Friday 25 March 2011

More Mastino woes

I am glad to see that Terrierman has picked up the Mastino mantle today with two strong posts on the Neapolitan Mastiff.

In one, he explores the breed's sham history and the extent of their health problems - including cherry eye, skin problems, hip and elbow dysplasia,  the high rate of assisted matings/C-sections in the breed and, of course, the fact that they are often dead by three years old (although perhaps that's a blessed relief). 

The other post challenges their classification as a working breed.

Meanwhile, the Veterinary Times has picked up from my previous Mastino blogs and in this week's issue carries strong quotes from the veterinary profession condemning the exaggerations seen at Crufts.

In a joint statement, the BSAVA and BVA said: "This is clearly an example of a breed that has serious problems and is suffering through exaggerated conformation. In terms of what is happening in the show ring, we hope the introduciton of [veterinary] checks from next year for the most high-profile breeds will ensure dogs like these will not make it into the ring and will no longer be seen as desirable or good examples of the breed.

"However, in terms of tackling the actual health problems within the breed, these pictures should be  stark wake-up call to breed clubs and The Kennel Club that urgent action must be taken. If it doesn't act now, the calls for the breed to be deregistered will become even louder."

The Kennel Club tells Vet Times it "wants to see urgent changes" in the Neapolitan Mastiff. What a shame, then, that since accepting the Neo for registration 10 years ago the KC has singularly failed to halt the exaggerations that blight the breed or, in fact, to introduce a single recommended or required health test.

The Neos are also the front page story in DogWorld where, depressingly, the breed club secretary Denise Bucknall is quoted saying that improving the health of the breed could take up to six generations.

“Both experts and the various reports on this issue recognise that it will take decades before the problems really begin to be resolved" she said.

Blimey. How many more of these poor dogs have to be born?

What is needed is for the KC to be brave enough to demand that Neapolitan Mastiffs look more like this fella - a young UK working-bred Mastino. It is the single best move they could do to help ensure that fewer dogs are born to suffer.

Cello, above, is not KC-registered but he's eligible because both his parents are KC registered Neapolitan Mastiffs and their parents before them.

To the show-heads, Cello is an abomination - despite the fact that he looks much more like the dogs on Roman murals that they claim is the inspiration for the modern breed; and despite the fact that the extreme wrinkling on the show dogs is an entirely recent development. The show breeders will, in fact, swear blind that Cello is a mongrel. 

This clearly needs to change. And here's hoping the UK Neapolitan Mastiff Club is big and bold and brave enough to realise this.  I am sure they are feeling a bit bruised by the onslaught but I would urge them to see that breed history (invented or real) is no excuse for breeding dogs whose lives are unacceptably burdened by what we think is OK. As someone commented on a previous post, we used to have slavery and be-heading too - it doesn't make it right today. Times change and the dogs must come first. And perhaps here's an opportunity for the UK to lead the way - as it has on so many animal welfare issues in the past.

I don't want to see another picture of a Neapolitan Mastiff who looks utterly worn out from the sheer effort of being a Neapolitan Mastiff at only seven years old.

Like this one - from a top UK show kennel. Just look at those feet... ouch.


  1. Ohhh this Neo stuff is just getting sadder and sadder. I am glad that vets are now being outspoken about it. Thanks for signposting to Terrierman's latest - the one on the sham history of the breed is a "keeper".

    More Cellos would be good.


  2. Im sorry Jemima, whilst as a Neapolitan Mastiff owner who is focused on health and is realistic that there are a number of issues which need to be overcome within the breed, and I am grateful your spot light on the breed may get some to stop sticking their heads in the sand and finally take notice and focus on the health of these dogs instead of winning rossettes.

    But 'this' working mastino you hold up, for me is not a true mastino for a number of reasons. Due to battling some within the UK today on forums regarding health, I do not have the energy to explain why, but Im sure others will.

    Whilst I agree the mastino which took BOB at crufts was overdone, I am yet to be shown evidence that this dog is unhealthy. I agree though judges should not be rewarding dogs like these as it will encourage their breeding.

    We and other breeds need research, evidence to prove the argument one way or anotherm and I know that the mastino health foundation are due to publish some soon.

    My mastino are 'true' mastino, my boy took Best Puppy but he is healthy and not overdone. I want him to live 12+ as he and my other dog are part of my family and because of that I did my research in purchasing them, and will health screen to help achieve this.

    I also agree dogs on the whole should be able to give birth naturally, as well as concieve naturally. But on the odd and I mean odd, as with humans this may not be achievable.

    Jemima you must be abloe to see I actually agree with a lot of the criticism that is justified towards the breed, but there are some of us trying to overcome these, whilst owning this magnificant breed. Please will you take me up on my offer to visit, surely its far better to work together so we can achieve improving the health of the breed.

    Chris Cooper

  3. Cello is a gorgeous dog and he looks like he could kick *ss too. When it all comes down to it, who cares whether you are being true to the vision of the people who recreated this breed in 1947? Who cares if the lines are "pure" going back to that recreation? Why not breed for a healthy, ATTRACTIVE dog and forget the rest of it?

  4. "Whilst I agree the mastino which took BOB at crufts was overdone, I am yet to be shown evidence that this dog is unhealthy"

    Sorry but you would hardly need a degree in veterinary science to realise that that dog is unhealthy I am an exhibitor and exaggeration to this degree is totally unacceptable. Take the blinkers Neo people and save your breed do right by it if you love it so much!!

  5. I'm presuming six generations means generations of dogs(!) If the breed's health (across the breed)can be significantly improved in this timeframe I think they will deserve every plaudit going. As I seem to repeatedly be saying, breeding animals is not like removing a faulty component in a car and changes just cannot happen overnight, with the best will in the world. The best of luck to those breeders seeking to do their best for the breed.

  6. actually you would need a degree in veterinary science to prove the dog is unhealthy.. exaggeration does not make unhealthy.. it just makes it exaggerated.

  7. actually you would need a degree in veterinary science to prove the dog is unhealthy.. exaggeration does not make unhealthy.. it just makes it exaggerated.

    LOL NON ARGUEMENT there, you are so foolish these pendulous eye lids and disgusting skin folds are healthy are they. Think you were right in the first place Jemima they need to banned or rather the Idiots that are breeding them need to be!!!

  8. Another great article - keep going.

  9. I can understand someone who owns a certain breed pushing for changes but for the life of me I do not understand a person who just dislikes a breed of dog deciding no matter what people try and say or do and offer to health test and introduce less extreme examples of the breed into their breeding program over a number of generations to overcome these health issues and look.
    Will still continue with finding the poorest examples being shown and not seeing there are good dogs even with papers or without and that many breeders are making the effort towards the changes set down by the KC.
    Why arent there more blogs on BYB and what can be done about that where an animal is treated badly, tied to a tree and bred as soon as it comes on heat.
    Why can people like that breed poor quality dogs and sell them to decent folks who end up with vet bills worse than people who breed pedigree dogs and nothing is done about it.
    Yes we are supposed to be more educated compared to the Roman times (although I cant agree there, as we still use roads in the UK built by the Romans).
    People dont do what is best for the breed if rules are made and checks and follow ups are not forthcoming.
    There needs to be a middle line here where both parties sit down hear each other out and sensible decisions and agreements made.
    It works for other countries with animal programs to stop culling of Elephants etc., so Im damn sure people with half a brain can do the same without all this back & forth crap

  10. Cello is a half breed mutt who is probably a Neapolitan Mastiff X Great Dane. Now all you experts on here that do not own the breed but are happy to jump on th "uninformed overnight expert band wagon" I ask you two questions. Has the author of all this nonsense yet done as a true well researched media representive would have done and visited kennels and hands on expeirence yet of the Neapolitan Mastiff? NO SHE HAS NOT!! so anything said from you untill you do is uninformed dibble and assumptions from someone who personally I do not rate at all for pushing and encouraging "FLAT COATED RETREVERS" when they are in fact in a miserable sad way, A lot worse than the Neapolitan Mastiff ever will be.

    The othe question is over night experts who want to comment on here, post what breed of dog you guys own or endorse and we will also have a close look into your breed!

    jEMIMA Harrison I would seriosly be ebarrassed to be you with your shabby research and cheeky unflattering pics of dogs.

    Lets have a little look at your "Flat Coated Retrever" having the highest death rate of ANY breed before 3 yrs, blindness from Glaucoma, terrible hips and elbows.

    Are you even for real pointing the finger at other breeds when the breed you endorse is a sick puppy?

    Clean up your own backyard women !


    1. Lol you're just like the idiotically affronted breeders who claim purebred working bassets can't possibly be purebred because they look...normal? She didn't make the pics unflattering, the dogs look unflattering because they were bred badly. You don't need a vet degree to know a dog that wrinkly is not only uncomfortable and useless, but can get everything from ectropion to skin infections. So many 'ebarrassing' rants on here, Jemima clearly struck a nerve of truth. But I guess foolish pride is more important to some breeders than dog health and comfort. Sad.

  11. It would be fantastic to see some follow up blogs on the breeds you covered during the PDE show. The progress, or lack of it, in dealing with the issues. I for one have a CKCS with MVD and know I should be starting the search for a replacement companion animal, but I am faint hearted about having to cope with the health issues all over again - the new one would be my 4th CKCS.

    Also a blog on the designer crossbreeds - I work with dogs and have found that consumers buying second dogs (i.e. had a pedigree dog during your show and therefore took an interest) are buying the doodles and poos on the misunderstanding that they won't have health issues. Fallout I guess!

  12. Brook, the flatcoated retriever is indeed in trouble. Over 50 per cent of them develop cancer. But they develop it by - on average - the age of 8, not the age of three. Average age of death for the breed is 9 (Neos: 2.3yrs). Glaucoma and hip/elbow dyslasia occurs but they are not huge problems. Five-year rolling mean hip score is just 8 (Neos: 45).

    Of course, if you have data that perhaps I haven't seen that backs up your claims, I'd be happy to see it.

