Tuesday 24 November 2015

The real turkey

This pic has been posted on the pro-show Best in Show Daily Facebook page today promoting the television coverage of the Philadelphia National Dog show  - which airs on NBC in two days' time. The rather random reference is to The Weekend's big hit of that name this summer.

This Neapolitan Mastiff male is Ch Ironwood's Paparazzi - call name "Poppy"  - co-owned by a chap called Jim Deppen. He sounds thrilled.

Here's another picture of this dog - butchered ears set upon a gross head of excess skin, entropion and stenotic nostrils. But no matter. He went Best of Breed at the National last weekend - and was also the Westminster BOB in 2013

Here's what Mr Deppen feels about owning a Neapolitan Mastiff.

Nope; nothing to do with God. This is one of man's best examples of qualzucht (torture breeding) as they call it in Austria. 

And of course's the breed history stuff is just all so much bollocks anyway. The breed is a 20th century recreation - and a terrible one at that - as documented succinctly on the Terrierman blog here.

Then there's the fact that this breed looked nothing like this historically. Nothing. The wrinkling, the acres of excess flesh.. all a totally modern conceit.

In fact, Neapolitan Mastiffs remained fairly moderate - and certainly physically very able -  right up until the 1970s.

And now this - Deppen's dog winning Best of Breed at Westminster in 2013. 

Like all Neapolitan Mastiffs, the sagging increases with age. This is the same dog this week winning Best of Breed at the National.  It almost looks like lymphedema on those hocks - something that blights Shar-pei.

On Deppen's Facebook, someone has commented on this pic: "Magnificent, such an expressive face."

As for Deppen's claims that this breed has "fought in battles against man and beast" and "been starved" - now might be a good time to mention that, in 2010,  Deppen and co-breeder Mimi Winkler were charged with 60 counts of cruelty, kennel violations and operating an unlicensed kennel. 

They denied the charges of cruelty detailed in this report:
The visit turned up 18 bichon frise dogs that were "living in unsanitary conditions and had heavily matted coats, long nails and open tumors on some of the dogs that were untreated," police said.
On April 28, Aguirre returned to the kennel, where Winkler relinquished "an emaciated and sickly border collie," police said.
The three dog wardens then returned June 4 to the kennel and discovered three Neapolitan Mastiff dogs "in health conditions that indicate that necessary vet care had not been provided."
The wardens returned June 7 to find "two of the Neapolitan mastiffs were deceased, one of which was disposed of outside of the kennel in a wheelbarrow," police said.
According to another report, Deppen's criminal record was subsequently wiped clean:
A district judge found Deppen and Winkler guilty of four counts of animal cruelty and a count of running an unlicensed kennel, and acquitted them of the rest. The pair appealed the verdicts to Common Pleas Court, and were allowed to enter Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition, a program for first-time offenders that includes expunging any criminal record. According to Deppen, the outcome only required him to admit running an unlicensed kennel and pay a fine. Court documents on the case have since been destroyed.
Deppen and Winkler's breeding license was revoked by the Department of Agriculture, but the AKC appears to have take no action. Deppen is still listed as an AKC judge.

Perhaps it all was a case of falsified evidence - as claimed by Deppen's attorney who said his clients were being punished for their dogs simply "having a bad hair day". The court also heard  from the defence that there was nothing wrong with the Neapolitan Mastiffs' eyes, as claimed, because "exposed haw" is entirely normal for the breed.

But simply breeding modern show-bred Neapolitan Mastiffs (typically dead by five years old such is the effort to stay alive in that body) is an act of cruelty.

"I like things that look like they were hit by a car," said Deppen in 2005 (source here).

For dog show people to make a joke about those welfare-limiting folds is just disgusting.

It's like showing a picture of a gasping pug with the tagline: "All I need is the air that I breathe".

Or a Basset with his penis dragging on the ground with the line: "No scraping the barrel here!"

Has Purina seen this, I wonder?

You can let Purina know what you think by leaving a comment on their Facebook page here. 

Please chip in on the thread on the Best in Show's page here.


