Monday, June 25, 2007

Dogs of our Past--The Kiokee Boys

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is about my "foundation dogs"--or the dogs behind in my pedigrees. Most people know about the better known dogs. Since few people have any of my basic Kiokee lines, I would like to introduce you to those dogs--the dogs of our past.

Ch, Kiokee Tuff-E-Nuff


Paternal Grand-Sire:Ch Deer Run Ezekial (Fawn)

Sire: Ironhills Stay The Night (Apricot Brindle)

Paternal Grand-Dam: Christian Bristol Cream (Apricot Brindle)

Maternal Grand-Sire: Ch. Ironhills Lionsire Poldark (Fawn)

Dam: Ironhills Hope Springs Eternal (Fawn)

Maternal Grand-Dam: Verdune's Tolkien Dreamer (Fawn)

Tuffy was the first male Mastiff I bought as Show quality. When I first saw him as a 7 week old puppy he weighed 9 lbs.; he was covered with seed ticks, dehydrated, and extremely hot to the touch. Even to my novice eye, I knew he was a very sick puppy. He was so sick he could not stand up when the co-breeders placed him on the ground. I picked him up to hand him back and to tell the man "no deal"; when he looked me in the face. Something in his eyes told me, "No, wait. I'll be worth the effort." Common sense said not to keep him, but my heart said not to let him go.

I paid the man a pet price for him--because I wasn't sure he would live; but I also had the fear, this very sick puppy would never live if he left that night. I bathed and dipped him for ticks that night--in my mop bucket. I sat on my front porch steps and combed out over 500 seed ticks off him. I sat up all night and gave him pedilyte to hydrate him. The next morning , I took him to my vet--he had a 105 fever and still could not stand up and walk; we suspected tick fever and paralysis--we started him on antibiotics. He was full of worms--hook, whip and tapeworms.

It took weeks for him to turn around--followup lab work showed he did not have liver damage from his poor care, but I felt sure he would never be as large as he could have been. It didn't matter to me; I had decided to keep him. He was a happy, loving dog--eager to please us.

Tuffy grew into a small adult male--he never weighed more than 150lbs. but he had an awesome head and movement, a strong rear and proper front, and was a loving devoted family companion. I was just learning to show dogs--so I made lots of mistakes. Tuffy and I had to back up and relearn many things, but we did it together. He hated the show turmoil outside the ring (he had gotten jumped at ring side as a puppy--mistake #1), and he really didn't care for men (lived in an all female house--Mistake #2).
We had gotten down to the all important final major--we just needed one more major to finish. As Fate would have it--Tuffy swallowed a piece of a cow hoof and blocked his small intestine. The Vet and I opened him up and took out about 18 inches and sewed him back together. Over the next few weeks, I saw him lose down to 95 lbs.--I didn't know if he would live. Through care and love, Tuffy pulled through and slowly began to recover. I felt sure, his show career was over.
Almost 18 months later, I stood looking at him in the yard ; he had recovered and looked as good as he ever had. The Charlotte, NC shows were coming up and both judges loved good movement and were female. So I entered him.
On the first day, we had a judge change to Jack Dexter--who would bend over and run his hands up under a dog's chest. I knew Tuffy would never stand still for that--so I pulled him after asking the advice of my friend, Nora Lee Reece, who agreed with me. Sunday's Judge was Helen Miller- Fisher, a German Shepherd breeder who loved side movement. Tuffy absolutely floated when he moved: so I knew we could hold our own under her.
As we stood outside the ring on Sunday, Tuffy sat with his head hanging--too many dogs and people for him to be comfortable. I bent down and whispered in his ear, " Tuffy, old boy. I love you. Just go in this ring one more time for me and win, and I will never make you go to another dog show as long as you live."
When we entered the ring that day, it was like you had flipped a switch--Tuffy became a different dog. He held his head up, arched his neck, and as we walked down the open Dog line to our place at the end, he looked every dog in the eye. When we got to our place, he turned and placed himself, stacked, and looked at me and gave me the "face." I never touched him. After 18 months, and with no practice before hand--he had remembered everything and did it perfect.

Tuffy showed that day like a Best in Show winner; never a misstep; he did everything perfect. On his down and back he stopped in front of the judge, looked her straight in the face, ears up and expression perfect. As we gaited around the ring, the judge's eyes never left us. She didn't even wait to look at all the dogs again or let us come to a stop; she moved us up to the front of the line and gave us 1st place in open and then winner's dog. He was the smallest male and the only brindle there that day.

When I came out of the ring, I was so nervous--all I could think of was going back in to get best of Winners (since I thought the only major was in the bitches) so Tuffy could finish. Nora Lee asked me,"Did you finish him, Catie?" "No," I told him" we need 7 dogs for a major--there was only 6." Nora Lee looked at me funny, "No, Catie, there was seven." I stood there and silently began counting the dogs in my head; and I realized, I had forgotten to count Tuffy. There was 7--he had finished.
An overwhelming sense of relief flooded me; I bent down and hugged my boy, and I cried from sheer relief. Tuffy just sat at my feet-- happy and at ease--he knew he had done well and he knew I loved him. When a dog goes forward and does his best--even if it's something he doesn't like--he does it because you asked him to do it--that's a true champion. We did get Best of Winners for a 4-pt major that day, but it was all anticlimactic at that point. Tuffy was the first Mastiff I ever finished by myself.
Yes, I kept my promise--Tuffy never went to another dog show. He sired some wonderful puppies--he was bred three times. Everything I have ever bred from him is well over 190# including the girls. He produced size & Bone, type, trainability, good temperament, and intelligence. All of my dogs have descended from this "titan" of a dog.
He was a devoted family companion and home guardian. I used him in rehabbing rescue dogs with temperament problems. He slept at the foot of my children's bed. When one of our dogs was sick, he slept next to them and guarded them until they recovered. He guarded and "fathered" our Irish setter puppies--because it was his "job." He was a blood donor for my Vet. He gave us unconditional love and devotion.
He did at age 11; I held him as he left this world and told him what a wonderful dog was and I thanked him for the love he had given us. He was a much loved and treasured family member. I had him cremated and his ashes are to be buried with me; in my afterlife, I want him to be by my side.
Good job, boy. I'll always love you and be thankful you came into our lives.

Ch. Kiokee Devil Came to Georgia


Paternal Grand Sire: Ch. Kiokee Tuff-E-Nuff (Apricot Brindle)

Sire: Kiokee Walk Your Talk (Fawn)

Paternal Grand Dam: Caviness Jetta Junior (Fawn)

Maternal Grand Sire: Ch. Patrices Prince Smokey (Brindle)

Dam: Rocky Top Lady Eowyn Natura (Fawn)

Maternal Grand Dam: Natures Acres Adorable Katie (Fawn)

Taz was a grand-son of our Tuffy. His sire Walker was bred only once producing Taz's litter of 3 fawn males. The breeder kept the Pick male--because he was going to "show" him. I took the second pick male--so that the breeder could keep his "pick" male. The breeder sold his two puppies--he didn't keep his male as he said he was going to do. I placed Taz on a co-ownership show contract and with a payment plan.

Well, after the deposit was made, no other payments were ever made. I made multiple inquires, but always got all kind of excuses. Then one day, the wife called me--she couldn't control the dog and her husband was away at sea ( he was in the Navy). She needed someone to come and get the dog--because she couldn't control it. Taz was basically a big unruly teenager--he had never been taught to mind. His co-owners bought a house , 2 new cars, had a second baby--but didn't pay for or train their dog.