    Flatcoat breeders are, in the main, a conscientious lot when it comes to testing - the vast majority do hip/elbow and eye test before breeding and the breed has benefitted hugely. And if there was a way to breed away from the cancer most would do it in a heartbeat.

    Neos: only two were hip-scored last year and despite a jaw-dropping rate of eye problems, there is no breed eye scheme. Meanwhile, breeders continue to breed dogs that everyone outside of the breed can see are suffering despite the fact that a solution (breed more moderate dogs) is readily available to you.

    There is not much to be gained from comparing breeds but if you're going to try it, please do some research.


    1. Age of three? Where on earth do you get your research data from? hahaha Ive never read such a load of unresarched and uneducated BS in my life! Like someone else pointed out maybe if you do some 'actual' research and publish facts instead of writing all this rubbish for sensationalism to boost your dreary stained career... All this make believe prejudiced dribble and attacks on breeders and their dogs is just making you look like the silly small minded idiot that you are. Nothing you have said in this article is true and yet people are falling into line like sheep to take pot shots... pathetic really!

  13. @ Brook: I own 2 Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

    @ general:

    I think the Neo's look sad and sorry.
    I have no other words for them.
    They might be healthy (don't look like it, but ok) but how can they enjoy life with all that annoying loose skin and they can't even see where they walking as the skin almost entirely covers their eyes.

    The dog on the picture is 7 years old!
    That just makes me sad.

  14. A dewlap is a longitudinal flap of skin that hangs beneath the lower jaw or neck of many vertebrates. While the term is usually used in this specific context, it can also be used to include other structures occurring in the same body area with a similar aspect, such as those caused by a double chin or the submandibular vocal sac of a frog. In a more general manner, the term refers to any pendulous mass of skin, such as a fold of loose skin on an elderly person's neck, or the wattle of a bird. There are also dewlaps on dogs such as the English Springer Spaniel, the Basset Hound, the Bloodhound and the Mastiff. A fatty "dewlap" is also found on female rabbits, such as the New Zealand white rabbit. While pregnant, the female rabbit will pluck fur from the dewlap to line a nest for her babies.[citation needed] A dewlap is also found in both genders of moose.

    Many reptiles have dewlaps, most notably the anole species of lizard, which have large skin dewlaps which they can extend and retract. These dewlaps are usually of a different color from the rest of their body and when enlarged they make the lizard seem much bigger than it really is, especially when warding off predators. Males use the dewlap to intimidate rivals and to attract females during the mating season. While the male anole's dewlap is much larger, the female also possess one. Lizards which have mobile dewlaps usually accompany their dewlap movement with head bobs and other displays. Scientists[who?] are unsure about what this is meant to communicate, but it is prevalent when the lizards are courting.

    Many birds also have dewlaps, such as domestic chickens, some cracids and some guans.

    In Brahmin cows, the dewlap is colloquially known as the "briefcase folds."

    In humans, the formation of a dewlap is prevented by the attachment of the deep cervical fascia to the hyoid bone.[citation needed]

    also known to some as "disgusting skin folds"..

  15. Noticed the comment on doodles and poos - I don't breed either but do breed another "designer" dog (not my word of choice). For people who are looking for pets and not show dogs, mixed breed dogs that are bred to avoid in-breeding and the resultant problems are a welcome choice. It takes years for any of these crosses to become
    accepted as a new breed but many of the show dogs today were originally "designer" dogs. Even in human society, inbreeding is discouraged as it results in many health problems. First and foremost is the happiness and health of any dog, not the ribbons won.

  16. bestuvall
    the dewlap in truely wild species seems to serve a function;
    birds....mating displays
    reptiles....communication and mating
    rabbits....females, pluck fur when nesting
    domestic cows?
    domestic pigeons?
    humans.....over weight

    In domesticated rabbits, the dewlap in some has obviously been selectively bred for. Rabbits with huge dewlaps sometimes suffer with fungal infections.

    What is the purpose of the excess dewlap in certain domestic dogs?

  17. Bestuvall so does that mean all the animals that have dewlaps will be targeted as well by this woman and any person who has one and doesnt watch their weight which causes bad health LOL
    I wonder if a Rhino will be banned next for looking like a Neapolitan Mastiff.


    Ms Harrison,

    You lose your way on one thread, so simply start another banging on the same drum!

    But no matter. I have infinite patience to educate even the most stubborn and unwilling of pupils!

    Despite all you say about the 7 yrs old above, the orange coloured dog, he is not a 'working bred' Mastino because even though to your uneducated eyes he looks 'more like' the old pics of dogs you have seen, to my educated eye, he is missing fundamental features which make this breed a Neapolitan Mastiff and I do not mean massive amounts of wrinkles and bones.

    I have linked the pic above and would ask you to look at all aspects of the body type. Depth most importantly, along with length of leg and volume of bone, width of muzzle and width of rears.

    Your little orange man above is a obviously a cross breed and weak in the important features that make a breed a breed!

    Mine in the link is the epitomy of strength and power and with a very specific type which means he cannot be mistaken for any other breed of dog other than a Mastino Napoletano.

    Now, try once again to recognise the difference between the dog in the linked pic and your orange man above. Forget the one you posted of the old girl, bless her!

    I knew her personally and many of her litter mates that were indeed overtype. But they all made 8 or 9 yrs and one made more than 10. I dont think anyone would hold these dogs up as all thats desirable in a Neapolitan Mastiff, even her breeder or owner. Only YOU Ms Harrison, seem to be doing that on behalf of the whole of UK breeders and owners!

    The truth is NEITHER dog above is what this breed wants or needs so its a little contradictory, therefore, to tell Brook or anyone to go educate themselves on Retrievers, really.

    Julia, you continue to be the epitomy of common sense on these threads and one of the very few who understands what dog breeding is all about in the real world!

    Best regards,

    Kim x

  19. Kim, I am curious who determined those "fundamental features" of the Neapolitan mastiff which you mention, and why do you feel that they are set in stone, despite the fact that they are clearly detrimental to the health of the breed?

    Since the "crossbreed" Jemima posted is clearly a healthier, less exaggerated dog than any Neapolitan I've seen on this site or elsewhere, why not start with a dog like him and cross back to a "real" Neapolitan? Are you open to the idea of doing something like that, or does the idea frighten you because of the loss of purity that would come along with the improved health?

    Again you are coming across like someone whose values (purity, "type" according to what was randomly set by a few people in the 1940s) are contrary to what is best for the health of the dogs. As someone mentioned on the other Neo thread, trying to improve health within the gene pool you have now is a fool's game and is not going to ever result in any real improvement. New genes are necessary. I know that is scary (terrifying?) for you, but it's reality.

  20. Because, you see Anonymous, the dog Ms Harrison posted is not clearly a healthier example for me. The reason? Ive seen many of this ilk suffer the same problems with skin, eyes and constructions despite having far less type.

    I see no point to dilute its type in the name of health (is it healthier to have longer legs or narrower body and head????) when there are enough rustic dogs of strong breed type who can be utilised to greatly improve health and widen the genepool, which would be far more productive and useful than dogs such as the above despite their appearance, have arrived from the same genepool as the dogs you dislike so much, just used in a different way and crossbred some. I would also bet my house none of these dogs as Cello have ever been screened for genetic defect either.

    Yes, the fundamental type of this breed I speak about is indeed set in stone and you can see if you visit the many museums and bas reliefs of Rome.

  21. let's suppose the "healthy dog' has
    1. patella luxation
    2. is deaf
    3. has a heart murmur
    4. carries a lethal gene

    and more.. people you are looking at a PICTURE.. you have no idea how healthy that dog is yet you have no problem suggesting that breeding to "dog like him" would improve the breed.. reality is putting your hands on the dog.. not loking at trumped up photos hand selected to prove a point..
    believe half of what you see .. none of what you hear.. and certainly not anything that is "just a picture"

  22. Generally speaking, do you think dogs with grossly exaggerated features are more healthy, or less healthy, than dogs with normal features?

  23. What is normal?????
    Is it normal to shave pretty patterns on poodles or dye them different colours?
    Why is that still allowed?
    They stopped docking and cropping in many countries so why not ban clipping other breeds.
    Is it normal to put bows in a dogs hair.
    Many breeds have extreme features and live quite normal lives so why do people believe that Neapolitan's dont.
    Many dogs are unhealthy due to neglect or bad diet, how many times have you visited the vet and seen grossly overweight hand bag dogs.
    Lets get realistic here there are more problems out there than the look of one breed.

  24. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think cutting a dog's hair or putting a bow on it would impact its health.

    And now back to the argument that "other breeds also have problems" so we should leave you alone to create your miserable dogs that are dead by age three?

    And a new argument--"some pet owners let their dogs get fat"? And this is relevant to the discussion how?

  25. "Lets get realistic here there are more problems out there than the look of one breed."

    But the look of this one breed is a problem.

  26. There is a de ja vu feeling here - can one of the Neo crowd tell me of the advantages such excessive skin has on the dog - instead of quoting 'healthy' and 'history' - stop saying it's not bad and explain why it is so good - I dare you!

  27. What is "normal" seems to the the crux of the problem here..on this blog.. over and over again.. Asians have very slanted eyes.. Normal? to them yes.. to others maybe not so "normal" in fact some say they cannot see as well as other races..
    some people are much taller in their race than others.. see African tribes.. some of them die earleir than others due to this.. normal? who knows.. the world is full of people who think they know what "normal" is and strive to keep others from being "normal" Some Jewish groups carry diseases others do not.. are they "normal".. how about blacks with sickle cell? normal?? who knows..
    there is no "normal"..your intent to restict othere from being "normal" is offensive..I don't care if it is dogs or people.. there are attributes to all of natures work.. excessive skin may be one of them.. the "Neo crowd"?? please.. why do they need to explain anythng to you..

