Friday, 10 April 2015

The Old English Dinosaur Club

Click to enlarge

The above statement has just appeared on the UK's Old English Mastiff Club website - the final word (or so the Club hopes) on the issue of pied (piebald) Mastiffs.

So now you know. In the eyes of the Club, pied Mastiffs are considered... deviant.


Sure, the word can be used benignly in the sense of "divergent", "non-typical" or "anomalous". But  the popular use of the word describes something perverted, malignant or nefarious. Sex offenders and killers.  How telling that the Club uses it - surely pure belligerence.

I have written at some length on the battle to get pied Mastiffs recognised before (see here). But to re-cap:

• pied mastiffs were accepted in the breed's original (1880) breed standard

• despite attempts to rid the breed of the colour, pied pups continue to be born from time to time (the piebald gene is recessive). Pied pups are either quietly disposed of or sold off cheap to pet homes.

• There have been no health issues in pied Mastiffs relating to the colour. 

• DNA tests have confirmed that piebald Mastiffs are indubitably purebred Mastiffs, and not the result of a sneaky behind-the-bikesheds liaison with another breed.

• The route of the colour-bar in Mastiffs (and indeed in some other breeds) has its roots in repellant Victorian racist propaganda about mixed race and "mongrelization" in humans
Source: Genocide and Settler Society by Dirk Moses
Seriously, there is NO place for this in this day and age. Not here. Not now.  

If you don't want pied Mastiffs in the show-ring... fine. But they need to be accepted for registration by all Kennel Clubs and their colour needs to be recorded accurately. Currently, those KCs that will register the dogs list them either as "colour not recognised/undesirable" or only as their base colour - apricot, fawn or brindle.

This beautiful pied Mastiff is Opus - born and bred by Simon and Jen Willshire of Gammonwood Mastiffs in New South Wales, who have led the campaign to get the colour recognised.

He is fully health-tested and clear of everything. He also has probably the best hips ever seen in the breed.

No matter that you can breed on from Opus and produce solid apricots, fawns and brindles.

Opus is the wrong colour! 

Stupid, anachronistic, bigoted idiots.

Please take a moment to email the officers of  OEMC and let them know what you think. You can find their contact details here.


Leave a comment here or join in the discussion on the Pedigree Dogs Exposed Facebook Group


  1. Madness, as usual. I do hope people email the officers and tell them to leave the piebald mastiffs alone. I don't think it makes much sense for me to write them, though, since I'm against closed gene pool, pure breeding for all animals of any kind.

  2. Miss/Mrs Harrison,

    Re the word ‘deviant’ – historically patched (piebald) Mastiffs were, so far as I know, almost never presented in the showring because their pattern is NOT typical. What reason you may have found to suggest that the OEMC committee should use the word ‘deviant’ in order to offend some people? If no reason, then it seems to me purely NONSENSE.

    You indeed have written to get pied Mastiffs recognised but your argument that they were accepted in the breed’ original (1880) breed standard is INCORRECT because there were already made up several standards by Stonehenge, the first in 1859. None of those pre-1880 standards mention the pied colouring but they do mention that considerable admixture of white is NOT desirable. The 1880 standard was very short-lived, most probably due to lack of support, and even during that short period it had absolutely no monopoly whatever because the then Stonehenge version was still firmly in use.

    You have no argument to generalise that piebald Mastiffs are not the result of cross-breeding because there’s no register available of DNA tests which contains ALL piebald Mastiffs.To compare the colour-bar in Mastiffs to racist propaganda is another non-argument which indicates the Machiavellian principle you’re handling here.

    Finally, the name calling in your penultimate sentence belongs to the school playground and indicates that you’re running completely out of arguments. Yours sincerely.

    1. Wynants, just to bring you into the 21st centuary. If you don't know a humans title and they are female, it is now the practice to use Ms not Miss/Mrs as these are remnants of a Victorian era from where you seem to draw your understanding of breeding.I thought we had moved on, but obviously from your comments, some of you have yet to even get your knuckles off the ground.
      Have you actually read The Prince ? If you ever wanted to give an example in modern day life of the principles written about in the book, you won't go far wrong looking at the structure of breed clubs and showing. The principles in the book are not actually Machiavellian's principles, but those he had observed. Unfortunately most band his name about in the fashion you have just done, but have never read The Prince or know little about Machiavellian.

    2. If the DNA of a piebald Mastiff proves he is the offspring of the parents it has registered as being its parents and neither are piebald. This does however prove it is as Mastiff, as any non-piebald Mastiff with non-piebald parents.
      As you don't have DNA for every Mastiff, you could just as easily make this statement," You have no argument to generalise that any Mastiff could not be the result of cross breeding, because there's no register available of DNA tests which contains all Mastiffs."
      Is that your main worry, that the colour piebald is a marker for being impure ?

  3. so they are in a flap about coat colour, which has no impact on quality of life but the breed standard requires a malocclusion (reverse scissors bite) that absolutely does have a negative impact on quality of life. Imagine biting the floor of your mouth every time you close your mouth. Every day, all of your life. Another ridiculous example of the dog world favoring fashion over function and fitness.

