Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 in Review

Looking back, I think I and my dogs have had a very good year. We have all been blessed with health, love of family, and the friendship of our close friends.

Zena celebrated her 12th birthday in May. Although "Mammaw" is a bit slower, doesn't see or hear as well as she did a few years ago, there is no dog more close to my heart than her. On clear days, she lies out on the southside of the house in the sun, watching the driveway, and the street. When I come home each day, she ambles up to me to give me a big kiss. I hope that we get to celebrate her 13th birthday in 2009. She still loves her dog biscuits and cookies--and yes, I bake her some fresh homemade biscuits every few days. Age has it's privileges.

Vidalia celebrated her 11th birth day in June. She is still a little bit ornery at times and can still give the neighborhood cats a run for their money. I think it puts a little bounce in her step when she makes them leave the yard. She, too, is slowing down. She likes her cookies, too; of course, she gets them. She often stays in the yard with the younger puppies, ever watchful and patient with them. Like her older sister, she enjoys a good nap in the sun.

Diesel joined our family this year, and he has become a fixture here. You would think the old man has been here his whole life. Diesel turn 5 in July, and we have almost completed his AKC championship--he just needs one more major to finish. Hopefully, we will get to add CH. to his name early next spring. We were lucky enough to have a litter sired by him this year--and his babies are beautiful. If all goes well, in 2009 and should have another litter.

Mona & Reba who are both 4 yrs old--my Vidalia and Tug girls-- matrons and divas in their own right. Reba surprised us all and got her first points--a 3-point major! Hopefully 2009 will be her year to finish her Championship--she loves to show. Sister, Mona hates to show--but her beautiful babies, Hope & Gracie--have become wonderful show dogs! Mona will remain her at home and we have a wonderful breeding planned for he in 2009.

My beautiful brindle girl, Boudi-Ch. Morrigan's Celtic Queen of Kiokee-she finished her championship in March of this year with back to back Majors. We have retired her from the Ring. Boudi loves everyone and everything--always happy and never a moments trouble. She was 4 years old in August.

Cooter, my big gorgeous goofy goober! He finished his AKC championship in November ( Ch. Kiokee Drunk in Publick, Too) after a very limited showing this year. We will continue to spot show him this next year as a special. I plan on taking him to the MCOA speciality this year. He just celebrated his 3rd birthday.

Sweet Sara Lee lives with Crystal Landreth of Pisgah Forest Mastiffs. We have a litter planned for her in 2009. Three of her puppies will be shown this coming year--Jimbo, Chance, and Winne--and all will be at the MCOA speciality!

My sweet lovely Gracie--Kiokee Lionhearted Savin' Grace--needs just 1 more point to finish her championship. This is a dog who sits and looks up at me with nothing but love in her eyes. She was with me when I had my wreck back in July, and escaped from the van to chase the ambulance that she saw me leave in. Thankfully, a NC state trooper chased her down and put her in his patrol car and followed my towed vehicle to the garage. The tow truck driver was kind enough to care for my dogs until my family got there to get them. We had lots of angels who watched over us that day. I ended up with 2 broke fingers--but all three of my girls (Reba, Gidget, and Gracie ) were fine.

I was so worried that the stress of the wreck would impair my girls--no chance! All three can't wait to load up and go! Since then, Gracie has really turned it on and became a wonderful show dog. She is a Momma's girl--but she does it to please me.

Gracie's sister, Hope--Ch. Kiokee Lionhearted Hope and A Prayer- finished her AKC Championship in just 4 weekends just 15 days after turning 1 year old. I can't wait to take these girls to the MCOA speciality this year!

Sweet little Gidget-Kiokee Against all Odds- my sweet little Boudi daughter. She turned 1 year old in July and although I affectionately refer to her as "Gidget the midget"--she is perfectly proportioned. She is maturing into a sweet loving girl so much like her dam. I hope to show and finish her Championship in 2009.

Then there is the two new boys on the block--Chance & Jimbo--my Sara Lee and Trojan boys. Chance was originally placed in a home and was returned back to me a few weeks ago.. His family couldn't keep him--so the name"chance" (yes, I changed it!). Brother Jimbo lives with his Co-owner Maggie over on the NC coast. Both are goofy sweet boys--who are going to make handsome show dogs. Both of these boys will make their debut in 2009--so watch for them!

There is one other family member, although he doesn't live here with me. It's Wesley--Kiokee StoneHouse Wes By Gosh Va. He is owned and loved by his co-breeders Karen and Micheal McBee in Fairmont W. Va. Wes just needs 3 single points to finish his AKC championship and hopefully we will do just that early next year. Wes has so many of his dam's traits--I see a great deal of Vidalia in him. But I also see the intelligence and sensibilities of his Sire, Willie, Ch. Stonehouse Steamboat Willie--who was loved and owned by Karen and Micheal. Wes holds a special place in my heart--it seems that I am the only person he will listen to and "let" show him-- and his grand-ma Catie loves him.

Karen & Micheal McBee also have Winnie--a Sara Lee and Trojan daughter--and she keeps their life exciting with her antics!

Mastiffs have a funny way of worming their way slowly into your heart until you wake up one morning and realize that you never want to be without one. Each and everyone of mine have their own personalities, likes and dislikes, and habits. I love each and everyone of them for just being their own special self.

I look forward to 2009. The MCOA Speciality will be here in NC and it looks to be a very special time for us. I look forward to attending the awards banquet to see Boudi's breeder--Jim Bennett of Morrigan Mastiffs-receive the Collar award and the Hall of Fame award for his beloved Morrigan--Boudi's Dam. Don't think for one minuter that I won't cry. It's a night that some of us will remember forever.

Also in 2009, my daughter Amiee and her husband JR will present us with a new grand-baby in May--about the same time as the MCOA Speciality! It looks as if we may get to have a boy in this family after all!

To our extended family that check in here ever so often--we wish you a very happy holiday and hope that the New Year finds you and yours happy and well. To each and all, We wish you the very best in 2009, and God Bless.

