Thursday, July 19, 2007

Questions to Ask a Breeder

While there maybe dogs who were bought from newspaper ads, yard signs, local thrift papers or at local flea markets that are healthy and happy, far too many are ill, poorly socialized, genetically flawed dog-catastrophes waiting to happen.

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

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How to pick out a puppy--Puppy Aptitute Testing

How do you pick out your new puppy? Do you choose the one with the biggest head and body? Do you pick the “boss” in the litter? How about the one who hangs back and hides? Most people haven’t got the foggiest idea of how to pick out a puppy for their family. Temperament testing a litter of puppies helps to insure that the puppy you pick will meet your needs, match your personality, and helps to ensure that a life-long bond and friendship will develop. Most individuals will spend more time picking out a second-hand car that they will trade in in 2 years than in picking out their dog.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.
Below are record testing forms for the PAT.

Our Boys-

Everyone always asks, "How big are your dogs?"; and since it's the males that are the largest, everyone wants to see the boys. I do not place a premium on size--size alone does not make a good Mastiff. I prefer a well balanced dog who carries a proper weight for his age and overall size. Having said that I can truthfully state that my boys do not finish filling out and growing until they are 2 1/2 to 3 years old and most average 190 to 220 lbs.. My line matures slower than some, but my dogs stay sound and healthy well into old age. I will take that trait any day over a faster maturing line that has health problems later in life.

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.
Cooter's health testing is listed on the OFA site. He is available to health tested bitches of merit.

Here is Cooter on His big day finishing his AKC Champioship from the Bred BY Exhibitor Class going Winner's Dog, Best Of Winners, and Best of breed under Judge Mrs. Carylon Herbel.

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.

If you need any information about any of "Our Boys"--contact me at

Our Girls-

Most of my girls are either daughters or great-grand daughters of Mattie. Boudi is my exception--she is a great-great grand daughter. I prefer bitches that look feminine--I do not tend to keep "doggy-looking" bitches. I like for my girls to look like girls.

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

Here is Boudi on her big day--New Champion! Thank you Mr. Robert Shreve!

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 Earthquake

Maternal 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.

Kiokee Vidalia


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

Dam-Kiokee Vidalia
aternal 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 HOF

Paternal Grand Dam-Am.Can.Ch. Moonstone's Skamania Jasmine

Maternal Grand Sire-Ch. Kiokee Devil Came To Georgia

Kiokee Vidalia

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

Sara Lee at 22 month of age
Paternal Grand Sire-Ch. Stonehouse Country Vagabond
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

Dam-Kiokee Vidalia

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.

It has been said that the heart of any breeding program is it's bitches. No breeder can hope to breed good dogs if their bitches are less than good. As a breeder, I have always placed soundness, overall health, and temperament first in my breedings. I have no problem putting any of my girls up as an example of a good, sound, healthly Mastiff.

If you need any information about our planned breedings, please contact us at Thank you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Puppies, Puppies, and more Puppies!

The whole world loves puppies, and nothing is as cute as an 8-12 week old Mastiff puppy! I get lots of requests from folks asking what do my puppies look like. This post is an answer to that question. All these puppies are puppies we have bred. Some of the pictures were taken by myself or my daughter, Amiee'; some were taken by proud owners; and a few are professional photos. So, here they are; the puppies of Kiokee just being Mastiff puppies!

This was Toby at 7 weeks of age.

This is Cooter at 7 weeks of age
Here is Reba at 6 weeks of age--doesn't she look sweet!

Here are Cooter, Dawn, and TJ. This is Dawn and TJ.

This is a puppy from our Diesel bred By
Belcross Mastiffs Camden, NC

Here is another pic of Bella & Diesel's puppies.

If you have questions about our current available puppies or planned breedings, please contact us at

Dogs of Our Past-The Kiokee Girls

Maddie (Lf) and Edie (Rt)

The heart of any breeding program is it's bitches. A stud dog is only as good as his dam. If I don't like a stud dog's dam; I don't bred to him. In any breeding, the litter dam contributes an X chromosome to all puppies; and a litter sire passes down the Y-chromosome from the male line to all his sons, but passes his X-chromosome to his daughters that he received from his dam! So, when one looks at any pedigree--it's the girls one should closely examine. With that in mind, let me introduce you to the Kiokee Girls of our past.

Kiokee Warrior Princess

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.

We hope that she remains with us for a few more years, but we know she is in her golden years with us. We appreciate the legeacy she has given us.

Ch. Kiokee 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.

We can be reached at