  28. As a Neapolitan owner, I do not agree dogs with exaggeration should be winning within the show ring, however if we take Crufts for example the winner was clearly the judges personal choice and whilst the BOB winner in my eyes was exaggerated it was no way in the extreme seen in some of the pictures posted in the various blogs. Having said that for me dog shows are beauty competitions so again I didn’t agree with the judges choice.

    Again though despite the ‘exaggeration’ where is the scientific evidence to show that the winner is unhealthy? In fact where is the scientific evidence that the Neapolitan eye is unhealthy? Or on the whole they suffer with bad joints? There is none, none to support those claims, and none to support those who own the breed who shout that their dogs are unhealthy. Yes I agree to those new to the breed it may appear from the photos they see, that they may question the health of these dogs, but both parties should use evidence to support their claims over wise they are just naming calling in my book!

    Unfortuantly IMO the breed is only just getting its head around health screening and whilst some have been early adopters (with many having good results), there is still not enough statistics on the breed to justify statements.

    What is clear for any breed is you need as big as gene pool as possible, with as greater variety as possible. Of course you will get breeders who put two exaggerated dogs together and make than likely create greater exaggeration, and you will get breeders who will put an exaggerated dog to a fairly plain dog and create a litter somewhere in the middle. Nature will always surprise you and give you exaggeration its up to breeders and owners to choose carefully what they then do with dog, but just because its over done, doesn’t necessarily mean its unhealthy.

  29. Kate Price why does the look of the Neapolitan mastiff offend you?
    There is no proof whatsoever that the look of a Neapolitan Mastiff causes it to be unhealthy but people who allow their dogs to become grossly overweight is unhealthy. Where does the line get drawn on how far dog haters are allowed to go.
    If rules are made about one breed then obviously those rules have to be for all breeds as you cannot demand health screening for one breed alone.
    Yes there are more problems out there with many breeds and I believe pointing the finger at one is not going to change anything for the better.
    Until many anti neapolitan visit breeders within the UK (enough offers have been made) and they see the results for testing are carried out over a number of years to get a true picture of this breed.
    I think you barking at the wind.
    Glad in Australia the KC have adopted their own rules about the standard and wont be forced into being pushed by a handful of ill informed persons to change until proof is there.
    My point about the clipping is how far do you go in what is allowed in changing the look those are cosmetic, physical looks are a lot harder to change.

  30. Anonymous, you said:

    "In fact where is the scientific evidence that the Neapolitan eye is unhealthy? Or on the whole they suffer with bad joints? There is none, none to support those claims, and none to support those who own the breed who shout that their dogs are unhealthy."

    How about some data from the OFA?

    As you can see, Neapolitan mastiffs are ranked #5 among all breeds in hip dysplasia incidence, with 48.1% of x-rays reviewed showing dysplastic hips. Given that most breeders won't even send in an x-ray unless they think there's a chance the dog will pass, those numbers are very, VERY bad. To me they indicate a breed that is CRIPPLED by hip dysplasia. What do you think?

  31. Mastino lovers, let us try and be open minded here and have the fonts of all knowledge on this site explain to us how they all KNOW that Cello will live 8 years and beyond, like the overtype girl in the second photo did.

    Just from his photo, this dog (approximately 1 yr to 18 months in my opinion) is obviously, in their opinion, going to live past 8 years without any health problems whatsoever.

    But I (and Im sure, Lynn, Brook, Tommy etc) want to know on what basis they can all be so certain of this. Where are HIS hip/elbow score, BVA eye screenings, thyroid score, cardio reading?

    Or you are just amateur 'virtual world dog breeders' putting the world to rights by photos, as I think?

    Any serious real life breeder will understand how ridiculous all these comments are and will have, at some point in time, come up against health problems in litters of pups no matter what breed youre in, how meticulous you are, how caring you are. If you do it long enough, the odds of a problem (big or small) get greater.

    Change a breed back to 1940 because Ms Harrison thinks 'it looks better and more healthy'??? How does she know what issues existed back then and what longevity was back then??? Tell me, Ms Harrison. What was it? I know it. But I want YOU to tell ME. I want the experts at the BVA to tell me also. Prof Sheila Crispin can tell me. ALL of you with cast iron, unshakable opinion you are so right about everything, TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF GENETIC HEALTH IN THE NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF 1940 to present day!

    Ms Harrison, heres another proposal. If Mohammed wont come to the mountain, the mountain can come to Mohammed. Ill lend you a dog for a month. You can feed him a big boys meal twice a day, exercise him for at least an hour twice a day, in the woods, the fields or on the mountain, pick up his poos with a horse scooper (at least twice a day!!!), tend your bruised legs when he swipes you with his giant feet or takes you off at the knee just for his sheer amusement, empty his water bucket 4 times a day after he transforms it to super glue, try to beat him to the gate to escape to work in clean get the picture, Im sure. Then after one month, come and tell me either hes healthy or no, hes a pitiful lump who cannot work, cannot run, cannot enjoy life to the full.

    All these years of ownership and I had no idea there were all these experts on Mastino right here on this

  32. Re Hip Dysplasia Anonymous.

    Hip scoring is one of the most important health screenings we need to undertake in the breed and need far more conclusive data than the stats above to get an overall picture of health (or lack of) in 2011

    154 dogs from 1974 to 2010 from undetermined dogs in terms of bloodlines doesnt offer anything to me, unfortunately.

  33. Kim,

    Are you criticizing your fellow breeders for not x-raying their dogs, or for not turning in their x-rays to be evaluated? Have all of your dogs been evaluated? If so, how are their hip scores? What have you done to help improve hip scores in the Neapolitan mastiff?

  34. Kim asked: "ALL of you with cast iron, unshakable opinion you are so right about everything, TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF GENETIC HEALTH IN THE NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF 1940 to present day!"

    There isn't much hard data out there because so few NM owners/breeders test. But there is certainly some reliable expert testimony. For instance, how about your own interview with Dr Loris Pazzaglia - "Mastino specialist vet of more than 20 years... and famous for being the veterinarian of the Great Mario Querci".

    In this interview, Pazzaglia makes the following devastating observations:

    • 22 years ago, the dogs were much stronger in general.

    • Mastino have changed a lot in the last 20 years..."Unfortunately, in a very negative way".

    • 15 years ago, he was regularly seeing litters of 10 to 12 puppies, delivered by natural birth. Today, the normal number is nearer 2 or 3 puppies surviving and almost always the birth is by c section. "Undoubtedly, this is because the
    emphasis has changed and now the vast majority of breeders are selecting beauty over function."

    • Close breeding is bringing many problems to the forefront

    • the most serious health problems in the
    Mastini are: infertility, hip dysplasia and many
    different kinds of heart problems. He believes they are all the result of too close
    breeding practices.

    • while the average life expectancy of a gaint breed should be around 8yrs, "for every
    dog I know of who is living to 10 years, there are many, many more who are dying aged 3 years or younger."

    • cardiomyopathy rates at 80 per cent - with dogs as young as one year old being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (normally a middle-age problem). "In addition, we can add irregular heart beat issues and problems with the heart valves. All of this is the result of inbreeding too closely."

    The full interview is available here:

    And then of course, Kim, there is your own opinion, helpfully posted on the Neapolitan World forum in January. "... blind dogs, crippled dogs, dogs with dehabiliting skin disorders, dead young dogs, we have them all in Mastino in too great numbers and it doesnt have to be that way at all in the name of 'type'. People in Mastinos level of acceptance of what is healthy needs to change because it will not be tolerated much longer, the writing is very much on the wall as you can see."

    Really, the attempts to deny/play down the health problems in the Mastino are beyond disgraceful.


  35. Ms Harrison,

    AT LAST you do some homework, even if only on me personally. So, if I say this (and I did, every word!) and still choose to own and breed Neapolitan Mastiffs what does this tell you exactly?

    That I am crazy, or that this breed is my lifes passion? That I choose to study and then speak out to educate and change things for the better BASED ON KNOWLEDGE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES from inside the breed and not by making sweeping uneducated statements without getting my hands dirty.

    I am hands on, support, educate and encourage. Not harass, sensationalize and make a name for myself off the back of all the hype I create.

    My interview with Dott Loris Pazzaglia was made in 2007 and has been translated into several different languages and published in many different magazines throughout the world. The UK Kennel Club have it also, as did all attendees at the UKNMC seminar in November 2010. Its called EDUCATION, Ms Harrison. FOOD FOR THOUGHT from a man of great expertise and someone who's opinion should be taken seriously. But show this same man your ideas of 'a healthy Neapolitan Mastiff' and he would ask me if it was a (very bad) joke!

    Please do not forget he is in ITALY also and things are different there for many reasons, not least due to the number of commercial breeders active there.

    The issues that exist are already being dealt with and tackled without interference from people such as you. Because you have proven on your blogs what you know about the Neapolitan Mastiff you can write in large text on the back of a postage stamp and still have room.

    No one has ever denied or played down in the whole of these posts that there is not work to do and I speak out about it openly and freely because there are no secrets, so your 'deep dark discovery post' is quite meaningless.

    Its my job to assist with the future of the breed here in UK moving in a correct direction, with the support of similarly passionate and commited people. I do it however, with love in my heart, for both the dogs and the people who care to work hard with them whereas you just want them 'banned'. We are obviously very different people, you and I.

    The biggest obstacle to overcome is solid direction based on health screening results. They do not exist from 1940 to the present day. But I know of diseases that afflicted the breed in 1940,50,etc and I know in general 'the Golden Years' were not 1940 and not 2010, but 1980 / 90s when the genepool was far more diverse but the dogs were beautiful. I would like to see a return to these times in the near future.

    If you genuinely want to help this breed (doubtful!) then you will stop your uneducated blogs posting your pictures of Mog, Cello and the like, because its really very very VERY unhelpful to promote this when you know absolutely zilch about the impact it will create and just allow people like me ( Im not the only one, but as you can see, Im brave and speak out in my own community what needs to be said) to get on with the job, because we are the ones best placed to achieve most and your actions are impeding and distracting from the job in hand.