So, I went and got my dog; put him through "boot camp" and began training him to be a good canine citizen. I kept him for 6 months; and at this point,I asked them to finish paying for him. Instead they decided to "sue" me for "their" dog. At no time did they ever acknowledge they owed me over a $1200.00 balance on the dog, nor did they offer to pay me any compensation for boarding & training their dog.

It didn't take long for them to realize that the courts agreed with me--that they had never met the conditions of the sales contract, and had over a year PAST the agreement date to pay in full. Because they had chosen not to pay a legal due bill after multiple requests, the courts ruled they did not have a legal claim to the dog. You can't claim you own something if you have never paid for it. Hard words were exchanged but I stood my ground and enforced my contract.

It took months of hard work to retrain Taz. He had learned to be a "bully" and had never listened to any human. Well, living in a house of alpha women cured his hearing problems and within a few months, be became a new dog.

He finished in just a few weekends from the 12-18 month old class. I also showed him as a special and he won multiple Best of Breeds and several group placements over the next few years. He was over 35 inches at the shoulder and weighed a solid 240lbs; he was solid muscle and bone. He love people and he loved going to the dog shows. He was the first dog I ever showed who loved the ring. It was sheer pleasure to show him.

Our greatest wins was at a NEMF supported shows in Virginia where Taz went BOB over 2 national ranked dogs. Only a handful of people knew me--our win came as a big surprise to most outside the ring on the first day--and then we won on the second day. It was a wonderful weekend for us.

Taz was bred once--to my Maddie for her last and third litter. From this breeding, I got 2 females--my Vesta (Ch. Kiokee Vesta) and my Vidalia (Kiokee Vidalia). I never got a son from him, but I do have his daughters. Grand-daughter Reba has the same sparkle in her eye as Taz and the same mischievous streak. His spirit lives on.

Taz lived to be 10 years old, he laid down and left us one night. I buried him on the hill where he use to lie and watch over our home at night. Sleep well friend.

Kiokee Conqueror


Paternal Grand-Sire: Am.Can Ch. Colton's Beaugard (Fawn)

Sire: Rocky Top's Flaming Gambit (Apricot)

Paternal Grand-Dam: Ch. Rocky Top Dark Shadow (Apricot Brindle)

Maternal Grand Sire: BISS Ch. Pinehollows Caledonia's Jackson (Fawn)

Dam: Ch. Matic Lady Madolin of Kiokee (Fawn)

Maternal Grand Dam: Ch. Pinehollows Beansi Buffamatic (Fawn)

Hercules is a littermate to our Zena and Boudi's Grand-dam, Little Ann. In all my years, I have seen very few mastiffs who have his deep, rich apricot color. Hercules was owned and loved by my daughter, Amiee. He was a great big mush cake who hated to show, but loved people and all creatures. He was happiest just lying around the backyard playing with his little dog friends. He was a true example of a "gentle giant".

We only bred Herc once, to my Tina--and Midnight is the only puppy ever bred from Hercules. He was 8 years old when she was bred. He died when Midnight was 4 months old from complications secondary to renal failure. We hope to bred a lovely apricot grand-son sometime in 2007-2008.

Thank you Hercules for teaching us it's OK to just be a dog. Slept well.

We can be reached at

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Hired Help"--Part II

Please continue with Part II of of "Hired Help" section.

Lionhearted Mastiffs

Gloria Davis is know for her black Brindle Mastiffs. I know her to be an ethical breeder who breeds dogs true to breed type yet retaining the soundness and structural correctness so badly needed in our breed. Gloria was one of the first Mastiff people I met when I began showing. Over the years, she and I have had many a lengthy talk about our beloved breed. We have very similar views on breeding and we both have the guts to stand up for what we believe in our dogs. We have at time chose different bloodlines (or roads as I call them) but our journeys has lead us to breed the same type of dogs. It takes a lot of breed knowledge, determination, and a whole lot of woman to breed Mastiffs for over 25 years!!

Ch. Lionhearted Maximum Power, CGC

Max is just my type of dog--he is what I refer to as a "Breeder's dog" Not only does he have type and size--he produces type & size in his puppies. Max also has a temperament no one can fault--he is loving and accepting to strangers. As a stud dog--he's a ladies' man--he playfully woos them with no aggression and breeds only when the bitch says she is ready. No breeder could ask for a better dog!!

I loved his sire and I love Max. The litter we produced from Mona & Max was all a breeder could envision. I am very happy and proud of the puppies Max and Mona produced.

Thank you, Gloria for your friendship and for your dedication to our breed!!

Gloria Davis can be reached at

Morrigan's Mastiffs

Trojan's New Champion picture

I have always believed in divine guideance-I believe that we are led to meet and know certain people for the part they are to play in our lives. Jim and Laura Bennett (along with James and Sidney) are such an example. Our meeting was through a twist of fate, but our friendship is one of continuing respect.

Jim bought a beautiful fawn Mastiff female puppy and named her Clas Myrridin Morrigan--"Morrigan". Impressed with the quality of the dog as she matured, Jim decieded he wanted to bred her. So he began the process of completeing all her health testing and finding the right "Man" for his girl. It was through this search, he found the perfect stud dog, Ch. Caledonia Built to Last-"Ford", and became friends with Suzie Farber of Caledonia Mastiffs. With the guidenece and help of Suzie, Jim bred Morrigan to Ford and Morrigan's Mastiffs was born. From these two breeding 16 dogs were produced--all who have tested OFA Hips Good or Excellent, Elbows Normal, Thyroid Normal, and cardiac normal. A wonderful accomplishement for any breeder.

Suzie was so impressed with the quality of puppies produced, that she encouraged Jim to repeat the breeding--and it was done. After delivering 2 litters of puppies, the beautiful Morrigan entered the show ring and in short order became an AKC Champion. Since that day, five of her puppies have become AKC champions which qualified Morrigan for the Mastiff Club of America Hall of Fame for top producers. A proud accomplishement for any bitch. This makes Morrigan a member of a very exclusive club. I look forward to seeing the presentation of her medallion at the MCOA banquet in 2009 at the Speciality.

I have had the priviledge of breeding to two of Morrigan's sons; "Oscar"-Ch. Morrigan's , owned by Jennifer McKemie of Lithia Springs, Ga. and "Trojan"-Ch. Morrigan's Hector, owned by Jim & Laura Bennett of Carrollton, Ga. Both of these boys produced some wonderful puppies. I also own a daughter--my Boudi, Ch. Morrigan's Celtic Queen of Kiokee. I am very proud of the puppies we have produced together.

I feel a kinship with Jim and his dogs for the beautiful Morrigan is a grand-daughter of my foundation Bitch, Ch. Matic's Lady Madolin of Kiokee-"Maddie". I feel a sense of pride in his success. I like to see my friends win.

you can contact Jim at for more information about his dogs.

"Hired Help"-Part I

No breeder can take full credit for 100% of each and every breeding. We buy dogs and breed outside stud dogs into our existing lines. These dogs are built on some other breeder's hard work and efforts. Anyone can go out buy two dogs and breed them producing a litter. It takes a "breeder" to go the next step--to take that first litter, build on it, correct faults, and improve the next generation produced. With each generation, a breeder strives to make improvements and to breed better dogs. It is my philosophy that when I bred my bitch to other's stud dogs that I should give due credit to the dog and his owners.

In truth, no one can be a successful breeder by going alone. It takes the cooperation of other breeders and stud dog owners working together to make a good breeding program successful. With that in mind, I would like to introduce the studs of our "Hired Help" section.