Catie, Mitch, Leila, and the Kiokee Gang

Monday, December 15, 2008

Letters about my American Mastiff entry

Since I posted my blog entries on Designer dogs and especially the American Mastiff (the "AmMA" as I refer to it); I have had some very interesting comments and e-mails. A few are from AmMa breeders/owners who are upset and righteously disagree with my comments. Some are from puppy buyers who are trying to learn the difference between the AmMa and the English Mastiffs, but I also receive feedback from owners of AmMa who are experiencing the very problems I have noted.

Below is just a couple of the e-mails I have received this past year. I have posted the original e-mail and then my reply. I have removed the e-mail addy of the e-mail author , their last name, and any contact information so as to protect their confidentiality.

I think these personal stories can speak for themselves. The first is a series of e-mails I received from an AmMa owner.

Subject: American Mastiff

Can you tell me if the article you wrote about the American Mastiff was about the breeder Flying W Farms?

I am thinking it is
My Story goes as follows:

I had a wonderful English Mastiff who unfortunately passed away at the end of March this year. He dies of cancer at the precious age of 7 1/2 years. His was the sweetest and most lovable dog we have ever owned.

Fast forward - We wanted to get another puppy and fell into the "American Mastiff" trap that it was just like an English Mastiff but would live longer and no hip problems. The drool was not an issue for us.

So - we have a 5 1/2 month old puppy that has aggression issues and we have had a trainer/behaviorist work with us.

Still you can not go near the dog while he is eating or he will growl and snarl his teeth at you. There are other times when he got neutered and the drugs wore off - snarled and growled - and now for what seems to be no reason the same thing.

He did bite me when I put my hand in his food dish
We are at a loss of what to do -I had written Fredericka for suggestions but she has not been very helpful and makes it sound like it our fault for the dog's aggression

Any help you can give I would appreciate it - He has been micro chipped - but if he continues to be this mean we will have no choice but to surrender the dog

I would be happy to call you if you think you can provide any additional insight
We are so sorry we did not get another English Mastiff

I am so sorry. As much as I hate to admit it--it's not the first time I have heard it. Those of us connected with Mastiff rescue hear very similar stories all the time. The AmMa folks are now advertising that they will do their own "rescue", but there is no "need for it"-so contact them and give the dog up.

All the training in the world will never make this puppy into a dog that is 100% predictable. Ms. Wagner at one time kept her primary stud dog enclosed in an 8-ft high reinforced hog wire 10 x 10 pen and it would almost come through the pen after visitors. --that says all that needs to be said about that dog.

My advice, if you leave close enough to drive to the breeder's kennel--take it and GIVE the dog back to them. If this puppy is this aggressive at this young age--it's not going to get better--take my word. Save yourself the heart ache--get rid of it now. No amount of training or love will ever make this dog 100% predictable and safe.

No, it's not your fault. Certain types of aggression are inherited--ask your trainer. No 5 1/2 month old puppy should act the way you have described. If the breeder will not take it back--put it down. It will be the most humane thing to do. A dog with the temperament you just described is not a family pet and will be a life long liability for you and your family.

I hate to say it--consider this episode as a life lesson. An American Mastiff is just not the same as an English Mastiff. You can now personally testify why and how it's different. I occasionally get a very defensive letter from an AmMa puppy owner defending their choice of this "breed"; but I do get more letters like yours.

I will be most happy to put you in contact with some very good English Mastiff breeders in your area who can place a very good puppy with you. There is no substitute for a well-bred puppy and the support of an ethical breeder.

Please make your story known. As a breeder of English Mastiffs, I am often accused by AmMa owners/Breeders as a "snob" is just someone who makes up negative stories because I'm afraid I may miss selling a puppy. Not So. You are living proof that what myself and others are trying to make known is all so true.

Please contact me if I can be of assistance. Catie.

Here is her second response.

Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 4:40:14 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_YorkSubject: Re: American Mastiff

Thank you for writing
Unfortunately I do not live anywhere near Flying Farms
We flew up from Central Florida
Would I just give him to the SPCA??

Since he has a history of aggression--no rescue organization will take him to re-home. When you turn him into SPCA shelter--they will immediately put him down due to his aggression and history of biting.

Please do the responsible thing--take him to your vet and put him down. If you can, stay with him and love him to the end. It's not the dog's fault--he can't help it. Let him leave this world knowing love.

It's painful and it hurts your heart--but please know it's the best for all concerned. As a pet owner, it will be the hardest thing you have ever done.

Be sure you contact his breeder and notify them the dog has been put down and why. Please share your story with others--you may help prevent this same heart ache for someone else. Go to and the mastiff world forum and tell your story. You can met a few others who can relate to your loss and pain.
I am so sorry. Catie

Our third correspondance;

Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2008 2:24 PM Subject: Re: American Mastiff

I did contact Fredericka and she wanted me to ship at my expense the dog back to her and not refund me anything. She also said she would use a shock collar to straigthen out the dog so he could be given to someone else. She let me know under the contract I could not give him to the SPCA etc.

This dog is not fit for any anyone - believe me he just becomes more aggressive and more unpredictable.

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 3:50 PM, <> wrote:

So all that is left is to do the most humane thing for the dog—put the dog down. If you send it back to FW she will just place it or sell it to some other unsuspecting person. Please don’t pass the problem on to someone else.

About 2 years ago, I went and oicked up for mastiff rescue a starved adult intact male mastiff that had been found wandering. The dog could barely walk. When I picked him up he was sweet and easy to work with.

I spent close to 3 months nursing him back to health. Once he got comfortable here in his surroundings—his true personality came out—the dam dog came after me 3 times in the space of 2 days. He also went after my husband and my daughter. If you reached for his collar he would lunge at you. I had to call animal control to come with catch loops to assist me in removing him from my property—he was put down immediately.

The shape of his muzzle, his eye color, and his behaviors lead me to believe his was an American Mastiff—In over 25 years of rescue I have never had a Mastiff turn on me –even the ones that have been abused. My best guess is that his owner tried to starve him to death—and when that didn’t work-they took him out in the country and dumped him to die..

I saved this dog from death—and he would have ripped out my throat. That’s why I have absolutely no reserves in telling you to put this dog down now. The older he gets and the bigger he gets—the harder it is going to be to control him.

