grand Sire-Ch. Ironhills Doorman to Mt Moriah
Dam-Kiokee Private Dancer
Maternal Grand Dam-Kiokee Warrior Princess
Cooter is co-owned by myself and my daughter, Leila Airhart. Cooter is a very large boy--about 33 inches at the shoulder with a very large frame and bone size. He has a level topline and a well angle rear. He also has a deep chest and nice wide chest. He has a very dark mask and eyes with a slightly undershot bite. He is friendly and outgoing and very non-aggressive.
Spicewoods Power Stroke--"Diesel"
Paternal Grand Sire-Ch. Enchanted Acres Trust Me
Sire-Ch. Spicewoods I Go To The River
Paternal Grand Dam-Ch. Elizabeth of Heavensgate
Marernal Grand Sire-Ch. Spicewoods I Go To The River
Dam-Ch. Spicewoods It's A Good Thing
Materanl Grand Dam-Ch. MistyMeadows Forget-Me-Not
Diesel was bred by Gina and Mike Moore of Spicewoods Mastiffs in Fort Royal, Va. and they have graciously agreed to co-own this beautiful boy with me. He is line bred out of Ch. Enchanted Acres Trust Me and Hedgestone's Big Man--two more of my favorite mastiffs. I consider his pedigree to be pure gold. Diesel is a proven stud dog and a natural breeder--the boy knows his "stuff"! Like most Mastiffs, he needs a a moment or two to warm up to you, but the he is sweet, loving, and friendly to all. He will wrap himself around you like a big cat!
We will be completing his health testing--he is has an OFA excellent for his hips and a normal for his elbows, Thyroid and cardiac OFAs. He is DNA PRA clear by parentage. We will be completing a CERF exam, and Cystinurnia testing in the near future. He is a dog that can contribute positively to a breeding program.
After we gave him a few weeks to settle in, we began his show career and he only needs one more major to complete his AKC Championship! We have a couple of very exciting litters planned for him in 2010. Diesel is available to health tested bitches of merit.
Some of my girls are show dogs--some are just dogs, but all are sound and fully health tested. I am often asked why I would breed a bitch or a dog that is not a champion. My answer is that some dogs don't like to show--just like some kids do not like to play football or basketball--some want to be on the debate or chess team. It could be the noise, the confusion, all the strange smells--who knows--Mastiffs are very sensitive and can stress easily--dog shows are stressful.
If a dog does not like showing--I see no sense in making a dog do something they don't like--there is just no fun in it for me or them. There is no more miserable sight in the world than a stressed out Mastiff dragging his feet and hanging his head in the ring. The joy in showing your dog is when the dog enjoys showing and is happy in the ring. I try and convince all my dogs that showing is fun--and we do win sometimes!!
Sometimes the best dogs are just that--dogs.
Ch. Morrigan's Celtic Queen of Kiokee
Paternal Grand Sire-Int.Am.Ch. Iron Hills Bar Open All Night
Sire-- Ch Caledonia Built to Last HOF
Paternal Grand Dam-Ch. Caledonia Night Moves
Maternal Grand Sire-Running Bear's Thor's Rocktop
Dam-Ch. Clas Myrrdin's Morrigan HOF
Maternal Grand Dam-Rocky Top's Little Ann
Boudi is my big fawn brindle girl bred by Jim Bennett of Morrigan's Mastiffs. Her Maternal Grand dam is the litter sister to my Zena & Hercules--Little Ann. We are so very happy to be able to add this bloodline back into our dogs.
Boudi is fully health tested and holds a CHIC Health Award (#36360). She is a very large bitch weighing well over 190 lbs. She has very large bone, a sound structure with a strong rear and a deep wide front. She has a lovely head with a perfect scissor bite. She is beautiful mover with excellent balance. She is loving and has a rock steady temperament--nothing fazes her!!
Boudi finished her championship in March 2008 with two back to back 3-point majors. To make this day doubly sweet, her championship placed her Dam, Ch. Clas Myrrdin's Morrigan into the MCOA Hall of Fame for top producers. What a wonderful way to finish a championship!
Boudi is offically retire from our breeding program.
Kiokee Private Dancer
Paternal Grand Sire-BISS. Ch. Iron Hills InTo the Night
Sire-Ch. Ironhills Doorman to Mt. Moriah
Paternal Grand Dam-Ch Iron Hills Little EarthquakeMaternal Grand Sire-Rocky Top Flaming Gambit
Dam-Kiokee Warrior Princess
Maternal Grand Dam-Ch. Matics Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Tina is my apricot brindle daughter out of my Zena. She and her brother, Solomon, are the only two puppies ever produced by Zena. Needless to say, she is a very special bitch to me.
