BullmastiffInfo.org: Tells us about the origination of your
kennel. What was the driving factor that got you involved with the
In 1985, my husband and I
purchased our first home. He said it is just a house, not a home
without a dog. So I said, "Let's go to the animal shelter." He
said, "No, I want a Bullmastiff" I said, "A what?". So he
explained to me that he knew a guy in school who had had one and he
loved that dog. So the day our escrow closed we opened the paper to
the ad section and to our surprise there was an ad for a 3 year old
female Bullmastiff. So Brian called and we went to see her. The
people lived only 1 mile from our new house! I was so scared of
her! She looked ferocious! She turned out to be the most loving
wonderful companion! She had hip dysplasia so we had her spayed.
We bought our
first show female from Amelia Lindley, Lindley's Bullmastiffs in
1986, and our first show male from Tom & Linda Hill, Tomlyn's
Bullmastiffs, just a couple of months later. Moreta and Rex were
our pride and joy.
BullmastiffInfo.org: Some kennels are striving to create their own
bloodline. Is this one of your goals as well? What is involved
with creating such a legacy as your own bloodline?
When I began in this breed 17
years ago, I was floundering. There just was not an information
source for new people. I grasped what was available and went
forward. I completely started over 7 years ago, after losing 4 dogs
to gastric torsion. That female developed a horribly deformed bite,
so she became one of my public education dogs and we again started
over a year later with a gorgeous red brindle male, (CH) Keeper’s
Midnite Marauder, “MacGregor”. I was able to purchase CH. Guardman’s
Petra of Lone Pine, who became our new foundation bitch. Petra & Mac
produced two litters for us. Mac is retired now and my stud dog is
my CH. Wild West Arrow of Lone Pine, “Richmond”, who is Petra’s son
from her first litter.
My goal was
healthy mid-sized Bullmastiffs. I have achieved that and am moving
in a very forward motion. We now have 3 generations of
Bullmastiffs, with NO health problems, great joint conformity,
incredible temperaments, and superb immune systems. Our Bully’s do
not receive any vaccinations past their initial puppy shot schedule
(featured on our web site). If any of our dogs do not pass their
health exams they are not bred. They are spayed or neutered and
then placed in very special family homes.
involved in creating this legacy? Pain, sweat and tears. Pain in
losing a cherished female just after she has given birth, sweat in
keeping those whelps alive and healthy and tears in seeing them
leave for their new homes. Much more goes into the creating of a
legacy. The daily care, exercise, cleaning, grooming and nurturing
takes time and energy!
BullmastiffInfo.org: Didn't you have a
Bullmastiff featured in a national commercial some time ago?
Yes that was my Mac, CH.
Keeper's Midnite Marauder, bred by Tamara Cady, and owned by Brian &
Tracy Ferrick. Mac is now 6 years old. He was the first BRINDLE
Bullmastiff to appear in a moving advertisement. He was in the Honda
Odyssey commercial in 1998. He was trained by world famous animal
trainer, Karl Lewis Miller. That commercial aired in September &
October 1998 and then again during the SUPER BOWL in January 1999!
I was sooo proud of Mac!
BullmastiffInfo.org: You are one of a small percentage of breeders
who sell their “companion/pet quality” Bullmastiffs under contract.
Please describe why your kennel has decided to incorporate contracts
into your breeding program.
A contract is an agreement
between 2 or more people. It is basically thoughts voiced so that
down the road there are no misunderstandings between those people.
I truly feel
that by utilizing my contract, I am protecting the dog as much as
possible. I don’t have the privilege of meeting all of my puppy
owners in person and most people are more than willing
to sign a reasonable contract.
prospect pups are not sold. They are placed with people I know and
trust in the breed or showing community. I cannot keep 3-4 pups
from every litter, so I have the show pups on co-ownership
situations. Those people, including my mother, also signed
contracts (my dad didn’t understand this one, but my mom sure did
and she was NOT offended in the least!)
If a breeder
does not offer a contract I would certainly wonder why.
BullmastiffInfo.org: Some breeders argue that contracts are rarely
enforceable and therefore, are not worth the effort of offering to
puppy buyers. Have you found this to be true?
What I do know is that if
someone has a problem with any part of my contract, then they DON’T
get a pup from me! Even a companion animal deserves protection! A
contract is a legal binding agreement that will stand up in court.
Some clauses may be thrown out as “not pertinent”, such as one of my
clauses states that the Buyer must supply photos of the dog at 6
months, 12 months and 24 months. A judge may say this is ridiculous
and throw it out, BUT most states have laws against cruelty to
animals, so my clause that None of my dogs may ride in the back of a
pick up truck or flat-bed truck without the proper legal restraints,
would hold up in court!