    The only disgraceful one is closer to your home Ms Harrison. Only you know your true motives for your behaviour. Mine are not, and never have been, in question.

  36. Anonymous,

    I am not critical of my fellow Mastinari in the slightest. Screening is a change of culture in our breed and so people have been slow to adopt it but this is starting to alter now and I hope by year end, will have as many dogs hip scored as have been in total in the past.

    Yes, my own dogs are screened and the results I think I posted on one of the other blogs here, but the last one scored LH3/RH3, so 6. The two before that identical, LH7/RH7, so 14. Another LH11/RH26, so 37, but she was 5yrs when I tested her and had sustained an injury, but I still sent it off as its another stat isnt it? Two dogs were tested by Pazzaglia in Italy and their scores (different to BVA) not on the KC website or included in their stats unfortunately.

    What more would you like me to do other than test my own dogs and encourage others to do the same, in order to improve hip scores, anonymous? Ultimately, we can all test as much as we like, but isnt it what people do with that information that counts?

  37. Kim said
    My interview with Dott Loris Pazzaglia was made in 2007 and has been translated into several different languages and published in many different magazines throughout the world. The UK Kennel Club have it also, as did all attendees at the UKNMC seminar in November 2010. Its called EDUCATION, Ms Harrison. FOOD FOR THOUGHT from a man of great expertise and someone who's opinion should be taken seriously.

    Nearly FIVE years ago. Yet still no KC recommended health screening tests for hips, thyroid, eyes and heart?

  38. Kate,

    The interview was mostly relevant to the situation in Italy at the time, but important to all, as dogs from the motherland of the breed are exported and introduced into breeding programmes all over the world. This vet and I wished to heighten awareness to those importing dogs from large commercial breeders without asking for any proof of health such was the culture in our breed. Things are now a little different. Not just because of the interview of course, but other educational bodies like ATIMANA driving home the same message via educational seminars and carrying this through in the show ring with their selection of the winning dogs.

    There are, Kate, recommended screenings agreed with the KC here in UK in the important areas of eyes, hips and heart and Im quite certain now they are in place and have been highlighted as important progress for the breeds future, breeders here will step up to the plate and undertake them.

    We can review this in 12 months time and if people such as Ms Harrison, without the necessary expertise, can instead focus on a subject where she has a great deal of knowledge instead of meddling where she does not, we may have a chance to achieve something worthwhile.

    Sometimes in life, you have to know when to be silent, but when someone is so self rightgeous in their opinion they always want to be right, they never realise its to the detriment of what they set out to achieve in the first place to keep on going trying to be right when they are actually wrong! Thats you Ms Harrison, for the record.

    Thanks in the meantime, Kate, for your continued interest in the Neapolitan Mastiff.


  39. Wow, so much passion both for and against this breed. As a working dog owner I struggle to see how the show dogs could do any job- but then I have seen pugs win at agility so nothing is impossible.
    Surley everyone who loves a breed should have it's health at heart? Why not consider careful outcrossing if your breeds gene pool is small? No, Cello (not fair to pick him out, but he's on here!) is not automatically healthier-but- if he tests ok and could be used on selected 'overdone' bitches to reduce exaggeration but keep 'type' would this be the worst thing ever?
    Now, should the KC refuse to register Neo's (or any other breed) due to health problems? In my opinion no. If they were not a KC reg breed would they disappear? No. Would there be none at shows? No. Clubs would have their own shows and reward the type they liked regardless. The KC should use it's powers to check the health and functionality of all breeds and use this to decide on registration of future litters on a one by one basis.

  40. Again, we are looking at a breed that is commonly dead before the age of three years. It is impossible that any noticeable improvement in health can be achieved without an outcross to bring in some new genes. Good luck with that, Kim. Please do report back in a year's time and let us know how much progress has been made.

  41. Dear Vicky,

    Thanks for your post and I agree with much of it. Apart from the use of dogs such as Cello, if I can explain.

    The problem is not that the genepool of the Neapolitan Mastiff as a whole is small. It is just that certain lines from top Champion dogs in Italy have become massively popular, to the exclusion of all others in many places throughout the world and its this balance we need to redress.

    Dr Jerold Bell wrote a very interesting piece about overuse of popular stud dogs and the effect of this on the general population over a period of time, obviously creating a bottleneck effect.

    But taking into account the breeds recent history since 1948 to the present day, it really would serve no value to outcross to another breed at this point in time or introduce dogs of dubious origin such as the examples posted on these blogs when there are more viable and somewhat safer options available. People just need to be encouraged to broaden their horizons, as there has been excellent work done by many smaller not so well known breeders and many good strong dogs do exist outside the more popular commercial kennels.

    Best regards


    PS 'anonymous' I trust you will find that response answers your own post regarding the impossibility to make improvement without breed outcross. Much in the way of further study is required by you and others to understand a little more before making such final judgement on such situations as this.

  42. Kim, have other dogs been brought in since the founding pair or do they all descend from those two?

    How many litters were registered last year - and on average how many pups per litter?

    I know they have not been KC reg'd for very long, but is there a breed database and have you established what the breed average COI is?


  43. PS: blog post on popular sires here:



    Dr Bell also gave me permission to replicate his article in the UKNMC magazine in April 2010. I thought particularly relevant to consider this on our small island before the situation became a massive problem as in other areas of the world.

    I also wanted people to consider when importing a dog, what diversity that dog could offer to enhance the current genepool.

    Ms Harrison,

    Re 'The founding pair'
    Do you mean Scanzini's founding pair in Italy, Guaglione and Pacchiana? Or the breeding pair that first arrived to the UK in 1979, Kronus and Ursa? And also, are you seriously asking me if all Neapolitan Mastiffs originated from either of these pairs? Do you not ever wonder about what was undertaken by breeders in Italy to allow a breed to evolve in the way this one has?

    Infomation regarding registered litters is of course published in the Kennel Clab Gazzette and also the club publish anuually in the December edition of the newsletter.

    The first Neapoltan Mastiff was displayed at Crufts in an AVNSC in 1981, but it was a further decade to attain breed class status and 11 more years before the breed club was officially recognised by the Kennel Club. So, we are talking only from 2002 to now.

    Yes, we do compile stats and yes, maintain a database and yes, we survey the membership and record the data. But we need it to be more significant for clear direction and this will only occur with time and patience. I have plenty of the latter, not so much of the former as Id like, just like all members of the UKNMC Committee, I am not a full time professional dog breeder. I feed and care my dogs and run my home by doing something totally different and the HC role is my voluntary contribution to the breed I love.

  45. OK, let me phrase the questions differently in order to elicit an answer or two.

    Could you provide an assessment of the genetic diversity of the NM? You mention "small gene pool" but what do you mean?

    Yes, I meant Scanzini's founding pair. Many breeds are, indeed, founded on very small numbers. If they don't all descend from these two, could you give a quick summation of how the breed was developed in terms of genetic diversity - and perhaps some links where I could read more?

    Re litters, I am guessing that as you are the breed health rep, you have the breed record supplements. Again, could you tell me how many litters were registered last year, representing how many puppies? I am asking because this may give some indication of inbreeding depression.


  46. Jemima have you considered how many breeders have imported from other countries to add to the Neapolitan mastiffs already within the UK?
    At considerable cost to that breeder because of Quarantine rules like here.
    Why do you believe that the NM is inbreed in the UK?
    I was under the impression, like Australia that brother/sister, mother/son, father/daughter is no longer allowed with any breed.
    Please correct me if Im wrong.

  47. I am sure breeders have imported dogs at great expense. I don't know how inbred the dog is in the UK, hence why I am asking. Inbreeding is noted as an issue in the breed in Italy and there are far fewer dogs here so I would imagine the small gene pool is a serious issue.

    First-degree relative matings have only been banned here for a year, but they're not really the problem as not that many people did them anyway. The problem is the background level of inbreeding achieved through generations of not-quite-so-close linebreding or because all the dogs go back to the same, very few founders.

    There is clear evidence of inbreeding depression in the Italian dogs - one analysis found that 12 per cent of dams have singleton pups and 14 per cent only two - hence why I was asking for litter stats for the UK dogs.

    The very high level of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) could also be an indication of inbreeding. DCM in other breeds has been found to be a single dominant gene, with variable expression. But being homozygous for the gene (something that would be achieved through inbreeding) could be the reason for the high percentage of clinically affected dogs.

    Kim - has a breed cardiologist been appointed? And what research is ongoing to find the gene for DCM in Mastini?


  48. Ms Harrison,

    You need to work a little harder to obtain your answers. Pay a little money, spend a little (or a lot!) of your valuable time if you have a desire to know the specifics. These statistics are collated and studied by those within the breed already, articles like Dr Bells published, because you understand, we are already considering and taking appropriate action on these specific issues without your interferance!

    However, I can give you a short masterclass in genetic diversity of the Neapolitan Mastiff from 1940 to now. Although Scanziani scoured the country and collected examples for his project to resurrect the breed to its original state, numbers vary as to the original total he managed to obtain but we are talking one man here who became famous for his reconstruction programme and taking the dogs to the world of show for the first time. But these were not the only dogs left and Scanziani was not the only breeder! Both still existed on farms and rural estates throughout Italy, but were just not part of Scanzianis work! In 1950s another milestone was reached when Mario Querci got involved and took the breed totally away from its humble rustic background and created an elegant and beautiful line of dogs for the show ring. Its no secret at all that his work and that of others less famous was all achieved with healthy injections of blood from other breeds (mostly within the Molosser group) who bore what breeders felt to be the original characteristics displayed in the dogs dating back 2000 years in history.

    The results can be judged in the evolution of the dogs Scanziani, Querci and another important man of the time Don Carlo Simeoli, had in 1948 compared with say, 1978.

    Breeders in Italy continued to make selection in this way to even more recent times. So extremely laughable to me, the accusations of purity, limited genepool and the necessity to introduce dogs like Cello and Mog.

