Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm feeling pretty confident that the breeding between Aislinn and Logan took! She has been acting very clingy the past week. Since I have quite a few farms waiting for pups from this breeding, I'm really hoping she'll give us more than a single pup this time! Hilary in particular is very excited, since Aislinn is her dog and she'll have primary care of the litter. I am so proud of what a fabulous job Hilary always does with the pups!

Here are a few pics of our single pup Cooper that Aislinn and Logan gave us in late January of 2011. He was a hugely popular little guy!

Lois Jordan

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Breeding Zoe and Leon

I thought I would post a quick note to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. I am visiting my friends Steve and Edna Moreno here in Colorado over Christmas weekend while we hope for the best Christmas present... A successful breeding between Zoe to Leon (Romulo de Campollano)! Her timing could have been better since I would have preferred to be home for Christmas, but I am having a wonderful time with Steve and Edna and have been welcomed like family. They are such wonderful friends to have opened their house and shared their holiday with me :-) It is appreciated!

Hopefully we will see this trip come to fruition in late February! This is a breeding we've planned since we imported Zoe from Spain and after seeing the two of them together, we can't help but be even more excited about the possible puppies!
One thing I can say with assurance is that any pups between Zoe and Leon will be heavy boned, have skin to spare, great movement and be extremely large!

This will be only the second litter of pure Spanish lines born here in the US in well over 5 years. Very exciting and important for the genetic diversity they will bring! (See my blog post from 10/3 about the lack of genetic diversity here).  These pups will be the only litter expected to be born in 2012 that will be unrelated to almost all of the Spanish Mastiff's here in the US. In fact, they will be unrelated to all but 8 Spanish Mastiffs currently in the US (Leon sired a litter out of Gitana).

I hope to keep two, but I have had people waiting for over a year for pups from Zoe, so we will see...
Merry Christmas!
Lois Jordan

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our 'D' Litter

The last of our D litter will be leaving this week and we will be so sad to see Dakota leave.
I have been so fortunate to have been able to spend so much time with this litter and appreciate all the effort and devotion my daughter Hilary put in as well. I know how difficult it will be for her to say good-bye to Dakota...

I am so pleased with the new homes all of my puppies found and welcome 9 new people to the wonderful world of the Spanish Mastiff! The feedback from everyone has been so heart warming and I feel we did a very good job of matching up the right pups with the right people.
As one new owner put it "Their appeal should be considered a controlled substance" (as she prepares for the arrival of her second Spanish Mastiff pup)... I did warn her that the breed is addictive!!

The puppies that have gone to working farms are doing very well in their jobs and two have made the adjustment from goats to cattle very quickly (the others are still with goats).
Kudos to Norma and Laura for getting their pups enrolled in puppy training classes so quickly! At the rate Norma is going with Diva, I can see that girl earning her CGC in no time at all! Could there be therapy work in that pups future???

Thank you all and continue to enjoy your dogs! I am so happy to have "shared the love" of this magnificent breed with each and every one of you.

Lois Jordan

Monday, November 21, 2011

The new farm

The move to the new farm is pretty well complete now and we are loving the new place!

We are in a fabulous old farmhouse that has been well maintained (new roof, septic, electric, etc). The house has hardwood floors throughout and a walk in pantry that I find so cool!

Both the animals and I are absolutely wild about the barn (I think I talk about the barn more than the house LOL!) and we have it set up very nicely for the animals and our own convenience.  I would also like to add that it too has a new roof! ;-)

The does indoor pen is about 10x100 feet and has it's own private entrance/exit to their 8 acre pasture. The bucks are being housed at the far end of the barn in one of the 5 box stalls already built in for the winter (so we can do all the chores inside!) and they also have their own pasture fenced off temporarily. The bucks will be moved to a separate building on the property in the spring (what used to be a hog shed). The birds are penned in another large box stall that we enclosed with netting until they get used to this being their new home.
The dogs have the run of it all!


