War Notes From The Editor
I've been receiving some disturbing phone calls lately. No, not the whispered, heavy breathing type, but conversations with other Mastiff owners. I think I'd prefer the obscene ones!
The first was from a young man who had just found out that his beloved Mastiff bitch was severely dysplastic. He had found her through a local newspaper ad. The "breeder" claimed that his dogs were of excellent quality, and would soon be champions. Those of us who know this man know this is not the truth! This breeder is not willing to make a partial refund on the bitch. He offered the young man the option of buying another pup, a full sibling to the dysplastic one, for "only" $1,000. He doesn't test for anything, and isn't interested in doing so. Yet he keeps on breeding...
The second call was from a lady who was visiting Florida. She told me she had six Mastiffs at home, and had just had her first litter. She planned on "getting into" breeding on a large scale. She does no testing, and seemed quite surprised that I asked her about OFA, CERF, etc. Her litter was being cared for by another breeder while she was away. This other breeder had convinced her to let a bitch puppy go to its new home at 2 weeks old! When I expressed concern about the pups need to be with its siblings and dam she was puzzled. She knew nothing about socialization, bite inhibition, or dominant/submissive play! She had been sold six Mastiffs, by five different people, and none of them had given her any information. Could this be true? Why didn't she read up on breeding, before doing it? I gave her a list of must-read books, and tried to convince her not to let the puppy go so young. I hope she listened!
Then, the third was the call from a "breeder" looking for a male pup for a "client". When I asked the caller what exactly he was looking for he stated that he wanted a male, for $800 for breeding. He didn't ask about bloodlines, testing, quality, or temperament. This fellow told me a bit about his "business". He had just expanded his kennels, and needed fresh blood to add to his line. When I asked what lines they were from, he had to go get some pedigrees to read them to me. He has a hodgepodge of some of the popular names from a few years back. He sells his bitches cheaply and requires that they be brought back to him to be bred to his stud, at 1« years old. He then gets « the litter. He told me proudly, that he could have sold 50 puppies at Valentines, or Mothers Day. His requirement for "new blood" was simply that it be male. He had no knowledge of line-breeding, genetics or health issues, and was proud of his pyramid scheme.
I sincerely hope that none of your dogs are ever put in these situations! They won't be if all pet quality pups are on limited registrations, are neutered or spayed, and buyers are carefully screened. Show/breeding prospects should be protected by an extensive contract requiring clear test results before being bred, and then only to mates tested clear as well. The people wanting cheap breeding stock will not be interested in your dogs, (thank goodness!).
Please educate your puppy buyers -- don't just take the money and wave goodbye. Think long and hard about each breeding. Honestly evaluate your puppies, or have another breeder grade them. If selling out of State, ask for references, or have another breeder check them out.
It takes very little time to type up a book list, or to photocopy relevant articles.
It is frightening how many Mastiffs are being bred irresponsibly. Are you adding to the problem?
If anyone needs a book list, or articles to give out, I'll be happy to send them to you!