  1. That poor,poor dog.The people involved,especially the judges,should hang their heads in shame.

  2. It’s so sad to see melting Mastiffs with no nostrils. It doesn’t have to be this way for them.

    1. Jen, this is a very apt description of what is happening, dreadful.

  3. Such a shame these breeders are ruining beautiful dogs and turning them into miserable non-functioning freaks. Poor babies!

  4. I can't seem to publish under my name: horrifying! At least one person on the BIS fb site statedhis/her outrage. Dorothea Penizek

  5. Thanks for the links. I don't know how much good it will do, but it's better than doing nothing!

  6. Thank you! "Qualzucht" will be my Word for the Day! --- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

    1. Shame! Not only breeders and judges but OWNERS are responsible for exaggeration and cruelty breeding. Sick people create the demand for sick dogs.

    2. Wow, I'm so glad the word "qualzucht" (torture-breeding) exists. No doubt I will be using it frequently from now on. As with so many areas of life, once you can name a thing, you can do something about it. I can waste less of my breath trying to explain to people what's wrong with pure-breeding. Now I think that simply defining qualzucht will go a long way to helping people understand what the problem is.

      As for Jim Deppen, it seems he's not only a criminal but also an ignoramus. The fighting mastiffs of old were of no breed; they were a type, a landrace, a population of large, powerful, functional dogs used for combat and other purposes. Until the eugenic madness that is pure-breeding came along, there were no breeds. Deppen can be a fan of the Pugnaces Brittanae and Italian Mastiffs of old, but the inbred victims he produces are neither one.

  7. I commented on their page. Beyond outrageous!

  8. I've let my thoughts be known both to Mr Deppen and Purina. Mr Deppen has responded - with lots of photos (awful) and he tells me Poppy is a very healthy dog indeed!! I likened the horrible excessive folds of skin to someone who has lost an enormous amount of weight. We know from those people how distressing, uncomfortable, painful, limiting having such a deformity is to live with day to day. Mr Deppen has come back and told me his dog is not obese (twit) because that is one thing that Poppy doesn't suffer from, in my view. Oh and he told me I was right wing breed hater -urg? Anyway the look of the dog (breed) is atrocious and an abomination in the exaggerated wrinkled form.

  9. upsetting to see abuse/neglect of dogs!!

  10. It seems you've been frozen out because access to the sites above are now unavailable, or is just me?

    1. They have blocked you - not a total surprise Georgina given how strong you were... . They've blocked me too - a little surprising given that I haven't commented there.

      The good news though... they've taken that pic down.

  11. "I like things that look like they were hit by a car," volunteers Jim Deppen in an older article (2005) about another dog. He adds, "It all depends on what you think ugly is." Well, I think most reasonable people would find the reduction of the dog to a ridiculous aesthetic pretty ugly, not to mention a little "a rebours." At least the book was a fiction.

    1. Thanks for that... added to the main article...

  12. Wow I never would've thought that I could say this about a Neapolitan but that third golden oldie picture at bottom had me drooling (completely tasteless pun and not intended).

    Obviously Im saying this not knowing how athletic or sound it was or it's breeding, how everything came together for the dog, even give the odd apparent weakness like the strong looking but slightly overbent hinds. But it just makes you wonder when you compare this dog to Poppy how and why enthuisiasts of the breed let something like Poppy ever happen.

    Even if this dog had any reall structural problems, hips, elbows for example it would still be a far more functional mastiff than what exists today!

    I dont know the history of the recreation but it seems to me to have been one big misguided waste of an oppertunity that went on given that these types, even this single dog actualy ever existed. The head was so full of character. Now it looks like its slowly becoming an exaggerated brachycephlic type but far worse even.

    How that Poppy dog could ever have gone best of breed at the National last weekend with entropion, stenotic nares, flews almost on the ground is beyond me. I can only truly fear what the rest of the field must have been like.

    To me and I didn't know this was allowed but this dog looks like it has already had eye surgery. I suppose if they can slice off the ears and what looks like a third of the tail......only surprised its still got its grotesque head still on its skinny shoulders because I for one could've hoped it was the first thing to go.

