Saturday, 10 March 2012

And now the Mastiff...

... has failed the Best of Breed vet check.

The not-winner is a bitch called Ch Secret Charm Avec Dibest, owned by Mrs D Yemm. The judge was Mrs S Windham from Ireland.

This bitch won Best of Breed at Crufts in 2010 and there is a pic of her here.

My guess, again, would be that the problem is ectropion, as I don't think they had a category for "have turned this once much more athletic breed into a hulking brute."

Here's an example from 1936.

1936 Mastiff, 'Damon'

So now let's see what happens with the Neapolitan Mastiff... an announcement imminent.


  1. There was a spaniel yesterday that failed this vet check, and another today? It is good to see the system grumbling to a start. The thin end of a very thick wedge! More power to you Jemima!

  2. Annie Macfarlane10 March 2012 at 14:55

    I've just watched the video of the clumber that failed yesterday and I have to say this bitch looks to me to be a superior bitch in relation to others I've seen at shows. There wasn't that much haw showing and I'm surprised that she didn't pass. I think the fact that she did have conjunctivitis and an ear infection didn't help! That said, I do feel that if this bitch didn't pass then there is no hope for the rest of the breed because some of the dogs I've seen at shows are an absolute disgrace.

    I'm glad the Mastiff didn't pass the vet check....that dog is a very poor example of a working dog. One of my friends owns a Mastiff and she is superb....not bred by a huge kennel but she is beautiful....truly beautiful. Not much hope for the Mastino then.......

    I have to give credit to the KC for showing us this was not just a PR exercise...and also credit to you and everybody else who is standing up for the health of pedigree dogs. What we see now wouldn't be happening if we all just sat back and did nothing.... The fact that you entered the fight for pedigree dog health Jemima was the real turning point. The media can do much more than lone voices in the wilderness. While it may not appear to be much...this is a huge step for the Kennel Club here in the UK....and I applaud them.

    I think the time has come now that we all recognise there are real problems and I hope we can work together to make a real difference for all the breeds we love. I believe the "us and them" situation needs to be addressed now so that we can all work as a team and get things back on track.

    1. One swallow doesn’t make a summer. I’m afraid there’s an awful lot of ground to make up before the K.C. gets my vote.

    2. I know this bitch personally, have known her since a puppy. She is a beautiful, fit dog, probably one of the fittest show dogs you will find, let alone Mastiff. As well as competing in confirmation shows she also does obedience training and has at least one Good Citizen award under her belt, so plainly she is not 'a hulking brute' by any means. It is very easy to look at one photograph and pass judgement,but in reality, she really isn't far removed from the b/w picture on the blog and is more than capable of taking good long walks every day. I can assure you that this particular bitch is a prime example of how giant breeds should be, well able to lead the same lifestyle as any other dog - and she most certainly does! I'm not a veterinary eye specialist, but I have never noticed myself anything about her eyes either that would make me wince and they have always looked to me a lot better than many others in her breed. I'm absolutly devastated for her owner.
      I will also add that mastiffs are not a breed that really appeals to me and if I felt she did have 'welfare' issues then I would not be commentating here, friend or not.

      Please keep in mind, those of you that feel inclined to gloat, that these dogs are their owners' beloved companions as well as show dogs. Whatever you feel about how the dogs look, imagine how you would feel in their shoes with your own animal being condemned and vilified...think on.

    3. Oh come on Julia.. they don't give a FIG about the cruel horrible nasty people who take the time to breed their dogs, show them and health test them.. That Mastiff is pure rubbish.. they know that how?/ because they saw a PICTURE and Lord knows they never lie. She is not fit to live and her breeder should be thinking about putting her down for all of the horrible health problems she exhibits in "that picture"
      The "know it all" crowd here does not care about her temperament or her love for children or her Good Citizen awards.. OUT WITH HER and any like her they are all "mutants'
      They want dogs that fit into a box of one type only.
      The glee and joy that you hear on this blog as each dog is DQed will never make people stop breeding dogs.. no matter how much these people would like to see that happen.
      Hate and belittling is in their nature. They are sad pathetic humans who have nothing else to do but to gloat in anothers misery..
      "Neo fails but not the GSD.." as if that was the WRONG thing to happen..
      The bitterness is so prevalent it will make you ill.
      These people care not a whit for the owners of these dogs or for people who have devoted their lives to them as long as they can have their moment of criticism..
      The Inquisition comes to mind..