    1. " Another ridiculous example of the dog world favoring fashion over function and fitness"

      I simply cannot understand how some dog breeders do not get how absurd this is.

  4. We’ve never put too much faith in Stonehenge. When we started researching the Mastiff for our documentary series Col David Hancock advised us early on “A research-based script on this subject needs a careful grading of research sources. So much that is written about Mastiffs is simply not true. The only breed book of value is Wynn's book, The History of the Mastiff, first published in 1880. Victorian writers on dogs such as 'Stonehenge' are mainly valueless. Watson is best.”
    That being said we still have references from Stonehenge to Mastiffs with white on them. In his 1867 edition of The Dog, 'Stonehenge' writes on the Mastiff: 'Colour red or fawn with black muzzle, or brindled, or black; or black, red, or fawn with white.'

    In his Book, The History of the Mastiff, (1880), Wynn writes, in The Points of the English Mastiff under Colour: 'Pieds are admissible and equal for purity'.
    Prior to this Wynn wrote “A True Type of the British Mastiff” that was adopted by the Mastiff Breeding Club in 1873 as the Standard of Points in Breeding Mastiffs. Here Wynn stated that “The purest fawns have descended from the most decided brindled and from time to time the white face especially has and will occur and generally in the finest specimens and those which most closely resemble the paintings of their progenitors".

    Prior to this we have Buffons depictions of pieds, and that of Thomas Bewick, Reinagle, Thomas Bell, Sawry Gilpin, Van Dyck,and John Bignall.

    In The American Book of The Dog Chicago (1891) William Wade published a standard for the Mastiff that included pieds even though the OEMC had removed them from the standard 8 years earlier.
    Wade stated, "I give the standard set forth by the original Mastiff Club of England, in preference to that prepared by the present Old English Mastiff Club, as it is simpler, being free from much technicality, and therefore more readily comprehended by the layman. In all essentials the two are substantially the same."

    Color: Fawn, with black ears and muzzle, or good brindles equal pieds are admissible and equal for purity--award no points for color.

    In The Dog Book (1906) James Watson states on page 555, "That the Mastiff of Bewick's (a pied) was typical of all Mastiffs of his day is quite out of the question; but that it was accepted as an excellent illustration of quite a number of Mastiffs is undoubtedly correct"

  5. Simon Willshire10 April 2015 at 23:03

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    You have now been exposed to a comment by the wonderfully witty and tenaciously tacit Marcel Wynants.
    Before this thread gets overrun with a deluge of historical pseudo-justifications and semantic bashing I would like to get a few points across.

    Our learned Mr Wynants, with is his knowledge and position will argue from a point of view of history based on many years of devotion and research into the breed. His knowledge is vast, yet his approach is likewise best left in the ages from where his passion derives.
    The Old Guard is the most appropriate term as he will defend all advances, all manoeuvres, and all reason in opposition to modernity . He will do so with antiquated concepts of purity and a deluge of quasi-truth to rebut and rebuke any change to the damaging standard, which he fully supports.

    The simplest example of this antagonism is his opening sentence where he refers to piebalds as patched. Please don’t take him to task on this as there is probably not enough storage on the servers to cope with the semantic onslaught that will arise if you do.

    Why do I write the above, some may be wondering?
    Those of you who have been privy to the word play of Mr Wynants in the past will have no need to ask. You have already strapped yourselves in for the ride, knowing the winding roads ahead, (or have either taken huge doses of motion sickness tablets or simple sedatives to numb the oncoming diatribes).
    For those of you who have not been privy to this prior spectacle, please consider it simply a heartfelt caution.

    I may be accused by Mr Wynants, (as I have been before), of playing the Man not the ball, and in this case I am - AND with good reason.
    He will offer all sorts of evasions when questioned directly about the points he makes, as he assumes wrongly that everyone will understand him without the need for further clarification. He will offer wonderful straw men arguments and logical fallacies to draw the conversation to a place where he can highlight his own agenda/ego. He will not be able to argue from the genetic or health viewpoint which is the real basis of this argument.

    For this is to what it will be reduced – an overload of words with little or no relevance to modern day issues of breed health and genetic diversity.

    Of course, please don’t take my word for it. Just sit back and grab the popcorn (or a very stiff drink), as the circus is in town. Anyone with a sense of humour, please keep it at the ready…you’re going to need it.


    1. Thanks Si, I just thought he had written a load of Bollox. A Dinosaur indeed.....but aren't they extinct? As will be many breeds of dogs if people refuse to educate themselves and catch up with the 21st century. Science and ethics anyone?

    2. I had posted this elsewhere but I see its needed here rather urgently.

      Science and ethics indeed @Nonymouse 08:36.

      Biomed Central,

      THE CHALLENGES OF PEDIGREE DOG HEALTH: approaches to combating inherited disease
      Lindsay L Farrell*, Jeffrey J Schoenebeck, Pamela Wiener, Dylan N Clements and Kim M Summers

      "The propagation of breed specifications and registration restrictions, such as the rule that a dog can only be registered within a breed if both its sire and dam are registered, has resulted in reproductive isolation of dogs of each breed, creating the “breed barrier”."