I am find it very interesting watching the dogs and the goats in their new environment! The dogs are keeping very close to the goats while they figure out what the predator situation may be here, and the goats no longer wander as far from the dogs as they did at the old place. I think that after 10 years of having LGD's at the old farm, the predators just steered clear of that property altogether and all the animals became comfortable with the status quo. The dogs and puppies are being extremely guardy and very much on top of every new sound and movement.

Life is wonderful!!

Lois Jordan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Evaluating the structure of the Spanish Mastiff

I am re-posting this topic and have added some photos to illustrate. I briefly touched on the subject of structure issues we are facing here in my 10/3/11 post about the Spanish Mastiff in the US, but it's a subject I have been vocal about for at least 7 years...

Due to many calls and e-mails requesting more information, I decided to talk a little more about structure as well as the benefits of using puppy structure evaluations as a tool to help determine which pups should be sold as potential breeding dogs and which should be sold to non-breeding homes. Not every pup produced is breeding quality, and such pups, for the good of the breed, should be taken out of the breeding pool. Structure evaluations help determine which pups that should be.

It has been proven that what you see at 8 weeks is an accurate snapshot of what the puppy will be as an adult. The evaluations are done in a strange place when the puppies are eight weeks old, and are done by someone who is unfamiliar to the puppies. They compare each category (head, body, ears, front, rear, etc) to the standard. 

To date, there is only one or two of us that have actually raised pups we've produced to adulthood and so been able to evaluate the 'finished' dog. So in all honesty, there really isn't a single owner or breeder in this country with enough practical Spanish Mastiff experience to accurately evaluate the structure of their litters without professional assistance at this time. The fact is that any breeder will have a variety of quality within any given litter (regardless of the parents!). It's what a responsible breeder does about that variety (ie: selling pups as breeding or non-breeding) that will help determine the future of the breed here. 

Common sense tells us that for a giant breed dog of any type, structure would be critical. For a giant WORKING breed, it is even more so! There is alot of weight that must be supported by the dogs frame and if the frame has faults such as cow-hocked legs, lack of angulation in the rear legs or poor top-lines, the dog will naturally try to compensate and thus put added stress on other parts of the body. Problems arise when one part has to overwork or compensate for lack of balance, injury or weakness in another. 
It would be similar to a human with a foot or leg injury shifting their weight away from the offending limb and then complaining of back and hip aches!

The Spanish Mastiff is better able to disguise the impact/affects of some of these structural problems simply because of their muscle mass and their high levels of pain tolerance, but it doesn't mean that the problems don't exist and won't cause the dog to breakdown eventually.

The structure issues below are readily apparent to evaluators by the time a pup is 8 weeks old and as breeders we can use this information to place our puppies in the correct situations and homes.
It's really up to the potential puppy buyer to educate themselves on what to look for in any breed of dog, but in the case of the Spanish Mastiff, they are at a disadvantage due to the amount of misinformation that is still out there on the web concerning this breed.

Cow hocks can occur either because of a slight turning out of the entire leg from the hip (as was the case with my first SM), or because of twisting of the hock and stifle joints. Cow hocks are an indication of weakness in an area that requires great strength. At the end of the stride, the entire propulsive power of the dog is transmitted through one hock joint. At a run, both joints direct the force together, but the force is much greater. When jumping, even more energy is required to lift and propel the body, and the hocks bear it all. Cow hocks can pre-dispose a dog to hip, ankle and stifle problems. Bottom line, a cow hocked dog is jeopardised. It may give the appearance of agility to an untrained eye, but it won't hold up well over time.

Lack of rear angulation is an area that needs work in our breed. Rear angulation is determined primarily by the amount of angle from the pelvis to the spine and how much it will rotate between attachment points. The photo at left (courtesy of Carlos Salas in Spain) shows ideal rear leg angulations. You can see from the illustrations exactly how those proper angulations support the frame. As Carlos stated in a post today "This harmony enables efficient swing mechanics effortlessly with every stride." A dog that is under-angulated in the pelvic region simply cannot move his rear end properly or bring the rear forward far enough in the 'stride' simply because the pelvis can only rotate so much. 