      small minded twits as well

    4. Re Annie MacfarlaneMar 10, 2012 06:55 AM
      you have put your points very well Annie, thank you. I too watched the video clip and felt sorry for the dog to have such apparent soreness in her eyes. If she is one of the 'good' ones, then that is truly scary. What slip in the minds of ordinary people (dog judges and breeders) can possibly feel this is comfortable for the dog? there must be some mental illness or ability to "not see" the discomfort because it is too distressing to seriously take on board the fact that us breeders have exaggerated some features to the point that the dogs are suffering because of those exaggerations. I am in support of the KC's efforts, and hope they will work further on the exaggeration problems and come up with a better and better system.

  3. My jaw is on the floor. It feels as if I am watching the world shift in some small but profound way. All the ghosts of all the dogs who died too young, who lived a life of suffering, whose original nobility was turned into a grotesque mockery... all because of the vanity of humans - are speaking from the grave.

    The dog show world is watching.

    Jemima - thank you for being the voice of the powerless and innocent.


  4. So strange- I was thinking, "That dog doesn't look bad at all, looks pretty great" (at the black & white photo), then I read further to find that's an OLD photo of a Mastiff as they once were/ could be again. I don't understand how breeders of dysfunctional/hobbled/pained suffering breeds are simultaneously enthralled w/ the history of their breed and so absolutely ignorant of the history. 'Cause if you look at the history- even 50 years ago, most of the these dogs- Pekes, Mastiffs, Bulldogs, DID NOT LOOK like the disabled, diseased, disfigured freaks that can't breathe/breed,walk/run today. I find the incongruity between the "We are preserving ancient noble breeds and you are animal rights whackos for not appreciating out disabled dogs..", AND the evidence for how much so many breads have changed in form in 80, 50, even 30 years endlessly fascinating. What happens in their brains when they see older photos of champion dogs that AREN'T deformed and disabled? I hear, "We have old noble breeds and changing them so they can freakin breathe w/out pain or see w/out pain or walk w/out pain is destroying the specialness of the breed". But the dogs HAVE been changed. They're not the ancient breed, they are not even close to what the dogs were 50 years ago. What's it like to have a brain like that?


    1. You’re watching a good example of “The Emperor’s new clothes” syndrome in action. Someone thankfully has finally got up the courage to tell the breeders the plain truth, that their dogs are not up to standard, and have not made the grade required of a healthy dog.
      In short they have been rumbled..

    2. Well done to the vets

    3. what standard do you write about?

  5. Crufts. 3/4 of the way through - 4 out of 15 breeds have failed their vet check - a staggering 26% - time for Crufts to drop the word "healthy" from its marketing collateral.


  6. Gorgeous dog!!! The 1936 version that is. :)

    1. The '1936 version' of a Mastiff posted here, is just ONE old picture, if you look at other Mastiffs of that time and indeed any description of them at that time, many were much bulkier, as they are in the show ring.

      Displaying a pic of a dog that was NOT a good example of the breed 100 years ago as a way of having a go at that breed today, says more about the person who would use such underhand tactics (duping the audience with out of context images) than it does about the breed.

      See the below link for old pics.

    2. Anonymous, the link you posted seemed to contain only drawings of mastiffs? Here is a photo of some quality mastiffs from the 1920s...

      and a top mastiff from the 1960s...

      Would you agree that they are more moderate in type than what is winning in the show ring today?

  7. Having worked at Vet clinics for a number of years, I can assure you that mutts have just as many problems as purebred dogs. The only difference being, that no one keeps tabs on the illneses of mutts.
    No breeder of Mastiffs is breeding for ectropian eyes. A dog is bred for the whole package and not just one part. When focusing on one thing - THAT is when breeding goes seriously wrong!
    And of all the truly SERIOUS problems in dogs - they are focusing on ectropian eyes? How about some of the life threatening problems? Crippling problems?
    And to only choose 15 breeds is absolutely ludicrous!
    This is purely a PR stunt. And a bad one at that!

