We are no longer breeding, please have a look at the Canadian Mastiff Club and Mastiff Club of America websites for further information about the breed, health and much more.  Consider joining one of these clubs - they have informative newsletters, opportunities for mentorship and chat groups that offer support. 

What to Look For in A Breeder

When looking at any breeder these are the things I myself look for. 

Health Testing
Ask to see copies of the testing results. Verify those results with the applicable registering bodies (OFA, CERF).  Note that test results aren't simply the breeder's vet running a chemistry panel and saying they are healthy.   The parents (and hopefully) grandparents should have:

  • OFA, OVC or Pennhip testing done on the hips.
  • OFA or OVC done on the elbows
  • OFA Patellas
  • Cardiac testing
  • PRA DNA & CMR (either the actual test or clear through parentage)
  • CERF (eye examination)
  • VwD (a bleeding disorder)
  • Thyroid
  • Cystinuria (males only)

Health testing is a tool - not a guarantee.  It helps reduce the risk of your Mastiff acquiring a congential disease.  Only DNA tests such as PRA & CMR can guarantee your dogs will not devlop those particular diseases.  Breeders should offer some form of a guarantee (relating to congenital disorders) in their contract - generally up to 24 - 36 months of age.

Registration Papers
Ask to see copies of the parents registration papers. Puppies will only be registerable in Canada if the dam has CKC papers and the stud has papers from his country of residence.

Do they show their dogs?
While it is not imperative that a puppy’s parents are champions – it is important that the breeder understand the breed standard and that their breedings strive to improve their dogs. Conformation is important, many things in the Breed Standard directly link to health, form and function. For example, a mastiff with a straight rear could be prone to cruciate problems; or a mastiff with too long a back may be at risk for Wobbler's. Showing also is a test of a dog’s temperament – can they handle stressful situations? Are they dog/people aggressive away from the home? We are seeing more and more temperament problems coming from poorly bred mastiffs. If they aren’t shown in conformation – do they do therapy work, have temperament testing done (i.e. CGN, TDI, CGC or a working dog title)? Mastiffs are large dogs and temperament is essential.

Ask why they have chosen to do this breeding.
How do they hope it will improve the breed? Visit their home. What are the living conditions? Meet both parents if possible and get a feel for their temperaments. Make sure you feel comfortable with the breeders – you should have a relationship with them for the life of the dog. I will never, ever buy a pup without visiting the home, or having someone I trust do so, again. If I am going to financially support a breeder - I want to be darn sure I know what kind of environment the dogs are kept in.

Do they belong to a breed club?
Most reputable breeders in this area will either belong to the Canadian Mastiff Club,Mastiff Club of Western Canada and/or the Mastiff Club of America. All have Code of Ethics that a breeder must adhere to.

What age are the parents?
I wouldn’t breed before 24 months (for both males and females) when you are able to see how the dog has matured and all health testing can be completed. I’ve seen many mastiffs that were nice as puppies and teenagers that never matured into half decent adults. Girls should not be bred after 7 years (preferably much younger). Ask about how often the female has been bred – are they pumping out puppies not allowing the female to recover in between breedings? How many litters does the breeder produce in a year? How are the pups socialized? What age do they let them go? Pups should never, ever leave before 8 weeks – I prefer a little longer as long as they are staying with their siblings. Dogs learn a lot about bite inhibition and how to be a dog from littermates and their mother.

Ask to see the contract beforehand and read it carefully.
If there’s something you don’t agree with – don’t be shy. Canadian bred mastiffs should be sold on non-breeding contracts – these can be lifted when certain health/showing requirements are met. If you are asked to enter into a co-ownership, think about it carefully before agreeing. And ask for references – and follow up on them. Ask around the mastiff community, as well.