Saturday, 25 April 2015

Old English Dinosaur Club - update

A couple weeks ago, I reported on the Old English Mastiff Club's decision at its recent AGM to never-ever, not-in-their-lifetime-or-anyone-else's decision to refuse to recognise pied mastiffs - the piebald dogs that are occasionally born in purebred Mastiff litters. (See here)

The Club didn't give a reason - it stated simply:

"At the O.E.M Club AGM, it was unanimously decided that the deviant colour known as pied, would not be accepted for inclusion in the colour description of the breed standard, now, nor at any time in the future.

But now Mastiff old-timer Betty Baxter, in her breed notes for Our Dogs, has revealed the reason: they're idiots.

Betty is in her 90s now so should, perhaps, be forgiven the ability to string a coherent sentence together but I don't want to be accused of editing what she wrote so I reproduce it here as it was printed.

"As I am still housebound I was not able to go to the OEMC ATM but apparently a god deal of time was given to the question of pieds. It was decided that both clubs of that colour because of health problems. Apparently, they are subject to skin trouble. Both Lyn McKevett and John Bromley have done a lot of research and say that if there is just one pied in a litter, then all the other puppies are carriers for the pied gene. I am told that 2 have already been registered as ‘tiger’. As I said above, the KC is to be asked by other clubs to stop registering this colour, on health grounds. Both clubs are in agreement here.”

Just in case you're in any doubt:

• there have been no reported health/skin problems associated with the piebald colour in Mastiffs.

• if Lyn McKevett and John Bromley have been accurately represented here, I suggest they do a bit more research in order to understand the basic principles of inheritance of a recessive disorder. It is not the case that "if there is just one pied in a litter, then all the other puppies are carriers for the pied gene".  One shudders at the thought that a whole litter could be condemned for this and removed from the breeding pool in a breed that is teetering on the brink of genetic viability because it is so inbred.

• Pieds can only be registered as either fawn, brindle or apricot (the standard breed colours) or 'colour not recognized' (i.e. not "tiger")

But of course they have to make stuff up in an attempt to cover up the real reason which is good old-fashioned bigotry rooted in baseless beliefs about purity.

At least I can say this with confidence: the Kennel Club will not acquiesce to demands to stop registering piebald dogs (albeit it will be as "colour not recognised"). These days the KC asks for proof of such claims.


  1. Aren't all Mastiffs prone to skin problems.LOL

    1. In the age of information and good enough eye sight or a decent pair of specs, never get an English Mastiff piebald or otherwise.

    2. I feel I must add there is nothing quite like hugging a dog of this type and having one as best friend, companion and confidante.

      They have a character that is simply indescribably wonderful.

      Maybe in another life time will the OEM be the healthy, athletic functional, absolutely gorgeous devoted dog it should be. I for one would be honoured to share my life with such an OEM anytime anywhere etc.

  2. No doubt about it. They are a bunch of bigoted morons. But I am actually very embarrassed for them now.

    They need help.

    Science to the rescue!

  3. So one person who may not be mentally all there, says something and you imply she is the mouth piece of the Old English Mastiff club?? Stop making a story of something that is not there. I feel this piece is something out of a trash magazine and not a reputable publication.

    1. It certainly is a story. They are utterly clueless. It's embarrassing. Did you actually read the post? They are effectively banning pieds on the basis of their lack of understanding of genetics. They have zero ethics on this too.

      Great graphic!

    2. Anonymous25 April 2015 at 15:19

      I really fail to see any point you are trying to make other than a cheap shot at one side of an issue of which you obviously have little understanding.

      Whilst Betty does seem to be slipping in the way of a few misspelt words, her dedication and passion to the Mastiff is well known.

      If you had actually read what was written, (as well as followed the previous discussions), maybe you would have realised that Betty was simply relaying information.

      I see no personal opinion ventured forth by her at all in the above statement. If anyone can claim kudos for publishing a “trash piece” I suggest you look no further than the mirror.

    3. Well said Si Willshire.

      As far as Im concerned Betty or Elizabeth J. Baxter is all there!

      This is a person who is not affraid to admit the problems in the dog and someone who very obviously has the dogs health and welfare and future at heart. As it is she is just relaying the reasoning behind the idiocy.

      I can only hope Im as lucid and objective in my 90's as she is, my spelling at only half her age is completely out to lunch and always has been.

  4. Love the graphic!

    A common defense raised by KC members when discussing breed issues is to smugly say "Oh, I see someone's been on the internet."

  5. Mastiffs are of course not immune to the problems caused by the extreme piebald gene that any other breed or even mongrel is.

    Can dogs rely on responsible breeding as a guarantee they wont end up deaf, blind and with skin cancer for example?

    The Old English Mastiff as a breed is already so very flawed genetically speaking that I think piebald dogs are seriously the least of their problems true. I would die to see them lumped with even more welfare issues, though.