Skamania Mastiffs

(Left to Right) Ch.Skamania's Tug Beau-T (Tug) , Am.Can. Ch. Moonstone's Skamania Jasmine (Jasmine) , and Ch. Beau's Ultimate Beef on Rye (Beef)

Over 10 years ago, I had the wonderful good luck to become friends with Tammara & Dave Kuhn of Skamania's Mastiffs in Skamania, Washington. I shipped out my girl, Maddie--Matics Lady Madolin on Kiokee- to them to be bred to their Beau--Int.Am.Can. Ch. Colton's Beaugard. Tammara & Dave were kind enough to keep Maddie for me--show her and put that last all important 1 point (with a 4-point major!) to make her an AKC Champion! When I flew out to pick up Maddie and her puppies--I also brought a second girl--Ch. Rockytop Dark Shadow --that was bred from my Tuffy and we bred her to Beau, too. We co-bred Maddie's first litter together, and most of my dogs have descended from these breedings.

Ch. Skamania's Dusk to Dawn (Butters)

Butters is the sire of Dawn (Kiokee Mtn Valley Dancin' to Dawn), Cooter (Kiokee Drunk in Publick Too), and TJ (Kiokee I'm Tuff Too). We love the heads and bone size we got in this breeding to our Tina (Kiokee Private Dancer). Butters is a son of Ch. Skamania's Tug Beau-T.

Over the years, our friendship has grown and I count them as some of my closest and best friends in the Mastiff world. It's a friendship that may go months or years without correspondence--but when we do it's like we have never missed a beat. To me, that's true friendship.

Int.Am.Can.Ch. Colton's Beaugard

Ch. Skamania's Tug Beau-T
The sire of our Toby, Big Man, Mona & Reba and son of Int. Am.Can Ch. Colton's Beaugard

Ch. Kiokee Who's Your Daddy

My Toby is pictured her at 14 months of age going Best of Breed from the 12-18 month Dog class. Finishing Toby placed his sire, Tug, into the Mastiff Club of America Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Tammara & Dave!!

Thank you Dave & Tammara for all our beautiful puppies! I am so happy that Toby put Tug into the Mastiff Club Of America Hall of Fame. One good deed deserves another!! To see more of Tammara & Dave's beautiful dogs go to their website

Stonehouse Mastiffs

Karen and Micheal McBee of Stonehouse Mastiffs in Fairmont, West Virginia have loved, owned, and bred Mastiffs for over 25 years. Over the years, I have often shown in the ring with Karen & Micheal, but I had never really talked with them or had taken the time to get to know them.

A few years back, I had the opportunity to be standing at ring side on the day she Finished,Willie, Int.& Am. CH. Stonehouse Steamboat Willie. I had stood and watched him outside the ring--the picture of the majestic mastiff. Calm and collected in the midst of the dog show madness; friendly and accepting of all who approached to meet him; and then he walked into the ring. He absolutely took my breath away. Willie reminded so much of Jackson--Ch. Pinehollow's Caledonia's Jackson--and to my delight, I found out later he was a grand-son of Jackson!

Int. & Am. Ch. Stonehouse Steamboat Willie

After Karen finished showing that day, I approached her, congratulated her on her win, and opened up a discussion on breeding Willie to my Vidalia. As we stood and talked that day, I discovered we shared many similar thoughts and ideals on breeding and Mastiffs. It's a wonderful day I count as one of my luckiest--I found a wonderful stud dog and made new friends. I was so impressed with the puppies we produced from Vidalia and Willie--that I also bred my Tug & Vi daughter--Mona- to Willie.

I truly regret that we did not become friends many years ago. Thank you, Karen & Micheal for your kindness, thoughtfulness, and help. The more I seen of your lovely boy, the more I liked him. Willie was a perfect example of an intelligent, thinking Mastiff with tons of personality to spare. Only a Breeder could appreciate the qualities he offered-- He was truly a "Breeder's Dog". I can't wait for our babies to grow up!

Sadly, Karen and Micheal lost Willie this past summer to a Vet error in treatment. Our Breed lost a good dog that day. I am so glad we have his puppies, and will never regret my choice in choosing him as a stud dog. I am very proud to have met, known and loved this lovely boy.

Ch. Kiokee Stonehouse Sir Oliver Twist -"Ollie' at 17 months of age - go to our "Rising Stars" section and check him out!!

Ollie is from our Vidalia & Willie breeding. His Littermates--Westly & Elise--Live with the McBees; and sister Kiokee Stonehouse Sara Lee lives with me. Karen and I hope to show Wes and Sara Lee to their AKC Championships in 2008.

Emmagail--14 weeks old

Emmagail is from our Mona & Willie Litter. We co-own her litter sister, Abbigail with R.L. Lail here in Hickory.

Thank you Karen & Micheal!!

I can be reached at Catie

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Baron's Page--The story of a Rescue Mastiff

Baron with two of his neighborhood friends--Jessica & Brandon

Little did I know of the changes Baron would bring into the lives of our family! He was our first Mastiff and he introduced us to the wonderful devotion and love that only a Mastiff can bestow on its' family.

It was 1984, and we lived in Silver Spring, Maryland. I worked as a Nurse at the National Institutes of Health; my husband, Paul, was active duty Army and stationed at Walter Reed; and with my three daughters-Mandy (age 7), Leila (age 6), and Amiee' (age 2)--we lived in the suburbs outside of D.C. Our only pet as a 13 year old Black & Tan English Shepherd, Lady Emory, who would leave our yard looking for canine companionship. So the decision was made to get a second dog.

"A Mastiff", Paul said. "what is a Mastiff?" I asked. "Why it is the most noble of all dogs.....If we are going to get another dog it will be a Mastiff." he stated firmly. Later, I found out that as a child he had always wanted a large dog but his mother would only allow small dogs in their home.

A few days later, as I was reading the classified ads in Sunday's Washington Post, I found an ad for a 16 month old adult Mastiff for $200. I called the number and got directions to the seller's house. It was here that I was introduced to Baron and to what I now know was a puppymill.

This "breeder" had 8 different breeds of dogs--mostly females with one male per breed. Baron had become a "problem"--he was getting to all the females as they came into heat and was breeding them. One of his "breeding" Mastiff females was the size of a six month old puppy. "She has a thyroid problem and didn't grow right." the owner told me. All of the dogs were in filthy pens, coats matted and dirty, and all acted scared of people.

Baron had ate through doors, tore out of crates, and broke through fences to breed any female in heat. The man had done a do-it-yourself vasectomy on Baron( he was so proud of himself--he was a surgical scrub tech) thinking it would solve his problem. Baron was underweight, covered with fleas and ticks, and infected from this man's home surgery. Upon questioning him as to where Baron had come from--I discovered he didn't have Baron's registration papers in his name; and he was the third person to own him. No one had ever bothered transferring the papers, so this man was breeding dogs to make dogs--"full-blooded Mastiffs".

Having seen enough to make me sick, I turned to leave. As I approached the gate, Baron came around me, sat down in front of me and looked up at me. His face was calm and dignified; his eyes looked straight at me and a voice in my heart told me to take him. I bent down to him,"Do you want to leave with me?" I asked him. He picked up his ears and "woofed" softly. I then knew he was a special dog worth saving. To the horror of my Army Officer Husband, I made the man give me his papers, I paid him $200 in cash, and I left with my dog.