    The breed was in a really positive place genetically throughout the 80s and 90s with many prolific breeders making many strong healthy dogs. So what happened then to create a narrower genepool ? In 2001 two amazing Italian Champion dogs one from Naples and one from Sicliy produced together the most famous litter in breed history. The offspring were incredible, enormous, beautiful lions and the world went totally crazy for them. This past decade has seen the whole world and his grandmother try to replicate this incredible litter of puppies by use of the bloodline from these original dogs who made them and the offspring.

    Now, in the case of UK, the breed has moved in a somewhat different direction and although some of this line described above exists here in UK, it has not been heavily used as in other parts of the world.

    Most of the dogs imported here are from different bloodlines and one or two have been more closely bred than others, hence the message being sent out via the breed club in its seminars and newsletter to remember to consider diversity as its vitally important to our breeds future and also to consider when importing (yes Lynn, at terrific personal expense people do this) how that dog work in a breeding programme with dogs already here in UK.

    As for links, well maybe you will enjoy this by my friend Christofer Habig from his Molosser Magazine back in 1983. I had translated from German in 2008 as I think it offers important reflection of the breeds heritage and how it should never be lost sight of.

  49. Ms Harrison,

    As yet, we have nothing to suggest DCM is an issue in the Neapolitan Mastiff here in UK more than any other giant breed of dog and we have to work to maintain a healthy level in diversity of the genepool to ensure this remains the case!

    DCM is an issue which again has been highlighted and continues to be researched by Prof Nello Crimaldi, the Scientific Director of ATIMANA due to the situation in Italy.

    I attended his presentation in 2006 in Alicante Spain and provided the link for you above.

  50. So what is killing the dogs so young?

    And, again, could you tell me how many litters were registered last year and how many pups? I am genuinely interested and surely this, and other information relevant to health, shouldn't be treated as privileged information that people have to pay money to get? Transparency is a good policy - and even if some of it makes for grim reading, straight answers are immensely reassuring to outsiders.

    Looking at the litters currently available on epupz, there are clearly some of a decent size, so perhaps the average is not as low as I fear.

    I also wondered about the C-section rate in the breed. It is suggested by some that it is extremely high and I wondered how this is going to impact on the show dogs when the C-section limit comes into force?


  51. Kim said
    "There are, Kate, recommended screenings agreed with the KC here in UK in the important areas of eyes, hips and heart and Im quite certain now they are in place and have been highlighted as important progress for the breeds future, breeders here will step up to the plate and undertake them."


  52. Killing dogs so young where? Here in UK, Ms Harrison or throughout the world?

    Pazzaglias personal experiences in Italy are thankfully not replicated here in UK where there are numerous dogs of 1 year regularly developing cardiomyopathy and dropping down dead!

    In 2010 there 23 litters were registered with the UK Kennel Club, puppies totalled 109. The KC average litter size for the breed over the whole time its been registered is 6.8 with the smallest litter is 1, largest is 20. Not grim reading so I hope will reassure outsiders!

    Regarding delivery via C section, if you missed it, there is a very beautiful programme made by National Geographic called In the Womb, which features in the dog episode, a UK Neapolitan Mastiff female called Dalnarck Babe, going through the pregnancy cycle from conception to the text book natural delivery of 7 healthy puppies.

    Here is a little snip of the programme which includes my friend, breeder Uberto Gasche of Rome walking with some of his adult dogs. Maybe you can find the whole programme somewhere if you havent seen it. Its excellent.

    Very few Mastino females here in UK give birth to more than two or three litters in their lifetime, Ms Harrison, especially those of the show variety and breeding is mostly undertaken on a small scale, for personal reasons rather than the supply of pups to the masses.

    Altogether a vasty different scenario to somewhere like Italy where just one of the many commericial breeders there produced more than 109 puppies all on his own in less than six months.

    The breed really is a minority one here, hence my continued amazement at the level of attention it is receiving at the moment.

  53. Kate,

    I expect they will be publicly posted following the next quarterly meeting of the KC Health Committee.

    I have requested and been promised confirmation from the KC so I may direct the UKNMC membership to view the KC page in the next club newsletter.

    But rest assured health screenings HAVE been agreed and the membership advised of all at our last AGM.

  54. I asked a straight question, Kim - what is killing the dogs that die young? You yourself are quoted as saying that too many young dogs are dying. What of? If it isn't heart issues/DCM, what is it?

    But thank you for the litter stats. Last year's litter figures reveal that the average litter size is 4.7. This compares pretty well with other breeds, but if across the whole registration period the average is 6.8, then it is falling. Something to keep an eye on, as no doubt you will.

    Giving me one example of a natural delivery doesn't answer my question re C-sections - I don't suppose they are recorded but in your opinion is it as high as often noted on Mastino websites?

    As for the attention your breed is receiving... it is undoubtedly, the most exaggerated dog breed in the world and there's an opportunity here to set a better example conformationally and to encourage better genetic management of the breed.

    I hope that my highlighting it - and of course there's now the veterinary pressure too - will give you and the Kennel Club some of the ammunition that is needed to ensure that judges reward less exaggerated dogs in the showring, to promote better practice by UK breeders, the introduction of health test requirements and, particularly, some half-decent data surveillance.


  55. "rest assured health screenings HAVE been agreed and the membership advised of all at our last AGM".

    That will be the AGM last Sunday, yes? The one that, as noted on the Neapolitan World forum, didn't have health on the agenda until the breed hit the spotlight here?


  56. Jemima do you honestly believe that owners/breeders do not consider health of ANY breed unless you highlight it on a blog.
    I for one do not own sick dogs and do not wish to do so.
    I have had 3 litters in 6 years and the first was 11 second 3 and my recent one 9. Two were natural births and the 2nd was a C section due to small litter as the hormone which tells the female to go into 2nd stage did not kick in.
    My vet stated that on large breed dogs this is common and not just in the Neapolitan Mastiff breed.
    I have imported 3 dogs in that time with another 2 coming here this year as it takes almost a year to bring a dog from overseas due to Quarantine restrictions which I might add has its own health screening before any breed can enter this country which Im sure the UK has the same screening.
    I have bought from Argentina, USA UK and Italy and I have spent considerable time on checking the age of parents, grandparents and so on before any of these purchases and asking the health of each puppy's line.
    And you want to ban the breed because you feel we are not looking after the health of this breed. I find that naive.
    And im sure the majority of breeders here and the UK will comply to ALL tests as long as its EVERY breed not just ours.
    I do test mine but I do not think others would follow suit just because you singled out one breed.
    If you had written this in general about all breeds then maybe you would of been taken more seriously about your aim, whatever that is.

  57. "it is undoubtedly, the most exaggerated dog breed in the world"

    I have to disagree on this. You and others may percieve it as such, but other breeds have been 'exaggerated' in other directions, very tiny, hairy, naked, fast, intense energy etc. I don't think it's helpful to single any breed out as 'the most exaggerated in the world'. Subjective statements lke this do not serve any purpose other than to aggrevate. One may just as easily say that humans are the 'most exaggerated' of the primates due to an upright stance and lack of hair covering, which can also cause health problems!

    It seems that most if not all breeders of the NM are well aware that there are issues and are working to improve on these, as demonstrated by Kim's comments. Surely no one can really believe that the owners/breeders of NM are happy when they lose a treasured dog before it's time? They want the same as everyone does!

  58. Kim why is it that you think Cello is a crossbreed?As stated he is from KC registered parents in the UK maybe related to what you own.Just becuase someone doesnt follow the same philosophy or want the same exagerated features as some doesnt mean he owns a crossbreed.The Neo is a crossbreed anyway so its a moot point.You also stated Mog was a crossbreed also not true and I beleive it is Dante not mog dante was mog's father.He comes from Fruit D Amour and Thatch ed roof blood and was imported into the US and is not a crossbreed as you stated.One of his parents was quite typey so once again not true.not everyone wants to own one of those overgrown hippos that will die at 3 years of age.
    What is your idea of a working Neo?Mine is one that can work and do the job they were bred for.Which is guarding.You seem to think if they dont come from a certain area of Italy and look a certain way they arent a working NEo.What part of work dont you understand.You can have all the type in the world but if it doesnt have any temperament you might as well shoot it as it also isnt a Neo and also not what the breed needs.What the breed needs is a shot in the arm.If you dont find some middle ground you will keep sliding down the path you are on.The breed isnt getting any healtheir because people see dollar signs and bury their heads in the sand.The reason Cello is not KC registered is becuase the owner isnt interested in the attitude of apathy in the UK KC's and doesnt wish to be a part of it.

  59. Korean mastiffs, anyone?

  60. Ms, Harrison,

    Im sorry to have to disappoint here, but absolutely none of the health screening agreements were introduced due to your blog.

    Health initiative proposals were formally agreed with the Kennel Club in December 2010 so any 'highlighting' by you is completely redundant and after the fact.

    Regarding my comment about dogs dying too young, I was talking on, regarding the entire world of Neapolitan Mastiffs and its linked to Pazzaglias view of the situation in Italy. I want to see people adopting screenings in their respective countries as we have agreed to undertake here in UK as its the way forward for us as a breed in the world.

    With regard to C sections, any breeding animals should be kept in the peak of physical fitness and should also be genetically sound, which should mean more capable of giving birth unassisted by medical interverntion the majority of the time. Of course as in all things there can be unforeseen complications. But the final decision should always be that of a vet, shouldnt it? You asked me if the ruling on KC C section limitation would affect breeding of Neapolitan Mastiffs, particularly show specimen and I gave you the answer. If you had any knowledge of club recommendations in this area and also understood Mastino owners views and opinions regarding number of times they WANT to breed a female, you wouldnt ask the question in the first place as you could do the very simple maths.