    I dont think piebald dogs are going to save the breed. But that's no reason to limit the gene pool even more when ever a piebald appears by excluding it.

    The Old English Mastiff Club is obviously not in a good place to save that breed full stop.

    I think the focus here on The Old English Mastiff needs to change away from colour entirely, it's detracting from the real welfare issues facing these sad dogs.

    Personally I could not recommend as the breed stands today that anyone buy one, "never-ever, not-in-their-lifetime-or-anyone-else's" not until the register has been opened and a scientific and completely different approach is adopted to their breeding. Then just only maybe.

    1. Well I can't see pied Mastiffs becoming the new ePupz craze, to be honest. Can't be that easy to find homes for such big dogs; although I guess if Downton Abbey embraces one... scary thought.

      And I agree, River P, as useful as the pied Mastiffs are to highlight irrational colour bars (which of course do have some impact on genetic diversity), the real issue is their compromised genetic diversity.

    2. Ha ha Downton already got the lab, "Isis". Very courant naming I must say. She dies in season five episode seven I think, cancer.

      Ooops hope I never gave anything away for anyone in the colonies, we are usually at least a season behind. I can't think they will be looking for another dog, why kill the poor thing off in the first place.

      I would love the OEM to be a fabulously popular robust healthy country pursuit.

      Im satisfied anyway that its popularity does live on especially in character but not quite in the form the Old English mastiff club would sanction.

    3. Miss/Mrs Harrison, have you contacted Mrs Baxter in order to inform her about your move here concerning her breed notes? Your assessment re Mrs Baxter is purely degrading. Based upon what I’ve read from you in this blog, I say that your inherent craving to manipulate documents is something alien to the straightforward Mrs Baxter. Your partial comments show that you are not interested in well-balanced information. Not a single good word about the OEMC, only the endless cheap slandering, SITTING behind your computer, THE thing which has made you popular in circles of pedigree dog haters. It’s not because you are convinced of your presumptions that everyone else should swallow them.

      I’m the last to presume that the Mastiff breed is without problems. Problems which certainly need to be tackled and your repetitive name calling thereto is quite counterproductive. Do you realise that it only polarises people instead of bringing them together in order to improve matters of health?

      Quote RP – ‘Personally I could not recommend as the breed stands today that anyone buy one, "never-ever, not-in-their-lifetime-or-anyone-else's" not until the register has been opened and a scientific and completely different approach is adopted to their breeding. Then just only maybe.’

      Who do you think you are? Who the hell is waiting for YOUR recommendation? And, btw, have you ever owned a Mastiff? Or are you only talking out of your neck in the hope to get some selfsatisfaction$ amongst the herd of pedigree dog haters? Your desire to see them (the OEMC) lumped with even more welfare issues reveals malicious pleasure. Bashing aside, what have you done for the welfare of the Mastiff breed?

      PS – A lot of people here try to profile themselves as self-declared experts in health, genetics, modern science. But trying to find here a concrete meaningful example thereto is as searching a needle in a haystack. What remains are the usual platitudes (a/o those who don’t agree their agenda are clueless). It needs more than that to convince people who are actively involved into this breed. Yours sincerely.

    4. Wynants, do people criticising unethical breeding practices automatically render them pedigree dog haters? You have experience in your 'breed' but it is outdated and you clearly lack any relevant education for any other people to take anything you have to say at all seriously. In fact, what you are actually doing to your dogs is ruining them. So, who really is the hater when you are actually harming dogs by refusing to acknowledge the universally scientific truth that genetic diversity is the key to evolutionary success.

      Very sad and pathetically insecure....

    5. And I forgot to add, people on here generally care for the welfare of the canine species, irrespective of breed. Your very problem is that you are far too focused on breeds. And caught up in a world which is arguably a whole load of nonsense. If you really were serious about the dogs then you would behave like a responsible adult and thank these people for taking the time to share some rational views based on empiricism.

    6. Heavens alive no I've never owned an OEM. I am genuinely sad to say I never want to own one either.

      Most dogs I've owned have been working dogs and I don't consider the OEM a working type but rather a tragic liability instead.

      I have owned and bred working Mastiffs, though. I have been for many many years before PDE actively instrumental in keeping an open register for that particular mastiff breed and as far as possible to keep them being registered by organisations like the KC who demand a closed one.

      A truly functional working mastiff is a magnificent thing and will always appeal to me.

      Yes I can recommend other mastiff breeds to whomever is interested in them, no I can't the OEM to quote the infinitely quotable doyenne of the OEMC Betty J. Baxter, so many have simply lost it".

    7. wynants, when asked if you have read The Prince you did not proffer an answer, but you happily name call by saying , Machiavellian principles"
      So who the hell are you to call the kettle black. Jemima says, "Personally"she does not infer she is some great authority unlike you seem to think you are.
      Referring to people who do not share your views as "pedigree haters" is no better than what you would expect from a five year old in the playground name calling. Showing that you certainly are no expert either.

