Mastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight


1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. How did you first become involved with the Mastiff? 4. Are there any special requirements for breeding such a large breed? For showing? 5. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 6. Can you speak to the importance of soundness in the breed?

zation, but still continue as a PHA member even though the breeds are getting smaller and smaller. I no longer handle Mastiffs in the show ring. Over the years, I’ve rehomed eight Mastiffs—three of which had their forever home at Reveille. Now when at shows, I often can be found ringside watching Mastiff classes being judged. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I sculpted in wax for bronze and gold miniatures. Earlier in life, I enjoyed tennis and horseback riding. How did I first become involved with the Mastiff? Early on while living on a military post, my mother had encountered a house breaker at whom she fired a warning shot to alert him she was armed. Returned fire was immediate and killed my Boxer that was standing in front of my mother. (My father retired from the mili- tary and my parents were living in Alexandria, Virginia.) After the house breaker encounter, Mom didn’t feel comfortable when alone in the house and wanted a dog around that could make her “feel brave.” Upon visiting a friend with Mastiffs, she said, “That’s what I want!” That’s when I purchased the first Mastiff that I delivered the day they moved into the new house. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? You tell the “lack thereof” sooner than the worthiness. You start to hope and pray at eight weeks. Looking at and watching puppies grow is always a time consuming job; fun, though bringing them along physically and socially is not something that happens over- night. Good diet, proper exercise and, most importantly, adequate and frequent socialization are all necessary. Upon reaching about five months you begin seeing the inborn presence and, if apparent, you really get hopeful. Can I speak to the importance of soundness in the breed? I think it is especially important in that the Mastiff is one of the larger breeds. Mastiff breed type calls for power, proper bone, depth of body. Mastiffs are so big that unsoundness is not completing its destiny. All this balances the picture of type and movement, thus soundness is a must. In the show ring, is the Mastiff a “showy” dog? By its nature a Mastiff is not a showy breed. If trained and well-presented, they are impressive. They would rather be home, doing their job of guarding the home front! At home, does the breed make a good family pet? Yes, especially when brought up with children and well socialized with multiple life experiences. What are my hopes for the future of the breed and the sport? From the current track record for Mastiffs, it is a breed that has improved; so to continue in the same vein. As we are still in lockdown or just beginning to open again from the Covid-19 pandemic, I trust the sport will endeavor to return to the importance of breeding programs and discontinue the rankings, advertising, travel and too many dog shows. Do I have a funny story I can share about showing Mastiffs? I did get a laugh when, years ago, a well-known and capable profes- sional handler cruised in to cover a Mastiff. (It was probably sit- ting with its owner.) The handler took the leash, and gave it a little flip expecting to run off with his charge to enter the ring. It didn’t budge! So much for understanding a Mastiff. I’d like to also share that I think they are wonderful, kind, noble, impressive and protective. Not required to jump up and be aggressive. Just their looks provide comfort, companionship and safety. This breed likes to please its owner.

7. In the show ring, is the Mastiff a “showy” dog? 8. At home, does the breed make a good family pet?

9. What are your hopes for the future of the breed? For the sport? 10. For a bit of humor: Do you have a funny story you can share about showing Mastiffs? 11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. DAMARA BOLTE I live in Leesburg, Virginia,

and grew-up as an “Army- brat.” I graduated from Purdue University in animal husband- ry and studied animal sculp- ture in Paris. I’ve bred Reveille Basenjis since 1955 and have handled a good many Basenjis over the years, including nine Best in Show winners. I have been a BCOA board member and wrote the breed column in the AKC Gazette for over three decades. My avocation

has been professional handling with a career as an Animal Hus- bandman for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Mary- land. I was involved with producing small laboratory animals (i.e. mice, rats and guinea pigs) for research or testing human diseases. I accompanied Basenji breeders Jon Curby and Stan Carter, DVM on the 1988 Basenji search in Zaire. I received the AKC 2002 Hound Group Breeder of the Year Award, the 1998 PHA Han- dler of the Year, and was the 2008 recipient of the AKC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I bought my mother her first Mastiff in 1956. For 30 years, I showed and bred, on a very limited basis, the house Mastiffs. I had the privilege and honor to have handled dogs to Best of Breed at the MCOA National Specialty in 1966, ’67, ’68, ’71, ’74, ’76, ’79, ’82, and ’93 with six different dogs. Among those were the following Best of Breed winners at the National Specialty: 1967 and 1968 CH Reveille Juggernaut; 1971 CH Reveille Defender; and 1974, ’75, ’76 CH Reveille Big Thunder. I also won the National with CH Deer Run Zen and CH Matts Joshua of Dogwood Knoll. Some exciting handling moments: I handled the first Mastiff to go BIS in Continental US; my own Brindle Mastiff to win a Group; and the first Mastiff to win a Group in Canada. I retired in 1992 from a 33-year career at the NIH. I was one of the first AKC Registered Handlers. I have retired from that organi-


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