    Anonymous, I believe I know already from where Cello originated, who bred him and a great deal about his breeders views and opinions on what consitutes a working Neapolitan Mastiff, all without ever visiting the breeds origins or importing a single dog! 'Work' for the breed in my book does not include making pix of dogs hanging from ropes off the ground like a pit bull terrier but it does involve a very specific character trait not present in dogs like Cello due to their breeding. True working Mastini, have a type. In the head, in the body and in the temperament. Cello is missing I can see visably in 2 of the three. I cannot say without meeting him if he is in posession of similar temperament but its doubtful since it is usually apparent in the expression and body stance and I just do not see with Cello. Mog is straight in stifle to add to his other problems as a working dog, so I cannot even entertain the dog as being fit for any kind of enduring physical function without the possibility of cruciate ligament injury.

    Cello looks a sound and fit looking dog. Attractive in his own way and Im sure can perform as you want him to, but Im afraid he doesnt tick the boxes when it comes to working Neapolitan Mastiffs. If you ever met a real one, you would understand what it meant. So too his breeder, who I do believe has a good heart by the way. I just wish he will seek out the correct dogs to work with, as I would really love to see him do it and enhance the breed here with genuine rustic line of dogs.

  61. Kim said
    "Ms, Harrison,

    Im sorry to have to disappoint here, but absolutely none of the health screening agreements were introduced due to your blog. "

    reading your news update on the UKNMC web page it looks pretty clear to me that since Jemima's documentary, MANY changes have occurred. Three major welfare reports, further changes to breed standards, the adoption of the KC code of ethics, breed watch, and more.

  62. Kim said
    Anonymous, I believe I know already from where Cello originated, who bred him and a great deal about his breeders views and opinions on what consitutes a working Neapolitan Mastiff, all without ever visiting the breeds origins or importing a single dog! 'Work' for the breed in my book does not include making pix of dogs hanging from ropes off the ground like a pit bull terrier but it does involve a very specific character trait not present in dogs like Cello due to their breeding. True working Mastini, have a type. In the head, in the body and in the temperament. Cello is missing I can see visably in 2 of the three. I cannot say without meeting him if he is in posession of similar temperament but its doubtful since it is usually apparent in the expression and body stance and I just do not see with Cello. Mog is straight in stifle to add to his other problems as a working dog, so I cannot even entertain the dog as being fit for any kind of enduring physical function without the possibility of cruciate ligament injury.

    Cello looks a sound and fit looking dog. Attractive in his own way and Im sure can perform as you want him to, but Im afraid he doesnt tick the boxes when it comes to working Neapolitan Mastiffs. If you ever met a real one, you would understand what it meant. So too his breeder, who I do believe has a good heart by the way. I just wish he will seek out the correct dogs to work with, as I would really love to see him do it and enhance the breed here with genuine rustic line of dogs.

    I am sure you do as I am sure you have spoken to him.You would be wrong about him not visiting the country of origin.What is wrong with taking pics of your dogs on a springpole or biting a tug.Becuase its not pc?Who cares?Many Neo's will if they have good grip.

    What has head type got to do with temp?Can you please explain it to me.Working ability has nothing to do with head type.they either work or they dont. That to me smacks of something a show person would say.So you can tell Cello's temp by a pic?I am afraid you would be wrong and if you were that good you should have your own show like Ceaser Milan.Your talents are wasted here.Sorry for the sarcasm but I find it laughable.Your antiquated notion of the 'true'working Mastino romantic as it is isnt reality for me.From one region to another they will differ from one mans vision of the dog to another considering they are a crossbred dog to begin with.A lot of people buy the story but I dont.
    i think the pic you are referring to is Dante not Mog and it is the pic that makes him look straight in the stifle.He is still going and is more than a few years old and hasnt broken down yet so wrong again.Pics dont always tell the whole story.

    He may not tick all the boxes for you and thats fine and I understand your idea of a working Mastino but I think its more about what you like and what you have been told than what is real.How many of these dogs have you seen with your own eyes in rural Italy?
    I dont have any problem with a dog that has type if it has temp.If it doesnt i have no use for it.the dogs owner like myself favors temp over type and nothing wrong with that.if they dont have it they dont tick the boxes for me.If these working Neo's you talk about still exist where are they?Come forth and multiply.I just dont see it.the dog shows in a short period have led to the decline of the dogs and most people couldnt handle a real one anyway so maybe its for the best.We will keep the working ones and you can have the others.Fair deal.

  63. Dante is also health tested and is OFA excellent. As I believe is Mogs mother as well. Abcalert dogs are also health tested. I do not know about Cello.

    These dogs that are refered to as "mutts" and "mongrels" are bred from pedigreed registered dogs, many of them registered themselves, have been temperament tested (as this is along with the ability to function is reason for breeding working dogs) and health tested. They are selected to be less typey thatn the average dog. Didnt Sherrilyn Allen also find that when she selected for health alone she lost type in her dogs?

  64. Actually, bulldog, I will keep the ones who look as they should, have the correct temperament for the breed and do well the job they were bred for.

    You can of course, keep the lightweights which can do all you require them to do, but they will never be classed as true and typical working Neapolitan Mastiffs even if you want to call them that. Regarding the hanging from ropes, you can do it and I am not in the slighest concerned about political correctness, but I am regarding the kind of work a Mastino is required for according to his tradition. A typical Mastino jaw doesnt require this kind of strengthening exercise when he has a correct dimension in cranium and muzzle, it comes naturally as it should. So thats why head type is all so important

    You need to ask an expert traditional breeder of true Zaccaro type dogs what they think of your working ones and they will tell you are weak in areas they need power. Not least the length of leg and narrrow dimensions of the torso and flat ribcage. So body type is all so important also, you see?

    Temperament of true guarding Mastino is also something very specific and usually apparent in not only their watchful serious expression, but also in the body stance, how the tail stands, how the nostrils are flared, little giveaway signs of a switched on dog that never sleeps. Ive seen many of them and owned a couple, so can easily recognise it. I just do not see in any of the dogs portrayed here as working dogs. Sorry. I know this differs from your own opinions and thats fine. I will probably never be able to alter your view, but can only encourage you to research further to really appreciate the fundamental differences between a dog like Rush and a dog like Cello.


    I would need to write a very detailed explanation to your question regarding Sherrilyn Allen and the dogs she possessed when she wrote that book. No space here, Im afraid. Needless to say there is an expression 'you dont throw the baby out with the bathwater'

    As Mastini are property guardians, their test of working ability is in relation to their home and the people and possessions within that home. What kinds of 'tests' are you applying to these dogs Mog and co?? Dante may well have tested excellent, but to me he is fundamentally weak looking in pictures and also Mog. I suppose this is no different to people thinking the dogs at Crufts are freaks of nature from their pics.....lets dwell on that one for a moment, shall we?

    Best regards to you both


  65. Form follows function, function does not follow form.

    You cannot breed "working ability" into any type dog by selecting for physical type alone. This is the issue with conformation in general.

    This is why with most breeds that still work you will find a huge difference of type between "show" dogs and working dogs.

  66. Thats fine Kim I will as well but the temperament and the health are more important than the look becuase back in the day thats what they were bred for long before a breed standard was written and then rewritten and rewritten again.Do you think the illiterate Italian farmer cared for a breed standard?He cared for the ability of the dog becuase if it didnt have any he had no use for it.
    If you want to call them lightweights thats fine and if you dont class them as 'true' working Neo's thats also fine.They are still registered with the precious KC.I call them working Neo's becuase they work not becuase of a look.That is the criteria for a working dog regardless of breed.You seem to think that I and other people call them working Neo's because they are sleeker than your typey Neo's and that is far from the truth.It just so happens when selecting dog for health thats where some end up and if you pick the right dogs as far as temp there you go but I unlike you am not saying only these dogs have temp as there are probably plenty typey dogs do too only there health lets them down.No good having a dog with the heart of a lion beating within the body of a diseased cripple.

    As far as dogs playing tug,springpole etc it isnt about strengthing the jaw its about there willingness and their grip also nothing to do with dimension of their head.They either want to do it or they dont.If it doesnt impress you fine you dont have to do it with your dog.If others find a dog playing with a rag offensive maybe they need to stick to the dog shows.
    Yes body type is important but more important than health or temperament?You say Zaccaro type dogs.Typoe yes but not the same as the original dogs if there are even any left.Didnt the old man breed his own dogs by himself an inbreed them and thats hy they had health problems.Hardly a revolutionary breeding program.They may say the dogs are weak here and there but watch the dogs work and move and jump and then talk not look at a photo.

    I will agree there are tell tale signs you will see in some dogs of alertness but the pic of cello is an innocent pic.Maybe the pic was taken by the owners wife and it is in familiar surroundings.Does the dog need to be 'switched on'.A dog that is permanently 'wired' is not a dog most people want or that is useful and yes I have owned my fair share that I could tell you about.It doesnt matter your opinion differs from ine Kim I deal in facts and you can not tell the temperament of a dog from a picture.It is a moment captured in time thats all.You know the owner go and see the dog and you may just change your mind.Tell me with your expert eye how old you think Cello is and how big he is.I already know.I will continue to research as i always like to learn but my opinions wont change on working ability as it is the same for any breed.I am not worried about a Kennel club standard I am more interested in a dog that can perform its functional role and live up to what a breed was bred for.

    I will leave you with a couple of quotes from Colonel Hancock.By the way he likes some of these dogs and has personally expressed that.

    "bred to a harmful design based on a misinterpretation of their past form. Breeding exaggerated or malformed dogs is even worse. It is never acceptable to try to excuse a poor specimen by pleading 'but it's a good mastiff".

    "I believe it is dishonest to breed dogs with an ancient origin to a mistaken contemporary concept of their anatomy and the reasons for this shape and size. There is a lesson here for breeders of Neapolitan Mastiffs: don't assume that breeders in the dog's native country have got it right and don't suppress yourself your own common sense by trying to ape foreign breeders pretending to be pursuing the classic type in the breed".