      Why the urgency to get the pied(s) registered? Why not carry on outside KC registration, using both registered and non registered dogs?

      "The loss of genetic diversity....and promotion of the breed barrier rule, contributed to overall loss in genetic variation"

      Yes we shouldn't lose the pieds(s).

      Popular sire syndrome. Genetic bottlenecks etc, inbreeding to maintain breed standards, known to be a significant causative factor in the number of inherited disorders in specific breeds....

      Show casing the healthy unregistered Jack Russell

      "However, not all breeds exhibit a loss of genetic variability. In a recent UK study, several breeds were shown to maintain a high degree of genetic diversity, in particular the Jack Russell Terrier, which showed extensive admixture and very low levels of inbreeding [19]. The Jack Russell is not recognized as a breed by the Kennel Club in the UK......This provides UK Jack Russell breeders with a broader pool of potential mates for their animals, because it avoids the registration restrictions discussed above, maximising genetic diversity within the breed."

      "Undoubtedly outcrossing will increase heterozygosity and reduce the frequency of disease-causing alleles in a breed. "

      Im wondering if the KC who supposedly contributes funds to this research isn't turning in its grave. Oops maybe that was premature, at least turning in their sleep. LOL

      Yes "genetic diversity is the key to healthier breeds not simply genetic testing and exclusion of dogs with KNOWN genetic mutaions."

      Isn't it time breeders took the bit in the teeth and were brave enough to stand up for their breeds outside of the KC. Im convinced even the general population would applaud, and the bless dogs would be healthier for it.

      Honestly you can still call your dogs pure bred if you really want to but that might instead actualy put off the general public.

    3. Im seeing a Punch like cartoon here, elegant ladies and portly gentlemen sipping (what else) punch set up in the great outdoors when a magnificent deviant piebald Old English wanders by causing splutters and popcorn spilling uproar.

      To set the secene the same magazine (Punch) declared the Irish the missing link between the gorilla and the Negro in one of its 1950's editions.

  6. They could just as easily pitch this colouring as "rare" and therefore "desirable". ;)

    Personally, I think it's delightful. I'd count myself lucky if such a cute patchy pup turned up in a litter.

  7. I have just finished reading "My Steve", a book written about Steve Irwin, Australian naturalist and conservationist, by his wife, Terri Irwin.

    A very powerful comment made by Steve was this:
    "“One day, we’ll look back on wildlife harvesting projects and things like croc farming the same way we look back on slavery and cannibalism. It will simply be a unbelievable part of human history. We’ll get so far beyond it that it will be something we will never, ever return to”.

    I think the same sentiments will apply to labelling a pure bred dog as “deviant”, based purely on its colour genetics.

    1. Steve Irwin's comment has some evidence attached to it. If you read Dr. Stephen Pinker's 'The Better Angels of our Nature', we are becoming less violent as a species. He has the data in there and it is very encouraging.

      The fact we are discussing the poor ethics of purebred dog breeding right now is a really good thing. It will improve as the educated people will drive the necessary changes

  8. "If you don't want pied Mastiffs in the show-ring... fine. But they need to be accepted for registration by all Kennel Clubs and their colour needs to be recorded accurately. Currently, those KCs that will register the dogs list them either as "colour not recognised/undesirable" or only as their base colour - apricot, fawn or brindle."

    Im not sure why the need to have them registered at all. A flourishing population of pieds or Old English mastiffs in general outside closed stud books sounds jolly nice to me???

    If we can get over breed purity hang ups and the need for registration to prove such the word "deviant" has a rather pleasing allure to it that Im quite chuffed about. LOL

    It leaves room for genetic diversity and importantly the ability to turn the Old English Mastiff into the much improved athletic dog that it should be?

    There is some interesting genetic study on the origins of the spotty (pied) dog in Africanis that might be pertinent here, its not natural at any rate and nor is it exactly desirable in African conditions. As the UK isn't Africa even I must admit that deviant spotty English mastiff is at least lovely to look at.

    Shame on you KC, your loss the Old English Mastiffs gain then.

    [whisper] Might I suggest a dash of more functional blood while we are deviating?[/whisper]

  9. "DNA tests have confirmed that piebald Mastiffs are indubitably purebred Mastiffs, and not the result of a sneaky behind-the-bikesheds liaison with another breed."

    Oh oops you had me going there. Count me out I was getting quite excited about the anti purity sentiment and possibilities, seems the puritanicle Victorians are still winning the race (pun not intended).

  10. Rectification – In my former post I wrongly may have created the impression that the word ‘deviant’ came solely down from the OEMC Committee. For clarity - the ‘Pied Statement’ was taken at the O.E.M. Club Annual General Meeting , namely that 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.

    And concerning Mr Willshire, just like anyone else you’re fully entitled to have your opinion regarding the colour matter and , of course, also regarding my opinion thereto. Btw, Mr Willshire, I’ve ‘received’ replies which were far more degrading but who cares? No big deal here.

