Sunday, 30 October 2011

Neapolitan Mastiff - 1949-2011

I think this YouTube video is intended as a celebration.

But you be the judge.

41 comments:

  1. Do they have whelping problems with such massive heads?

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  2. Well, I am honest, it is a "bad" developpment to me. Sorry, but this breed is not the only breed which did that kind of bad developpment :-((((

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  3. They know not what they're doing, and they're obviously quite proud of it. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  4. Should be illegal. Really. Is there some sort of lack of collagen gene they are breeding for?

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  5. Catherine, I agree, I see some sort of tragic connective-tissue disorder there. Did you notice the two bitches with the weirdly misshappen dugs hanging down (one standing, breasts nearly to the floor, one sitting)? On some of the photos, you can make out a rather lean dog inside the skin suit. Makes me wonder what all that skin *weighs,* versus the weight of a normal animal's skin. If you have ever skinned game or livestock for the table -- it might surprise people who have never done so just how much of a normal animal's live weight is skin. So double or triple the normal amount of skin could add a LOT of dead weight that the dog has to carry around. And so much concentrated on the head, where the dog's neck has to manage the strain.

    The other thing that struck me was that there were some dogs showing the extreme type, or moving that way, from the very beginning. And then there were the dogs who looked as if they could move. A choice was made at a fork in the road, and someone chose the wrong fork. As evidence of the wrong turn piled up, they all just pressed down on the accelerator and turned up the radio.

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  6. Seams to be during the seventies that the breed
    realy starts to become extra extreme .I think the same true for several other breeds....

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  7. That's a very sad video...

    It seemed up until the late 1970's they are were all beautiful dogs, and then it started going downhill. I can't understand how people can look at some of the Neo's of today and think they at all resemble the original dogs in form or function.

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  8. It's like the dogs are melting as time goes on. Sad.

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  9. Anne-Marie Luckhurst30 October 2011 18:46

    Terrible, the dogs shown today do not resemble the original. How can they run with all that excess hair and skin over the head and body! This video is NOT progress for this breed!!!!!

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  10. Both bitches with the frightening mammary glands bear the kennel name del Gheno. These have been preying on my mind. Mammaries on any species should not look like the tentacles of Great Cthulhu. I looked up del Gehno. Eep.

    http://www.delgheno.com/cuccioli.htm

    This breeder says that he has been breeding Neos since the 70's and is very proud of all his winners. So if you want to know a name of one of the people who made that horrifying choice of direction ...

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  11. Looks like Neapolitan Mastiff also belongs to the sad group of "the more breed characterics the better"...

    A truly unbelievable sight of the "progress" in this breed!

    Looking forward to breeders' comments!


    -labpack-

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  12. It speaks volumes against those many, many breeders who claim that they know best about their breeds because they ARE breeders and their critics are NOT.

    On a narrow scale, it would be called "kennel blindness", but here we have "breed standard blindness". And then, of course, the breed standard probably gets modified to catch up with the deterioration of the breed. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  13. What I found most interesting was when the AKC first started getting involved in the breeding/lineage of Neo's (late 70's) is when the more drastic changes started taking place.

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  14. My terrier loves other dogs, almost to a fault, and to date the local Neapolitan Mastiff is the only dog that he has ever barked. Clearly, they don't look like dogs to him. The certainly don't move like other dogs.

    Em

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  15. I think it is tragic and disgusting what has happened to this breed,. They must have all kinds of problems with that exagerated skin and large heads. Typical - its about time the Kennel Clubs did something about this exageration of breeds in general.

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  16. It's sickening. The poor beasts have gone from beautiful giants, to melted mutations. I can't imagine having skin so heavy being comfortable at all.

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  17. Dear God! They've become gargoyles...

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  18. I'm amazed at the change in just the past decade!

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  19. Poor dogs :-( .The problems here are many, and it's not limited to the dogs themselves. The whole system is flawed (I'm reluctant to say corrupt but it certainly isn't good). The KC writes a breed standard which then gets largely ignored at the shows. The judges at local shows are appointed by the show organizers, so if they judge harshly (in the organizers eyes) they won't be invited to judge that show again. Moreover, these show organizers have a network of their own and word soon gets around. So instead the judges give awards to dogs which are obviously nothing like the breed standard, and hide behind the old chestnut "we can only judge what is in front of us on the day". I can accept that to a point, but they should be penalizing characteristics which don't meet the standard instead of blatantly ignoring them for fear of not being asked back.

    Breeders and breed clubs then get consulted by the KC about their particular breed and a new standard is written, not to improve the breed but merely to make the standard more in line with current trends. The result, as we all know are dogs which look the part (though not to me they don't), but bear little or no resemblance to dogs of yesteryear within that breed, and cannot possibly be fit for (original)purpose.