Don’t even think about it twice. If you don’t want to take him into your vet--Take him to your county animal control—tell the officers he is aggressive and has bitten you—ask them to put him down immediately. Catie

Once again, the AmMa founding breeder refuses to take responsibility for a dog she has bred. Of course, she does want it turned over to the SPCA--they would contact her and they also keep records of breeders who produce aggressive dogs. IMO-the ethical move would have been to ask the owner to ship the dog back to her and she pay the shipping expense.

Of course she is not going to refund the $1800.00 this couple spent. Yet, she will turn around and "place" (sell?) this dog again after traing it with a shock collar. Sounds like she has used this method before.

I wonder if she would have accepted it back and paid for the shipping if it was intact? Where is the action on the part of this breeder to back up her claim "we rescue the dogs we breed"? She knows it's her dog--yet has not taken any actions on HER part to get the dog back. Sure, she is willing to take the dog back, IF the current owner foots all the expense of sending the dog back.

This is not my defination of a breeder taking responsibility for the dogs they have bred. That dog did not ask to be brought into this world. As it's breeder, she alone is responsibile for it's existance.

Of Course, It's not just English Mastiffs that are affected by AmMAs.

Cathy: I applaud you for the statements made on your blog ... as a lover/owner of Anatolians for more than 20 years, I can completely relate to your frustration towards folks who can never leave a good thing alone. We each have breeds that have been developed for a specific purpose and have been used for that purpose for thousands of years. Then, along comes some idiot who sees a chance to capitalize on a merging of the two breeds ... my biggest fear is that, in the long run, this will be the downfall of both our breeds as more and more wind up in rescue or shelters. Keep up the good work and God Bless ....


Well, Thank you. I tried to present facts and to be unbiased--but you know, it's hard.

I see both our breeds being defamed and degraded by individuals who simply are opting to seize an opportunity to make money. I'm sure a few are vain enough to think they are in the fore front of developing a "new" breed and consider themselves pioneers.

Both of our breeds have been developed over centuries to meet a specific need and have strong characteristic instincts. You yourself have seen what can happen when the wrong person gets one of these designer dogs. Not only do we have to pick up the slack and deal with the rescue problem, we also get stuck taking responsibility for any negative press.

I think both of our breed clubs need to address and develop a united front to educate the general public about our breeds and this "designer" breed. If we wait any longer, it could be disastrous for all concerned. Catie

Here is a letter from a person looking for information on differences between The EM and the AmMA.

Hi there - I read your article on American Mastiffs, which we were considering. Can you refer us to any reputable breeders of English Mastiffs in the Midwest. We live just outside of Chicago. By the way, does the breed really drool that much?

Thanks for any info and your time, Colleen

LOL! I do hear that question a lot! The EM does not droll all the time. As a rule, the shorter and more shoved yup nose/face you have the more they drool. Most Mastiffs only drool when they eat, drink water, or see you eat something they think will taste good--and that will be everything you eat!

Feed and water them outside and it helps. Just place a few hand towels around your home where you can reach them--and teach your dog to come to you and get his face wiped after he eats and drinks. After a while, you really don't notice it.

By the way, AMs can drool just as much as Mastiffs--esp. since they are 7/8 EM to begin! The only one who don't drool have snippy muzzles ( longer, pointed noses)--and that is just not the "Mastiff" type head which is part of their charm. Do you think that by breeding in 1/8th of a different breed is going to stop drooling? It Just ain't so.

You have several very good breeders in your area--go the the MCOA web site--they have a breeder referral. The Devine Farm site has a litter listing from parents who are health tested--a great place to begin your search.

Please read about our breed--go and visit a breeder's home and meet some mastiffs. Make sure this is the breed for you--don't buy on impulse. Buying the first puppy you find could be a mistake.

I have owned Mastiffs since 1984 and I can't imagine my life or home with out one. Paint your walls with semi-gloss enamel paint or wallpaper--the slingers wipe off easier! LOL! Catie Arney Kiokee Mastiffs Hickory NC

I do encourage any potential dog owner to research carefully into any breed that you may be considering of buying. Don't just get a dog because it's the ladest fad. Pick a dog that fits your lifestyle and family. A dog should be a commitment--not an impulse buy. If you can't give a dog a "forever home," then please don't get one. Get a Chia Pet instead.

Any comments or questions can be forwarded to

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Designer dogs Vs. Purebred Dogs

Unfortunately, it seems that every week brings out someone else who has decided to "create" a "New Breed" of dog by taking pure breed dogs and cross breeding them. These individuals consider themselves to be in the fore front of the "new wave" of dog ownership. In fact, they have just come up with a new way to market mutts to the general public.

Often these individuals state that these dogs have "hybrid vigor" and are less prone to develop genetic diseases of their pure breed parents. In fact, these breeds may be more prone to genetic disorders; especially if the parents were not health tested! One does not decrease genetic problems in a dog by crossing two different breeds together. You may actually increase the number of genetic disorders a dog can carry or exhibit especially if your parent dogs have never been tested!. If you want a cross-bred dog--go to your local animal shelter and adopt one! There are always many well-deserving mixed breed dogs there that need homes.

Designer dogs have been created to meet a buyer's need in the pet market. Often advertised as being improved due to such abilities as: "Non-shedding", "hypo-allergic", "Dry-Mouth", etc.
All great selling points to the general public who think they are buying a dog to meet their needs based on these claims, but but in fact, these claims are most fabrications.

We now can find several different designer breeds that are crossed with Poodles supposedly so that these breed as can be "hypo-allergic" since by crossing in the Poodle the resulting breed become "hypo=allergic". Not so. You do not automatically pass on any trait just by adding a certain dog to another breed.

Guide Dog for the Blind in Australia attempted to use Labordoodles and Goldendoodles in a breeding program to develop a "hypo-allergic" guide dog for over 25 years and was UNABLE to use either of the breeds because of the instability of breed characteristics and lack of ability to breed true. The entire program was considered a gross failure and dissolved several years ago.

No dog is "non-shedding"--ALL dogs shed. Long coated dogs shed less--they retain their long outer coat all year, yet they do shed their undercoat once maybe twice a year. Just buy a long coated dog and never brush it--it will mat if you do not comb out the undercoat which the dog SHEDS. So, yes, ALL dog shed hair --it is just that some (short hair dogs) shed more that others (long hair dogs).