  6. I was at this meeting,

    Bettys breed notes are not a true account of what was said

    1. Very happy to add a clarification if someone wants to contact me.

  7. Added - One of the weak arguments in the colour matter is the presumption that the present Mastiff breed lacks genetic diversity. There indeed was the early post-war bottleneck which brought the breed almost to extinction. Few ones survived. Presently, the Mastiff breed is one of the most, if not the most, diverse in physical appearance. An appearance which is determined by internal (genotypical) & external (rearing) factors. Feeding & exercising may make some difference but cannot be held responsible for the huge scala of different overall types, specific points & sizes, that in all three dimensions. So, please, explain the phenomenal variety within this very breed without pointing out to the intrinsically large genetic diversity including the reported & hidden outcrosses along the long way. You see, the so-called argument of poor genetic diversity makes no sense at all. The disputed colour matter is only a very tiny part of that kaleidoscope.

    1. If there has been no genetic material added since that bottleneck, then there is little genetic diversity in the breed. Sure, there could have been some ingress of "other" blood - but, really, breeder selection alone can account for the variation in type. Sealyham Terriers sometimes have COIs in the 80s - not far off being clones of each other genetically - but still with some variation in type. There'd be no point in showing them otherwise.

  8. And, the circus Wynants is in town...

    “your repetitive name calling thereto is quite counterproductive. Do you realise that it only polarises people instead of bringing them together in order to improve matters of health?”

    With this platitude, you have attempted to place yourself in a position of mediation and assumed high moral ground, though given the previous labelling of “endless cheap slandering”, “SITTING behind your computer” and “pedigree dog haters”, you are guilty of EXACTLY that of which you accuse others.

    So, let’s get it straight Marcel: Not all of us here are pedigree dog haters!
    Some of us disagree with the uninformed approach taken by breeders and their custodian clubs, which has led ultimately to the decline in health of many breeds. When we have approached clubs respectfully and honestly to open dialogues, the overwhelming response is one of negation and dismissals. They have dug in their heels & refused to objectively examine the science. Mainly, as when they do it highlights that they are the ones advocating and inflicting the damage onto their canine charges through the promulgation of antiquated breeding practices.

    Your broad brush statements in support of a club committee populated by those with no demonstrable education in population genetics & breed health, are words that are truly damaging.

    You would be more accurate in saying that the pure dog breeders are “haters of anything they do not understand about modern genetics”.
    That statement at least could be weighted with facts.

    Betty’s notes were published in the breed notes of the website. It is presented above WORD FOR WORD. It is not a partial comment as you try to mislead readers here into accepting. It is the opening paragraph of her piece and the only part that addresses the Pied issue.

    You present a red herring - nothing more, and the readers here are intelligent enough to see through your logical fallacies.

    So where is my evidence you may ask?
    Simple Marcel. Take an honest look at the Mastiffs which are irreparably damaged by adherence to outdated breeding practices within closed stud books. A pale shadow of their former glory, constructed for the vanity of humans to chase ribbons, increase puppy prices, attain meaningless certificates and collect false kudos.
    It is shameful to ignore the reality in front of our eyes.
    It is an insult for you to insist we do so.

    As to your speech regarding River P and the hell reference, I’m sure there will be a response that you can equally dismiss with more personal attacks, heated words and facile insinuation. I'm actually looking forward to it old chap, as you are obviously out of your depth on many levels apart from a vast historical knowledge that has little application to real world issues in declining breed health.

    Your PS is typical of most who have no education in population genetics and are truly afraid of those that do. As you don’t understand what is being said, you attempt to invalidate the study and research of others who have a keen interest in educating themselves for the purpose of gaining understanding to save our beloved breeds.
    You say “But trying to find here a concrete meaningful example thereto is as searching a needle in a haystack”
    Well, have you ever ASKED for such an example?
    The only words I have ever seen from you in this and other forums, is the law according to Marcel, with no room for any other point of view. It obviously is beneath you to ask advice about anything - for judging by your body of work, you apparently know what is best for everyone. This 'cluelessness' you infer is most apt and it has been repeatedly demonstrated. Just look elsewhere.

    You see, in reality we are not purebred haters. We love our pure breed dogs and want the absolute best for them. We search for answers on the cutting edge of science to improve that which we have been left by dysfunctional husbandry methods.

    We do not rely solely on dusty tomes promoting form above function, cosmetics above health and vanity above common sense.

    1. That, Mr Willshire, is a brilliant post.

    2. Ditto J@08:19.

      I'm not entirely sure whether wynants isn't just putting up the ignorant front or not. That wiki quote has me thinking, though.

      Im particularily hoarse on the subject having endlessly repeated myself over many long years so Im suggesting for them some good reading.

      A good place to start then in my opinion for anyone and including beginners on the subject besides this blog itself is the very well written and conveniently accessible Border Wars. Christopher Landauer's "interest in genetics began in AP Chemistery and AP Biology and were honed at Stanford UNI......."