It took about $750 and several trips to a Vet to treat Baron's most immediate problems. We had him neutered to clear up the gross infection he had developed from his home surgery. He was full of tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Thank God, he didn't have heart worms. He weighed less than 90lbs. on his first trip to the Vet. I told the Vet where I had found him. He contacted the authorities who confiscated the rest of that "breeder's" dogs.

Baron came into our home as if he had been there all along. He adored my girls, who hugged and petted him constantly. His favorite spot was on the floor with one or more of them lying their heads on him. At night, he slept upstairs outside our bedroom doors halfway between the children and us. If Amiee' awoke and was scared, he would go to her and curl up ion the bed and slept with her until morning. The girls built cardboard castles around him, put sheet tents over him, even dressed him up in clothes, and he bore it all with a calm dignity and patience. He would escort them next door to play with Jason, a cute little 8 year old boy, and lay quietly outside the door and wait until it was time to go home. He fit our family and our lifestyle.

Jason so loved Baron that he, too, wanted a dog. He begged his parents until they relented and went to the animal shelter and got "Bootsie". "Bootsie", a terrier mix, was the dog from hell; he didn't mind, would not come when you called him, never stopped barking, and would not stay in his yard.

One day, I heard a tearful Jason beseeching Bootsie to come to him. Bootsie had got out and was in the street and he would not let Jason or his Mom catch him. Poor Jason, he just knew his dog was going to get hit by a car. I went to the back yard and called Baron and led him out to the edge of the Street, "catch Bootsie", I told him. Baron ran out and pinned Bootsie with his mouth and front feet. I walked out and grabbed Bootsie and told Baron "Good Dog". Baron Turned him loose, "Back to the yard", I instructed him. Baron returned immediately to our yard. I handed Bootsie to Jason and he carried him home.

About 2 weeks later, the doorbell rang early one evening as we sat down to supper. I answered it; it was Jason. I informed him the girls couldn't play right now because we were eating supper. "Oh No," he said quite seriously, "I came to see Baron," "what do you need to see Baron about?" I asked him. Jason stood there looking down at the floor twisting his foot," Well....Bootsie is out and I can't catch him." I laughed and instructed him to go to the side gate and call baron, take him by the collar, lead him out to the street, and to tell him to "catch Bootsie". When he caught Bootsie, I told Jason, to pat him on the head and tell him "Good Boy" and to tell him to "Go Home".

Jason did exactly as I instructed him. As I watched from the window Baron caught Bootsie just as before, allowed Jason to pick him up, and then returned to his yard with his neck arched and his head held high knowing that he had done his job well. I had always knew Baron was intelligent, but that day he proved to me was a true treasure he really was.

Baron always rode with me to pick up my check when I worked at the Clinical Center at NIH. The PETA people were always doing something to decry the research done at NIH. After I picked up my check, I would walk Baron up to the door of my Credit Union, give him the "down stay" command, go inside to deposit my check, and he would wait patiently for me to come out.

One day as I approached the Credit Union door, a PETA person ran up to me and asked if I was "leaving" my dog outside. She stated that "didn't I know" that he "could disappear" into a research lab there at NIH and I would never see him again.

"Look , lady I work here. We do not use cats or dogs in research here. If you think you can take him, go ahead and be my guest. He won't leave with you." I did as I usually did and went inside. When I came back out, a local TV camera crew was filming this woman's efforts to get Baron to leave with her. He would not even lift his head. I gave him the "come" command and he sprang up and trotted to my side.

Baron wasn't perfect--he was deathly afraid of thunder, fireworks, and gunfire. If he was inside with us, he was OK. If he was outside, By George he was getting inside. I had to replace some brick molding around doors, until I learned to check the weather forecast before I left home. When he first came to live with us, He had a problem with listening (like most men), But a couple of sessions with the head "alpha Bitch" cured that problem.

He would come and sit in front of me and look at me when he wanted something. I would begin asking him Questions. "need a drink of water? Want to eat? Want to go outside? Want to go for a walk?" When I hit the right question, he would jump up and dance around me as to say," YES! YES! That's it!" Only smart dogs try to talk to their owners.

Often my Army husband was away for long periods of time, so Baron spent most of his time with the girls and me. Of course, he likes Paul, and was obedient to him, but it was the women of the house he loved. Paul would always tell me that "the dog loves me best." "Uh Huh" I would respond.

While Paul was stationed over seas, I taught Baron to say "Momma". So when Paul came home, we played a joke on him. One night when Paul began his speech about how Baron loved him best, I said,"let's ask him" I called Baron into the room, he came over to me and sat down in front of me. I turned my head to the side (that was his signal), and I asked him, "Baron, who do you love?" Baron looked straight up at me and said," MomMomMomma". "There you go", I said to my shocked husband "Straight from the horse's mouth. He loves me best." My husband never forgave me for that. Until the day he died, Baron would always tell you he loved "MomMomMomma" best.
It was a house rule that when the street lights came on--the girls were to come home. I would give them a few extra minutes and then if they were not home; I would send Baron to find them. He would go to where ever they were playing, take one of them by the hand, and begin walking them home. Leila to this day gets mad when she thinks about me sending the dog to get her!

Baron & Jessica

Baron loved every kid that lived in our neighborhood. Each child took great delight in "walking" Baron up and down the street. When it snowed, he would pull a sled and ride each for hours at a time. Upon one occassion, a toddler reached over and grabbed Baron by his tender parts. He never growled--he just got a funny look on his face and laid down--which of course made the child turn him loose. He was alway happy to see this child, but he laid down and stayed there until she left.

There is so much to tell you about Baron. In actuality, he was poorly bred and raised--the product of a puppymill. He had been abused; poorly cared for and underfed. He had hip dysplasia, multiple health and behavior problems when I got him. To this day, I count him as one of the smartest dogs I have ever owned and trained. I feel that God sent him to me and my family and him to me. I have never regretted paying $200 for him, nor my decision to take him home.

He lived to be 11 years old. He was a feeble old man who went down one day. I knew it was time. I took him to my Vet, held him and we put him to sleep. Even now as I write about him and that day, I cry. As I held him and he drifted off, I thanked him for being my dog, and I cried. I took him home and buried him underneath a dogwood tree where he use to lie watching me as I worked in the yard. I placed him there knowing he would always be waiting for us to come home. Somewhere I know, he lies waiting quietly for us to come home to him.

Baron's story is typical of the abuse, mistreatment and pain these dogs endure while owned by a puppymill "breeder". Some never recover from the abuse, but most do if given a loving home and family. A rescue dog in not for everyone. If you have room in your heart, a place on your bedroom floor next to your bed, and love to give...give it to a rescue dog. The benefits you will reap will be ten thousand fold.

For those of you who wish to make a donation or look into adopting a Mastiff through Rescue--go to the Mastiff Club Of American(MCOA) website rescue section and it will direct you to a rescue coordinator near you. The Friends of Rescued Mastiffs (FORM) and Southern States Mastiff Rescue (SSMR) also have websites. The English Mastiff Trust Fund (EMTF) works to remove Mastiffs from puppymill and commerical breeding operations--go to their website and learn of the horrors these dogs experience.