Then there is the Designer breeder who advertises a "dry-mouth Mastiff". Yes, some of their dogs have smaller heads and less flews so they will drool less, but most drool just as much as the original dogs. This designer breed is 7/8 English Mastiff--do you really think 1/8 is going to make a dog drool less?

Below is a message written by a fellow Mastiff Breeder Jann Lanz of GoldLeaf Mastiffs. Read what she has to say on this subject.


It is becoming more common to see advertisements from people breeding "Designer Dogs". Please don't fall into the trap of paying a high price for these animals. They are nothing more than a cross-breed and are marketed to make you think that you're getting the best qualities from two separate breeds that have been mixed together. Breeders of pure bred dogs continuously work to preserve the pure bred dog and rarely make any money. These "designer dog" breeders are breeding for money and are hoping to cash in on what they hope is a niche market and pry on uneducated puppy buyers.

These so-called breeders are not taking the genetic failings of separate breeds into consideration prior to pairing their chosen breeds. This is what they neglect to tell you!! It takes a responsible dog breeder years to establish a strong and healthy line of animals and by mixing these dogs, there is no telling what kind of genetic and temperament faults will crop up. Mixing dogs, especially LARGE BREED DOGS, is a dangerous endeavor when it comes to temperament. Be safe! Never purchase a mixed breed animal, especially a large breed dog. These breeders have no idea what the future holds for these animals. They do not do health testing like a responsible breeder of pure bred dogs would!! Don't be their guinea pig and pay the price when your animal develops diseases, temperament problems, and/or a short life span. Also, your animal will NEVER be eligible for American Kennel Club Registration.

The majority of the time these designer breeders will use low quality breeding stock they acquire from the lowest price source. The pure bred dog they use in their breeding program, which may have serious health and/or genetic faults, are then cross bred with different breeds with bad traits related to that breed. If you prefer a mixed breed dog, please contact your local animal rescue organization or humane societies. These animals are in need of loving homes and are spayed/neutered and are up to date on their vaccinations. They are also a fraction of the cost vs. what you would pay for a "designer dog".

Thank you for reading this important information. It has been developed to help prevent you and your family from many problems. Owning a dog is a big responsibility. If you are going to purchase a dog, please work with a well known, responsible breeder of AKC pure bred dogs or your local animal shelter.

Thank you. Jann Lanz, Goldleaf Mastiffs

Well said, Jann. Thank you for speaking up.

Any comments or remarks concerning my opinion and thoughts maybe directed to me at

Monday, March 17, 2008

Proper Feeding and Exercise For Your Mastiff Puppy

This is the content of a handout I give all my Puppy buyers. There is some very good general information listed here.

Picking out your Mastiff puppy is only the first step towards owning a truly outstanding dog. Proper care and feeding are especially important the first 18 to 20 months of your pup’s life. Mastiffs grow rapidly the first 18 months in height and continue to grow in overall size (weight) until 3 to 3 1/2 years of age. Any loss suffered during this critical time can not be made up later. This fact alone is why we stress proper puppy care and feeding.

Mastiffs have been shown to grow and maintain proper growth on a 100% meat based diet. At no time should a Mastiff be fed a dog food with soybean meal. Soybean meal has been shown to contribute to the occurrence of canine bloat in large breeds. Experience has shown that while other dogs may thrive on a certain dog food, a Mastiff will do poorly or marginally.

Several large breed puppy foods are now available. Your puppy has been fed a combination of Black Gold Premium Adult Dog Food and canned Pedigree Puppy Lamb and Rice. A pure meat based feed is recommended with at least 25-27% protein and a 12-15% fat content as a puppy feed. After 12 months of age, an adult dog food with a 21-25% protein and 8-10% fat is recommended. Please note that high protein diets (>21%) in older (>5 years) large breed dogs has led to the development of renal and hepatic failure.

Your puppy has been fed a combination of moistened and dry feedings. For your convenience, advance the pup to dry feed by the age of 16 weeks. Your pup will need to be fed separately from other dogs and/or pups: Mastiffs are often so meek that they will allow other dogs to take their food (especially older dogs). Try to feed 3 to 4 times a day until your pup reaches 3-4 months of age, and then advance him to twice a day.

Let your puppy be the guide for the amount you feed it. Use the guideline below, but if your puppy eats the recommended amount of feed within a reasonable time (30-45 minutes), then increase the feeding 1-cup at a time. A pup that cleans his bowl at all its feedings needs to be fed a larger feeding portion.

Age of Pup Daily Amount Type Frequency
4-8 weeks 3-4 cups Moistened & Dry 3-4 times/day

8-12 weeks 4-6 cups Moistened & Dry 3-4 times/day

12-16 weeks 5-7 cups Dry 3-4 times/day

16-24 weeks 6-8 cups Dry 2-3 times/day
(4 to 6 months)

6-18 months 8-12 cups Dry 2 times/day

Some people oppose “free feeding”—placing out a daily quantity of feed out and leaving it so that the puppy can eat at any time. I have used the free feeding method to raise all my Mastiff puppies once they are weaned, and have never experience any problems. I find that my puppies as adult dogs do not “gulp” their food, eat moderate amounts without overeating, place themselves on an individualized schedule, and I have never had a case of bloat.

I place out fresh clean water 2-3 times a day; keep dry food available at all times, but place out moistened feed 1-2 times a day until the pups reach 12 weeks of age. I do not use feeders; puppies need daily contact and socialization. As I feed and water, I monitor my puppies for health problems, make observations about temperament and interactions, and work on socialization.

Always keep plenty of fresh water available and provide a shaded area for your puppy/dog when it is outside. Mastiffs are especially prone to heat exhaustion and can die in less than one (1) hour. An adult Mastiff will consume up to 2 ½ gallons of water a day and more during hot weather. A good rule of thumb is to leave a 5-Gallon bucket per adult dog. Automatic livestock waters work well (but can provide entertainment if the Mastiffs take it apart!); I use kiddie wading pools as cool down areas for my dogs. Mastiffs love to swim and play in water.