Dogs that have straight rear legs (photo at right) have less shock absorption, while well angulated dogs would not transmit as much of the movement stress to the hip joint, as more of the trauma is absorbed by the hock and knee.
You will also note that dogs with poor rear angulations will invariably have a rump that is substantially higher than the shoulder. 
A dog with poor rear angulation requires nearly twice the force of movement than a dog with proper angulations. That is not efficient in a working dog. If we are to preserve the working ability of the Spanish Mastiff, lack of angulation and cow-hocks must be taken more seriously! I am not saying that a dog with poor rear legs can't work for a time, but they will not work efficiently and they will break down at a younger age. A dog needs lots of strength and power in their rear ends. That's their engine! A weak rear in a dog is like putting a go cart engine in a truck and expecting it to haul big loads.
In evaluations they actually measure the angles of the pelvis to the spine and the ground. They do the same with the shoulder area, using their hands to feel and measure the angulation.

Some of these are issues that we are seeing too often in the Mastin Espanol and I truly believe that more emphasis needs to be placed on improving or breeding these faults out. Structure evaluations are an excellent tool to help us do just that.
All three of these mentioned above (Cow-hocks, poor angulation and high rumps) are all considered serious faults according to the standard.

I am not necessarily saying throw the baby out with the bathwater, but anyone considering breeding must be aware of the issues and plan their breeding's accordingly, using only dogs that excel in those areas that your dog lacks. Breeding two dogs that both have issues with their rear ends (even if they are different issues) will only perpetuate the problem! Breeders have to be honest about the strengths and weaknesses of their own dogs and not downplay or make excuses for them.
It sounds like basic common sense, but when we have such a lack of genetic diversity in this country, some might be tempted to use what they have available, regardless of faults, and hope for the best. 

For those of us that have had dogs with any of these leg issues, watched them struggle to get up as they reached maturity and arthritis set in to those joints (as young as 3 years old), or spent thousands on pain meds or surgeries, not adding these dogs to the breeding gene pool was a no brainer!
I was very heartened to see discussion on this subject from Spanish breeders this week as well! It's a positive step!

Lois Jordan

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spanish Mastiff Registration Process in the US

I just wanted to touch briefly on this subject because there appears to be much confusion about registering the Spanish Mastiff (Mastin Espanol) here in the US. To date, there hasn't been a uniform method of dealing with registrations here and we are working on changing that. Some have registered their dogs FCPR (myself included), a few have been registered with the UKC, and my best guess is that many imports have not been registered at all.

What I have discovered over the years is that when a buyer imports a dogs from EU, they will receive an Export Pedigree or application issued by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (which is the World Canine Organisation). FCI includes 86 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. When new owners get these papers, many believe that the pups are in fact 'registered' and don't realize that those papers are not actually valid here in the US until a few more steps are taken since the United States is not a member country of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

When I registered my litters, I sent in the litter registration to the correct federated member of FCI (Federación Canófila de Puerto Rico), they return the individual registration applications for each pup for me to fill out, sign, and forward to the new puppy owners who, in turn, must sign it themselves and return it to FCPR. There is no other way to do this because the new owner is required to fill out certain fields on the application! Otherwise the animal ends up registered to me...

If breeding, the sire of the litter must first be registered with FCPR and then accepted into the FCPR stud book. I learned this by trial and error last year! Luckily when we repeated a successful breeding, all of this was already done so registering our latest litter was almost effortless!

We have already begun the breed recognition process with the AKC and they have now been accepted into the FSS (Foundation Stock Service) so Spanish Mastiff's may now be registered AKC too. I'll write more on this when I have successfully registered mine there as well.

If anyone has any questions about this, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to walk you through it.

Lois Jordan

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Skunk remedy (it's that time of year!)

Since Clara and Cleo just got skunked on Saturday, I thought this info might be helpful to others. Luckily, I wasn't home when it happened to my girls so I didn't have to deal with it LOL! Poor Hilary!