Your donation can make a difference. Thank you. If you have questions about rescue, please feel free to contact us at

Monday, June 18, 2007

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Ch. Kiokee Devil Came to Georgia

What is a Mastiff?
A Mastiff is a giant breed of dog descended from the ancient Alaunt and Molossur breeds. Today, mastiffs is a term used to describe many different breeds around the world, all descended from the same rootstock. In the USA and other English speaking countries, Mastiff is used to refer to the Old English Mastiff (OEM) developed in England and was nearly extinct after WWII. With that in mind, Mastiffs (OEMs), are generally very large dogs:fawn, apricot, or brindle in color: all with a black mask and ears; possessing a medium to short coat with very little white (which if it appears, should be confined to the chest but often appears on the toes as well). There is no upper height limit--they may range from the minimum of 27 inches to 36 inches for the exceptionally tall ones. There is no weight range in the Mastiff Standard--they can weigh anywhere from 100 lbs. to the world record of 343 lbs. Most male Mastiffs weigh around 16- 230 lbs. and females weigh 120-170lbs. This breed is suppose to be very broad with a huge head, wide chest and large bone, and is longer in body length than height. Mastiff should posses a calm, self-assured temperament, and be devoted to its family and friends. Mastiffs should be steady, gentle, eager for affection, good with children, and self-assured.

What is an American Mastiff? A cross bred dog not recognized by AKC. Basically a mutt. This breed advocates that it has less genetic problems ( not true--it has it's on set of genetic problems), drools less (only because it has a narrower head and tighter flews), and is an "improved" mastiff. Well, its' makeup is 7/8 English Mastiff--so what are you improving? It's a designer breed created to meet a need in the pet market. Ask any Mastiff rescue volunteer about the temperament problem in this "breed". Rescue has be flooded with these dogs for the past 10 years.

What are Mastiffs Good For? Mastiffs excel at being companions, family members, therapy dogs, and watchers of the home. Mastiffs have also done very well when properly trained and conditioned, at carting, agility, obedience, conformation showing, search and rescue (SAR), and weight pulling. A Mastiff is capable of learning whatever you wish to teach it.

Are Mastiffs easy to Train? Both easy and difficult. Mastiffs are smart and live to please their family. However, they can go through phases where they are also stubborn, and these phases can last anywhere from a couple of weeks and a couple of times in puppyhood to (in some cases) the lifetime of the dog.

The key to training is to keep training sessions short (10-15 minutes) and frequent (several times a day) because in addition to their stubbornness, Mastiffs have sensitive feelings and if they get frightened, hurt, or confused, they cannot be budged. One of my favorite stories is about my friend, Kelly Rea, and my Mastiff, Vesta at their first show Weekend. Upon entering the ring and finding herself in unfamiliar territory, Vesta, became confused and laid down. Once she laid down, she refused to get up!! To make matters worse, she then took her paws and covered her eyes! She did eventually get up--discovered it wasn't all that bad and finished showing. We didn't win that day--but we did show to that Judge a few weeks later and won a 5-pt major! We never got mad at her--we just convinced her it was great fun and she made a fabulous show dog.

Always use lots of treats (Mastiffs love to eat!) and make training a game and fun time. Use a happy excited voice and lots of praise. You have to be consistent and firm to train effectively. For any dog to be well trained, it needs practice on a regular basis. Dogs like to be trained, it gives them a job to do, and they want to please their beloved owners. Once trained, a Mastiff never needs a stronger correction than a stern voice.

Ch. Kiokee Vesta (at 6 1/2 years of age) winning Best Veteran at a SSMF supported show. Shown here by her best friend, Kelly Rea.

Are All Mastiffs the Same?- No. Just like humans, Mastiffs are individuals. Each has its' own genetic and environmental history that affects its' attitude, temperament, health, and responses to stimuli. By testing puppies with the Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT) and reviewing it's scores, a breeder can better determine which puppy suits you and your needs best.

How does the Bullmastiff differ from a Mastiff? The Mastiff is an ancient breed and its' history can be traced back over 2,00 years. The Bullmastiff is a relative recent breed developed from crossing the Mastiff (60%) and the Bulldog (40%) stock. The Bullmastiff's body is shorter and squarer, more compact, more muscular looking, the head has a shorter muzzle, as a general rule they possess a higher energy level, and are generally more stubborn (derived from the Bulldog part of the Bull mastiff ancestry). The most noticeable differences are temperament, the conformation of the body and head, and the overall size (smaller) of the dog.

Are Mastiffs Aggressive?-Aggression is unnecessary force or dominance in any situation. Aggression can be confused with protection where a dog uses force or dominance to protect its' people or territory when threatened.

A typical Mastiff's temperament by nature, is one of gentle demeanor. However, as with any breed, a Mastiff can become aggressive for varying reasons. Typically, aggressive behavior is established due to environment as a "learned response" and/or results from a lack of proper socialization during the puppy's development stages.

A certain percentage of dogs may be genetically unstable and inherit aggressive tendencies. For this reason, before you purchase a puppy, it is best to ask the breeders about the temperament of the sire and dam and try to see both if possible. If you are experiencing a problem, consult your Mastiff's breeder, your veterinarian, and/or a trained animal behaviorist before the problem can become serious.

Are mastiffs shy? Because of their great sensitivity, Mastiffs who are not thoroughly socialized while young can very easily become shy of strange people. places, and animals. Such behaviors can be both inherited and/or the result of inadequate socialization. This is why puppy kindergarten, obedience classes over an extended period of time, and visits outside the home are extremely important to the development of your Mastiff. If you do not have time to do these things with and for your Mastiff, you need to carefully think over whether you are in a position to do right by a dog, at least at this point in your life.

My Grand-daughters, Kayleigh & Zoey, Looking for Easter Eggs with Copper.

Are Mastiffs protective? How are Mastiffs with young Children and Strangers? Mastiffs are protective. However, many people do not understand the difference between protection and aggression. If a dog growls when there is no danger, then that is aggression not protection. A protective dog has the judgement to see when there is a real risk of danger. Therefore, if you have a truly protective dog, you may never know it until you are in danger. The ideal temperament is one where you never know that you are being protected unless a true situation arises and the Mastiff's services are needed.

By nature Mastiffs are gentle and protective with young children providing that they have been raised with children and are accustomed to them. Small children should never be allowed to play roughly with young dogs--i.e. "riding the horsey"--because rough handling can permanently traumatize a Mastiff puppy. My daughters and now my grand-daughters have all played with and around my Mastiffs. Mastiffs make great floor pillows for naps and watching TV. Just be prepared for them to take their turn lying on you!

Boudi (at 6 months ) protecting the homestead

Are Mastiffs good watchdogs? How are Mastiffs with Burglars, muggers, and other Miscreants? Mastiffs are excellent watchdogs. They go to the door and bark, their hackles stand up, and they look formidable. But Mastiffs as a breed are not trigger happy. They have a gentle, rather than aggressive nature. Mastiffs need the company of their human family much more than some other breeds of dogs.

Mastiffs tend to react in predictable ways when faced with a threatening person and it's owner is present or when a tense situation arises between a stranger and their owner. Mastiffs view themselves as a giant protector and move between the threat and their owner. No sane mugger would dare reach over a guarding Mastiff. Several years ago while at a dog show, a man walking by the rings was swinging his arm with a short bar in his hand. As he approached me, and before he could hit me; Taz rose from a lying position on the floor and heat butted the man in the chest pushing back away from me. He never bit, never growled, never got angry-just moved him away from me and sat down between us. Of course, it scared the man witless, but he learned a very important lesson--don't walk by the Mastiff ring swinging a bar. Mastiffs don't like for family members to fight and will often try and protect the party on the receiving end of the disagreement. Tuffy would never let my daughters fight, he would push them apart.