    1. Well said!! Anon 1:50!!

    2. well said, lets not forget who sets the breed standard

  8. First sensible post I have read.

  9. How many of you here, including the blogger, have a full set of health tests on your dogs.all of them. mongrel or pedigreed? How much money have you given to the KC health scheme this year to forward the health and well being of the dog ( all of them not just pedigreed?
    How many have submitted blood work, hip scores, CERF tests, elbows and more for the health and well being of ALL dogs?
    How many of you have necropsied your dogs when they die to find out the cause of death in order to forward the health of ALL dogs..
    not many but breeders do.. many of them.. do all of this and more.
    Judge not lest ye be judged.. and the old glass house too.. The hoi polli is certainly well represented here.

    1. I'm a pet owner and my dog has had more health tests than the breed club reccomends ( not hard as that is zero)
      I've sent DNA to research and donated funds towards free testing in the hope some breeders might actually bother if they dont have to pay.

      I would love more breeders to test and hear of clear dogs ( as that is what is needed for the dna research)

  10. anon 1:50.. well done

  11. a staggering 26%?.. LOL there are 22,000 dogs entered in Crufts..I love the way animal rights folks figure.. you know what was said..
    "figures lie and liars figure"

    sounds about right in this case

  12. Anonymous of Mar 10 04:23:

    I am no breeder. I bought my puppies, five of them through the years. Two were born in my home as a result of a very unwanted surprise mating and still live here with their dam. All Rough Collies, none of them shown, all mine.
    Each and every one of them has had an eye specialist vet check them for CRD/coloboma at eight weeks old, and then again at one year of age. Their respective breeders saw to it before the pups were sold, and I had it done with the surprise twins.
    Each one of them have had their hips X-rayed at one year and the three youngest ones have had their elbows done as well.
    Those three also have a DNA-test regarding MDR1.
    Each and every dog I ever owned passed a mentality assessment test.
    The records are public and accessible for everyone, save the MDR1 gene test (and if you´re interested, you can have the results right here: +/-, +/+, +/+). The pedigree documents, when they come from our KC, are stamped with the hip scores of the parents and grandparents of the pups; you cannot register Collies in this country if parents are not X-rayed, nor if there is no mentality assessment for them.

    So why do we do this when we must pay for it out of our own pockets? Out of respect for breeders who have been striving to preserve and improve the health and temperament of the dogs. If no tests, how should they know their stock? They sell marvellous dogs to us. Just as we appreciate our dogs and try to give them the kind of life which they deserve, we should appreciate our breeders and return to them the information they need to keep on doing a good job.
    Don´t you agree, Anonymous?


    this was posted on the team jenny page in support of bulldog type. reading the mastiff section is quite interesting , they decry the overuse of certain sires and the standard says the eyes should have no haw visable !

    1. As an owner I would prefer to have a little haw visible than HD or some other hereditary problem.

      Maybe it is time people realised that dogs are animals and wll never be perfect. No matter what is done, no dog will be perfect. Rather a cosmetic fault than one of structure

      There is talk of the dogs of 50, 70, 100 years ago and how our modern dogs have changed over the yeare.

      where is the proof the dogs of years gone by are healthier than they are today. I have seen nothing, no proof, just statements.

      For all we know, they could have had all sorts of problems. There is little research. There should be more before we throw modern dogs over board or want a return to dogs of the past.

  14. The b/w photograph from 1936 in post #1 is Damon of Hellingly who never could convince judges at championship level . Taking this dog as an example of athleticism is for me a bridge too far (especially when judging on only this picture) as for this size of dog his second thigh is definitely underdevelopped , ie not able to produce an appropriately strong drive from behind . The dog is breed-wise also too short in back annex croup falling off , thereby combined with a too straight up shoulder placement , which gives reason to believe this dog was not capable to show the long stride so typical for the breed . In short , a pity this particular photograph seems to be chosen as a really good alternative for everything which goes wrong in the Mastiff breed .

    I could go on for a while but I restrict myself by underscribing the need for general health , vigor , stamina & athleticism even in a so-called ‘heavy’ breed as the Mastiff .

    1. good post but they won't believe you..

    2. His structure, especially rear, is still far and away better than the bitch pictured. High rear, dip in the topline, straight stifle, hock (slipping hocks?), short upper arm, and her head is just a pile of skin and exposed eye socket, shes just a trainwreck. I fail to see how she could possibly function at anything faster than a sedate walk. Someone above says she goes for walks and does obedience? Correct me if Im wrong but wasnt the Mastiff supposed to be a working dog? IE, have a little "get up and run" in him? She doesnt look like she could do much more than lumber awkwardly, especially with that rear being so awful.