I only want
the best for my pups. I help those babies take their first breath,
and I spend 10 weeks with those babies. I certainly do not want to
get a call one day saying that their life has ended due to the
irresponsibility of poor ownership!
I have NEVER
had any of my pup buyers refuse to sign ANY clause in my contracts!
In fact I have a future pup owner, who is a lawyer. He said one of
the deciding factors of him coming to see me was my contract and
that I was not asking for anything out of the ordinary, only that I
really cared what happens to my dogs!
BullmastiffInfo.org: Contracts can vary greatly between different
kennels and even different quality Bullmastiffs. What advice do you
have to give families when comparing contracts between different
If you don’t like the contract, DON’T BUY THE DOG!!! If a breeder
is REQUIRING you to breed and show the dog and all you want is a
family companion, then DON’T sign the contract!!! Do NOT impulse
buy, just because that pup is the only one available at that moment,
doesn’t mean that he is right for you. You need to feel comfortable
with the breeder you choose. Sometimes it takes a year or more to
find the right breeder and pup that will match your situation. Your
breeder will be your mentor throughout the life of your dog.
BullmastiffInfo.org: As with many other kennels, you also offer
“Stud Service”. Please describe what this means.
A stud service is what the male
dog can offer to qualified females to create better quality
offspring. Some kennels have their own males and do not seek
“outside” stud services. Others may have females to closely bred to
use their own stud dog and therefore have to seek a proper mate for
their girls. Yet others are either just getting started or have no
desire to keep a male on their premises.
BullmastiffInfo.org: Should any family with a male Bullmastiff be
able to offer “Stud Service”? Why or why not?
ABSOLUTELY, NOT! Why? Does the
guy down the street with the intact male Bullmastiff know anything
about breeding beyond the physical act of it? Has that male Bully
been screened for joint problems, thyroid problems, eye disorders?
Does the owner know how to read a pedigree to see if the 2 dogs
would produce quality get or just more dogs that may or may not end
up in a rescue situation? Does the dog have it’s DNA analysis? Has
the dog been shown to prove his worthiness? Has the dog had yearly
blood work to make sure the dog is healthy? Has the dog been checked
for STD’s? Is the stud owner willing to help the bitch owner find
suitable homes for the pups? Can the stud owner assist with the
delivery of those pups if the bitch owner is a “newbie”? Is the
stud owner willing to show the offspring for the new owners? These
are just the tip of the iceberg!
The stud dog
owner is just as responsible for the offspring as the bitch owner
any of the pups that the stud dog produces ends up in rescue, the
stud dog owner must help with the responsibility of that dogs care
and new placement.
BullmastiffInfo.org: We are sure you get quite a lot of inquiries
of Bullmastiff owners that request to stud service for their female
Bullmastiffs – regardless of whether the Bullmastiff they own is of
show quality or not. Is this stud service available to every
inquiry? Why or why not?
Our stud service is NOT
available to every inquiry. If I feel that the offspring would not
better the parents’, or that there is a health issue or if the bitch
has come from questionable origins, then no breeding will take
place. We have been blessed with an incredible stud dog who
reproduces himself in approximately 70% of his offspring! He has
been bred to quality bitches and there is not a litter he has
produced that I am not proud of!
For Bullmastiff owners with
quality female Bullmastiffs, what should they expect from a quality
stud dog? What recommendations do you have for locating a quality
stud dog for their female Bullmastiff?
First of all, whether she is a
quality female or not, why do you want to breed her? If it is for
money, forget it. (IF done right, you will never make a dime on
it.) If it is so the kids can experience the magic of birth, go to
the zoo! Most Bullmastiffs have to have C-sections. (This is a
dangerous operation and you may lose the mother and her whelps.) If
it is so you can keep one of the pups for a playmate for the momma
dog, what will happen to the rest of the litter. Do you know how to
screen people for proper homes?
If you are
interested in producing pups that will improve the quality of the
breed, then when you begin your search for a stud dog, you should
first determine that your female is in the best health possible.
Blood work, hip/elbow screening, eye exams, all will help make a
decision to breed or not to breed. Then contact the breeder you got
your female from. Most breeders have restrictions on who their dogs
may or may not be bred to. Your breeder may know which lines to
stay away from as they would not help produce better quality pups.
Line breedings usually produce the best quality get. Outcrossing
rarely produce quality. And if you want to breed to the #1 dog,
because you think the pups will be worth more money, and more people
will want them, then you’d better go back to the drawing board.
Just because a dog’s show performance puts him in the limelight,
does not mean that he will produce the same or better quality as he
is! Unless that #1 dog is a line breeding to your dog, then look
locate the stud dog, make sure that he has all of his health
clearances. Ask for written proof of these certifications. Then
discuss with the stud owner your goals for the litter, i.e., if you
want show homes, or just companion homes.
whether or not they will be able to help you locate suitable homes
for the pups. Don’t cut corners, use the best dog available, that
will compliment your female to produce outstanding pups. Breeding
is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a full time job and if done
properly it is very rewarding!