If a stranger breaks into your home where there is a Mastiff, the Mastiff tends to corner the person and not let them get away, holding them until the owner can deal with the intruder. The dog may snarl or bark or even snap at the intruder to keep hi9m from getting away, but usually they will not actually hurt him unless the intruder has tried to hit the dog or has succeeded in hurting it. Many years ago, I had a meter man entered my yard through my posted gate-"Guard dog on Premises". Tuffy was lying in pine straw across the yard where he waited until the man was about 15 feet from the gate; he then rushed the man putting him with his back up against the house. He was growling and had his hackles up--he was certainly a fearsome sight to see! I was awaken from my sleep (I worked nights at that time) by the meter man's yelling. I stepped out onto the porch and called Tuffy to me, and he came immediately and sat obediently by my side. A very scared man left my yard quickly. For the next five years while I lived in that location, I read my own meter.

Because of the instinctive protective nature of the Mastiff, training it as a "attack dog" is not necessary and to do so may be detrimental to its temperament. Mastiffs are not suitable for attack training or dog fighting, and if raised with loving human kindness and socialized properly, it will be a strong, loving companion who will protect you, your family, and your home when necessary.

When your puppy is young, never let repairmen come into your home when you are not present. This teaches the dog it's "OK" for other people to come into your home when you are away. Many Mastiffs when mature can recognize when people have unpleasant motives, and are watchful or will get between you and that person. If your dog gets between you and a stranger in question, always trust your Mastiff. My Grandfather always said--never trust a man that dogs and little kids don't like!

A Mastiff left alone for long extended periods of time, tied out, or kept in fenced yard with too little human contact, will either pine away or develop destructive behaviors out of loneliness and anxiety. Denied the needed time with the human family, a Mastiff may become LESS protective because it isn't sure it belongs to that family!

A normal well adjusted Mastiff will protect its family, but only if the need arises. You do not want an aggressive Mastiff that protects you from friends and family. The ideal temperament is one where you never know that you are being protected unless a true situation arises where your Mastiff needs to react.

Our Baron loved people. When I would give a party, he would come inside and make his way around the room, stopping to greet each individual. Once at a party, while I was sitting on the couch next to a causal male acquaintance, Baron came over, sat down, and looked the man straight in the eye. "What does he want?", my friend asked. I told him Baron was thinking, "You can sit next to my Momma, you can talk to my Momma, but don't you mess with Momma." As I spoke this out loud, Baron reached up with his paw and placed it on the man's knee and quietly said,"WOO WOO WOO." Everyone burst out loud laughing. There was no doubt in any one's mind that he agreed with what I said.

Henry ( Tina & Butter's Puppy) with his best Friend

Are Mastiffs good with other dogs and animals? By nature a typical Mastiff is friendly and aloof toward other dogs. But, as with any dog, they must be properly socialized around other dogs from early puppyhood. In most cases, proper socialization and adequate stimuli is the best way to break aggressive behavioral disorders before they have a chance to develop. When you have two or more dogs, a "pecking order" will develop. Each dog will have his or her place in the "pack Hierarchy". Often when a puppy is young, all is well. Then one day, the pup decides to move up in the pack and will compete for dominance with the other dominate dogs resulting in family turmoil. Temperament testing (PAT) your puppy and choosing a dog with low aggression/dominance is important when choosing an additional dog to introduce into your group.

A Mastiff who hasn't been exposed to cats, chickens, or farm animals may treat them as prey or as furniture, depending on the temperament of the individual dog. Once again, by using temperament testing and choosing a dog with low prey drive will assist you in the training of your Mastiff. I have raised Mastiffs with cats, toy dogs, chickens, geese, ducks, goats and horses. I socialized my dogs and trained them from a young age what behaviors were acceptable. Mattie would let the baby goats into her doghouse and guard them. Baron and GeeBee would not let other dogs chase our cat, Spencer. Taz would patrol our property at night and keep stay dogs away from our goats and chickens. Zena was my prised possum catcher and protector of the henhouse. Some of my Mastiffs were grown when exposed to other animals, others were raised with them. But in each case, I had temperament tested them as puppies and I knew what behaviors I could expect.

Are Mastiffs Fighters? Mastiffs, with their gentle nature, do not have the instincts that dog fighters are looking for in a dog. Their protective instincts make them actually the opposite to the aggressive personality. However, they will, at times, fight among themselves, or with other dogs, for the typical canine3 reasons such as pack dominance and sexual competition. Two 190 lbs. Mastiffs in combat for pack leadership can be next to impossible, as well as exceedingly dangerous to separate.

How big do your Mastiffs get? This is one question I hate to hear. Is that all you are interested in? Mastiffs may range in height from the minimum height of 27 1/2 inches up to 36 inches. Most my dogs are 32-34 inches high. They can weigh anywhere from 110 lbs to world record of 343 lbs. Most my males weigh between 150-230 lbs and my females weigh anywhere from 120 lbs and up.

If you want a dog higher than 35 inches--go get a Great Dane.

Mona playing in the dog pool on a hot summer day.

Do Mastiff Dig much? Do they Like Water? A Mastiff can only dig a hole the size of small cars. Yes, Mastiffs, like to dig. I usually let them have one area of the yard and let them dig to their hearts content in that spot. I have found that they dig to get to a cool area to lie. I teach them to stay out of my flower beds and away from the rest of the yard. It takes persistence and lots of reinforcement (Hey! Get out of there!), but it will work.

I also get kiddie pools for my dogs--they all love playing in the water, and even as puppies learn to love the water. Most my dog learn to love the water and make great swim buddies at the pool or at the lake.

How much does a Mastiff eat and do they chew much? Mastiffs do not eat as much as you may think. While they are growing, they can pack the food away, but as adult they don't eat much more than a Lab or German Shepherd. Of course, pound for pound the larger the animal the greater the energy needs are for each pound of body weight. So during the colder winter months they will eat more than in the hot summer months. Exactly how much food your dog needs to eat depends on many factors including its' size, age, time of year, and activity level.

Mastiffs require a high quality balance diet in order to live healthily lives and grow correctly. With every puppy we sell, we give detailed instructions on Proper exercise and feeding.

Yes, like any puppy, a Mastiff puppy will chew--anything! Once the pesky baby teeth are out and the new aduklt teeth are in--this problem is greatly resolved. We teach our puppies to chew on hard beef bones and this helps prevent chewing damage!!

Do Mastiffs Bark Much? Puppies will be puppies, and as in most breeds tend to bark more than adults during the excitment of play. Adults rarely bark except when you first arrive home, hear a sound they want you to investigate, or when asked to "speak". My Mastiffs love to howl when the sirens are nearby ( I live close to a Firehouse!), but if they bark a night, I know I need to see why.

Hercules at 7 1/2 years

Do Mastiffs need a lot of exercise? Do they Roam? As they are growing, Mastiffs need moderate exercise to develop the skeletal and muscular frame to carry their weight as they mature. It is important that you do not over exercise Mastiffs under 2 years of age. Mastiffs' sketetal frame often continues to grow untill age 2. Running and road working a young dog can lead to inflammed joints and skeletal problems. Since Mastiffs tend to be stonic and will do just about anything to please their owners, they can end up with very painful conditions due to over or improper exercise. For this reason, each of our new Mastiff puppy owners gets detailed instructions on proper exercise.

My first Mastiff was a rescue dog who lived to please us. My husband was a long distance jogger and would take Baron for 3-5 mile runs daily. Poor Baron had hip dysplasia (we didn't know!) and one day he could not stand and walk without crying. When I took him to the Vet and found out he had hip dysplasia, I was horrified that we had let him run. Of course, the running was out, and he only got to take short walks each day. He would stand at the window and whine as my husband left each day on his run--he still wanted to go.