Studies have shown daily supplements of Vitamin C will decrease the incidence and/or severity of hip dysplasia. Your puppy has been receiving 1000 mg of vitamin C each day and this should be increase at 16 weeks of age to 2000mg per day. This is the only dietary supplement recommended and is required for you to meet your sales health agreement. It is your responsibility to keep sales receipts/records showing your purchases of Vitamin C to document proof of its’ usage. Although most Vets will disagree with this policy—a study done at Cornell School of Vet Medicine supports this practice.

DO NOT GIVE CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS! The use of calcium supplements can lead to bone and joint deformities and electrolyte imbalances. Your pup’s food will supply the proper balance of minerals for its growth.

I do give a multi-Vitamin—I use a GNC product --- Preventron. I give 2 tablets a day along with the Vitamin C. I use a pill crusher—it can be bought at any drugstore—crush the pills and add the powder into the food once a day. I feel that this supplement assists in proper growth of joints and bones. I have practiced this policy with my dogs for over 15 years and I have never had a case of hip dysplasia.

Due to the rapid growth of these pups, under no condition should extensive road work (running) type exercises be done until after the age of 18 months. Joints and growing bones are too prone to injury. Do not allow the pup to jump off elevated areas (i.e. porches, decks, and pick-up truck beds) or walk up more than 3 steps. I have seen a 10 week old large breed puppy break both front legs jumping off a 2-3 foot high deck. They could also damage their shoulder joints. Likewise, puppies should not be allowed to play or spend significant time on slippery surfaces (i.e. tile or linoleum floors) in order to prevent joint injuries.

Do not allow the Mastiff puppy to become overweight as this places stress on the growth plates of its bones. Likewise, do not keep your puppy crated for long, extended periods of time. Lack of exercise is just as bad as too much exercise. Your puppy will need to exercise to develop proper muscle tone and bone structure to carry its adult weight and be a strong healthy, active dog.

Although your puppy may look big, do not allow children to pull on the legs, jump on, or lie on your puppy. Long term permanent injury could result. Always supervise your children (both the very young and the older) and teach them proper interactions with your puppy. Teasing, hitting at, and causing harm can cause your puppy to have a permanent antisocial temperament. A puppy should receive love and positive reinforcement from all members of its family.

Because Mastiffs are large, fast growing dogs and their joint development is slow; the dog’s level of exercise must be monitored closely until the age of 18 months to prevent injuries. You must monitor activity level to avoid over-exertion while insuring that the dog receives sufficient exercise. This can normally be accomplished by such means as walks or play sessions with toys. Be careful to stop when the dog shows signs of fatigue; don’t take young puppies on long walks unless you can carry them home! Particular care must be taken to insure that a puppy is not injured or over-tired by play with a mature dog. Never leave a puppy under the age of 6 months alone with adult dogs. Always supervise interaction to prevent injury to the puppy.

Remember, the time, expense, and care you provide these first few months determines a great deal of the overall size, health, soundness, and longevity of your puppy. Proper loving care will produce a most devoted companion. As Mastiff breeders and owners, we want the Mastiff to be as we call them “gentle giants” and loyal guardians with loving temperaments and proud demeanors.

At Kiokee Mastiffs, we have developed a proven track record. Our dogs are sound in body and mind. Our practices and advice is based on documented scientific facts, practical experience, and our own successes and failures. By informing you, the buyer, we hope to allow you the chance to avoid some of our errors. It is your choice whether to listen and consider.

We are always available as an information resource for you and your “new” family member. Please keep in touch.

Cathy (Catie) Arney

"How Much Should my Mastiff Puppy/Dog Weigh?"

As a breeder, I am often asked,” What is the average weight for a Mastiff Puppy/Dog?” My answer is that it depends on a couple of factors—the sex of the puppy, the overall bone size of a puppy, and the overall condition of the puppy.

In our breed, Mastiffs do often have a “size” difference between the males and females. Males do tend to be bigger, have larger heads, and have larger bone. Thus, as a general rule, on the average a male is going to weigh more than a female. However, there are girls who are every bit as large as the boys.

You will hear Mastiff breeders talk about “bone size”. Generally, what they are referring to is the overall circumference of the leg bones. One can see Mastiff with thin spindly reed--like legs to dogs with huge, fence post sized legs. Of course a dog with larger bone is going to weigh more—bone weight is heavier.

Puppies who are raised with not enough to eat and/or who are feed inferior food; puppies who are not wormed and stay infested with internal parasites; puppies that are kept in unclean surroundings under stressful conditions, will all have less growth and overall size at adulthood. Puppies that are sickly will be smaller as adults. This is especially true if this occurs during a rapid growth period—4-8 weeks, 10-16 weeks, and 18-30 weeks. Good care is essential for a proper start and necessary for continued proper growth and overall size.

We stress to all puppy buyers the importance of feeding good dog food. Any puppy picked up here at our home goes home with a 50# bag of Black Gold Dog Food. I have fed it for over 15 years and find it to be a great feed for my dogs. Look for the Black Gold Dog Food links the information and website to the right.

I also send each puppy buyer a copy of “Proper Feeding and Exercise for your Mastiff Puppy”—a general guideline for the new owner. It covers a lot of useful information and assists new owners in the care of their puppy. It also covers some “Dos & Don’ts” relating to activities and exercise. I have placed this information in a Blog entry—look for it.

I have put together this weight chart for Mastiffs—it is based on information from several sources. Please remember it is not written in stone, but is a general guideline. This numbers are averages and different lines develop at different rates.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Tribute to CH. Clas Myrrdin's Morrigan HOF


Any Mastiff owner can tell you multiple reasons why their dog is special. Mastiffs have a way of worming into your heart and filling it. Once there, you are amazed that you never knew what you had been missing and you can't imagine life without them. The love and pride you feel will lead you don't roads you never would have trod.

Take the story of Morrigan. Jim & Laura bought her as a "pet" and as she grew into adulthood realized what a wonderful dog she had become. Jim felt so strongly about Morrigan's worth, that he began looking and educating himself about the breed in general. He also began a search for a Stud dog to breed to Morrigan.

Alone the way, he realized the important of health testing--which he did and Morrigan passed all her OFAs with flying colors--she also was tested for PRA. She had "cleared" all her pre-breeding screens. Now, he just needed to find the right stud dog.