  67. Certainly some food for thought...some more if you're still hungry...

    Since dogs started to exist man has been predujiced by appearance. Imagine a village with some proto-dogs wandering around. One is born who is a great tracker. He happens to have floppy ears, unlike the majrity with erect ears. Human rightly or wrongly assumes floppy ears=good tracker so he picks his future tracking dogs initially by their ears. There may be a link- a gene important for tracking may be extremely close to one for drop ears. there may be no link. The neopolitant farmer wasn't looking at a standard but he probably did try to breed a dog which acted AND looked like other 'good' dogs. If he bred ONLY on ability no 'type' would have developed. Try Coppingers 'Dogs' for some ineresting thoughts on breeding and evolution of dogs.

  68. Vicky,

    What a great post and very accurate observation! An Italian peasant farmer, who probably couldnt read a standard if he wanted to, would simply have knowledge of the specific type of dog he needed to do best his job of work and Im afraid, bulldog, that dog did not look like Cello.

    In addition, you are somewhat preaching to the converted as over the years I have been an insistent voice asking for the show fraternity to consider more character form and function in equal measures instead of heavily slanted towards for the show ring, such as in this forum thread.

    Beth, I have seen and therefore what I strive to own and breed myself is a dog who works as a property guard at my place, can live in rustic conditions on the Welsh hillside, be intelligent enough to know when he needs to do his job and socialised to know when he can be 'off duty'. If I am fortunate enough, the same dog can also be beautiful enough to take to a show. And why not? One of the best ever show dogs in Mastino history was known to be a ferocious guard on his own property yet genial to all away from his domain and that is really the correct character of this most complex of breeds.

    Once again more research needed from you, bulldog as Don Gennaro ('the old man') was famous for making an extreme version of Zaccaro type dogs due to his inbreeding practices, the dogs became short and suffered from such diseases as ricketts and malformation of the joints. But this TYPE (Zaccaro is a type not man!) of dog was widespread across large rural areas in Southern Italy and even living wild, allowing for the most basic of natural selection to occur. He had a reputation as a relentless and somewhat ferocious type of dog and became less popular in modern times for obvious reasons, but his ilk still exist today and characteristics throwback in more modern type dogs, so its down to persistence and desire of breeders interested in a revival to seek them out and undertake a breeding programme of greater accuracy and credibility.

    If you can speak Italian, you may like to check out this website and the work of the Alleri Group.

    It sums up better than I ever can the really hard work and level of study required to produce a genuine 'no frills' working Neapolitan Mastiff.

    I actually once gave a present to Virgillo Dal Buono of Alleri of Hancocks book which he greatly enjoyed as I thought he would. But we both agree, is a great historian on Mastiff in general, but without the detailed knowledge specific to Mastino.

  69. To continue,

    When discussions as this occur, I always prefer to quote my own dear friend and mentor Douglas Oliff. One of the very first people to own a Mastino here in UK and who wrote a lot about his own rather bloodthirsty girl Rosamund Netta and how true Mastino temperament should never be lost. He said 'We must have an equal balance of both health and type, because if you do not have health the dog cannot perform his function, but ultimately, without type, where is the breed?'

    Indeed, Douglas!

    So, in response to your question, to make a breed a breed, body type, head type AND temperament are all needed to be present and correct. You can heighten some for your specific needs, ie show or work which is fine, but you should never work to omit any, should you?

    A lighter more agile version of Mastino exists in the Cane Corso. They bear more than a passing resemblance to Cello particularly in body and length of leg, but not head again as that breed is also having more specific requirements.

    But you say you call them working 'neos' because they work. What kind of work can this small one do better than a heavier more typical dog according to the work they were originally expected to do?

    Again, in human terms we are comparing Usain Bolt to a Kenyan distance runner here.......

    Also, if your selection is based on temperament and you readily admit this exists still in more typical dogs (which it does), where are these heavier typical dogs with strong temperament in your possession and why do I not see them swinging from the ropes? Because all of the ones Ive seen held up as 'working neos' look like very bad Cane Corso (sorry, lovers of Corsi!!!), the results of selection of poorly bred show lined dogs with maybe more hard temperament and this can be down to initial breeding combinations rather than typical character trait according to the breed.

    A real livewire heavyweight Mastino is a lot of dog to handle. Like a lion. So be very careful where you go with all this without real, cast iron knowledge!


    Who says show dogs are incapable to perform the function for which they were originally bred? It Ch Achille says....'come into my place and make my day!'

  71. A good neo should be like a rugby prop forward and not like homer simpson.

  72. I will agree with Vicky to a certain extent as we are all prejudiced to a point and if you have ever bred a dog most of us at some point will look at a pup and think becuase it looks like one parent it will carry the traits even if it isnt true.If the Italian farmer had a dog of a certain type then thats what they would choose becuasse thats what they had and maybe they didnt look like Cello but how do you know.In different rural areas of Italy they owned different livestock and needed different dogs to perform different functions.Old pics of Neo's that we have all seen resemble tighter dogs more like a corso.Dogs that today wouldnt rate a mention in the show cicuit but obviously existed for a reason.They all go hand in hand somewhere along the line.
    I know what you were aluding to Kim as the root of the 'true' working Neo as coming from a certain area of southern Italy and taking on a certain type.If you read what i said I stated type in my post in reference to zaccaro as being of that type not the original dogs as they wouldnt be arround anymore but certainly dogs that resenmle them would be.Dogs that are thick and low slung thick boned and easily recognisable by there appearance and you obviouslt believe this is the real Neo.Maybe it is we will never know becuase there isnt enough reliable history prior to this to ascertain the truth.Most of it is sham history.Unfortuantely there are few breeders to seek out the type of dog you mention and breed a dog that ticks all the boxes.People living in places where they cant give the dogs what they need and breeding for a look over anything else is not going to take the breed forward.

    I agree with what Oliff said about temperament and type as I said before I have nothing against a dog that has type just not extreme type.A dog should still be recognisable as what breed it is but it should maintain the temperament to perform its role without that type means nothing.I am not promoting Cello,Mog and Dante as the correct Neo nor the be all and end all of Mastiffs.I simply say there is a healthier specimen and I say this becuase I know it not from a picture.Dante would be going around 8 years old now.You still didnt answer my question about Cello and how old you think he is and how big he is?Also you were the one that called them Mutts and also said no health testing.They are KC registered dogs and if they visibly look different becuase they have thrown back its because the people you hold in high esteem added something else to the breed.Why did they do this?For health reasons becuase of a depleted gene pool?If so that would say that the breed isnt
    that old.I am not promoting crossbreeding but if the dogs are present and registered what is wrong with using them to better what you have.This breed cant be brought back in one generation you have to look far ahead.unfortunately too many are in it for the money and dont really care about the longevity of the breed and if they did they may change their breeding practices.
    I know you say you have promoted this but what has the breed club done in the UK to promote it.Have they lobbied the KC to make health testing mandatory and if dogs are not tested they shall not be registered?Some of these things will go some way to helping the breed and i think that is Jemima's point.Everyone is getting hot under the collar and slandering her becuase it is their breed but how many would disagree that the breed is in trouble and some of the dogs out there are an utter disgrace.

  73. I agree a lighter version of the Neo exists in the Corso but most dont have that true temperament just like many modern day Neo's dont have a true temperament.You say what work can they do better than a larger Neo?Well as we have already ascertained there are larger Neo's that have temperament just not many.I call them working Neo's becuase they have that true temperament something that has been lost in most 'show' dogs thats what they can do better than a lot of Neo's regardless of size.The argument isnt about size but overdone huge Neo's will break down becuae of too much pressure on joints in the pursuit of size and look.Where are the heavier dogs of stron temperament in my possession?I dont have anybut where are they in the world Kim.If not in Italy?I am sure there are dogs there they may be as you say but how many?How many of these people would actually sell you one?All I see mostly is overdone show dogs and that goes for Italy as well.the majority of the dogs dont have stron temperament anymore and thats becuase people dont want it or need it.If not why do they breed them for?They breed for a look and areputation.Unfortuantely many cant live up to the reputation.Many cant live up to much when they cant live long enough to do anything.Shoe me Kim how many heavyweights with heavy duty temperament there are that ar alive now and over the age of 7 and in reasonable condition.not dogs of yesteryear but alive now.That is my point with dogs like Dante and whilst you still refuse to acknowledge these dogs with in your own breed it will ultimatel;y be to the breeds detriment becuase peoples refusal to use such dogs that are within the breeed to fix existing problems how can they go forward.As far as poorly sho bred line dogs.The dogs bred for temperament yes just happen to take on that appearance and two fold effe3ct is better health.I am not saying they all will have better health but you get rid of some of that excessive skin and get rid of the thyroid problems and etra exertion on the heart and inner organs and you will get a healthier dog.Middle ground remember.It may be down to breeding combinations and that is obvious as temperament will drop up in many combinations but when it is not a criteria selected for in show dogs it wont be found.That is the criteria selected for in the above mentioned dogs.if you beleive you will recreat something out fo only what you posses you will keep going around in circles.You cant make soemthing out of nothing.

    Keep doing what you have always done and you will keep etting what you have always got.

  74. Kim,
    is that champion Achille del regno di Sicilia?

  75. Hi Bulldog,

    I did not answer your question on Cello for a reason. At the very beginning of these blogs are some misleading pictures of a handful of dogs taken at Crufts. Including one rescue dog from the Discover Dogs exhibition with a prolapse of the eyelid made out to look like she was part of the show.

    I learned years ago the camera does in fact lie and lie a lot and commented only on 'mutts' in the style most members of this site posted on the 'mutants' and lo and behold, we get a lot of posts back from people as yourself defending the dogs.

    Not nice is it, when a whole race and someones hard work is rubbished on the strength of a few pix? Now ask yourself who is the one committing the slander.

    As I am not in the business of wildly guessing, I cannot answer your question on Cello. The normal rules that apply to Mastino development do not apply to a dog like him. If they did he would be 18 months old max, around 55 kilos and approx 29" at the withers But he is as extreme undertype as the extreme overtype examples, so not correct and not what I can ever agree as desirable in a good example of a Neapolitan Mastiff.