      Ill take the b/w pic dog and muscle him up a little before I would take a bitch with a stick straight rear

    3. You are very, very wrong, I'm pleased to say. This bitch is no 'trainwreck' as you suppose. She could put some pet labradors that I've seen to shame. Fair enough she can't run like a greyhound - few dogs can - but she is a very fit and active dog. The walks I refer to are not a sedate plod around the block, they are across fields and hills at a good pace that demonstrates she could easily fulfil her role as a working dog. I am neither someone besotted with the Mastiff breed so that I can't see exaggerated issues, nor someone who refuses to conceede there are problems that need addressing. I wouldn't defend this bitch if I didn't genuinely feel she is a beautiful example of how the breed ought to be. I don't mean in terms of type as I'm no expert on Mastiffs, I mean she really is a dog that can go out and live a dog's life, which she does to the fullest.

      It's easy to be so critical, formulating opinion on photographs without seeing the dogs in question, but photographs can mislead. I find it a great pity that people are so quick to condemn and be critical of others (and their dogs) with so little to go on. It is for this reason that resentment rather than realisation continues to be the emotion felt by so many breeders. Most are genuinely trying their utmost to produce beautiful, healthy dogs, which they and others can enjoy living with for years. They have been doing this for decades with the material they have inherited to work with and when problems are discovered, they have gone to considerable lengths and often great cost to try and eliminate the issue. It is only relativly recently that advances in knowledge and science have enabled problems to be identified and only with improved communication has it been possible to tell the prevelance across a breed. No one is deliberatly setting out to breed unhealthy dogs and with each additional tool they have, the overwhelming majority of breeders are making continued progress. It would make far more sense, those of you who are sitting in judgement(and I don't refer to Jemima here) to make your critism constructive rather than destructive, that is, if you REALLY want to help.

  15. I posted on the Crufts FB wall asking them if it was true that the same David Blaxter who was prosecuted for cruelty to his mastiff in 2009 is the named judge of the breed for 2013 & guess what? THEY REMOVED MY POST & BARRED ME FROM MAKING ANY MORE COMMENTS! A simple yes or no would have been sufficient! The case was the worst the senior RSPCA officer had seen, the poor dog was emaciated with cancer, half his natural body weight yet had apparently not seen a vet according to the article in the Chronicle in Northants. The dog was put to sleep :(.
    Perhaps others could ask on the Crufts FB page on my behalf now as I've been barred? It's only a question not a slur.

    1. well said its an outrage if this man is not removed from judging

  16. Thank you, an outrage indeed! I've since been reinstated to make comments on the Crufts FB page after writing to the KC Chairman. They even posted a comment on the FB wall in answer to my question and that of many others re how on earth can this man who was successfully convicted of causing cruelty to his dog be a named 2013 crufts judge?!
    Apparently the subject of knowing when to say goodbye to your dog & when to euthanase an old and/or very ill dog (or words to that effect), was discussed when evaluating Mr. Blaxter's position as he's an "active" judge & has been since his animal cruelty conviction. What they didn't cover at all in their statement is that, according to press reports about the matter, the poor dog, Henry had never seen a vet prior to being put to sleep & was denied essential pain relieving care throughout his cancerous tumour in his mouth & subsequent starvation! I looked at the reports I could find and it seems that none have had anything positive to say about Mr & Mrs Blaxter, quite the reverse! Oh and the classic statement by this man (who has written books about the Mastiff & how owners should care for them), at his hearing according to reports "He was just an old dog"! NICE! NOT!
    No wonder the breed is suffering if these dogs are being judged by someone who failed to spot a significant cancerous tumour & starvation in his own 11 year old dog!
    It's very strange...Some Mastiff owners & breeders want this story out there for all to see what the KC is doing & force them to make a more thorough statement & be forced to answer questions. Some think this is only being discussed in "secret debates" and should not be aired in the full public domain. Don't the latter realise that it's all over every networking site & it's already in the public domain?! Bizarre & shows that some people really live in a victorian time warp. As for the KC, well they appear to still think its 1873 when they were founded!