      Some more pertinent "chapters", though I suggest reading it all as its a facinating subject, the first few in particular in response to their wiki quote on the subject of diverse ancestory :

      Im sure there is a lot more than i can find in three minutes.

  9. I feel that your excellent work and ceaseless devotion warrants no less than my full support Ms Harrison.

  10. Wiki quote –‘If a population of a species has a very diverse gene pool then there will be more variety in the traits of individuals of that population and consequently more traits for natural selection to act upon to select the fittest individuals to survive.’

    The huge variety –‘in the traits of individuals of’ the Mastiff breed may be therefore also an apparent consequence of its – ‘very diverse gene pool’. It may guarantee honest breeders more traits for sound selection practices. Well, self-declared scientific minds, what you say?

    It should be longwinded to react upon every silly comment, except for some really nice one ‘created’ 26 April at 16.43 wherein is stated a/o – ‘very sad and pathetically INSECURE...’ by ... hear hear... ANONYMOUS... It makes my day amongst pedigree dog haters, including those who are eventually considering to make, p ex, a Boerboel outcross in order to improve the Mastiff breed! Finally, it’s not because one isn’t able to be succesful at show level that everything there is wrong, isn’t it?

    1. Goodness. Whether or not the Mastiff gene pool is very diverse or not is not something you know by *looking* at the dogs - unless perhaps there is an enormous difference. But looking at the dogs trotting round the show-ring, they look pretty similar to me. Is there a breed database? Your answer will be there - unless there have been a huge number of sneaky outcrosses. And if there has, consider yourself lucky... might hold off the effect of a closed gene pool for a wee bit longer. If there hasn't been a lot of outcrossing, the dogs today descend from a very small number of founders whose lines survived the bottleneck and they cannot POSSIBLY be genetically diverse (unless perchance Mastiff breeders haven't been breeding them like everybody else does in other KC breeds). From what I hear (and happy to be corrected) you have dogs that are dying young, decreasing fertility, small litters and immune issues. All possible evidence of inbreeding depression.

    2. Wynants, I breed Cavaliers and if your theory is right, with the extensive different types and colouring in the breed, then we don't need to worry, as basically with your theory, we have enough genetic diversity for the ovum to select healthy sperm (Yes, the ovum selects the sperm, Hope your brain can take that idea) to breed away from health issues. You are absolutely hilarious wynants.
      That wiki quote is being totally used out of context, I would advise you to read up on genetics rather than just picking out bits that you think makes your point of view right. A good place to start would be to read, The Britannica guide to Genetics, always best to start with something on genetics not to taxing for purebreedists, don't want your brain exploding now do we.

  11. Diversity in one or two phenotypes only means there is genetic diversity in those few genes that control the one or two phenotypes. What about the genes that are not involved with the phonotypes defined by a breed standard? All genes (even those that produce traits not visible to a breed ring judge) are considered when evaluating genetic diversity.

  12. Undeniably, we do have many disorders in the breed. In the UK, the Farrell et al. (2015) study published in Canine Genetics & Epidemiology, identified 17 genetic disorders for the Mastiff and there are undoubtedly many more in the gene-pool that haven’t yet been identified. The Mastiff is not a popular breed in the UK so not a lot of testing has been done there to identify its disorders. There are some disorders that are known to occur in purebred Mastiffs that have not been listed in the Farrell report. Some of these include bloat, wobblers, cancer & mast cell tumours, chondrodysplasia & uterine inertia.

    Presently the Mastiff is recognized by the UK Kennel Club as a vulnerable breed. There are only 8 registered breeders listed with the UK Kennel Club and its popularity ranking for the Mastiff is 84. In any case, the breed’s identified disorders are already numerous and this requires careful management, simply because we don’t have the luxury of getting rid of carriers from such a tiny gene-pool. If only 1% of the population are affected by a particular disorder, 18% of the population are likely to be carriers for the disorder. If 5% of the population are affected, 32% are likely to be carriers, so you can see why getting rid of carriers is just not a practical option in most cases.

    Variations in phenotype within a breed are certainly no indication of healthful levels of diversity, just as perfect, ‘to standard’ phenotype, is no indication of breed purity. In the show ring a third generation back-crossed dog can look indistinguishable from its purebred counterparts. One has to be careful not to take Wiki quotes out of the context of purebred dog breeding.

    The Mastiff as a whole is showing all the classic symptoms of inbreeding depression- a predictable consequence of the bottlenecks it has endured. There may currently be 10,000 Mastiffs worldwide but their pedigrees can all be traced back to just 16 dogs. Add genetic drift, selective breeding, popular sires, inbreeding and line breeding to this equation and you can be sure that the breed’s effective population size is in single digits. This is so even if we take into consideration some indiscriminate out-crosses.