    Qualzucht says it all. Im wondering how the Qualzucht legislation all worked out for dog breeding in the DACH countries.

    1. Well one thing is definitely for sure, positive and unrefutable is that Poppy when he was a vulnerable pup unable to defend himself had his ears chopped off my some idiot. Mr Deppen told me it was so that his ears wouldn't get dirty - fgs, I asked him if had ever heard about cleaning? How Gt Ds, St B, whatever, all large breeds, coped with unmutilated ears would be a problem for Mr D if his history is true and he has cared less for the dogs in his care. I think I used too many "coos" in my response, the word he used as an appraisal towards himself from BISD - stupid bl.... man, I saw red and at the end I think he saw red too, but at least he could see it his poor dog couldn't. Purina and BISD have removed me from commenting because seemingly I am a "rightist" and "if I can't say something nice I should say nothing at all" hypocrits(? misspelling sorry, they are happy to use a disabled dog to promote their site but they don't like the sound of truth in the form of words. Democratic, I fear not? But we managed to chink at their armour and the fact that they have dropped the photograph is a real positive because somewhere in their empty heads is a conscience oh and the fact that they are afraid that their readership may drop off as a result of an HONEST view rather than a dog show sycophantic biased one. ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    2. Well done. The link doesn't even work for me. But it looks like the job is done.

      Poppies eyes just have that pinched look that you get after they've been stiched up. They're a complete anomaly to the way the rest of the excess skin on the head falls. But yes....you need to see him in the flesh to be absolutely sure.

      I got quite used to spotting surgery on the eyes of mastiffs at a glance as an appraiser.

      Yah poor Poppie the situation will also of course only get worse as he ages.

      It could be true he probably is less likely to get bacterial or fungal infections in the ear, but cricky (I think thats the expression) just don't breed the ears to hang off the side of the head dangling down like two useless dish cloths.

    3. Link doesn't work because BISD is blocking anyone who posts here negatively. Good that they're reading everything here, though!

    4. One thing for sure is that when they read what has been said on PDE they will not see a threat to "take a pop at anyone" who makes negative blogs. Such threats are shameful, do they mean a pop from a fist or from a gun? Is that really what dog showing has sunk too? If we didn't live in a democratic societies here and in the USA I would suggest that they should be removed from FB because I believe that threats is a definite no no.

    5. I might add here I've since found out that it's true, Neapolitan Mastiffs having had entropion surgery are allowed in the show ring under the AKC, its also not required they be sterilised. It's a regular practise.

      Surgically-altered Neos can win shows become Grand Champion...making them highly sought after sires," bringing in a much higher price for puppies....

      Emptor cavete - buyer beware.

      If your "pet quality" puppy is a complete train wreck it's because so was it's father and probably it's mother too. In fact so is the breed.

      I just cant comprehend how any organisation would willingly allow this condition to be inflicted on generations of puppies, it's truly hideous.

  13. there are alot of people in this breed within the uk and all over the world that have joined CACEP and we are all striving to get this breed back on track with regards to health which is first and formost the most important but to also get the structure back without the over exageration x

    1. It's good to read anon 1326 that there are people who love the breed enough to make reparation and make it a more practical and happy dog that can enjoy it's life to the full. I think when who proports to be involved in a breed because they love the dogs but in reality loves the look of the dog because it is "the result of a car crash", I think that that is the weirdest description for wanting to own a dog. Very sad, very worrying, it must be of great concern to the moderates who want the strength and nobility in the breed without the gross exaggeration. Hopefully your group can have some influence and before long we will see healthier neos.

    2. What a load of rubbish! CACEP Italy, the president Marco Di Marte has done a half-brother/sister breeding. The father of both dogs died at around 2-3 years old. CACEP UK rep has been studding out a male, knowing full well that there are problems with the dog's litter mates. Members of CACEP have bred using this male, produced a large litter approx 12 pups, 4 of which are badly lame with affected knees, hips and back issues, before 12 month old. There is so much more hypocrisy and fakery going on it's unbelieveable.

    3. Hmmm things do sound like a car crash and the problem is CACEP's ideal is still a cock up. Just look at Mateaki Mafi's Freddo dei Mastino Della Rupe!