    The answer, or part of it at least, is for the KC to take a stand and change the rules around judging. The show organizers should inform the KC that they are organizing a show and the KC should then appoint a judge with the appropriate experience for the breed(s) being shown. After all, these are KC awards being dished out, so surely they should have control over this? New breed standards should only be written when a known breed trait is detrimental to the health of the breed and needs to be bred out, not just because it's the latest fashion for dogs to have heads too large for their body, wrinkled skin which weighs a ton, hocks about as rigid as jelly etc....

    Until the KC mans up and grows a pair, and takes the breeders and the shows to task then things are only going to get worse. The sad thing is that many breeds could be returned to normal (if there is such a thing) within just a few generations, but the breeders won't do it for fear of how much money they would lose if their own precious darlings were penalized at shows, and therefore not chosen by other breeders for selective breeding. The KC won't do it for fear that the breed clubs will go it alone.

    It's the dogs themselves who will suffer, indeed they already are suffering. And we call ourselves a nation of dog "lovers"? The KC and the breeders should hang their heads in shame.

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  20. Thank you Jemima for bringing this video to our attention. The work you do empowers us to be more mindful in dealing with our own dogs. And guides us in the decisions that we make everyday.

    We are very fortunate to have someone as dedicated as you -

    With common interests,

    Gloria J. Cestero-Hurd
    Healthy Dog Project
    Cooperstown, NY
    www.facebook.com/healthydogproject

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  21. Yes, it is a celebration - but of mans stupidity, blindness and greed.

    As with many, many other breeds it is just a case of take a breed characteristic and exaggerate it as far as possible. In God's name WHY????

    Maximillian

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  22. I agree with the posts that are critical of the breeders but also feel the need to blame the consumer. Unfortuately breeding is another supply and demand issue, the consumer demands it and the breeders provide it. There needs to be more education as to why what may be appealing to the eye is detrimental to the dog. Good breeders need to band together and simply refuse to provide what is not in the best interest of the breed and to drive out the breeders that refuse to get on board.

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  23. To be fair, the UK breed club says on their website that judges have expressed concern about the extreme type of Neapolitan Mastiff, too heavy, too weak in the hindquarters to carry the weight, and too many wrinkles and folds on the head. How far breeders are taking notice of this is something else. The breed club website also gives a pretty straight list of the health problems in the breed.
    The KC list of accredited breeders gives only one or two breeders who have bred five or more litters, so quite a lot of relatively new and inexperienced breeders in a breed which has only recently acquired some popularity?

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  24. I was most surprised to see that,though lighter and less wrinkled in the body and legs, many of the earliest examples still show exaggerated facial folds, Early type seems to have swung between tall, lean and muscular and squatter, heavy faced types. Mr 1958 looked a superb dog as do some of the 60's/70's...but from the 80's onwards I don't think the breed has been 'improved'. Personally.
    I hope the lovers of this breed can save it.
    Vicky P

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  25. Roger Wilde say what you mean it is corrupt. not the fault of the kc the fault of the breed clubs. the officials of the breed clubs who judge give each other appointments to judge at each others shows. they take sub standard dogs in the ring and win with them when there are far better and more deserving dogs in the ring. they tell their members to do all the right health tests but dont practise what they preech. they also push new judges through if they think they will play the game. the kc have tried to stop this by introducing new rules that judges must attend seminars and pass exams now before being allowed to judge. they must pass more exams as they move up the tree. it is not the kc's fault it is the corrupt blreed clubs.

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  26. Anon (31 Oct 2011 23:38) wrote: "I agree with the posts that are critical of the breeders but also feel the need to blame the consumer. Unfortuately breeding is another supply and demand issue, the consumer demands it and the breeders provide it." --- I disagree with this. Purebred (or pedigree) breeding definitely is NOT a consumer-driven business. The consumers get to pick only among what is left after the breeders decide what to keep for themselves. The fault here lies with solely the breeders and the judges. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  27. Vicky said...

    "I was most surprised to see that,though lighter and less wrinkled in the body and legs, many of the earliest examples still show exaggerated facial folds."

    Pay attention to the structure as well. There seems to be two types: a more 'normal' dog structure, where the dog stands normally, supporting itself with it's legs underneath it, well-balanced, and has normal feet with relatively tight toes. This type seems to have normal 'tension' on the joints and ligaments, allowing it to stand comfortably. The other type has splayed feet, and stands as though it is so loose-jointed it cannot really support itself, more like an A frame where the whole only stands because it is leaning against itself. These dogs look like just standing tires them out. Some of the dogs with excessive skin have quite a good structure underneath.

    It would be interesting to know the selective pressures that produce two such different types.

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  28. Jess; I agree with you re body structure. All the dogs I prefer in that video are the ones which look like they'd outsprint a burgalar to the gate...which is surely the point of the breed????! I'm a sucker for a lean, muscular working dog of any breed or type :-)
    VP

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  29. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=2930

    First KC Breed Watch seminar for judges will be about the Molosser breeds , including the Neapolitan Mastiff. Will the KC be publishing a report on the content of the seminar? Will judges and breeders take notice?