    So how do we manage a breed with low levels of diversity? Firstly, a pedigree data base is needed. We've been working on one for the past two years and can give our breeder friends a fairly good idea of what their true co-efficient of inbreeding (COI) values are. This is immensely helpful information for breeders to have when deciding which dogs to breed together. We are continually working with others to expand the database & in Holland, interns from one of the universities there are starting a full assessment of the state of the breed in Holland. The same university has previously worked with the Dutch KC on assessments for other breeds.

    We cannot stop the breed from going extinct while it exists only within the confines of a closed stud book. The best that purebred breeders can do at this time is try to slow down the breed’s rate of extinction by keeping their COI values low & locating clusters of diversity within the breed.
    To stop the breed from going extinct, sanctioned outcrosses to other breeds will have to be undertaken. Many breed clubs are now involved in outcrossing programs in order to prevent further degeneration of their own respective breeds & the UK KC supports these programs.

    The Boerboel could indeed be a good out-cross option for the Mastiff but some Boerboels are quite overdone and I wouldn't recommend these types. I probably wouldn't use a Boerboel myself, as I would prefer to maximize genetic variability and not combine breeds that have shared inherited disorders.

    Pedigree dog haters? Not us! We love our own pedigree Mastiffs and want the very best for all Mastiffs. We advocate for the expansion of the gene-pool and just get very frustrated at breed clubs that make rulings which effectively do the opposite.

  13. Well done River P.

    We know Christopher well and are proud to call him friend.
    His articles, (some of which you've listed) are all excellent & well researched.
    He is as smart as a whip and we are lucky to have the “Border Wars” site accessible with its wealth of information.


  14. Quotes – ‘One has to be careful not to take Wiki quotes out of the context of purebred dog breeding.’– ‘Variations in phenotype within a breed are certainly no indication of healthful levels of diversity’. Please, explain these as my impression here reminds me at some dogmatic quote re historical knowledge (see 4th alinea) .

    Btw, purebred Mastiffs don’t exist. They actually are only ‘recorded’ as purebred by resp canine bodies. Preaching doomsday is a quite usual political tool to push people into the direction aimed at. Taking into account that much has to be done in order to improve the breed’ overall life quality, the Mastiff population has never been more numerous & world wide spread than at present-day. Perhaps a thousandfold compared to the early post-war years when the breed was at its nadir. So, a weak attempt of intimidation. I don’t know the proportional number of not recognised coloured Mastiffs within your presumed overall breed number of 10.000 but I should be surprised if it exceeds the one percent bound. It should be too apparent to consider this tiny contingent as, one for one individually, way superior re breeding purpose thereby presuming those individuals only belong to the same gene pool. Re the so-called value added of not recognised coloured Mastiffs , much is presumed, nothing is proven.

    Another number story may be of interest, ie those who look at the show-ring need to realise they look to, perhaps, less than one percent of the breed population. It seems rather odd to make conclusions based upon such a tiny part of the whole. If you are familiar with a substantial number of Mastiffs outside the show scene, you’re not inclined to consider them pretty alike. Believe me, the range of breed diversity is hallucinant.

    I read somewhere here that historical knowledge has little application to real world issues in declined breed health. Yes, especially if it’s not coming from those self-declared scientific wonders. They and they only may use it to demonstrate ‘photographically’ the fitness & soundness of specimens long gone by (see - amongst the so many examples throughout this blog – the following thread Holt Fatness) or in case of the Mastiff matter referring to a/o ‘artistic’ illustrations of dogs from even before the era of dog shows and packaged in romantically perfumed scenery, that in the hope to make their point(s). When is history outdated en when is it valuable?

    The answer here seems to be clear – it’s only important if its suits the general agenda of this blog. But they cunningly omit to say that such glorified olden dogs (see the so many photographs in PDE) were bred according to old rules, and typically also a complete silence re inbreedingsco├źfficient, age of death, size of litters (fertility), immune issues, &c, in the then respective breeds thereto. No records? It all doesn’t matter (or forget it), as the message is/shall be - look simply at the dog photograph I kindly present you and do firmly believe what I’m trying to say because it all is true...

    1. Are you blind boy ? The dogs that you breed for the show ring in most working breeds would struggle to do the job they would of been bred for and the dogs in photos past could and did do the job they were bred for. I have no doubt that they were inbred as it was the thing done at that time and had health issues, but two wrongs don't make a right. Your argument becomes increasingly weak.

    2. "The range of breed diversity is hallucinant" You actually believe you can evaluate your breeds diversity with just your eyes. You have obviously chosen ignorance.

    3. Marcel I’m short on time so will have to make this quick. The variations we see in the Mastiff are not broad ranging. Mastiffs whether show stock or pet stock or farm stock all basically conform to the standard. I have seen all types of Mastiffs and in most cases I can easily distinguish which are English Mastiffs. Population size plays a large role in what diversity is present in a breed. Populations of animals inevitably get inbred over time and breeds that stem from small numbers of founders get inbred and go extinct quicker.