The Skunk Remedy Recipe

In a plastic bucket, mix well the following ingredients:
1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup of baking soda
1 to 2 teaspoons liquid soap

for very large pets one quart of tepid tap water may be added to enable complete coverage.
Wash pet promptly and thoroughly, work the solution deep into the fur. Let your nose guide you, leave the solution on about 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. Some heavily oiled areas may require a "rinse and repeat" washing.
Skunks usually aim for the face, but try to keep the solution out of the eyes - it stings. If you have any cuts on your hands you might want to wear latex gloves for the same reason.
After treatment, thoroughly rinse your pet with tepid tap water.
Pour the spent solution down the drain with running water.
NEVER, ever, store mixed solution in a closed bottle, sprayer,etc. Pressure will build up until the container bursts. This can cause severe injury.
1) Clean plastic mixing containers and utensils are preferred. Metals encourage auto-decomposition of the peroxide.
2) Hydrogen Peroxide 3% solution is usually sold in pint (500ml) bottles, so you'll need two. The 3% grade is often marked "U.S.P.", meaning that it meets the standards for medical use and purity as set forth in the United States Pharmacopoeia.
The use of other strengths/grades is not recommended unless you're a chemist, and even then a trip to the 24-hour drugstore is much better than a trip to the emergency room.
3) Use baking soda, not baking powder. "Arm and Hammer" is one popular brand. Baking soda is also called: Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, U.S.P., Bicarbonate of Soda, and Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate. Do not confuse any of the above with Washing Soda, which is Sodium Carbonate. Washing Soda is about 100 times more alkaline than Baking Soda and can cause skin burns to both you and your pet.
4) Two preferred brands are "Softsoap" and "Ivory Liquid". As far as auto-decomposition of the peroxide is concerned, the surfactant package in these two is fairly inert. Heavy-duty grease-cutting brands such as "Dawn" are less inert, and hair shampoo is probably the worst.
5) Once mixed, the peroxide slowly breaks down into water and oxygen gas. Thus it gets weaker with time and so it should be used promptly. The exact rate depends on temperature, pH, and catalysts such as trace amounts of metals (iron,etc.) in the soap and/or tap water.
How much pressure will the complete decomposition of 3% hydrogen peroxide produce in a closed container ??? It depends on how full the container is. Assuming negligible solubility of Oxygen in water, a bottle half-full of peroxide will develop about 140 psi. A bottle 3/4 full would develop 420 psi. This can do a lot of damage.
Highly pure hydrogen peroxide decomposes very slowly if kept cool and in a dark place, a few percent a year. The more dilute solutions usually decompose faster (due to impurities in the dilution water) and have a trace of stabilizer added. So why aren't the bottles in the store bloated or bursting ? Look carefully inside the cap... you'll see some very tiny holes in the cap liner to let the oxygen gas escape. A good reason to always store bottles upright.
Look for an expiration date on your peroxide. If you're using stuff which has been sitting around in your medicine cabinet for years, buy fresh peroxide.
6) Tepid: lukewarm.
7) All brand names mentioned in this website are trademarks of their various owners.

Thanks Norma for forwarding this information!

Monday, October 3, 2011


How is it possible that my puppies could be almost unrecognizable after just 3 days away??? They grew so much and even changed color! Damita in particular lightened up so much (she was dark) that I mistook her for Darcy for a few moments.
My boy Dover was still as cute as ever though!

The Spanish Mastiff in the US

Let me start by saying that I became completely enamored of the Spanish Mastiff when I got my first one many years ago, and have been a strong advocate and "believer" in the breed ever since.
There are issues that we are facing in the US that concerned me then and still do today...
Establishing the Spanish Mastiff in North America has presented a number of challenges and though we are beginning to make headway, we still have a long road ahead of us to
ensure that the breed is promoted honestly and bred only with integrity.

For some of us, the difficulty began in importing puppies that turned out to be less than the best of the breed. Historically, over-seas breeders have sold/sent pups that had genetic defects or did little to further establish a quality breeding program in the USA. Unfortunately, it is still happening from time to time. While some owners chose/choose not to breed these dogs, others did, and the less than excellent dogs were bred and pups sold across the country from these imports.