Although not a big bitch--she was extremely sound and typy. Tina passed all her health testing and was awarded a CHIC Health Award (#31188). She is the dam of our boy, Cooter.
Tina was shown as a young bitch, but received a brown recluse spider bite to her chest which sidelined her show career for a time. During this time she became a mother producing the only litter ever bred from our Hercules. Due to complications during the pregnancy--we were advised to breed her back to back heats. So her second litter was out of Tammi & Dave Kuhn's Butters--Ch. Skamania Dusk To Dawn.
She returned to the ring--but her heart was not in showing--so we retired her with 6 points. She is now officially retired from our breeding program-she is spayed and lives in her new adoptive home in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Paternal Grand Sire-Kiokee Walk Your Talk
Sire-Ch. Kiokee Devil Came To Georgia
Paternal Grand Dam-Rocky Top Lady Eowyn Natura
Maternal Grand Sire-BIS. Ch. Pinehollow Caledonia's Jackson
Dam-Ch. Matic Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Maternal Grand Dam-Ch. Pinehollows Beansi Buffamatic
Vi is one of the two puppies bred from my Maddie and Taz--she is the only Taz daughter to ever have produced puppies. I was never successful in breeding her sister, Vesta. I bred her to Ch. Skamiani's Tug Beau-T at age 4 1/2 producing 10 puppies and her second and last litter to Ch. Stonehouse Steamboat Willie Producing 8 puppies at 7 years of age!! My Reba, Mona, Toby & Big Man are from the Tug & Vi Litter; Sara Lee, Else, Westly and Ollie are from the Willie & Vi Litter. Toby and Ollie are finished AKC champions: Sara Lee, Reba, and Westly are pointed.
Vi never like showing--but she is pointed. She injured the tip of her tail and we had to amputate part of it--so her show career ended. She is one of the old retired grand dams here at the house. She was 11 years old this past June (2008), and is still going strong--she can still put the fear of God into any stray cat who wanders into the yard!! Even at her age she is an active, strong, sound dog. She is a good example of a strong, sound, productive bitch with good breeding who produces as good or better than herself.
As a general rule, I don't breed my girls after age 4 1/2: Vi is an exception. Due to family illness, I was unable to bred her untill then. Most Mastiff bitches can not concieve and carry puppies easily after the age of 4 years. Vi never missed a step--she was bred, carried and delivered of her puppies without any health problems. A testimony to her soundeness , exceptional overall health, fertility, and longivity.
Edit note: Vi passed on this past spring (May 2009) a month short of 12 years old. We brought her ashes home and placed in the yard in her favorite "sunning" spot.
Vi surpassed herself as a brood bitch--producing pups better than herself. She produced some wonderful loving dogs who have made excellent family pets, companions and show dogs. We currently have her grand pups to love and raise. We are very proud of her.
Kiokee Get 'Er Done
Reba winning her 1st Major (3-points) under Judge Barbara Dempsey Alderman.Paternal Grand Sire-Int.Am Can. Ch. Colton's Beauregard HOF
Sire-Ch. Skamania Tug Beau-T HOF
Paternal Grand Dam-Am.Can.Ch. Moonstone's Skamania Jasmine
Maternal Grand Sire-Ch. Kiokee Devil Came To Georgia
Maternal Grand dam-Ch. Matics Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Reba is one of our Vi daughters. She is co-owned and loved by my daughter, Leila. She is very much the spoiled princess and a confirmed couch potato. She is smart, funny, sassy, and loving. She looks very much like her dam, Vi--but I see traces of her grand dam, Maddie, in her too! She never meets a stranger, loves to go places, and demands to be the center of attention. In short--she is a Mastiff princess!
Reba just chillin' after a hard day at the dog show!
Reba passed her health testing without any problems--as we expected!! She and her littermates make the 5th generation of health tested Kiokee Mastiffs.
We made the decision to hold off showing her until she matured--and we bred her this past spring to Boudi's brother, Oscar--Ch. Morrigan's Cu Mac Shimidh. They produced a wonderful litter which includes, LuLu, Trooper, and Mirra. Lulu lives here in Hickory with the Bush Family; Trooper is co-own with the Williams family in Statesville, NC; and Mirra lives with daddy Oscar and grand-momma Jennifer. Go to our "Rising Stars" section to see 2 of these beautiful babies. We hope to show all these lovely babies as they mature and to complete momma Reba AKC championship in the next oncoming months.