      This is what they consider ideal! I guess closely line breeding for this is going to help the breed at all??? Sigh.

      It is true Della Rupe has substantialy reduced excess body skin and the legs are looking slightly drier, less flew, odd eyes but the entire thing otherwise is still a train smash rather than a mere car crash and and ongoing one at that.

      Selecting for an ever shorter muzzle is simply going to suffocate the poor animal ontop of everything else, also making the dog close coupled is simply going to affect the spine and turn it into a wobbly high rump disaster rather than correct the long collapsing spine sway back. A French bulldog on long legs is not going to solve anything.

      Guaranteed that dog of Mr Mafi is not athletic. If it could even jump over the low barrier behind him in one neat cat leap I would be very and mightily surprised. How is a dog meant to be a gladiator when it more than likely couldn't even jump into a wheel chair unaided.....

      No this is still not their fictional gladiator, it's simply leaning towards one of the other train smashes out there, a blue Dogue de Bordeuaux. If you want to see how these have turned out......stenotic nares and all:



      This breed litraly looks like someone took a hammer to the skull and face.

      I can never understand why the dogs of yesterday are always so proudly put on sites. Whats the point when they with even more pride present the modern breed which is inevitably such a complete disaster and patently unrecognisable as the same breed.

      Why aren't magnificent, obviously also highly athletic dogs of old, the dogs they can still look to for some kind of guidance?!

      I suppose because they woudn't even be recognised in a show ring as their breed. No one likes to be a loser but its Ok if the poor dog is in the race to win ribbons.

    4. IMO it's fine for Italy to want to have a national Mastiff, but this one has reached a dead end.

      CACEP need to find something better than any existing Neapolitans for a new open foundation. Im sure there are plenty of very athletic fine "bandogs" or yard dogs (much like the founding Guaglione) out there, even Italian ones that might or might not even have some historic Italian context to them like Guaglione might or might not have had himself.

      This will definitely have to involve either outcrossing or dumping any existing material entirely.

      Im outraged at the health and welfare aspects of the breed foremostly.

      Besides the fact that the Neapolitan was probably never an ancient working breed as we cant say for sure where the founding dog came from, the actual work that many dogs were bred for no longer exists. But does this mean these Neapolitans should be a pile of useless, sad, short lived qualzucht instead.

      In fact Im sure it's not a "working dog" fans of the breed are after anyway. If they were looking for a working dog they would've long long ago not batted an eyelid to introducing something more primitively functional into the mix. Most owners would've realised what they had instead of the working dog they desired was simply a sack of bones and loose ligaments with horrible health conditions. Besides there are far more functional mastiff types out there that are valued for their working contribution, security, homestead and etc that owners would've turned to already if they wanted a good working dog.

      No, the show dog they want is something that only looks like it can do the job, however even that window has long ago closed. Who would be afraid of this dog now? And if they were it wouldn't last for longer than a few seconds to get over the shock of just looking at it? Feel sorry for it yes but not much else. I remember when I first saw one I was completely gobsmacked in sadness. It was tied up outside a few wooden barges on a canal in Amsterdam near to some warehouses used for work shops. It had skin conditions, like acne, ingrown hair, itchy, gapping haws...just looked a sad mess. The dog let out some quite frightening deep barks I must say but then immediately collapsed into a sorry heap of misery. It didn't even look up when I actually passed, maybe it mistook me for a native with my full bright blonde Nordic shock of hair, but I suspect it just couldn't be bothered to be a dog and its eyes were too sore.

      So what's the point of such a breed even as a companion? Well honestly very little, it's simply a great unkindness to a fellow animal to allow the continued perpetuation of such travesties.

      CACEP is not doing anyone a favour by working within the limited genetic pool at their disposal what ever they are trying to achieve.

    5. I wasn't even talking about Freddo...he's bad enough. It's Vanilla Ice who is being used at stud. Any so-called improvements by Della Rupe is co-incidental, not intentional. Look at Brazil di Graziano, imported into the kennel...is that selection for moderate dogs? Nope!

