After spending 20 years with Australian Shepherds, my husband happened to see a small pick-up truck driving down the road with an enormous dog in the front seat. Because we always loved big dogs, having had Rottweilers in the past, we researched to find the dog that Jerry saw in that truck — hence our introduction to the English Mastiff. We have loved these wonderful dogs for more than 20 years and devoted much time to working for their health and longevity.
As with our time in Aussies, our breeding philosophy stressed health, temperament and longevity. As one of my favorite vets was fond of saying, "if you have temperament, longevity and genetic and reproductive soundness, proper conformation will automatically follow." Because of this, we didn't breed often as our breeding stock had to meet strict standards regarding complete health testing, structure and temperament.
All litters had sire and dam clear on OFA hips, elbows, cardiac, patella and thyroid (or MSU full thyroid panel equivalent), CERF eyes, von Willebrands, Cystinuria and either be DNA PRA cleared or be from cleared parents. While no one can guarantee genetic problems won't develop, we felt it was necessary to do everything possible to reduce the risk by knowing what the total health picture is of any dogs used for breeding, and making breeding decisions based on facts, not suppositions.