Jim located Susie Farber of Caledonia Mastiffs and found her stud dog Ford, Ch. Caledonia Built to Last, and fell in love with him. He resolved to breed Morrigan to Ford and began an earnest campaign to convince Susie his Morrigan was worthy enough to breed to Ford. After some time, Susie agreed and the breeding was done.

From that first breeding, an amazing group of dogs were whelped. Most of these dogs were placed as companion dogs in family homes, but those who were placed in show homes completed their championships easily. Susie was so pleased with what had been produced that she encouraged Jim to show Morrigan and to consider breeding her back to Ford. So a few months later, Morrigan began to show and took a 4-point major. She was then bred for her second litter.

Although all had not gone smoothly with the delivery of her first litter, both Jim and Susie were agreeable to repeating the breeding. Morrigan was slated to be bred on her next heat, because she had developed Pyrometria after her first litter and it was the advice of the vet to bred her back to back. Eight months later, Morrigan's second litter was whelped and it was at this point I met Jim, Laura, and Family.
I had found this second litter advertised on the Devine Farm site and I was estatistic about it for Morrigan is a grand-daughter of my foundation bitch, Ch. Matic's Lady Madolin of Kiokee. For several years, I had unsuccessfully searched to find a puppy from this line and had failed. It was with great delight that I contacted Jim about his litter and he agreed to place with me a beautiful brindle girl, my Boudi.

From this second litter , we took four of these special puppies to the MCOA National Speciality in French Lick Indiana in 2006. We had a great trip, met some wonderful folks and received lots of praise for our dogs. We also had the pleasure of witnessing Morrigan completing her AKC Championship in 2005. Wonderful days for us all.

Over the last 4+ years, I have had the opportunity to develop a friendship with the Bennetts. I have also met and know a few of Boudi's "extended family" and their owners. From these associations other friendships have evolved. We all share a love for our beautiful Morrigan babies. I had the pleasure of having her visit and stay with me in our home, and if possible, I love her as much as Jim and Laura do.

Jim had planned on breeding Morrigan one last time, but unfortunately it was not to be. In 2006, Morrigan was lost at age 5 1/2 due to a probable cancer discovered at Auburn University Vet school. We all cried when Jim told us of his loss. Jim had stood by her side as they put her to sleep, he then lovingly brought her home to lay at rest overlooking his home and her family. Jim could console his grief with the knowledge that Morrigan's children and grand children would continue on to other wonderful accomplishments. Each day from the front doorstep of his home, he could look out to see her live on in each one.

In the past year, I have experienced the pleasure of breeding to two of Morrigan's sons--Oscar and Trojan. Each of them have sired beautiful litters out of my girls, Reba and Sara Lee. Each of these boys have sired a daughter who has the "Morrigan Mark" (as I call it) -an hourglass shaped white patch on the lower abdomen between the hind legs. It pleases me to see this in my puppies and to know that Morrigan lives on.

Jim's dream had been to put Morrigan into the MCOA Hall of Fame. An honor bestowed on MCOA members who own a bitch that produces five or more champions. After her passing, those of us who owned her puppies made it our dream, too. In 2005, Heather Boggs of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin had finished her Tug-- Ch. Morrigan's Tug O War. In 2006, Jennifer McKemie of Lithia Springs, Georgia had finished her Oscar--Ch. Morrigan's Cu Mac Shimidh and in 2007 she finished her Chocolate-Ch. Morrigan's Godiva. In 2007, Jim finished Trojan-Ch. Morrigan's Hector. Jim's Lily and Lexus were pointed as was my Boudi. At this point, we just needed one more champion.

On March 9th, 2008, my Boudi, won her second 3-point major completing her AKC Championship making her Ch. Morrigan's Celtic Queen of Kiokee. This is also the day that beautiful Morrigan became eligible for the MCOA Hall of Fame.

I waited until, I left the show site to call Jim and our cell phone connections was terrible. After a few tries, we finally got connected so that he could hear me tell him that I had a "new Champion" in my van. For a few seconds, I heard only silence and I thought I had lost him again. With barely a whisper, Jim thanked me. I could hear the choked backed tears and I cried, too. In his search for a better phone reception, he had wandered over next to Morrigan's grave, and there he stood next to her as he got the news that we had all waited so long to hear. You could almost hear the thump of a satisfied tail. We both knew that where ever she was, she shared in our happiness as any proud Mastiff mother would.

So many events and so many people have evolved from that one single action of taking a Mastiff puppy home. Experiences and events that may have never happened except for that one decision. It's my belief, that all things happen for a reason. Morrigan was the conduit for so many life events for so many different people. Morrigan was meant for Jim, Laura, James, and Sidney.

Who says a dog can't change your life?

Cathy (Catie) Arney Kiokee Mastiffs

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dog Show Success

As owners, we feel pride when our dogs win; as handlers we feel relief, but it is as breeders that we feel satisfaction when our dogs win. We place our faith, beliefs, and hopes on the line every time we walk into the ring to show; the faith and beliefs we have in our breeding program and our dogs that we are doing what needs to be done to improve and breed the best. The belief and the hope that others will see what we see in our dogs. After almost 25 years of showing, I can tell you that anything can happen.

Boudi Winning Winner's Bitch Under Judge Arley Hussin for a 3-point major!

For those who don't know, in order to get an AKC championship a dog must win a minimal of 15 points; and in it's wins two of the wins must be majors. Majors are wins where a dog is awarded a 3, 4 or 5 point win. Often getting those "majors" are all that keeps a dog from becoming a champion. Getting down to the wire and needing those majors has kept many a dog show person on the road in search of a few last wins. It has also made a few quit.

With the economy tighting, folks are being to show less and the dog show entries are down making it difficult to find shows where there are "majors". Combine that with the games some people play--I.E. Some folks enter and never show up--change their mind at the last minute. A few go the first day, get beat and leave. Some will show up, see who is entered and either pull their dog or leave if they don't think they can win.--and the owner/handler has a difficult time finishing a dog. A few of us old timers consider these actions to be "sour grapes" and just a case of poor sportsmanship and manners. It's truly a case of "when the going gets tough--the tough get going." One needs to have a strong sense of faith and belief in themselves and their dog to keep on entering and going to shows.