    You are incorrect about no one supplying heavier examples of strong type and temperament. The world is a small place now, bulldog, and you really have to go and see with your own eyes what others are doing if you have the passion for a credible UK project. I have given you one link to a site in Italy and now, here is another very interesting breeder in Serbia.

    Heavier dogs of strong type doing all you would ever want a Mastino to do, HD/ED free, living rustic lives and a breeder/owner with correct philosophy according to the breed.

    His dogs are show Champions also and you can see in the pix with kids, genial and social despite the work ethic. Correct temperament for Mastino and correct type dog who cannot be mistaken for another breed and health screened.

    To me, this represents working Mastino in the modern world. Not Cello and Co who look like a different breed of dog all together. You can see with a little skill, knowledge and commitment to a certain aim, one can achieve a lot. Even in the depths of Serbia. If this is what you want, a working heavyweight Mastino, you can see here its very achievable without going to the extremes of Cello Mog and Dante.

    Dig a little deeper than the high profile commercial breeder websites and you can find many similar treasures.

    Youre right, you cannot make something out of nothing. But this is my idea of middle ground and we dont need dogs like Dante to achieve it.

    Best regards to you and I really hope you get a lot of pleasure looking at the Epir dogs.


  76. Well seeing as no one else has asked this... Kim, could you tell me if you see the difference between the Serbian dogs and the dogs we saw at Crufts?

    For, believe me, if the UK showdogs looked like the Serbian dogs (all hip and elbow tested too I see), I am not sure we'd be having this debate. The Serbian dogs may be substantial, but - except for some with exposed haws and sore-looking eyes - they look much fitter/more functional.

    I realise he's only young, but I even quite LIKED the look of this dog and he is far more moderate than the dogs I see on any UK breeders' websites.


  77. Kim it doesnt matter to me you called the dogs mutts as I dont own them I just know the people that do so doesnt bother me.It was more about you saying they are mutts and crossbreeds when they are KC registered dogs.Yes the camera does lie thts why I asked you.You commented on the dog and about his temperament.He is barely 12 months old if that so in the pic he would be no more than about 9 months old.You are correct about his height but he is about 10kg heavier than that and still alot of filling out to do yet.He is still just a big puppy.

    The site you posted from Italy I had a look at.There were some dogs of type that looked quite ok but there were also some shockers.
    I am familiar with the EPIR dogs and to me they are the middle ground we speak of.Still have some type,size and bone and have temperament and raised in the ideal envirnment and it is pleasing to see someone doing right.However by your reckoning they are also not working dogs thats what you said about those dogs before isnt it?Cant have it both ways.I beleive a couple of these dogs are going to be imported to the UK maybe this year.I didnt say you have to go to the extremes to acheive something but it depends what you want.They are just dogs that are not bred to a show standard they are bred toa differnt standard but still registered and health tested and temp tested.

    I like the Epir dogs and i just might get myself one someday.Wink wink.

  78. Ms Harrison

    I presume the reason why no one asked if I see the differences is that I am actually the person offering up the differences! As I have demonstrated in the links, the breed of Mastino Napoletano is really very diverse and so, quite ridiculous for someone like you to call for a breed ban on the strength of a handful of dogs who did not meet your approval at a dog show. But then again, my opinion about the true motives for your behaviour remains completely unchanged.

    Why do you think so many people posted here saying their dogs are healthy, gave examples of their daily activities and offered you to come see them in real life? Is it because the dogs are all 'mutants' with owners too dumb to notice or could it just be, that they are just normal dogs with normal lives and these folk just want to prove it to you?

    The Epir dogs are great example of Mastino living the good life in an environment perfect for them to just 'be'. But there are many dogs to be seen here in UK living scaled down version of the same life. Just maybe not in large scale operations or on the commercial websites and dog shows on which you made your sweeping all encompasing statements.


    I take your point re the Alleri Project, but it is all about reviving a specific type of dog as you know and at this moment in time, very much work in progress which is why you see dogs you like and others not so much. Its a project of some 8 years in total, so not so long, they are probably in the middle of the river, but with clear aim and direction so very interesting.

    Of course Epir dogs are not the traditional rustic dogs I spoke about earlier in the thread, but a good example of more modern, strong type dogs who are capable of work. But they look like the breed and cannot be mistaken for another so this was my point to post the link for people to see its not necessary to breed lightweight animals of some generic type just to have a healthier dog.

    You know a lot of people have problems with 'keeping a breed pure' and so on. Im not one of them. I think is really an ok thing to breed bandogs for specific working purposes. But you must call them bandogs and not 'working neos' If you want to promote a dog as a working one of a specific breed then it must bear the fundamental physical characteristics (and mental ones) or whats the point? You cannot change it. Its like calling a landrover a working ferrari.

    But Bulldog, I enjoyed our conversation very much. Thanks for all your input here on the blog and I really wish you the very best of luck with your future imports, as will for certain be very exciting additions and healthy news for the future of UK Mastino Napoletano, working or otherwise. I have one last present for you,


    Kim x

  79. Blimey, Kim - did you see the eyes of some of the dogs on that album?



  80. Ms Harrison

    Yes, I saw the eyes. They display haw.

    You obviously find the appearance of haw an abomination and would without doubt like to see the eyes look like the Cane Corso on the same album, but I am open minded to wait to see what comes from the BVA once they actually undertake a study on wide range of examples of Mastini study results obtained from related surveys and then give clear direction on eye shape and how this correlates to improved health.

    I know all believe we just need to remove the wrinkles, but unfortunately, other breeds without wrinkles suffer the same issues with eyes as Mastino, some without haw. Nothing is ever that simple you see?

  81. Kim i'd be interested to know what the general response amongst nm breeders with regards to the breed standard changes?
    Do you think they were necessary? Do you think they went far enough?

  82. Kate,

    A breed standard to me is just a description of what a breed of dog should look like, assuming you had landed from Mars and never seen one before in your life.

    So, please read the UKBS for me and attempt to draw a Neapolitan Mastiff based on the description and that will give you your answer.

    We have always had a very generic standard here especially compared to the Italian which is by complete contrast, extremely detailed and so its always been necessary to rely heavily on the expert knowledge of judges to understand the breed much more than the standard they have before them to select the correct dogs.

    If you are a breeder, are you going to read the UK standard and then breed dogs to fit it? Well, you could interpret it to fit to any Molosser pretty much.

    Therefore a breeder or judge in UK should know far more specific deatils about Neapolitan Mastiffs than the UK standard and if they dont they shouldnt be breeding or judging should they?

    The only difference now and before is the ommision of breed features which the KC felt are open to interpretation by breeders which can lead to gross exaggeration. Fair enough I say and I think thats the opinion of the majority involved in the breed.

    However, much relies on the decision of the judge on the day now and just like all us human beings (even including Ms Harrison) they do not always get it right, do they?

  83. "A breed standard to me is just a description of what a breed of dog should look like, assuming you had landed from Mars and never seen one before in your life. "

    Gosh an interesting scenario indeed.

    I wouldn't want to be the human that had to explain to the alien the following questions (for example)...

    Why have pug dogs got such flat faces? What is the advantage of such a flat face?

    Why do basset hounds have such long heavy bodies stuck on such short legs? How does this benefit them?

    Why do dalmations have spots? How does this help them?

    Why do neapolitan mastiffs have loose skin and droopy eyes? Where is the advantage in that?

    Why are great danes so big? How does this benefit the breed?

    You see all the answers are purely because us as humans have decided that they should look like that because we like the look, and in many cases it serves no purpose what so ever.

  84. Kate,

    The breed standards are indeed written by humans to identify one breed from another are they not?

    So I dont see that my description of the purpose of a written breed standard is an 'interesting scenario' just a fact?

    I also dont agree with you. I agree with Vicky above on the evolution of pedigree dogs and reasons for their physicality.

    Heres another question, why do Asians have slanted eyes and sallow skin. How does this benefit the race and what purpose does it serve?

    I guess God must have had his own breed standard, right? Interesting scenario??? lol.

  85. So you are saying that Cello is the better dog?

    What are Cellos hip and elbow scores?
    What are the second dogs scores?

    How can you say he is healthier just from a photo?

    Yes almost ALL breeds need work but you are focusing on the WRONG aspects in EVERY SINGLE breed write up you do.
    Showing 2 different photos proves nothing.

    You picked my breed to pieces and it is one of the healthiest breeds out there, you focused on something as silly as GROOMING.
    My gawd, I can't believe people gobble up this bollocks.

    BACK UP your claims with PROOF. I am not one of those people who will defend a breed to the death but Christ at least go about it the right way rather than just automatically shunning every breeder out there.
    There are GOOD breeders who do the right thing and you are turning people against ALL breeders with your outlandish rants.

  86. Ahhhh my comment will be visible after approval... no wonder there are only people agreeing with you on here. You just don't let the truth be posted.

  87. I’ve only perused through these comments and can’t help but wonder: all of those that speak ill of breedera, dogs, and what not, how they should be or how they shouldn’t, Damn, you must have a lot of time on your hands to write all those bad things. I envy you for the time, you must not have jobs, or a family to take care of, or a dog to maintain. It’s amazing to me what humans do to entertain themselves. The human race at its best: brilliant. Keep at it!!!!. How advanced are you to be able to finally blah, blah, blah about inferior species. Bravo!

  88. Wow, you guys are so deluded regards dogs. Not one person has mentioned the corso, or the fact they are (or were) the same dog underneath. The neo was a vanity project, nothing more. Cello is a good representative of the old mastini, these dogs still litter the farms in the south of italy, and don't go by either corso, or neo, but simply mastino. My boy is from this neck of the woods, and as for someone commenting about straight stifle, and it affecting the character, what a crock of ****. My boy has fairly straight legs when standing like this, but test his character, you wont be leaving the garden alive. Dogs in Italy are being bred (especially down here in the south) to work, and work they do. Not the prancy monstrosities being 'shown'.