David Hancock, author of seven books on dogs and over 500 articles in national magazines has produced a new edition of this title. This is a revised, enlarged, hardback version combining the two softback volumes bearing this title. It has 200 pages, ten colour plates and over 330 illustrations, with seven new sections.
Volume One was described by working dogs expert, the late Harry Baxter, in Our Dogs as based on 'impressive personal research'. Volume Two was described by country-sports writer, the late Brian Plummer, himself the author of over twenty books on dogs, as 'a masterpiece'.
David Hancock is also the author of Dogs as Companions, Old Working Dogs, The Heritage of the Dog, Old Farm Dogs and, most recently, The Mastiffs - The Big Game Hunters. The latter was described in Our Dogs as 'a truly astounding collection of historical material' and in Countryman's Weekly as 'a brilliant piece of research'. David Hancock was recently described in the magazine Dogs in Canada as 'perhaps the most important living writer about dogs'.
This new hardback version of The Bullmastiff - A Breeder's Guide (ISBN 0 9527 8014 3), £25, is to be a limited edition, likely to become a collector's item, rather as the hardback edition of The Mastiffs has, with overseas sales rivalling the home market. Discounted bulk orders will be offered to breed clubs and the dog press. All profits will go, as before, to breed rescue/support.
D R A F T
THE BULL MASTIFF BREED CULTURE
- Draw up a training programme for those who are to judge the breed. Other nations are taking this so much more seriously than we are. It’s no good just perpetually moaning about incompetent judging, steps must be taken to reduce incompetence. Why should judges not take written examinations and then act as learner-judges for a period? Why should the breed be misjudged?
- Introduce the grading of exhibits so that we have some idea of the relative merit of contemporary dogs. Other countries benefit from this system, which can only improve the selection of breeding stock.
- Take steps to monitor inheritable defects. This demands openness, honesty and honourable behaviour. How can we really care if we permit carriers of distressing inheritable conditions to be bred from? In two surveys carried out between 1979 and 1991 in the USA and Britain, bullmastifs were 5th in the top worst breeds for hip scoring.
- Appoint a breed geneticist. With DNA testing becoming increasingly available, scientific progress is allowing us to plan breeding programmes much more precisely.
- Insist on a mandatory Code of Practice for bullmastiff breeders and nag the Kennel Club only to register stock from breed club members. Far too many litters are being bred; far too many poor quality dogs are being produced. Protect the breed! Promote high standards!
- Lobby the Kennel Club to refuse registration to progeny liable to pass on hereditary diseases and to de-register adult dogs carrying faulty genes.
- Start producing written pedigrees which don’t just have names, numbers and colour on them but include information on the named dogs of each generation. You cannot plan breeding programmes from a collection of names. We have the benefit of computerised records nowadays; other breeds are starting to do this, why not this one?
- Finance a comprehensive rescue organisation for the breed by applying a levy on breeders who produced the unwanted dogs. We should be ashamed if just one bullmastiff is without a home.
- Speak up! If you know of dishonest judges, disgraceful kennel conditions, overbreeding, cruelty, cheating or malpractice – speak up! If you really cared about the breed, you would speak up.
- Strive to match the characteristics of the breed: its magnanimity, lifelong loyalty, straightforwardness and steadfastness. Let fanciers of other breeds indulge in petty differences, malicious gossip, jealousy and small-mindedness. This breed faced bulls and bears, bison and buffalo, burglars and belligerent poachers. Do we deserve such dogs?