Mastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight


What are my hopes for the future of the breed and the sport? For the breed: More emphasis put on health. Be open and honest about the health issues in the breed. For the sport: I would like to say that it needs to be less political. But, ultimately, I wish that breeders were more particular on what they put out in the ring and cared less about the number of champi- ons produced and ribbons received. Do I have a funny story to share about showing Mastiffs? Years ago, I was at a show in Virginia waiting to go into the ring with my puppy. The ring steward saw my armband number and told me that I needed to get in the ring. I went in the ring and when they sent us around I realized that it was the Bullmastiff ring. So I left and was so embarrassed, but the ring steward kept telling me to get in the ring. Lesson learned. I’d also like to share that Mastiffs aren’t for the person that can’t deal with hair and slobber. They are homebodies, so if you are gone for long hours or travel a lot, a Mastiff isn’t for you. They want to be with their families, not left outside or in crates for hours on end. They will be as good a dog as what you are willing to put into them. They are very obedient and willing to please, but training needs to start very early. They don’t require harsh words, just a firm voice. They bond very strongly with their family. Everything about the breed costs more. About the only thing that doesn’t cost more are vaccines. If a Mastiff gets a serious illness it can cost upwards of $20,000 to save its life, but they are worth every penny. MARK TICHENOR I live in Montgomery, Illi-

kicks in and they get it. I am going to guess, in part, that is the human’s fault anyway, but nonetheless, as many Mastiff breeders can attest, it is our reality. For showing? Patience. The Mastiff is very slow going. We joke and say pick the puppy at 7.5 weeks and don’t look at them again until they are two. I think that was my largest lesson for many years with Nancy. We would debate back and forth. I wouldn’t think something was worthy and she would calmly say (in her Southern accent), “Just give him/her time—you’ll see.” And she was typically right. So while it’s not in my natural temperament to be patient—my Mastiffs have taught me to be. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? We can pick show potential at seven to eight weeks. The thing about a Mastiff is, while we choose them on soundness and breed type that they present at that age, the overall size is a crap shoot. We pick them and hope they get to the sizes we prefer. Don’t get me wrong, bigger is absolutely not better. There is big enough and there is too much. My point is, at seven weeks, you just truly don’t know. Likewise, in my experience, the Mastiff—as it grows—only gets straighter. When picking a puppy, extreme angles tend to be “just right” when they mature. Can I speak to the importance of soundness in the breed? Abso- lutely! It’s simple, they should be sound. They are a working dog bred to guard. They cannot do their job if they cannot move. The Lazy D kennel has either bred or campaigned five Best in Show Mastiffs, multiple National and Specialty winners and two had Working Group placements at Westminster. The one thing these animals all had in common—they were enough. Typey enough, sound enough and showy enough—and all those “enoughs” made them top contenders in the Working Group during their careers. In the show ring, is the Mastiff a “showy” dog? It’s not typical. In our standard it even states that judges should beware of putting a premium on showiness. Dignity, rather than gaiety, is the Mastiff’s correct demeanor. At home, does the breed make a good family pet? Phenomenal; they are calm, gentle and loyal. They prefer to be by your side and make for lovely companions. What are my hopes for the future of the breed? For the future of our breed, I hope that breeders become more aligned. There are some differences in opinions and it’s starting to show in the ring. Likewise, I think that becomes confusing for judges and ultimately for the novices entering our breed. For the sport, I would like to see it be about the quality of the breeding stock and, ultimately, be able to feel that purpose when you are showing. Today it seems to be a bit more of a game; campaigns, politics, favors, etc. Like anything where people can earn their living in an industry, this is prevalent, but I think dog shows are different. This isn’t about gain- ing market share or leading innovation, but rather the preservation of purebreds. So, I wish that those who are lucky enough to make their living in our sport would do so with the highest of integrity and truly be students of the breeds in their charge rather than show- ing mediocre animals for wealthy clients. I am not saying ditch the wealthy client, I am saying teach the wealthy client and seek out the animal that is truly worthy of the career that can be afforded. Do I have a funny story I can share about owning Mastiffs? I have many because at home they are quite the comical breed. But my favorite is: I was doing dishes one afternoon and I looked out into my yard and I could see that two of mine were up to something, but I couldn’t tell exactly what. A few more minutes go by and they are still interested in something. By the time I could make it out my door to see what was up, they had pulled a beautiful lilac bush out of the ground by its roots. Never had I ever seen anything like it, nor did I realize how powerful they actually were until that moment. I don’t think two adult humans could have accomplished such a task, but I have learned they are excavators. Though you might think your yard is dog-proof—it’s probably not Mastiff-proof!

nois (Chicago Suburb), I’m a Sr. Principal HR Consulting, Discover Financial Services (Discover Card) and have been in dogs for 35 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Cooking and wine. How did I first become involved with the Mastiff? Originally, I was a “Rottwei- ler guy” and, since I was 18, always had one Border Ter- rier. I moved to Tampa, Flor- ida, to continue pursing my Human Resources career and was working in downtown Tampa. It was the first time in my career that I supported the C-Suite and specifically

the Finance and IT Departments. I went in to meet the Sr. VP of Financial Reporting, Cindy Furr, and on her desk were photos of Mastiffs. They weren’t regular Mastiffs. (I had been in dogs for a long time even then to know they were show dogs.) One conversa- tion led to another and I ended up showing her Mastiffs for her. It was not love at first sight, but over time you look past the drool and the shedding and realize how wonderful this breed truly is. From there, we were looking for a new puppy and I met Nancy Walker of Lazy D Mastiffs. She became my mentor in the breed, best friend and now, 17 years later, we (me and Nancy) are partners in crime and I too breed under the prefix, Lazy D. Are there any special requirements for breeding such a large breed? I think many breeds have nuances, but with Mastiffs, breed- ing them is extremely scientific; a lot of testing, prep and human intervention. They are not, typically, the best mothers, so you need to help them. Eventually, if you are lucky, the maternal instinct


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