    1. I think wynants, you might be economical with the truth there. It's obvious you care what Mr Willshire says, because else, why would you feel the need to proffer any reply to acknowledge his comments about you, in the first place ? I think it might be a bigger deal than you are letting on.
      I'm frankly in wonder as to why the person you think you are, feels the need to comment on here.
      Thanks for clearing the opinion thing up for us, that we are allowed to have opinions that differ to yours, but it's a bit like Animal Farm with pure breeding dogs. All opinions are equal, but some opinions are more equal than others. lol

    2. Opinions are not required. Facts, evidence, science and ethics.

      Everyone has an opinion and if they are grounded in reasoning based on truth and facts, then they are worth expressing and considering.

  11. I don't see the issue here, teh colour is not acceptable in the show ring, same as white GSD or in my breed dogs white markings other than a spot on chest or feet. Nothing to stop them being used for breeding, they just have a fault that would stop them winning in the ring. As the fault is recessive this very healthy male could be used to advantage at stud with bitches that do not carry the recessive trait if the breeder does not want to produce pied puppies.

    1. A fault! Why is it a fault?

    2. Barbara, if only it was as simple as that.
      Unfortunately, some people automatically believe that a show winner is a "better" dog than one that does not win (or can't even be shown) . There is also the dubious distinction of "prestige" attached to breeding to/with a show winner.
      Therefore, more breeders gravitate towards show winners for their own breeding programs. Anyone who reads this blog knows and understands the ramifications of that.
      So here we have a sound, healthy representative of a breed which simply because of its external colour, will not have the same opportunity to contribute to the next generation as the show winner.
      It's just seems so illogical to me.

      Hopefully, some stout-hearted individuals will continue to breed with piebalds, in order to maintain their positive contributions to the breed eg good health and to maintain diversity in the gene pool.

      Who knows... one day in the future, the directors of the breed may hold them in high esteem and regret that they once banned them from the show ring.

  12. Simon Willshire12 April 2015 at 00:22

    The issue at hand once the spin is cleared away is the validity of the Pied dogs themselves.
    Validity not just in terms of the Standard that determines what a Mastiff should look like, validity in what a Mastiff means and IS. This is the proverbial puppy that the club has thrown out with the bathwater.

    For centuries the qualities that are synonymous with the Mastiff have not only been its size, strength and grandeur, but its character - Its devotion, loyalty, protectiveness, kindness, and as Col. David Hancock once said, it’s big heartedness.
    Every Pied mastiff we have known has possessed these traits, IN FULL - They are undeniably and quintessentially Mastiffs.
    To deny them the chance to contribute to an ever reducing gene pool, based ONLY on their colour, is short-sighted and ultimately damaging to a breed with a closed stud book.

    In so terming the Pied “deviant”, the club has completely dismissed the full value of these Pied Mastiffs. They have lessened the breed itself – historically, by denying the fact that the pied dogs have contributed their genes in the past, and genetically, by denying them the full opportunity to contribute their genes in the future. The fact remains that they cannot be fully registered and bred from in some countries, specifically because of this stance.

    Jennifer and I have never denied, (despite contrary assertions), that Pieds may be a result of modern cross breeding- Just as we have maintained that it is equally likely to be older genes making their way through the gene pool. We can only operate on the known facts.
    Fact - Historical artworks depict the pied patterns attributed to the prototypal Mastiff.
    Fact – There are Pieds that are born today and in the past that are the result of Mastiff to Mastiff breeding.

    If you take the side of cross breeding, then by extension, EVERY sibling and ancestor of that particular breeding that produced them is INVALID!
    On a genetic level, these dogs that do not show the markings but nonetheless share the same genes, are no less and no more what is termed a Mastiff. Every single one of these dogs should be deregistered as they are not pure bred.
    Simple right?

    If you take the side of old genes working through, (which anyone in the field of genetics will tell is not only probable it’s almost certain given time and conditions), then the entire argument of genetic invalidity falls apart.

    Regardless of stance, we are left with the powers that be telling us what a Mastiff is – based not on genetics it would seem given the above, but on a cosmetic fancy.

    So let’s look at the powers that be – The OEMC.

    There must be those in the club that have solid grounding in population genetics. How could there not be? What body that claims custodianship of a breed would not have knowledgeable people involved at committee level to advise on the best genetic health of the breed?
    It’s rather odd though, that in our many discussions and debates, these club members have not come forth to argue the genetics in support of the rejection of Pieds.
    They must have examined all of the historical and genetic data available, including the supporting evidence we sent to them for appraisal, and have come to the educated decision that excluding a dog based on colour, limiting the contribution it can make, and lying about the actual colour of its coat on registration forms is undoubtedly the best way forward.

    People have asked us why we have approached the clubs to try to affect this change. Why not just leave the clubs and strike out on our own?
    It’s an interesting question and one that does deserve more than a few words, though in short, it is about the declining health of the Mastiff and the global repercussions for all of the dogs left in this closed stud book that is governed by antiquated thinking.
    We owe all of our great Mastiff friends, no less than to continue to fight for their acceptance.