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  30. Points of concern about the Neapolitan Mastiff listed by the KC Breed Watch

    http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breed/watch/display.aspx?breed=Neapolitan+Mastiff

    These are the same points raised by the breed club on their website

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  31. Even if breeders concede that they need to get back to a structurally sounder dog, with less loose skin and wrinkles on the massive head, how will they do it? If the majority of the dogs shown in the UK are now this extreme type, what are they going to breed from to get a less exaggerated type? This is a problem when the whole breed has moved in the direction of exaggerated type. At least in some breeds of dog, there is still a genuine working version that one can breed back to, to get a more moderate and functional dog
    If one needs to outcross, what would one breed with a Neapolitan Mastiff . Is there another mastiff breed which doesnt have similar problems? The English Mastiffs are not without problems either
    It's all very well expressing pious outrage at what has happened to a breed, but one also needs to come up with some practical ideas for breeding a sounder and healthier and more functional dog

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  32. There is some variation within even the showdogs. This much more moderate NM bitch won at one of the summer shows this year.

    http://www.vallinomastino.co.uk/Pantera.htm

    And there are also some KC-registered working NMs here in the UK (bred as protection dogs) that are lighter and have no excess skin - an obvious quick-fix solution. The problem is that the show breeders don't think they are typey enough.

    Jemima

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  33. So, Jemima, if the people who breed the NM protection dogs actively advertised them... ?

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  34. To think they once looked like this:
    http://i.imgur.com/TAcc2.jpg

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  35. This is just sad. To think the breed went from a working estate guardian and personal bodyguard to a shar pei crossed with a hippo.

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  36. @Anonymous 1 November 2011 17:06 Fair enough, corrupt it is, lol. But I think the KC is at least as much to blame as the breeders are. After all, who writes the breed standards? More to the point who re-writes the standards under pressure from the breed clubs? Who is really in charge? The kennel club say they are, but their actions (or lack of in some cases) says different. If they write a breed standard which does improve the overall health of a breed then that's great, it's what we all want isn't it? But they rarely do, usually they are re-written to conform with what appears in the show ring instead of it being the other way around. Shame on the KC.

    You said "the officials of the breed clubs who judge give each other appointments to judge at each others shows. they take sub standard dogs in the ring and win with them when there are far better and more deserving dogs in the ring." This my point exactly - if KC awards/CCs are being dished out then surely it should be the KC who appoints the judges? Otherwise it will always be the case that organizers will appoint their friends or judges know to be on-side. Once again the KC allows things to carry on as before when it is clearly wrong to do so.

    It would be better if judges were trained to judge a breed different from their own. For example a Shar-pei breeder could be trained to judge Old English Sheepdogs but not to judge Shar-peis. That in itself would go a long way towards better judging standards as there would be less likelyhood of favouritism. I know it won't totally get rid of it, but it'd be a start. And if it was the KC who appointed the judges at random from a pool of those qualified then the chances of favouritism is reduced even further. But they won't do it. Therefore j'accuse the KC, the judges and the breeders alike.

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  37. I agree that judges should not be from within the breed! sounds mad at first but wouldn't it be easier to judge without the pre-conceptions that owning and breeding the dog brings?
    There has been and remains dispariy between breed standards and some show winners; in my own breed (ESS) the standard calls for a dog of around 20inches in height with moderate feathering (amongst other things). So why are some of the top winning dogs several inches taller than this and 'dripping in coat'??? Would an independant judge looking to match a blueprint, without any thoughts of the dogs they had back at home, do a better job? Would dog shows be better if the competitive element was removed? If they were gradings rather than 1ST 2nd 3rd? I often read show reports where the judge says either the quality was so good they could have awarded five firsts or conversely where only one dog is entered ( judges can withhold awards). Maybe if the judges could award as many (or as few)'excellents' 'very good' etc as they liked, with maybe four excellents from different judges over 12 or morre months making the dog a champion. This would make more champions no doubt which would in turn encourage more diverse breeding...and a dog couldn't become a champion simply by being the best of a bad bunch.
    VP

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  38. Wow. So you're telling me, that at one point and time, Neo's weren't butt ugly?

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  39. Those two females that everyone is SCREAMING about ...they were pregnant in those photos. They have dropped milk to feed to their soon to be puppies.

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  40. Another interesting breed history series can be found at:
    http://www.bostonterrierclubofamerica.org/index.htm

    This goes back to the 1870s, for Boston Terriers. You can see change in this breed too, but the 1942 dog looks pretty modern. Increase in brachy traits mostly seems to have taken place before the Second World War.

    Why are some breeds so strongly affected by breeding for extremes, while others are relatively stable.

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  41. It's like watching a horror movie where someone's face is melting. The end result will be a puddle of skin on the floor.

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