      Of course I know that Mastiffs didn’t fall off the ark. The breed was created by mixing breeds. The modern Mastiff is classified as a purebred now because it can only breed with other Mastiffs in the stud book.

      I’m not preaching doomsday, I telling you the reality of the situation. I don’t know how many Mastiffs there are worldwide. I said previously that there MAY be 10,000. Who knows there may be 50,000 whatever the number is, the effective population size is still likely to be in single digits if all of them can be traced back to just 16 Mastiffs. Last year less than 70 Mastiffs were registered in the UK.

      Pieds no doubt make up only tiny fraction of the total Mastiff population but keep in mind that if 1% of the population are pieds, 18% of the population will be carrying the pied gene. I have never said that pieds are the saviours of the breed – the denial of their position as Mastiffs however is damaging to the gene –pool.

      We have used historical images to show original English Mastiff type and to prove the authenticity of pieds. Nothing more or less. You have gathered an enormous amount of pedigree information but are not doing anything with it. You could build a fantastic database that could benefit Mastiffs worldwide. My pedigrees go back to the 1840’s in my database. How far could you trace back your pedigrees?

  15. Quite funny to read once again brand new posts by ANONYMOUS people who, of course, have the guts to remain incognito. The first one more than hilarious repeating – ‘wiki quote is being totally used out of context’, that once again without giving any explanation. The person in question seems therefore not clever enough to argument the repeated quote. So, in full despair, he/she fobbs off the reader here by simply referring to Britannica. The 2nd one is even better, he/she is not blind but seemingly has some sixth sense and, not hampered by any form of reservation, he/she oracles that the dogs in photos past were fit for the job they were bred for. Once again, NO explanation. Really convincing plea, especially for yourself!

    1. The wiki quote does not support your idea of diversity because your idea of a diverse gene pool is just based on the external look of an animal, but gene diversity is more than just looks because their is more going on inside than on the outside of an animal. For example if your theory is right it would be okay for me to produce offspring with my brother/sister, because he/she does not look like me or my father/mother because he/she does not look like me or perhaps my son/daughter because he/she does not look like me, but we have known for a long time that incest causes genetic problems even if the incest is between relatives who don't look like each other.
      The quote you use is about the whole of an animal not just the look of an animal, that is why it is out of context. Could you provide the wiki link or the author of the quote or the paper it is quoted from, so as we can read it in the context of the article or paper it was in ?

    2. The quote you use wynants is about species (Please, you don't think Mastiffs are a species, do you now) and natural selection 'Natural selection: The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, organisms that are better adapted to their environment tend to survive longer and transmit more of their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations than do those that are less well adapted.'

      'Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans breed other animals and plants for particular traits.'
      And in the process of selective breeding we know it reduces genetic diversity, even the KC agrees on that one 'Recent research demonstrates that for many breeds of dog genetic diversity is being lost generation after generation and in future dog breeders will need to start to manage these losses in genetic diversity in order to minimize the potentially serious risks that are associated with increasing loss of genetic diversity.'

  16. OK, I think that's enough now - this is not going anywhere. Unless there is some new info to add or a view that moves this on, I will not approve your comment.

  17. A lot of presumptions has been made. So, once again, the 1st part of my post 27 April 11:25 goes as following - Wiki quote –‘If a population of a species has a very diverse gene pool then there will be more variety in the traits of individuals of that population and consequently more traits for natural selection to act upon to select the fittest individuals to survive.’The huge variety –‘in the traits of individuals of’ the Mastiff breed may be therefore also an apparent consequence of its – ‘very diverse gene pool’. It may guarantee honest breeders more traits for sound selection practices. Well, self-declared scientific minds, what you say? -

    Yes, more traits for sound selection practices. Why on earth these words should exclude traits regarding the inside of the animal in question, the Mastiff. Or do you want to suggest that honest breeders only make selections based upon cosmetics? Btw, I even know breeders who select upon longevity in good health; they primarily prefer to use quite old aged quality studs who are still in good form & health.

    My very eyes can only see that the Mastiff breed is indeed very diverse in physical appearance; those who may have X-ray type of eyes can, of course, presume that the Mastiff breed is very poorly diversed re internal matters, ie skeletally, organically, physiologically, &c. I understand that genetics are immensely complex and therefore apt to lack of consensus, but simplified here, such a presumption presents a large straddle between the respective amounts of genetic diversity responsible for physical appearance vs genetic diversity responsible for the inner ‘works’ of the breed in question. This is not quite logical. So please explain this apparent incongruence in such a supposition?