  13. I emailed the Old English Mastiff Club simply to register my dismay about labelling a dog "deviant' because of its colour.
    I received an answer (quite surprising in itself) about the various meanings of "deviant". That was it- the full extent of their reply!!

    It left me scratching my head. Maybe they themselves don't have any viable arguments as to why they would make such a judgement, other than "this is what we have decided, so that's how it will be".

    Makes me worried about the future of some breeds, if this is the level of thought involved by those who have the responsibility for the future of a breed.

  14. What is probably the most ludicrous aspect of this club's decision is that some dogs are being classified as undesirable on the basis on ONE gene.... one gene from amongst millions!

    Furthermore, this particular gene has no harmful impact on the health or general viability of the dog in any changes nothing about the dog except its colour.

    What a questionable basis on which to determine the future of a breed.

  15. I agree that the state of several breeds where colours that occur naturally are written out of the breed standard is ridiculous. But your constant anthropomorphising and comparing the persons responsible for it to Victorians and Nazis debases your argument. The Australian quote has no relevance to dogs at all; it is simply a racist attitude expressed by a person whom today we would consider stupid, uneducated, a savage, from a time when there was a war between two races. The colour of a dog is a fairly simply inherited trait and does not compare to human concepts of race. I'm not really sure why the pied dog in the picture is described as being 'beautiful' when to me it looks rather exaggerated and dogs with similar features are usually trashed on this website. From the look of all that loose skin on its face, I'd imagine it would have trouble keeping its saliva in its mouth, and I'd imagine gravity and age would take a toll on its very heavily built frame.

    1. Oh yes quite besides this pied dog I don't think the Old English Mastiff as a whole is a very functional animal anymore. I'v seen some simpy terrible ones suffering the same problems as the show great Dane if not worse.

      Maybe time for the creation of the Old Old English Mastiff, open register, pieds all welcome even KC registered mutts, but Im wondering how popular they will be as some far better working mastiffs seem to be already filling in the healthier more functional, athletic niche?

    2. Did you know that back in the day, it was actually debated if Native Americans were actually human and this debate was by what would of been thought the forward thinkers of the time. To anyone just looking at a Native American you can see they are human, just like looking at the Piebald Mastiff, it is obviously a Mastiff. The colour of a persons skin is a fairly simple inherited trait also and the idea of race is exactly the same ideology as breed. The concept is the same, as just like dogs, humans easily inter-race breed, as dogs inter-breed breed. All humans are humans and all dogs are dogs. So the comparision to racism I feel a far one.
      I agree the colour is the least of this manmade breeds problems and the hip scoring is a joke. These big breeds, they now know how to nurse maid them to just over 12 months old, so to get them hip scored as quick as possible, before the hips start to show the strain and then that hip score gets to be the hip score for the life of the dog. Hips reform throughout the life of a dog.
      A mastiff with a good grade at this age, can often go on to have severe hip dysplasia, but that hip score at just over 12 months old will not be changed. For breeding dogs, hips should be scored at least twice, ideally three times during the lifespan of the dog, first between 1 to 3 years old, then between 3 to 5 years old and then over 5, to really get a true picture of hip dysplasia in breeds and to improve the problem in breeds. At the moment breeders are working the system to look like things are improving, but I see to many large breed older dogs with severe hip dysplasia to believe any real improvement is being made other than on paper.

    3. They noted Opus’s birthday wrong on his hip and elbow score sheet. He was actually just over two years of age when he was scored. His birthday is on January 18, 2013 (18/01/13 not 18/10/2013)) and the X-Rays were done on Feb 24, 2015.

      You’d be hard pressed to find a lighter built, less exaggerated English Mastiff than Opus. Just check the latest Crufts and Westminster winners or do a quick search online for images of English Mastiffs. Certainly there is plenty of room for improvement but Opus at least carries his weight effortlessly and is exceedingly agile.

      The piebald coat colour is indeed a very simple inherited trait: So what logical reason can there possibly be for a 21st century breed club not being able to manage the colour, without having to remove the whole dog from the gene-pool? The piebald gene is carried and transmitted exactly the same way as is the long coat gene, and long coated Mastiffs are managed within the breed. Tests exist for both the long coat and piebald genes, so there is really no scientific excuse for decrees that affect the denial of full registration to piebald Mastiffs. The OEMC cannot hold sway in their own country as the UK KC will not deny full registration to purebred dogs based on colour alone. However, in countries where the OEMC can assert their authority, they are ensuring they get their way: no matter what harm this does to the tiny Mastiff gene pools in foreign countries, or the Mastiff gene pool as a whole.

      The combined knowledge of the old guard could be so much better spent. For instance the breed desperately needs a pedigree data base. All purebred Mastiff pedigrees can be traced back to just 16 Mastiffs, mainly from the 1930’s to 1940’s. A pedigree data base could easily be built up from these 16 dogs and this would enable breeders to get a fairly accurate assessment of their current co-efficient of inbreeding (COI) values. What an enormous benefit to all Mastiffs and their breeders this would be.