Fortunately, a few wonderful Spanish mastiffs that are true to type, temperament and function HAVE reached American soil, and hope remains alive that this breed can become recognized for all the fascinating attributes they possess. Responsible and careful breeding with an emphasis on health, temperament and the breed standard can only lead to better representatives of the breed across the country. There is a growing group of owners who are devoting themselves to this goal. Unfortunately, there are also a very few individuals who take great pride in thumbing their noses at those whose focus is the betterment of the breed...

Though many breed info sites still have incorrect data concerning the Spanish Mastiff, more accurate information has become available now than there was even 5 years ago and people have more opportunities to truly educate themselves about this breed and breeders BEFORE they take the gigantic first step to importing or even buying "local" in the USA. Beware of exagerated claims of height and weight in particular!

For those with a passion for this breed, or those just beginning to learn about them, there are some insights to be considered in looking at the way the breed is represented here, specifically in the United States. Promoting the best interest of this dog takes precedence over breeding for the sheer fact that you may happen to own one of these "rare breed" dogs. It is disappointing to receive a dog that you have pinned your hopes and dreams on, poured your heart into and made a member of your family, or spent time and resources training to become a valuable and integral part of your farm operation, only to lose it prematurely to a grave genetic health defect OR face up to the fact that your dog is not work or breeding material due to structural faults or weaknesses. It has happened to me with my first import as well as too many others here in the US.

Not all rare breed puppies grow into adult dogs that are suitable for breeding.
Contrast the difference between the puppy that arrives with the full grown adult dog that develops... the changes can be monumental. Face it: all puppies are cute. When they arrive to this continent in their crate and they are peering out at you, it is easy to instantly fall in love and lose your ability to be impartial. Breeding a dog that has poor back legs, defective hips, genetic defects or obvious faults -some of which may not be apparent until maturity- is not doing a favor to anyone....especially for the good of establishing the breed in the USA or for the people who've spent their hard earned money to purchase such a dog. 
No animal is perfect and some less than desirable traits can be selectively improved upon with the proper genetic and linear knowledge, but you can't take two animals with poor legs or hips, breed them to each other and hope for the best!

Breeding with the intention of recouping expenses involved in importing your dog is not a good enough reason to breed. To the "average Joe", importing a dog takes considerable expense. The shipping costs, and fees involved in registering your dog, will almost always amount to MORE than the price of the imported pup itself. Vetting a giant breed dog is another out-of-pocket expense to be faced along with the costs of premium dog food.
While tempting to trade-in on the "rare-breed" marketability feature, there are too many liabilities to face in doing so.

Line breeding vs inbreeding:
The majority of the 100-130 Spanish mastiffs in the United States have one thing in common: the same Eastern European kennel. The successful breeding and marketing of this beautiful line of dogs combined with the ease in importing from an experienced exporter has lead to a predominance of Spanish mastiffs in the USA that trace back to basically one line. Clearly it is extremely important and critical that some new -unrelated- blood  lines be brought over with which to work. This is a huge consideration when you discover someone that wants to breed Spanish mastiffs. Are the dogs related to each other? Examine the extended pedigrees carefully and question the party who fails to make readily available or produce this key element for pups they may market. This is where transparency becomes critical. Before line-breeding is undertaken it's essential to be aware of the potential risks vs benefits and to have a very clear health lineage on the dam and sire as well as having the experience to know what to look for in temperament and structure.

You will often see the catch-all word "typey" used to describe the Spanish Mastiff.
Too often a breeder can use that phrase to describe an average or less than average dog that happens to have lots of skin or size as opposed to a dog that actually meets the AEPME standard for the breed.

For those looking for a superior working LGD:
The Spanish Mastiff has what it takes to do an exceptional job guarding livestock or the farm from coyote, wolves, bear or lion - as is. They've been doing it for a long, long time and are quite good at it! They function and perform their tasks just fine if given the proper, experienced training and support. It is extremely important to maintain the purity of the breed here, not cross it with other LGD breeds. No good can come of crossing a magnificent breed such as the Spanish Mastiff with a more aggressive LGD breed and few people would be capable of handling the results of such a breeding.
In my own personal opinion, if someone were to feel a need to cross the Spanish Mastiff with another LGD breed to "create" a better functioning LGD, I would have to question their knowledge of their own dogs!