    Wiki quote – ‘The observable phenomenon of hybrid vigor stands in contrast to the notion of breed purity. HOWEVER, ON THE OTHER HAND, INDISCRIMINATE BREEDING OF CROSSBRED OR HYBRID ANIMALS MAY ALSO RESULT IN DEGRADATION OF QUALITY. Studies in evolutionary physiology, behavioral genetics, and other areas of organismal biology have also made use of deliberate selective breeding, though longer generation times and greater difficulty in breeding can make such projects challenging in vertebrates.’ [11] Swallow, JG; Garland; Jr (2005). "Selection experiments as a tool in evolutionary and comparative physiology: insights into complex traits—an introduction to the symposium" (PDF). Integr Comp Biol 45 (3): 387–390. doi:10.1093/icb/45.3.387. PMID 21676784.[12] Garland T, Jr. (2003). Selection experiments: an under-utilized tool in biomechanics and organismal biology. Ch. 3, Vertebrate Biomechanics and Evolution ed. Bels VL, Gasc JP, Casinos A. PDF[13] Garland T, Jr., Rose MR, eds. (2009). Experimental Evolution: Concepts, Methods, and Applications of Selection Experiments. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

    You can read here (in capitals) that indiscrimate crossbreeding seems not to be the solution, on the other hand, I’ve never supported INDISCRIMINATE breeding of so-called purebred Mastiffs but only breedings well thought over taking into account the physical, temperamental, physiological, &c, aspects of the respective pairings intended.

    1. You don't need x-ray vision, DNA recording in breeds can give you an understanding how how much diversity you have and it would be good that Breed Clubs and the KC make it mandatory to DNA dogs, we already have it in other selectively bred species.
      It is common sense that if you cross two breeds that have hip problems, the chances are you will not improve the condition, as crossing two breeds with a high occurance of a heart condition would be madness, but if you are breeding pure breeds this common sense seems not to be applied and if so very liberally. Pretty much been covered on here that you can have bad crossbreeding, as you have bad pure breeding. The bad thing about pure breeding, is the shut off of gene pools and slowly the breed pool condenses further losing genetic diversity.
      Pure breeding is like the fundamentalist group broken away from selective breeding, because selective breeding is not pure breeding, selective breeding is selecting two animals with certain traits to breed together, pure breeding is the extremist branch of selective breeding with shut off gene pools that are breeding themselves into extinction.
      You seem to be implying that cross breeding if done is always indiscriminate, so what are your thoughts on discriminate crossbreeding then ?
      You do understand that your quote actually confirms that when they did deliberate selective breeding over time they had greater difficulty breeding, 'Studies in evolutionary physiology, behavioral genetics, and other areas of organismal biology have also made use of deliberate selective breeding, though longer generation times and greater difficulty in breeding can make such projects challenging in vertebrates' so sort of makes the argument against shutting off gene pools.
      It would be interesting for you to post a scientific paper that supports extreme selective breeding which is the ideology of pure breeding, the shutting off of small gene pools within a species. I suspect you may struggle with that one. Why are you posting papers studying evolution and natural selection ?

    2. Don't know how representative teh findigns are, but thsi shows the relative heterozygosity of tweh mastiff breed based on samples by Genescoper. It would seem the breed is no worse than dogs in Median of 28.9 compared to 28.3 for all dogs, the higher the figure the higer the level of heterozygosity.

      I compared to my own breed which has a median of 25.8% which is a numerically strong breed in Scanindavia but a minority breed outside.

      The KC MYKC system shows the average COI (UK KC system of calculation, taking into account all generations of pedigree data available) in Mastuff's as 13.3% compared to my breed with 3.8%.

      Would be interesting to finf out why the difference between UK theoretical inbreeding levels, or those based on the actual herezygosity levels in the DNA tested dogs?

    3. Jen Willshire5 May 2015 at 04:46

      The unfortunately the MyDogDNA stats aren’t giving us much useful information at this time. Too few Mastiffs have been tested for the figures to be able to mean anything. There are only 13 Mastiffs listed publically in their system and the majority of them belong to us, the rest belong to our friends. MyDogDNA has a great platform so if other Mastiff breeders would use it, the figures would start to mean something. Keep in mind though that their genetic health index only takes into account known inherited disorders, specific to the breed, for which they are testing. This is only a fraction of the total number of inherited disorders found in the breed.

      The average COI values that the UK KC puts out are not TRUE values because they don’t use pedigree information on imported dogs past the first few generations. If they went all the way back on the imported Mastiff’s they would tie back in with domestic stock and the average COI value for the breed would go a lot higher than 13.3%. The current average COI of 13.3% is already high - it’s over the depression threshold. I know show breeders who have litters with higher COI’s, based on just 5 generations of pedigree information! It’s really shocking that such close breeding’s are still being done on already inbred dogs.

  18. You’re right. Now a question, is there a full DNA recording re the Mastiff breed? No? Well, how can you know that the breed’s genetic diversity should be small? And yes, avoiding the doubling up of same faults is a very important keystone in breeding practices and I cannot put my hand into the fire saying that all Mastiff breeders act in such a way. There always are/shall be the ones whose main aim is to make some fast profit but I’m sure those ones who are honestly dedicated to the welfare of the breed try to improve the breed as much as possible.