    4. I must say from the picture at least I like Opus's outline a lot. He doesn't appear to have the terrible droopy, floppy, wobbly, weak back end so common in the breed or the ridiculous bloat prone slab sidedness either, or the lack of overall muscle tone and hardness, the weak elbows, flat feet, the straight hinds, short neck, brachycephalic head etc etc.

      I haven't seen the doggie in action so how well he is actually put together or how athletic he is is difficult to say but his head does tend to be on the exaggerated side IMO and I would expect more muscle, hard muscle mass from a dog this size in the shoulders, top line and back end, it looks like it could be a bit weedy with Euro Dane type bone, maybe lacking density rather than circumference. From one picture its all guessing anyway.

      For me its all about the functioning dog and not all about the colour for registration purposes or even inclusion into an open register, the complete opposite of the KC and the Old English Mastiff Club.

      These breeds need performance testing and appraisals not shows , not a few steps in the show ring. They need to leap off and over walls and across ditches, have endurance to qualify. Character is important and I imagine it has that already in buckets but a slightly sharper attitude goes with proper drive so I imagine this could be tweaked too.

      Im wondering how much this aversion to pieds isn't tied into the fact that The Old English Mastiff has had to be resurrected using other breeds a number of times from an extremely limited gene pool. In the UK where there where only two dogs left alive at some point.

      The use of other breeds had to be used historically or there wouldn't be a dog today even one with all the problems they have. But to maintain the illusion of "purity" any suggestion or presence of the fact that these other breeds of dogs were used is covered up, denied, see no evil type rubbish coming from the purity lobby who even deny the deviant pieds existance.

      Terrified their dogs will look like St Bernards they wont even use the name but those Alpine mastiffs used were St Bernards. The genes are there, pied dogs will be born.

      Its all such nonsense. There should be slight variety, variety in head shape, variety in colour.

      Overall you want a very functional unmistakable English Mastiff each one unique. They weren't all uniform cookie cutter dogs historically. But why should it even look like a dog that for all intensive purposes went extinct after the second world war? Why? It's not the same dog, that project is finished long time ago. Was it a better dog a more functional dog than todays dogs, maybe but its gone.

      Like the Rolls Royce of the 1920's. I don't know if anyone noticed but the Roll today doesn't look like it did during the 1920's. No shame there, at least not in the eyes of the Arabs who drive them in fleets!

      Time for a bit of modernisation or the breed will go extinct again, and time to stop denying what the dog is now including pied and long haired numbers? The idea that puppies could be being destroyed because of this is horrific. Who honestly cares if one or two are shaggy piebalds as long as they are functional shaggy piebalds who can live a long healthy life? Might even be a plus if you live in Scotland up in them hills.

    5. Anonymous person @ 13:03. It's extremely unlikely a dog with a hip score of 2 will suffer much deterioration as it ages. Have a look at this paper about the BVA scheme and what the different scores mean

    6. Anonymous 17:37 I have and have had dogs Hip Scored on the BVA system and I know of several big breed dogs with a hip score of 2 at a young age, that have gone on to have severe hip dysplasia and I have known small to medium breeds that are working dogs with scores much higher than 2, that don't go on to show symptoms of hip dysplasia. Unless you x-ray a dog through its life, one x-ray before 3 years old does not give you a true picture of hip dysplasia in a dog or a breed.

  16. Selecting for strong, solid colours was founded in the eugenics movement. That is an inappropriate hangover in dog breeding that still lingers based on a myth.

    It's a meme and the people who continue to believe this (it is like a religion, no evidence, just ignorant blind faith) just look really foolish to be honest.

    I'm not really sure why Mastiffs are considered companion dogs given the euphemisms for difficult to socialise in their breed standard. But then again, Dogdom is pretty nutty on the whole....

  17. Unfortunately for the OEMC, I see two problems firstly in the UK breed standards are Kennel Club copyright, if the KC want to admit pieds then they will be registered and can be shown at any KC show. The OEMC have no powers to prevent this. Secondly judges at KC shows are required to judge to the KC breed standard, who can guarantee that some judge, at some show, somewhere in the UK will not give an award to a pied Mastiff?

  18. Color is far over-rated in dog breeding. But I see no reason to single out the mastiff. But for color segregation the golden retriever and the flat point retriever would be on in the same breed, and quite likely there would be some brown/red dogs in the same breed. There would be lots of white chests and paws on all breeds descending from the St. John's dog. You'd see semi-brindled Labradors. And so on.

    1. Not that there would be anything wrong with that!

      The cancer rates in Flatties and Goldies are shocking. I love these dogs and would own them, if it wasn't for their awful life expectancy. I absolutely do not give a flying fart what colour the dog is. The temperament, functionality and health is what is important and these dogs make wonderful companions.

    2. Its one of the reasons I think the borzoi is so relatively healthy despite being bred as a show animal for so many years. Also besides the fact they are also indeed being bred often solely for sporting purposes even today but every dog is a good colour no matter what colour that may be.