Puppies should not be allowed to get overweight either. Proper weight and exercise is important for correct growth. Keeping a puppy crated for long periods of time isn't good either. I have found that yard exercise allows a puppy to play and rest to its own schedule. Of course, walking your dog several times a day is also an option. Just rememeber that if the walk is too long and your puppy gets tired, be prepared to carry it home!

As a general rule, a Mastiff will not roam. They are basically a stay-at-home dog and easily learn your property boundaries. Baron hated to be fence up; he would get out of the back yard and lie on the front porch. From that spot, he could watch up and down the street and wait for his family to get home. He didn't leave the yard, but he didn't stay in the back yard either.

Never leave your Mastiff outside unsupervised. Dogs will be dogs--an unaltered male will leave and follow a female in heat. Puppies may leave and follow another dog or go to kids playing close by. Dogs and puppies have been picked up and stolen out of yards by a passerby. As a general rule, it's a good idea to keep your Mastiff in a secure, fenced enclosure.

How Long Does a Mastiff Live? Most experts agree that the adverage Mastiff life span is 6-10 years. Some have lived to be 13 or 14; a tiny handful has lived to be 16-17. Assuming no accidents, an individual dog's life span will depend on its bloodlines, weight, and freedom from significant problems such as blindness, heart disease, and hip or elbow dysplasia, spondylosis, immune disorders, etc.

Do Mastiffs live indoors or outdoors? Why indoors of course! It can't protect you and your family shut up in a pen outside. Besides, who is going to keep the Boogieman away while your 4-year old sleeps in his room? No child has ever been abducted while a Mastiff slept at its bedside.

Seriously, Mastiffs have an instinctive need and esire to be as close to their human family as possible. When more than one is inside, they will divide up and each will have their "own" person to guard and watch. It was standard rule at our house that a Mastiff was in each part of the house, one with me, one with the kids, and one with my husband.

Keeping your Mastiff outside deprives him of the closeness he needs to develop proper emotional bond with you and can stunt their emotional growth. Mine take turns inside, and each easily learns the house routine. Zena loves to sleep all day by my bed when I work nights. Boudi keeps the house guarded at night when I'm away.

Reba taking up her half of the bed--down the middle!

Do Mastiffs make good house dogs? Do they slobber, snore, shed, smell, or pass gas? Mastiffs love to be inside with their family. They are quiet, clean, and undemanding, A rug or mat by your bed is all that they need. Mastiffs are naturally clean (except for slobber!) and are quick to housebreak. Mastiffs don't chew what they shouldn't (after they get rid of those pesky baby teeth!) and are quick to learn house rules. Mine are not allowed in the kitchen when I cook, but they will line up at the doorway edge and watch me!

Most Mastiffs only drool when (1) they have just had a drink of water, (2) are extremely agitated or fearful, or (3) when watching you eat something they think will taste good (and that will be everything you eat!). Mastiffs with less flews tend to drool less. The experienced Mastiff owner keeps "slobber towels" handy, and wipes faces after they drink and when they need it. I feed and water my dogs outside to decrease the mess inside. It also helps keep the "slingers" of drool that may occur while they are eating and drinking. If you are going to keep their water outside, then close the lids on the toliets. To a Mastiff, a toliet is an all you can drink bar. Just remember "Spit Happens" when you own a Mastiff.

They snore like freight trains. They can't help it--it's genetic. Some worse than others. I keep two inside at once that way I have stereo.

They shed twice a year like most dog breeds. A good daily brushing will prevent accumulation of hair around the house. I also vacuum about every other day so that loose hair is not a problem. Baron would stand while I vacuumed him, too.

Mastiffs need an occassional bath, but since they have a short coat, they dry quickly. Drooling can cause odors if there is a problem with their teeth. There are a few health problems that may cause foul odors. If your Mastiff continues to have a bad odor after bathing, then an examination by a Vet is in order.

Do they have Gas? Like a beer drinking, bean eating Bubba. Actually, it depends on the dog, his age, what you feed him, and how his digestive tract handles his diet. Feeding a good dog food that your dog can digest easily can help eliminate this problem. Sometimes excess flatus can be a sign of parasites (whipworms) but an exam by your Vet can rule this out. If your Mastiff continues to get gas in spite of all your efforts, roll down the windows and pull out the air freshener. It is overpowering!

Wasn't that a Mastiff in .......?

Beethoven? No, a St Bernard.

Cybil? Yes.

Howard Huge? No, a St. Bernard.

Marmaduke? No, A Great Dane.

Sandlot and Sandlot 2? Yes.

The Secret Garden? Yes.

That's my Dog? Yes.

The truth about Dogs? No.

Turner and Hooch? No, it was a Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff).

Meet Wally Sparks? Yes.

Gone in 60 Seconds? Yes

Need more information? Contact me at

Recognizing an Unethical Breeder

In your search for the right puppy, there are a few warning signs that should alert you to the fact that you may be dealing with a disreputable, unethical, or irresponsible breeder.

(1). The "breeder" lacks knowledge about the breed or the bloodlines of the dogs they have bred.

(2). The "breeder" shows ignorance or denial of genetic defects in the breed. ALL dogs have genetics defects--a good breeder recognizes this as fact and health tests to look for and prevent such genetic problems.

(3). The "breeder" has no involvement in dog sports. Conformational titles are a way that good breeders verify that the dogs they use in their breeding program meets the breed standard via the opinion of judges. It's a way breeding stock is judged to be correct to the breed standard. Obedience titles, temperament testing (TDI or CGC titles), and other working titles also verify that the dog does meet requirements to achieve these titles.

(4). The "breeder" doesn't let you observe the puppies or adults, or let you see the kennels. Be double aware of puppy sellers who meet you away from their home or sell their puppies at Flea markets. ALWAYS go and see the adult dogs and the breeder's kennel set-up. It may give you a prospective on how and why this breeder raises dogs.

(5). The "breeder" has no documentation and cannot provide a pedigree. ANY good breeder should be able to tell you about at least 3-5 generations behind their puppies and include pictures of dogs in that pedigree. No pedigree? Does the parents have registration papers?

(6). The puppies are not socialized. Shy, fearful, urinating, running away from humans--not a puppy for a family.

How to Read Those Ads!

Here are a few more things that you should look out for when reading ads.

"Champion lines"--Look instead for Champion sired or Champion parents. All "champion lines" means is that there is a dog somewhere in the puppy's pedigree that was a champion. It says absolutely nothing about the quality of the parents. Anyone can buy a puppy from a champion dog and bank on it's name by breeding it with the only interest to make money. The puppy may have been sold as a pet (since it had problems which prevented it from being shown) and an unethical person did not have it spayed/neutered and is now breeding puppies.

"Purebred"--OK. Why are they not registered? If one parent is not registered--why is this person breeding puppies? No registration papers or can't get papers should send up a red flag.

"AKC Registration or AKC Papers"--So what? AKC registration does not guarantee quality. AKC papers are very much like a car title--you can get a title on a Junked car as well as a new Porche. AKC simply registers dogs--it does not control breeding, approve litters, quality of dogs bred, or guarantee soundness. Unfortunately, in the hands of some unethical breeders, it may not even guarantee the dog is purebred.

AKC registration is automatic if you buy from a reputable breeder--they will provide all necessary paperwork when you buy a puppy. It is not a selling point and should nor be treated as one.

A word of warning, be wary of other "registrations". There are several groups that are registering dogs, occasionally even mixed breeds--disguised as "designer dogs", for a fee. A registration from this organization means nothing and is of no value to you.

