Mastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight



shoulders are very important, as they carry most of their weight in the front. In the ring, the Mastiff is a free-moving dog with good side-gait; strong reach and drive. On the down and back, the legs move straight forward, converging to the center as the speed increases. They do not single track! They are big, ground-covering dogs. In my opinion, reach and drive is desired over a clean down and back. In the show ring, is the Mastiff a “showy” dog? The Mastiff standard states that a premium should not be put on showiness. A Mastiff should have dignity and grandeur. In my opinion, an overly shy dog that can’t stand for examination should never be tolerated. However, it is a dog show. This means in Breed and Group competi- tion a Mastiff has to “shine” to be noticed. At home, does the breed make a good family pet? The Mastiff is often referred to as the children’s nanny. They are great family dogs, once you learn to step over them! They will be found usually in one of two places: laying on the air conditioning vent or sleeping in front of the refrigerator. They like to hang out with the kids, and usually will step between the child and perceived danger, be that a car or a threatening stranger. What are my hopes for the future of the breed and the sport? I think the Mastiff has improved by leaps and bounds in the last 20 years. The days of dogs with rears so bad they truly couldn’t walk are, thankfully, gone. Bites and toplines have also come a long way! I do, however, think that the essence of the breed has been com- promised. When you see a Mastiff, you should think Hummer, not sports car! A big, rectangular dog with a posts for legs. I recently saw an illustrated article [in another publication] and the majority of answers were very disappointing! Many said so-and-so has a pleas- ing expression. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but our standard describes a one to two ratio; muzzle one, skull two. A broad, square, truncated muzzle, etc., not a one-to-one ratio that looks like a Rho- desian! I’m hoping that in this stay-at-home time, judges will study those odd breeds–or breeds they aren’t as familiar with–more. And reach out to mentors! As far as the future of our sport, time will tell. Perhaps we will get back to basics? Less grooming, less pomp and circumstance, more judging! To be involved with the Mastiff, you have to have a sense of humor; when exhibiting them and when judging them! I remember a dog laying down in the ring at Bucks County that literally had to be dragged out of the ring! I’ve had many Mastiffs sneak in a huge, sloppy kiss on the judge’s face! MARTY HANCOCK My husband and I live in Denton, Texas. I am a registered nurse, currently working in Surgical Services as an Analyst. We have both had dogs all our lives, but have been participating in AKC events since 2007. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Between work and spending time with our dogs, I don’t have time for much of anything else. How did you first become involved with the Mastiff? My hus- band and I were researching Boxers and came across some informa- tion on the Mastiff. We became intrigued and did some research, deciding that the Mastiff was the breed for us. Are there any special requirements for breeding or showing such a large breed? Like most breeds, there are specific health tests to be completed/passed to help determine if a Mastiff is suitable for breeding. Those tests include, but are not limited to, OFA hips and elbows, cardiac evaluation, CERF, DNA tests for Cystinuria, CMR, DMR, and DM. A breeder should have basic knowledge of the pedigrees involved in the history of the breed. To determine if a Mastiff is worthy of being shown in con- formation, as with all breeds the dog should be compared to the

In my 35 years showing Mastiffs, I have won BOB at the MCOA National 13 times, with nine different dogs. I’m proud to say that Scott Phoe- bus and I retired the Breeders Cup, and won many Tourna- ments, WD and WB in our years together. I’ve also won 42 all-breed BIS on seven different dogs, including the largest BIS ever for a Mastiff. I’ve handled the all-time top-winning Mas- tiff in history, and co-bred the

top-winning Mastiff bitch ever. I have also handled the top-win- ning brindle in history, and was involved in the breedings that made it happen! Honestly, I’m proudest of the fact that all these dogs go back to the very first Mastiff that I’d made number one all-systems, CH Iron Hills War Wagon, even though he was a fawn. One of his last breedings was to a brindle bitch that started our top-winning brindle journey! As a handler, I have shown and finished dogs in all seven Groups, including a BIS on a LC Chihuahua. I live in Colorado, at the beginning of the plains on six fenced acres. I’ve lived all over the USA, but Colorado is my favorite place! I’m a third generation dog person. My grandmother had English Setters in Germany and my parents had a big breeding/ showing kennel. We never had fewer than 30 dogs. Bob and Jane Forsyth showed our dogs. I miss the big breeding kennels. I still have my hand in breeding Mastiffs, despite being a full-time professional handler. Specialing a Mastiff keeps me pretty busy. When I’m at home, I love to plant and tend my garden. I presently have a litter of Chi- huahuas. I find learning about other breeds, in depth, is fascinating! I have a rescue Paso Fino horse that I love to ride, but he’s in Texas! Hope to get him here for some trail rides soon! How did I first become involved with the Mastiff? In 1985, I was hired to show my first Mastiff; she finished quickly. Soon after that a handler friend of mine, Cathy Babbins, asked me to help her out at the Mastiff National in Strawberry Banks, Virginia. Well-known breeder judge Richard Thomas, from England, was judging. Long story short, I was BOB with the WD! That was the beginning! Are there any special requirements for breeding and showing such a large breed? Showing and breeding Mastiffs can be very daunting! Mastiffs require quite a bit of testing for genetic prob- lems, including PRA and Cystinuria (and a few others), on top of the usual hips, elbow, and CERF. It can be very costly, but is absolutely necessary before breeding quality, healthy Mastiffs. Showing Mastiffs can also be very humbling! They are big dogs, requiring really big crates! They also need to be kept cool; they hate being hot! They are natural worriers–about storms, heat, strang- ers, the list goes on. To successfully show Mastiffs requires a lot of individual time. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I like to evaluate Mastiff puppies at eight weeks, and then again at three months. After that I reevaluate at nine months—often doing hip and elbow prelims at this time—then again at 18 months. (If you’re still here at two, you’re a keeper!) Mastiff puppies go through a lot of physical and emotional growth between birth and early maturity at two. It’s best to not take them too seriously in between these evaluations. Can I speak to the importance of soundness in the breed? Soundness in a Mastiff is very important! This is a big dog that can breakdown at a very early age if unsound. I believe elbows and


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