We do have future breedings planned for Reba. Please watch for blog posts to announce their arrival!!Kiokee Daddy's Money
Paternal Grand Sire-Int.Am.Can.Ch. Coltons Beauregard HOF
Sire-Ch. Skamania's Tug Beau-T HOFPaternal Grand Dam-Am.Can.Ch. Moonstone's Skamania Jasmine
Maternal Grand Sire-Ch. Kiokee Devil Came To GeorgiaDam-
Maternal Grand Dam-Ch. Matics Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Mona is my other Tug & Vi daughter--she has a bigger head and more bone size, but is much more reserved. She has a rock solid topline, a well angulated rear, and a deep wide front. She has beautiful dark pigment in her mask and ears, and very dark eyes. She has beautiful well balanced movement.
Mona easily passed all her health testing and was awarded a CHIC health award (#36531) as we expected. Like her sister, Reba, Mona is a product of 5 generations of our breeding and health testing.
Mona loves water--as do all her babies! She is loving and accepting to all who come to our home. She is a wonderful mother--even serving as a substitute mother nursing puppies from another litter. What more could you ask from a brood bitch?
She is a bit insecure at the dog shows--all the noise and commotion is unsettling to her. Since the whole dog show experience was not positive for her--we decieded to just let Mona do what she loves best--stay at home.
We bred Mona in Late Summer 2009 to RuthAnn and Dale Synder's Boss (Intl. Am Ch. Magnum's One Ton Speed Wagon) and she delivered 2 beautiful Brindle Males on Nov. 13th, 2009. Sadly, we lost Mona shortly after the c-section. We will miss her.
Kiokee Stonehouse Sara Lee
Sire-Int. & Am. Ch. Stonehouse Steamboat Willie CGC
Paternal Grand Dam-Int. & Am. Ch. Stonehouse Miss Mallory
Maternal Grand Sire-Ch. Kiokee Devil Came to Georgia
Maternal Grand Dam-Ch. Matics Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Sara is our pick bitch from our Vi & Willie Litter. She is a high energy mastiff; full of life and vigor. She is fun loving and outgoing. She is wonderful with our younger puppies and plays loving big sister to them.
We had plans to show her in 2009 and hopefully finish her AKC championship. However due to a torn Cruicate--her show career has been shelved for the present. She resides with her co-breeders--Karen and Micheal McBee.
Sara Lee has completed her health testing and has produced one litter. We do not have any breeding plans for her at present.
If you need any information about our planned breedings, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Here are Cooter, Dawn, and TJ. This is Dawn and TJ.
Zena at 10 1/2 years old
Paternal Grand Sire- Am. Can. Ch Colton's Beaugard HOF
Sire- Rocky Top's Flaming Gambit
Paternal Grand Dam-Ch. Rocky Top Dark Shadow
Maternal Grand Sire- BISS C. Pinehollow Caledonia's Jackson
Dam-Ch. Matic Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Maternal Grand Dam-Ch. PineHollows Beansi Buffamatic
Zena is the oldest of my Maddie daughter, the dam of my Tina and grand-dam of our Cooter. Due to an elbow injury which left her with a permanent limp--she was never able to be shown. We did breed her and in her first litter she produced 2 puppies--one of which is our Tina. She developed Pyrometria with her second breeding , lost her litter and required spaying much to our disappointment.
She lives here with us as our "Queen Mother"--the reigning matriarch and the love of our hearts. In our eyes, she has only grown more beautiful and regal with age. She is sweet and loving and never too far from us when we take our leisurely walks.Vesta
Paternal Grand-Sire: Kiokee Walk Your Talk
Sire: Ch. Kiokee Devil came to Georgia
Paternal Grand-Dam: Caviness Jetta Junior
Maternal Grand-Sire: BIS. Ch. Pinehollow Caledonia's Jackson
Dam: Ch. Matic Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Maternal Grand-Dam: Ch. Pinehollows Beansi Buffamatic
Vesta was one of my Maddie & Taz daughters. Due to my daughter's illness, I didn't begin showing Vesta until she was 4 years old. Her first week end out with her handler, Kelly Rea; she laid down in the ring and covered her eyes with her paws! Lots of folks laughed and said she would never finish. Well, they were wrong. Vesta finished easily and took 3 Best Of Breeds to complete her AKC Championship!
We completed her health testing and attempted to breed her twice, but with no luck. We were never able to get any puppies. Vesta died at age 7 due to complications secondary to viral pneumonia. We miss her.