      In the same way, Ms. Slater touted Vaiola as the "Ambassador for the breed", when the 3 other littermates have serious issues. Sent semen to Australia and used VI at stud in UK, to the Embreys. Now there are people with crippled dogs and you can bet unaffected littermates will be bred, regardless. Short-sighted, uneducated breeding practices! My problem is that Ms. Slater acts as a mentor to all regarding the breed and health, in particular. However, it seems apparent that it is a case of the blind leading the blind.

      Agree, on the point of outcrossing as the only way to proceed, in the UK but the KC is the obstacle and without them, puppy prices become less attractive to breeders.

      However, breeders in Italy regularly outcross, just look at the various shades and shapes of dogs now that docking and cropping doesn't hide so much. However, the incredible amount of inbreeding back to regain 'type' is what does the damage. They don't care...selling dogs for tens of thousands of $$$ that die at 3 years only means they can sell more dogs!

      They are entirely delusional.

    6. Oh I didn't know Italian breeders were outcrossing! Is this sanctioned, in their club or the FCI ec. Are they able to show these dogs.

      I suppose they're less worried then about the disasterous phenotype and more about broadening the genetic pool, helath...? What is the plan?

      My Italian isn't so hot but which kennels are outcrossing and to what?

      The age they live to is absolutely shameful. All in all Im surprised there are people still willing to be involved with the breed at all.

  14. Just sent Purina´s fb-page a comment.

  15. Ang got back the kind of comment you would expect from the kind of person who takes such great pride in delusional fantasies of dogs´anatomy. Correct spellar and grammar, but the content what you´d hear in a pub brawl anywhere. Told Purina I´ll never buy their stuff again - and apparently, all comments have now been eradicated. /Bodil Carlsson/Collievänner

  16. It is nice to see that FINALLY others are seeing the truth about certain breeders In the UK. The Vanilla Ice issue is the tip of the iceberg with breeders in the UK, in particular the ones that have seemingly jumped ship to CACEP. Sadly CACEP will eventually get the bad name when people realise the calibre of people who are the 'FACE' of the organisation in the UK. We can all write Blogs all day about people abroad but when the people right here in the UK are still blatantly misleading people with drivel about health testing and producing better dogs and doing nothing but the total opposite then how on earth will this breed ever change for the better?? Ms Slater and Mr Cox both claim to be about health and yet still are not health testing their dogs. Mr Cox who is also an assured breeder having had numerous litters since passing his inspection using un tested studs and bitches to produce puppies. Ms Slater using a young male who again is not health tested to an un tested bitch having a first litter. It goes on and on. The 'breed for less type' again is complete and utter nonsense, you only have to look at the pairing of dogs to see that this is not the idea behind mating's.

    1. Anon 1346, you sound like you have an axe to grind.

      The truth has always been plain to see, just that most are too invested to rock the boat, too lazy to research and correlate, or too uneducated about breeding (which isn't rocket science and needn't involve complex genetics)

      While the CACEP hypocricy is a travesty, both in the UK and abroad, particularly because they bang on about health and regaining the mythical mastino of old, it isn't just CACEP who are dishonest about health testing.

      There are UKNMC officers and members, major breeders and big winners whose health testing is less than satisfactory.

      NEWSFLASH - 'Health testing' a dog at 12 months, breeding the crap out of it as brood/stud for 2 years or more, then finding out it has cancer or some other affliction, or maybe it drops dead, after producing 1, 2, 3 or maybe more litters, isn't working towards the good of the breed. Waving a certificate around, health or KC Assured Breeder, whatever, is purely to sell pups...nothing else. Those certs are a waste of paper. Test the dogs, wait, test them again, wait, test them again, wait a bit more... then perhaps breed mature, healthy animals. The older the dogs used for breeding, the chances are that will be transmitted to the progeny. That sounds like a plan! Your beloved health tests don't make that happen, they simply verify the fact that the dog is free from particular defects.