      These dogs were also finely tuned for a long time and up until not that very long ago using a very wide number of breeds often very healthy primitive types too. No "secrete shameful" use of outside blood here but well publicised and intentional use of other breeds for sporting purposes. Their heads are also all slightly different, there is no single correct head within quite wide parameters of type of course.

      They are a closed stud book now however and for many years so Im sure that this might cause some problems ahead if not already but especially in show bred dogs.

      The tendency amongst some Borzoi breeders to breed for particular colours and even colour distribution for the show ring purposes might end up being a problem in some "lines', plus inbreeding to fix winning types etc. As it could with the pied Mastiff. In the Borzoi I believe there is a wide enough gene pool for this not to be so terribly urgent even if a colour line goes extinct.

      It's difficult knowing who to believe in all of this, but how frequently are pied pups born in OEM litters, seems to be an intentionally well hidden secrete?

      Just such a very different mind set at play here.

  19. In case you would like to see Opus’s movement, here is a short video clip with him in it:

    1. If the above is not appearing as a link just try pasting it into a browser.

      In Pied Pursuit

    2. Oh yes thanks Jen. Yes IMO without a doubt those pieds are far superior to the non pieds, much better. Im tempted to think you have been deviating LOL, unless the pied gene/s also bring a good dose of athleticism and sporting build with them.

      It could just be the age difference in the dogs but I must mention that it's truly tremendous to see dogs in good hard fit shape instead of those obese roly-polies you see trying to escape any work in the show ring.

      Its interesting and pertinent but were those dogs slightly shorter in the leg, had more hard muscle and a drier mouth they could otherwise resemble quite closely the pied Boerboel namely coming out of the Ysterberg kennel which have always been controversial. These particular pied dogs do have a presence in the UK, Australia and elsewhere.

      The Boerboel is a dog that has a big part of it's origins in the Old English Mastiff's that were exported to Southern Africa from the UK to guard the gold mines so its not entirely unexpected that pieds are born. This is not a completely closed register today and appraisals take precedence over shows where functionality is still key to scores received as many of these dogs are in fact still expected to work in that crime ridden country. Even still IMO even more emphasis needs putting on the performance side of appraisals.

      I and a few others have campaigned vigourously and tirelessly over the years for the register to remain an open one and for appraisals and performance testing over shows, and for non recognition by organisations like the KC. I freely admit the emergence of Pedigree Dogs Exposed 14 or so years down the line has been a huge boost to this cause, perhaps finally and hopefully even cementing the idea for ever.

      At the Annual General Meeting of The South African Boerboel Breeders Association 23 August 2014 the status quo was retained on the pied dogs. The motion "dogs with more than 1/3 white should not be registered" was passed by 94,3% of the members who voted. Bearing in mind this was an international vote across many countries as electronic voting is the norm, as is access to a vast Boerboel data base for members.

      Personally I think the more than 1/3 white is not such a disaster at this point in time in this breed because for no other reason than I think its a good idea to breed away from too much white in that climate, particularly away from any pink skin. Breeding away from too much white I think is a good idea but excluding these entirely to me can only be damaging to the entire population.

      Its critical to remember this doesn't mean these dogs will disappear as a result of the vote as they can still be represented and presented for registration and appraisal in individuals or progeny thereof with 1/3 or less white at any stage as the register is not closed.

      This is the kind of lee way and flexibility I think is what dog breeds need, clubs and the KC should be all about, but as they aren't......

      PS (Im not sure where the second video was taken but gosh that part of the UK does look absolutely stunning. (: )

  20. There is a similar situation in Bearded Collies, where there has been a furore about the possibility of merles getting into the registered breed via imports from Europe.
    Merle is a colour that has been in Beardies for a long time, but it just so happens that no merle was ever registered with the KC. Merle is a semi lethal gene, though handled properly it is not a problem; but many breeders lobbied the KC who eventually agreed to refuse this as a colour in the registered breed; notwithstanding the fact that there are many breeds with this colour, and the breeders deal with it sensibly - Rough and Smooth Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Cattle Dogs, Cardigan Corgis, Great Danes etc..

    Similarly, there has always been an incidence of mostly white dogs in the breed and they have been frowned upon severely, so much so that the standard was altered a while back to define the acceptable white markings, thus debarring predominantly white Beardies from competing in the ring. One of the most senior breeders was rumoured to have drowned any mostly white pups they got. Furthermore, there are absolutely no health implications in this case.

    I can see both sides of the argument. If the Mastiff people wish to disbar a colour that turns up from time to time, why should they not have the right to do so? Maybe the solution would be to form a Pied Mastiff breed? Surely this is what happened in the case of the Irish Red and White Setter? I remember there was great controversy over them, the argument being that the Red Setter had been developed from the Red and White as an advance. Now they have their own setup.

    I do not, however, see the justification for pillorying the Mastiff breeders for saying they don't want a particular type in the breed.
    Nicolas Broadbridge.

    1. Nicolas Broadbridge, it is very detrimental to fault dogs within a breed for their coat colours, no matter what colour it is but most especially for coat colours that were previously known to occur in a breed. The offending coloured dogs are just carrying a few genes that are different from what is usually present in other specimens of their breed….this is diversity and it’s greatly needed within breeds!