I have been in that position some time while showing Boudi. She is my big beautiful brindle girl that personifies all that is correct in a Mastiff. As anyone who has ever shown a Brindle will tell you--It often takes much more effort to finish that championship. Some Judges just don't like brindles and there is definitely a "color prejudice" in the Mastiff ring. Only the toughest of Mastiff owners show brindles. At time, It takes a stout heart and a tough hide to survive the dog show ring with a brindle. This past weekend we finally accomplished our goal--we obtained our championship.

We entered the shows in Hilton Head, SC and with the help of a few good friends--we built majors so as some of us could have a shot at finishing our dogs. It takes the cooperation of other breeders, owners, and handlers to show and finish dogs. NO one can finish their dogs by themself. We all must work together. We enter puppies to help make entry numbers often knowing that in most cases--they are not going to win because the older more mature dogs usually win. Each of us know that in time as our puppies and young dogs matured, our fellow exhibitors would be entering their young dogs so as to provide numbers enough for us to finish our dogs. As my grand mother would say" one hand washes the other." Thank you to all my fellow exhibitors for coming, showing and staying with your dogs. I couldn't have done it without you!

Boudi winning Winner's Bitch for her second 3-point Major and completing her new AKC Championship under Judge Robert Shreve

Boudi did go Winners Bitch both days giving her two very coveted 3-point majors and awarding her an AKC championship. By winning her championship, Boudi also help place her Dam, Ch. Clas Myrrdin Morrigan owned by Jim Bennett in Carrolton, Ga into the MCOA Hall of Fame as a top producer. For me, this is a doubly sweet victory for Morrigan is the grand-daughter of my own beloved Maddie. As I gave Jim the good news on Sunday, he was standing by the grave of his beloved Morrigan. Both Jim and I cried as I told him the news. This is a well deserved honor for a wonderful dog and owner and I am so happy that we could be a part of it.
Gidget (Kiokee Against All Odds) winning Best Puppy. She also placed 4th in the Puppy Working Group!
On Saturday, Boudi's daughter, Gidget--Kiokee Against all Odds- won Reserve Winner's bitch from the 6-9 month old class. This was Gidget's first show weekend and she hit it full stride showing the world that she is going to be a wonderful show dog. Gidget also won Best Puppy on Saturday and then won Fourth place in the Working Puppy Group later that day! What a way for a baby to begin their show career. Thank you to Crystal Landreth of Pisgah Forest Mastiffs for showing my little demon in the Winner's class and Best Puppy competition. I couldn't have done it without you! I can't want to see the Photo of the win!

It has been said, that "Joy shared is Joy doubled". For me, the best win is a win that is shared and I do share this win with all those who help make it happened. Crystal & Matthew Lambeth and Sara Elkin for your friendship and support; Jim Bennett for my Boudi and giving Morrigan a wonderful home; Kathy Roberts and Jennifer McKemie for your undying friendship and staunch support; Mitch, Leila, and Amiee--my family who has always supported me and shared my dream. You made this day very special to me. Thank you all.

Last July when Boudi and her puppies were so ill --I didn't know if I would see a day when one of Boudi's puppies would enter the show ring. To have Gidget survive was a miracle and to see the blossoming potential in her gives me hope as a breeder. To know that my win is also the win of a friend is truly sweet. This is why I own, breed and show my dogs. This is my definition of success.

Boudi Chillin' after a hard day at the dog show!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How Fast They Grow!!

Gracie, Hope and Gidget

Mastiff puppies grow really fast often weighing 75 to over 100 lbs. by 5-6 months. We joke about the "thundering herd" when we let them out to play in the yard. Try scooping the yard with three of them running full hilt around you. Eventually, someone is going to clip you behind the knee, run straight into you, or give you a cold nose in the seat of your pants!! Life is never boring when you have more than one puppy!

Cold sunny days seem to be a Mastiff favorite. They love the colder weather--it makes all of them want to run and play--even the old Grand-dams--Vidalia & Zena- seem to have more spring in their step! However they would much rather get out of the way and just lay in the sun.

All three of these girls are growing well and have sweet, warm loving temperaments. Gracie and Hope are now exactly the same size--one has to look very carefully to tell them apart!! I am so proud of Hope and Gidget--both have made wonderful recoveries from their earlier set backs and are growing well. Gidget is a bit smaller than Grace and Hope but I expect she will eventually catch up.

The Terribel Three--Grace, Hope & Gidget

What you got, Mom? Something to eat?

Guard dog duty--must bark at the mailman as he walks down the sidewalk.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

An "American Mastiff" is not a "Mastiff"-

As a breeder of "English Mastiffs", I do get calls from owners of "American Mastiffs" looking to buy a puppy or to breed their dog to one of mine. That's almost as bad as asking the racehorse owner of a Triple Crown winner to breed to a plow horse. Unfortunately, there is a sea of misinformation about the differences and likeness of these two very different dog breeds.

The "English Mastiff"--also known as the "Mastiff" --is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and was one of the earliest breeds to be recognized and registered by AKC. It is considered by many to be one of seven "basic" dog breed types. Many other breeds have foundations built from the Mastiff breed and are considered to be Molosser Breeds. I often described them as "kinfolk" to Mastiffs--Great Danes, Bull Mastiffs, Saint Bernard's, Greater Swiss Mountain dogs, Bernese Mountain dogs, Bloodhounds just to name a few. The Mastiff is an original and is a long established breed existing since before the Middle ages.

The "American Mastiff" is a designer breed recognized by the Continental Kennel Club and has only been in existence less than 25 years. It was created by crossing the English Mastiff with a livestock guard dog breed --Anatolian Shepherd. This breed's founder stated her purpose was to eliminate genetic health problems, increase the life expectancy, and to produce a "dry Mouth" mastiff. Also often advertised as an "improved" Mastiff and marketed as a potential "new Breed", it is in fact a cross-bred--7/8 Mastiff and 1/8 Anatolian Shepherd. Many an owner of an "American Mastiff" will inform you it is the SAME dog as an "English Mastiff" only born here in "America"--thus it's an "American Mastiff". I hate to be the messenger of bad news-- but that ain't so, folks.