      Same scenario with shoddy breeding principles, such as half-brother/sister matings, breeding from variously affected dogs/lines. That's without mentioning generally underhanded, grubby, practices happening all over the place because of the internal divisions and cliques. It's all there to be seen, if you open your eyes. The sickening thing is the sorrow that pet owners experience through the ill health of their dogs, the expense of treatment when swindling insurance companies squirm out of cover, and the unethical (quite frankly thick) breeders who keep doing it over again.

      Ultimately the individual dogs are the victims because breeders don't cooperate towards a common goal to improve this amazing breed...just slander behind one another's backs.

      Then you also have the clownish paper tiger that is the KC, who are considering a Crossbreed register to cash in on designer mutts, yet won't open the register to outcross in order to permit breeders to correct the breeds that need improvement. They only react for financial gain or to prevent legislation that will remove some of their false kudos.

      Last and definitely least of all, you have the armchair experts and keyboard warriors who don't actually do anything or have any knowledge through specific experience, yet like to criticise those at the sharp end. It may interest these people to know that no breeder actually breeds a litter thinking that it's gonna be bad. That doesn't excuse all of the previously mentioned issues, but it is a lot of personal investment of time, money, energy and emotion to breed a litter of neapolitan mastiffs and it's frankly unsurprising that people get defensive when wannabee experts whine on about things they know nothing about.


    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Is there an open breed register in any Neapolitan club, association anywhere in the world? Where dogs are appraised rather than shown where they are included into the registry not based on pedigree but on sustainability?

    No one is forced to register their litters or dogs with the KC or to show them under the KC's auspices, to breed in closed registers, or to show at all?

    All of that "personal investment, time, money, energy and emotion" to breed doesn't in fact seem to be enough.

    I can understand why not all bad dogs should necessarily be excluded from the gene pool but I get edgy when I hear they are used without discretion and at an age that is simply underscoring chronic health problems like inherited cancers.

    This is contra to any real plans to improve the breed. Alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.

    It sounds like they do know and recognise the litters are going to be bad. Breed them, show them young before they die of disease. Or is all that investment never mind the emotions completely misguided crap shot?

    Yes I'm shocked. It doesn't sound like axe grinding it sounds like pure stupidity whatever Anons motive might or might not sound like from the point of view of a Neapolitan breeder on "the sharp end". No one is forcing them to breed.

    In fact It just sounds just more of the same, breeders breeding to feed their egos at dog shows and sell puppies no matter the true cost.
    Still enamoured of the breed as it stands in all its inglorious excesses and health problems. Happy to promote them to the unsuspecting public while making no more than lip service to the real health and welfare for the breed. I expect all show breeders feel obliged to do this anyway.

    A huge irritation that their breed has been outed as a complete man made sad freak when all along they've sold it as the gladiator of the dog world.

    Dog breeding isn't a shake in the box sponge cake, no, but isn't this enough to make any show breeder realise they're taking the breed to the grave!?


    I just love it the way the judge sends them down the line a second even third time as though he just couldn't quite see it the first time.

    Bwah ha ha ha!

    Maybe he just couldn't quite believe it the first time?

    If it wasn't such a tragedy it would be incredibly funny something like Monty Python's dead parrot sketch.
    If any of these puppies were yearlings at sale they wouldn't be worth the money to be taken back home and shot. No matter how expensive the frozen embryo or sperm was or how emotionally taxed the breeder felt.

    The result is simply not for this world, the expenses involved with AI and often caesarean section a complete waste.

  18. During the late 90s I couldn't get enough of author Andrew Vacchs' Burke novels. But I was puzzled when a character raved over Burke's Neapolitan Mastiff, calling her beautiful and "panther like". Beauty, is of course subjective, but I couldn't see anything pantherlike in the photos of Neapolitan Mastiffs in the dog breed books.

    But now all is explained: Burke obviously owned one of the "old style" Mastinos! The world makes sense now. ;-D

    1. It does indeed Astrin! Though what exactly happened to Mrs Harrisson is still a mystery for sure!

      I once described a particular Tosa Inu as a black panther. The first one I had ever seen. It was guarding a small motor mechanics workshop down some back street suburban area in Bangkok.

      Of course having seen other Tosas I couldn't extrapolate from my original wonderment and say this was true for the entire breed, oh no, most definitely not!