"See both Parents"- as noted in Questions to ask a breeder, this is not usually a good thing. Rarely will a good breeder have the luck to own both dogs for the perfect litter. If they own only one male and multiple females--all of whom are bred to the one male dog--be especially wary. If you can see both parents, it could mean that this person had two dogs in the back yard and didn't supervise them carefully enough, resulting in a litter. Always question any litter where a young mother was bred on her first heat cycle or where multiple litters have occurred on back to back to back heat cycles. Three litters and the mother is less than 2 years old is a definite red flag.

"Rare"- Why? Can this dog be shown? Does it meet the breed standard? What kind of problems does this "rare" color, size, or pattern entail? Will it have too many defects for the animal to be bred? Currently they are people buying "rare" white Boxers and German Shepherds, not realizing that they are not show-prospects, nor do they meet the breed standard, and these buyers are possibly buying a dog with multiple health problems from lack of pigmentation, and possible behavior problems as well.

There are even people who sell unusual cross breeds as "rare" dogs, and people buy them thinking that they are buying a unique dog. If fact, any dog pound probably has one you could adopt.

"Extra-Large or Extra small"--Breeders trying for extremes are rarely raising healthy dogs, and any ad that has to stress the size and weight of the dog to sell puppies is suspect. Often these dogs are outside the breed standard and are subject to their own medical/genetic problems due to excessive size or lack of size.

"Must Go now!"-Why? Are they too big to be cute any more? Too much work or too messy? Expecting more puppies and need the room? Destroying your yard? Need more money? Can't sell them? Is there a problem? Be very wary of this one.
Need more information? Contact us at

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Introduction to Kiokee Mastiffs

"Kiokee" which is from the Cherokee language and means "from the rock". We welcome you to our site Come in and see what we are all about.

Quality Not quantity has always been our goal at Kiokee mastiffs We bred selectively and only for the purpose of breed improvement. We are proud to have owned and shown over 7 generations of Mastiffs and have proudly laid the foundation for our next generations of Champions. Not all of our puppies grow up to be show dogs; some are beloved pets and companions which we feel is our greatest achievement. We believe that all dogs should be bred primarily for overall health, temperament, trainability, intelligence, and sociability and conformation will follow. What good is a beautiful dog that you can't live with, train, or control?

Tina at 10 weeks

Breeding quality dogs is not luck. It takes determination, hard work, long-range planning, Knowledge of Mastiff breeding and bloodlines, and skillful assessment and evaluation of your ongoing kennel management and breeding program. A great deal of thought and research is placed before we plan any breeding. We look to improve on what we have, correct any faults, and fine-tune overall conformation.

Kiokee Conqueror (Hercules) at 7 1/2 years of age

Only through the combination of the right dogs can any breeder produce better dogs; this also takes the cooperation of other breeders/stud dog owners who will work with other breeders. I am very thankful to all those who have so kindly worked with me to produce these wonderful dogs. As I incorporate info on my dogs onto this site--I will also include the "Hired help"--stud dogs I have used in my breeding program.

We have Incorporated temperament testing and canine personality profiling into our breeding program. Temperament testing allows us to find the right puppy to meet your needs, match your personality and lifestyle, and helps to ensure a life-long bond and friendship. Finding the right dog is as important as finding the right spouse, but most people spend more energy into buying the family's second car that will be traded in two years than into finding a dog that may live 8-10 years. Many a dog has been turned over to Mastiff rescue because it didn't "fit" it's family. Check out our section on Temperament Testing Puppies. Hopefully this will give you some insight on traits you need to look when choosing your nest puppy.

We support the spaying and neutering of pet quality dogs; a pet does not need a sex life to be happy! All pet quality puppies are placed and sold with a spay/neuter clause in our contracts and no puppy is sold/placed without a contract. We health test and certify all our dogs and bred only to dogs of the same Caliber. All dogs have the minimum OFA's of hips & elbows, CERF eye exams, and are PRA DNA Clear. I also do OFA of hearts, thyroid, and do VWB testing. I have also recently added to my dogs OFA of patellas and cysturnia testing of all males. All puppies are placed with a 2-year health & temperament guarantee against genetic defects.

For more information see our Sales agreement & Guarantee. Also check out "Recognizing an Unethical Breeder"; it may help prevent you from buying a dog from the wrong person and give you some insight as you search for your puppy.

We support Mastiff rescue and have participated as a Volunteer here in North Carolina and in Georgia. If you don't rescue, you shouldn't breed!! A rescue dog make a a great family pet. Our first Mastiff, Baron was a rescue. He gave us many years of love and devotion. He convinced me that I never wanted to be without a Mastiff. Read his story on "Baron's Page" and understand why puppy milling is a disgrace and why rescue is important.

Baron and Jessica--one of his neighborhood friends.

If you are interested, go to the Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) Rescue, Friends of Rescued Mastiffs or Southern States Mastiff Rescue websites and they can direct you to the coordinator for your area. Go to the English Mastiff Trust Fund website--it will give you an insight why true Mastiff breeders abhor and strive to eliminate puppy mills and commerical breeders.

If you need more breed information, we suggest you go to the AKC or Mastiff Club Of America websites. Both can provide basic facts and history of the Mastiff Breed. Several excellent books are available and easily ordered online. Check out our "Most Frequently Asked Questions" section for general information about the Mastiff breed.

Learn about our breed first; consider your lifestyle, and the type of canine companionship you need. A dog is forever and should not be considered disposable. If you are a first time owner, we encourage you to consider all aspects of pet ownership before you acquire your dog. We will happily assist you in finding the right dog for you and your family. Please check out the rest of the Blog and come back again to check for updates and changes.

Please scroll through these Blog entries. We have posted lots of good information. Our hope is that we can assist new Mastiff owners make good decisions based on sound information.

Thank you for your interest in Kiokee Mastiffs.

Pricing & Shipping

Tina & Butter's puppies at 8 weeks of age
We ship from Charlotte, North Carolina or Greensboro, North Carolina airports. We will be happy to assist you in setting up and completing a smooth and safe transport for your puppy. We will not ship a puppy until after the age of 10 weeks. The buyer is responsible for all shipping costs to be paid before shipping which includes health papers and crate.

All puppy prices include a Vet exam with individual health check and micro chipping for permanent identification. Prices are not set until after 7-8 weeks of age and the litter's temperament testing is completed. Non refundable Deposits are accepted after 4 weeks and full price must be paid in full by 9-10 weeks of age. If you pay by personal check--no puppy will be shipped until our bank has cleared your check.

All pet quality puppies are placed with a limited AKC registration. Pet quality dogs should not and do not need to be bred. It should be the goal of all breeders to improve the breed, not just make dogs. If at the age of 1-2 years, you feel your dog is of breeding quality, our pet contract has a clause that can be met to lift the limited registration to a full registration. Pet quality puppies are priced $1200-1800.

Elliott--Mona & Willie Puppy at 10 Weeks

All show/breeding quality are placed with full registration IF they are placed with a breeding or show contract. Prices vary based on the litter pedigree and bloodlines but are usually are $1800-2500 each. Often I will have a buyer who wants a "show quality puppy" as a pet. I have no problem placing a show quality puppy as a pet--on a pet contract that will include spaying/neutering. Just because you want a show quality puppy as a pet does not mean I will drop the price and any puppy placed with a pet contract will be spayed or neutered..
We will place first and second pick puppies with co-ownership, preferably to show homes. I prefer to discuss these types of transactions in person.

Group shot--Mona & Willie puppies at 8 weeks of age

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at