The "AmMa"(American Mastiff) is a designer dog created to meet a marketing need within the companion/pet dog market. Although they do appear to be very similar to an English Mastiff and are often sold for the same price-they are not the same.

A pure-bred dog can offer his owners a specific size, shape, color and temperament and will bred true. This predictability comes from years of selective breeding for traits that are desirable and away from traits that are undesirable. This is one of the reasons that every AKC breed has a "breed Standard" a guideline of sorts that states how these characteristics should appear in that breed. Thus, dogs bred by that standard will appear and be more similar than dogs bred from a mixed or random population.

An AmMa can not and will not breed true to type because of an unpredictable mixture. One can only make a guess at what color, coat, body shape, height, temperament, head will be produced in the next generation. But more importantly, by mixing the English Mastiff with the Anatolian Shepherd--the predictability of behavior and temperament-one of the most essential characteristics of the English Mastiff--is lost.

Many AmMa owners discover marked aggressive traits in their young dogs at 8-24 months ; a period of canine development when all dogs go through a fear and dominance stage. Because of the influence of the Anatolian Shepherd which is a Guarding breed-- an inborn "guarding instinct" begins to develop and these dogs can become very aggressive toward strangers and if they have not been socialized and obedience trained, very difficult to train and control. These dogs can become too aggressive for the average owner to keep and they find their once loving manageable puppy has now become an uncontrollable dominate dog. It takes a very experienced "dog savey" person to handle a dog with aggression and dominance issues. Most dog owners are poorly prepared to deal with these problems in any dog much less a giant breed.

It is at this stage that Mastiff rescue is often called to step in to take these dogs from owners who no longer want or can keep them. Currently the AmMa Breeders' Council has no rescue program and the breed founder will not accept her own dogs back when contacted by Mastiff Rescue. If the dog has been surrendered to a shelter without the registration papers, Mastiff rescue can not determine 100% of the time if the dog is an AmMA or a Mastiff. Often the determining factor is a history of aggression (has bit a family member or numerous incidents of aggression) or the dog demonstrates aggression when evaluated by the rescue volunteer. This behavior alone makes it easy to spot the difference between an AmMa and a Mastiff.

I have had the experience as a Mastiff rescue volunteer with this breed. To this date, I have only been able to place one AmMa into a home--and it bit 3 time after being placed. The owner must keep this dog secured at all times. How do I know it was an AmMa? I had the CKC papers from the owner and it was bred by this breed's creator. (FYI--when we contacted her to see if she would take her dog back--she refused because it had been neutered and she doesn't take back neuters/spayed dogs).

As far as the claims to having superior health and longer life--the AmMa breed "founder" can not provide any documentation to support this claim. Even the tetimonials from her puppy buyers show dogs with life spans shorted by chronic diseases, cancer and other ailments. Where is that "improved" life span? The foundation dogs used--both Mastiff and Anatolian Shepherd--were not health tested and No records can be found of any Hip, elbow, or patella OFAs, no CERF exams, and no DNA PRA testing of foundation dogs. There is also no health testing on any dogs used in current breeding programs. The claims of superior health is based on "hearsay" and can not be substantiated at present. It seems that most of the "superior" health claims are based on "hybrid Vigor".

FYI- "hybrid vigor" only exist for the first generation in an F1 out cross breeding. Since AmMa are now into their 25th+ years of breeding--they are well past any influence of hybrid vigor. With out actual health testing--i.e. CERF exams, OFA of hips, elbows, patellas, hearts, and thyroid, and DNA testing-there is no proof. A few members of the AmMa breeders Council has begun to do some health testing of their breeding stock--but one generation does not "clear" a breed of health issues. Hopefully, they will also add temperament testing of Adult dogs. A CGC on a puppy is nice, but showing that your 2 year old dog passed is more impressive.

Many potential buyers flock to this new "breed" because they want to look and size of an English Mastiff, but they do not want the "drooling". Hate to break the news, but AmMa drool. too. Yes, some of them will drool less because they have a less deep muzzle--the bigger and deeper the head the more apt the dog is to drool. So if you breed a dog with a smaller more pointed nose, it will drool less. But think people, is 1/8 going to prevent a dog from drooling? Reason this thought out, folks. Besides, If you don't like drool--get a cat.

Am AmMa is supposedly 7/8 English Mastiff--so what have you improved? How have you improved the genetic makeup and health issues? Come on folks--just think for a minutes; if one begins with untested dogs, a couple of whom have unknown pedigrees (the breed creator did not even know for sure what breed the dog was!), and they NEVER test their dogs for health problems---how can you say they have "less" health problems? I will point out that it's a fact IF you don't test and look for and detect health problems--then you can state you don't have any health problems and that your dogs are "improved".

The Mastiff Club of America (MCOA) is opposed to the cross breeding of any pure bred dog for the purpose of whim and fancy. These mixed breed dogs are not less prone or exempt from know genetic diseases and problems BUT more prone to the diseases common in both breeds. An AmMa offers none of the advantages that owning a purebred Mastiffs has to offer.

Avoid the temptation to purchase a "designer Mastiff". Please do search for a reputable Mastiff Breeder who can educate and provide you with the health information of their dogs. The addition of a dog into your family should be a lifetime commitment--not a purchase based on owning the latest "new" dog breed. In some cases, your nearest animal shelter could provide you with the same designer dog at a much cheaper price.

Do be a prudent and informed buyer. Learn about our breed, visit breeders, go to dog shows and meet other owners, and research information for your self. Please do a careful study and consideration of all aspects of dog ownership BEFORE you get a dog. Make sure any dog you bring home is the right dog for you and your family.

There is only one "Mastiff"--it is an original with an established, documented history. All others are just cheap, inferior imitations. There can be only one.

I will be most happy to answer any questions about my statements and personal opinions.

Those of you who wish to own and breed American Mastiffs--I respectfully ask that you step up to the plate and take responsibility for the dogs you breed and own. Microchip your puppies before sale so as to permanently identify them; accept back the dogs you have bred when their owners can no longer keep them. Contribute to Mastiff rescue to help met some of the cost incurred rescuing and caring for your dogs. It's your right to breed them; so now become responsible for what you have produced.

Please feel free to contact me at