      Breeding together dogs that carry different genes (that don’t alter structure, breed type or temperament) can help us switch some genes, which would normally be homozygous in our puppies, into a heterozygous state. This can only be a benefit, especially for purebred dogs that already have an overload of homozygous genes.

      It’s very sad to hear that there has been such a furore over merles in Bearded Collies. As you have said, if it’s handled properly, the merle coat colour is NOT a problem. It can be managed simply by just not breeding merles to other merles. Denying registration to merle dogs that are otherwise good representatives of their breed will no doubt do much more damage to Bearded Collies in the long run.

      With regards to pied Mastiffs, we’re not interested in creating a breed just for them. We don’t need any more breeds bound by closed stud books with tiny gene pools. If we keep breeding Mastiffs we’d just like to keep matters simple and do what we believe is best for our dogs. As the esteemed canine author David Hancock once said, “Dogs are more important than breeds”.

    2. Nicholas Broadbridge needs to read up on genetics and genetic diversity in dogs.

      What you have posted is exactly the problem people are trying to overcome! People having their 'own set ups' is not what is needed here. Education and openness into looking at ways to improve the species as whole and not just protecting man made breeds as this is proving of great detriment to the future welfare of dogs

    3. Im not sure breeders are that reponsible when it comes to merle dogs. and 3,4,5,6 etc

    4. 'I do not, however, see the justification for pillorying the Mastiff breeders for saying they don't want a particular type in the breed.'

      That's a shocking you actually understand what the problem is?

      'Why closed gene pools are BAD for a dog's health'...

    5. I agree with Jen on this. Dogs are more important than breeds.

      The Boerboel for example is not registered on the basis of a pedigree but on the basis of an appraisal. Often infuriating new owners who believe as their dog has pedigree papers it should be able to be registered. It has to prove itself worthy of registration in health function character, general type.

      Tiny gene pools and closed stud books "new breeds" created from just a very few dogs is not sound breeding practise that does create more problems.

      However outcrossing and open registers is a way forward.

      Long live the JRT. Sadly I think in Australia they have closed the stud books on their JRTs sigh. Its just not cool as my son would say.

  21. River P, thanks for the kind words about our pieds. The video was filmed on our property here in Australia. We are lucky to live in such a picturesque area. All our Mastiffs are in hard muscled condition and are certainly not molly coddled. Opus jumps of a 5 foot ledge every morning to go out for his rabbit hunts though I must admit the others prefer to use the side gate...LOL. In any case, they are all extremely fit because they do have 32 acres of land to play on.

    Unfortunately at this time there are no other breeds in our Mastiffs, we’ve just selected our dogs carefully and have also been lucky here. Our Mastiffs are by no means faultless though and there is still plenty of room for improvement. I don’t think however that we’ll be able to do much better for them from within the breed. What Mastiffs are so desperately lacking at this time needs to come from outside of the breed. Our inbreeding co-efficients are already through the roof. Not surprising given that the breed bottlenecked at the end of WW2 to less than 20 dogs (most of them already closely related to each other) and has been selectively bred, inbred, and line bred ever since.

    I’m sorry to hear that there was a unanimous decision to not allow Boerboels with more than 1/3 white to be registered. Thankfully their stud book isn’t completely closed yet and there is still room for negotiations. Extreme white can sometimes cause problems but generally excess white nothing to worry about. It would be better to just advise breeders to not breed dogs with excess white to others with excess white. The same goes for breeding merles to other merles and harlequins to other harlequins, just don’t do it! Some of our great early hunting Mastiffs were all white except for a single small patch of colour somewhere on their bodies which differentiated them from albinos.

    Boerboels are great dogs but almost all the ones I’ve seen here in Australia are already so overdone and suffering from the same bone and health problems that Mastiffs suffer from. The Mastiff could greatly benefit from a dose of fresh diversity but it would be better if it came from dogs that could get them far away from their own problems and also increase athleticism, reduce bone mass, lessen flews, tighten up skin, and give cleaner eyes. This doesn’t mean however that the Boerboel is not a good outcross option for the Mastiff, you’d just have to find good ones to use. I saw one in the UK recently that I thought was particularly nice and I do believe he would make a very suitable outcross for the Mastiff. At this stage, I would feel better using him over my own Mastiffs than any purebred Mastiff.

    1. Yes I agree some decent Boerboel blood could be just the ticket.

      There are some very good ones around. Yes even within the Boerboel breed you have to look for what suits you as there are quite a few different types.

      I do know some heavier extremely large numbers were sent to a breeder in Australia for breeding and crossing with pig hunting dogs, these IMO are probaly just to big and prone to some problems. Interestingly amongst these dogs there were also a few with a lot more coat than you normaly find, not fluffy but definately you could sink your finger tips into it.

      I prefer the more athletic Boerboel with a dry mouth, this is the more common type in SA and there are some truly lovely ones around.

      With such limited numbers in Australia it would probably be better to look in SA as a starting point. You would have to go on the "Boerboel tour" yes there is such a thing! They take you to many breeders across South Africa.