Ch. Dame Edith of Acorn Hills.
Paternal Grand-Sire: Ch. Lionsire Ironhills Warleggen
Sire: Ch. Iron Hills Warwagon, HOF
Paternal Grand-Dam: Ch. Iron Hills Elbereth
Maternal Grand-Sire: Ch. Deer Run Ezekial
Dam:Ch. Lionsire Indigo of Pax River
Maternal Grand-Dam: Christian Bristol Cream
Edie was the first bitch I ever bought to show and was a WarWaggon Daughter. Although she was a long-hair Mastiff, we finished Edie. Her show wins included a Best of Breed win for a 5-point major over her two nationally ranked 1/2 brothers and a Group 4 placement!
I received a lot of criticism for showing a long-coat mastiff. I showed and finished her to make a point--coat is cosmetic; quality comes from within. Edie was an exceptional bitch; her littermates are some of the top-producing Mastiffs of all time. I am very proud to have owned such a wonderful dog.
I never bred and kept a puppy from Edie, and I count this as one of the biggest mistakes I have made as a breeder. I gave in to the pressure exerted by closed minded people. I would not make that same mistake today.
Edie lived to be 9 years old; she retired to live with my daughter and grand-daughters. She was a wonderful family pet and companion. I wish there were more Mastiffs just like her.
Thank you for the lessons you taught me-coat does not make a Mastiff. Rest well and watch over us. We miss you.
Ch. Matic Lady Madolin of Kiokee
Paternal Grand-Sire: Ch. Pinehollows War-Gator
Sire: BIS.Ch. Pinehollow Caledonia's Jackson
Paternal Grand-Dam: Caledonia's Cameron of Pinehollow
Maternal Grand-Sire: Ch. IronHills WarWagon
Dam: Ch. Pinehollows Beansi Buffamatic
Maternal Grand-Dam: Ch. Pinehollows Kizzie
Here is the lady who begun it all--Maddie. Maddie was not the first bitch I ever bought. Edie and GeeBee both came before her, but due to different causes I was never able to bred and keep puppies from either bitch. I had bred my boys to outside bitches, but I had never owned a bitch that had been bred to my boys. In the truest sense of the word; Maddie is my foundation bitch.
I feel in love with Maddie's sire--BIS.CH. Pinehollow's Caledonia Jackson--or Jack as the Mastiff world knew him. He was the first Mastiff to win 10 Best in Shows; Jack set the standard for all others to follow. Maddie's dam was a Daughter out of Ch. Iron Hills WarWaggon, HOF--another all time favorite of mine. Dave is and remains to this day one of the top producing stud dogs of our breed; Dave was the first Mastiff I Ever seen that made me go, "Damn! What a dog!" To find a bitch bred from both Dave & Jack was a pedigree made in heaven for me.
I had placed a deposit for the second pick bitch from this breeding, and I drove to Florida to pick up my puppy. But it wasn't the 2nd pick bitch I brought home--the one who stole my heart and caught my eye was the 3rd pick bitch puppy. A "Pet" the breeder said. My gut instincts said otherwise--at 8 weeks of age, Maddie could move like a gaited walking horse-she had the beautiful movement of both her sire and her grand-sire. So, it was Maddie I brought home.
Maddie went on to finish her AKC championship easily; her all important last point was placed on her by my friend, Tammara Kuhn with a 4-point major! To make the event all to more exciting; Maddie was 3 weeks in whelp to Int. Can.Am.Ch. Colton's Beaugard. The Kuhns and I co-breed that first litter together--Maddie & Beau gave use 8 gorgeous puppies.
For Maddie's second litter, I bred her to a Beau son and a Tuffy Grandson. From that litter came Zena, Hercules and Little Ann; all dogs who figure predominately in my current pedigrees.
Maddie's third and final litter was out of my Taz, Ch. Kiokee Devil Came to Georgia; and gave me my Vesta & Vidalia. These two girls were the only puppies I ever bred from Taz.
To this day, I see Maddie's beautiful balance and movement in her descendants. Her love of water, trying to "talk" to their humans, quiet warm affectionate nature, and boundless energy are all traits of Maddie's I see in her children. Maddie set the standard for me.
Although Maddie did not produce a large amount of puppies--what she did produce were sound and better than good examples of our breed. Maddie excelled at what a bitch should do--she made her mark in the whelping box.
Maddie lived to 10 years old. She left this world with dignity and love. Much Thanks old girl. Slept well.
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