BullmastiffInfo.org: As with any other canine breed, the
Bullmastiff is known to have a variety of health problems. When
these problems arise, the adopting family is left with the cost of
treating these health problems. Should the Bullmastiff Breeder they
purchased the Bullmastiff from bear any responsibility as well? Or
is this something that the Bullmastiff puppy buyer should already be
aware that this is a “side effect” of owning a Bullmastiff and it
will be their full responsibility to deal with any health issues
that may arise?
Depending on what the problem
is and whether or not that problem is due to the negligence of the
pup owner, or if it is a congenital problem. In 1999, my litter of
7 pups all left here in 100% healthy condition. At 3 months of age
one of the girls had a severe reaction to her DA2P shot.. She got
over it in a few days, but it left her immune system in a weakened
condition. The following month she was seen for puppy vaginitis
(lots of female pups get this). The vet treated her with an
antibiotic that is not approved for use in dogs under 1 year of
age. Her health declined rapidly and when the owner called to tell
me what all had happened and the name of the antibiotic, I told her
to stop using the drug right away. The poor pup had been throwing
up and had diarrhea from the first dose. Now her liver was not
functioning properly which was a side effect of the antibiotic. The
owner then sought the care of a holistic vet and she herself began
training in homeopathy. The dog started responding positively but
has had several ups and downs. Were they from the immune system
problem or from the antibiotic? This dog was just diagnosed with a
low thyroid function. She is now on medication and is improving
very rapidly. This has taken almost 1-1/2 years to sort out. Most
of what happened I was not aware of until mid-2001, when things were
not looking good for this girl. I told the owners that I would
place a pup with them from a future litter when they were ready.
They have that pup now and both dogs are doing great!
joint or digestive problems are not genetic, but environmentally
caused. Be it from feeding an improper diet, over vaccinating, or
from local flora and fauna or molds.
environmental factors could be: cleaning solutions used in the home
and on the dogs bedding, feeding a low quality food that may contain
allergens known to dogs, i.e., corn, soy or wheat, (the dog may
develop itchy scaly skin, that may turn purulent and therefore need
vet attention), or letting the pup fly off the couch or bed, jamming
the joints, which may lead to joint problems.
will work with their puppy owners, if they are kept apprised of the
situation. If the owner decides to NOT listen to the breeder
because they don’t think the breeder knows what they are talking
about, then what can you do. You need to trust your breeder. If
you don’t, then why did you buy a puppy from them in the first
place? If a serious, life-threatening disease appears then most
breeders will replace the dog with another one from a future litter.
there are alternatives to allergy shots or anti-inflammatory drugs.
A lot of breeders are moving towards homeopathy.
BullmastiffInfo.org: What future would you like to see happen with
the Bullmastiff breed in general? Do you think it this future is
The future of the Bullmastiff
breed depends on the breeders! Breeders should place all pups that
will not be shown on MUST spay/neuter contracts and utilize the
AKC’s limited registration. By doing this, you are preventing
people from backyard breeding or selling their litters to pet stores
or mass commercial kennels or research facilities. This breed is
becoming more popular by the day. Puppy mills are cranking these
pups out as fast as they can and the pet stores who sell them are
charging up to $3,000.00 for a very poor quality dog.
I think that
the future of our wonderful breed is in for some very difficult
times. Disreputable people are buying these dogs and breeding them
to their pitbull/lab crosses, to Rottweilers or worse, to Presa
Canario crosses. What does this make? Mutts.
I also believe
that it should be mandatory to microchip all pups before they can be
AKC registered. This would mean that they would be able to be
tracked back to the breeder if they turn up in the animal control or
rescue an be held accountable for all expenses incurred at that
point. All of our pups are microchipped. I MC my own pups now and
just microchipped one of my stud dogs litters before they left for
their new homes!
We as breeders must protect the
integrity of this wonderful breed. I think and hope that with the
diligence of reputable breeders our breed will NOT go the direction
of other breeds, such as the Rottweiler and German Shepherd.
AS a buyer,
don’t impulse buy. Yes that puppy in the window of the pet store is
cute, but by buying that pup, you are lining the pockets of some of
the largest puppy mills in the country. One puppy mill in central
U.S., nets over $450,000 a year just from the sales of its pups. To
get a quality dog from a reputable breeder, it may take up to a year
or more. It will be well worth your wait. The breeder will want to
help you and will want to stay in contact with you for the life of
BullmastiffInfo.org would like to
personally thank Wild West Bullmastiffs for taking the time to share
their thoughts and experience with our readers! If you would
like more information about Wild West Bullmastiffs from Tracy
Ferrick, contact her at:
Escondido, California USA