    As already mentioned, there are so many potential chances re health issues and extensive DNA testing thereto may bring some relief but it still remains an impossible task to exclude the doubling up of carriers (or affected/carrier) for every recorded disease in each pairing, that for purebreds as well as crossbreds.

    I’ve also made allusion here that the Mastiff breed since the early post-war years never has been more numerous & world wide spread than present-day. So I don’t see your point re breeding themselves into extinction. This present popularity may not hamper the efforts to improve the state of the breed, especially re overall welfare of each individual.

    Where or how should I’ve implied – quote ‘that cross breeding if done is always indiscriminate’. I presume that discriminate crossbreeding has been done in the breed, p ex the only surviving & usable brood in Britain Coldblow Sally has been paired to Templecoombe Torus, according to several sources , reputedly or a Bull Mastiff or a Mastiff/Bull Mastiff cross. It was a question of high need (no usable Mastiff stud available). Later on there were rumours that Havengore breeder Mrs Scheerboom should have done a St Bernard cross, seemingly with success because the Havengore strain became the source of a number of quality kennels. A number of early post-war imports a/o the Heatherbelles were also rumoured to have carried foreign blood, ie Bull-Mastiff. It was a time of breed survival!

    Presently, I see no reason for some outcross. What’s the gain? Importing perhaps even other genetic problematics of another breed? It’s not that simple. You label purebred breeding as ‘extreme’ selective breeding. I call it selective breeding about which, as you may know, much has been written. Nothing is black or white in such matters. Much depends upon the way it is done.

    1. Tit for tat. So how do you know it is diverse ? You just blew yourself out of the water again by actually without DNA how do I know if the gene pool is small, because how do you know the gene pool is large. I forgot because you look at them.
      Lots written about the process of using selective breeding to create a pure breed, but not much written about the virtues of small closed off gene pools, please enlighten me to those scientific papers.

    2. If you just look at the information available for Mastiffs in the UK. Very low registering of pups which is decreasing annually, their average COI is already in the teens and they are marked down with the KC as a vulnerable breed. Just looking at this on a scale of probability. The probability of a small gene pool lacking diversity is much higher than the probability of a large diverse gene pool.

  19. Classified by the KC as a vulnerable breed.Only 124 pups registered in the UK in 2014 and over the last five years pup registration has dropped by 21% in the UK and you presently see no reason for some outcross. How low do the numbers need to get before you see a reason ? I suspect the answer will be, "When it is to late"

    Could you give a straight answer, do you agree or not agree with discriminate cross breeding ? A simple yes or no will do.

    Simple using a quote about indiscriminate crossbreeding, shows you are trying to imply all cross breeding is bad or otherwise you would of explained the context it is used in the quote and as no one is asking to do indiscriminate cross breeding your quote really proves nothing to your case. For example it actually says, 'The observable phenomenon of hybrid vigor' which agrees that if done well a crossbreed benefits and only warns that if cross breeding is done without care like pure breeding it can be detrimental.
    Pure breeding is only a type of selective breeding. In farming we use selective breeding, breeding for traits using pure and cross breeding. Pure breeders thinking selective breeding is only pure breeding is like religion thinking you can only have faith or morals if you believe in one of their Gods.
    There are many books on using selective breeding, I have yet to read a scientific paper extolling the virtues of small closed off gene pools in dogs.If you know of such a paper could you share it with us, please.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I was looking forward to answering that one, Wynants!

  21. Quote 1– ‘Just in case you're in any doubt:• there have been no reported health/skin problems associated with the piebald colour in Mastiffs.’ – Re pied Mastiffs much has been hidden unnecessarily, please enlighten us to those scientific papers which confirm your statement.

    Quote 2 • if Lyn McKevett and John Bromley have been accurately represented here, I suggest they do a bit more research in order to understand the basic principles of inheritance of a recessive disorder. It is not the case that "if there is just one pied in a litter, then all the other puppies are carriers for the pied gene".’ - Suggestion is received well . So, please, in order to place that ‘one pied in a litter’ case into context, please read Is it not your direction of research, is it all wrong or is there a ‘missing’ link which might reveal the proof of your - ‘it is not the case’-?

  22. Correction: In my earlier post I wrote that the UK Kennel Club had registered less than 70 Mastiffs last year, this is incorrect. Anonymous 29 April 2015 at 17:04 gave the correct number, in 2014 the UK Kennel Club registered 124 Mastiffs. Still a very low number of registrations.

  23. Just found this on Border Wars Blog facebook page
    It is a very good article looking at the recent list of vulnerable breeds published by the KC, which the Mastiff is on and may help some who don't seem able to comprehend that the Mastiff is in trouble, to understand why the Mastiff is a vulnerable breed.

  24. This was posted to the Standard Poodle FB group, and probably others. Anyone in doubt should follow this link and read.