lefty's random dog thread.

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by lefty, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Semencic screwed up more breeds than he helped.

    I was a little surprised to read what you wrote so I looked into it a little. Damned if you're right. I have no idea why there isn't a small but fervent following of the Tosa. My best guess is size, genetic issues, cost and difficulty in sourcing decent breeding stock, association with fighting.

    Here's a blurb from one breeder in Canada:
    Shame. Nice dogs.

    lefty
     


  2. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    I'd have to question most of those factors, though: Size? English Mastiffs and Great Danes are very popular dogs and much larger than the Tosa on average. Genetic issues? Maybe, but I'm not sure they are any worse than in any other giant breeds (or many other purebreds, for that matter). Difficulty in sourcing decent breeding stock? That didn't seem like too much of a problem when the breed was more popular, and many long established breeds come from tiny pools of foundation stock. Association with fighting? That seems implausible given the enormous popularity of the APBT in the USA. This leaves cost. While some breeders charged preposterously high prices from the get-go, others were more realistically priced and comparable to competitive breeds.

    All in all, it remains a mystery to me. It is especially surprising that the Fila has endured much better than the Tosa. I think the latter is a much better companion and family dog, but it may be that the Fila has a niche market for those who want a very ferocious natural guard dog (which the Tosa isn't).

    That Tosa House lady certainly knows everything that can be knowed about the Tosa (or thinks she does...and did so after only owning a couple of Tosas for a few years).

    "Nice dogs"--a good epitaph for the Tosa in America.
     


  3. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Jan, not trying to argue, I just gave it a minute's thought. My guess is that a 5K puppy from shit lines (why would the Japnese sell something good), that will only live 10 years or so, is only going to have so many fans. As to the Canadian breeder, experience aside, perhaps it's indicative of the challenges with breeding the dogs. I would look to the EU breeders.

    All these rare breeds were all introduced to the country at the same time and it was inevitable that some were not going to get a foothold. For some reason, Corsos were more popular than Presas. Don't ask me why ... Presas are better and more authentic dogs.

    lefty
     


  4. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    Frankly, 10 years is an excellent lifespan for a Tosa...or, I believe, any giant-breed dog. I once did a longevity study on the lifespans of 75 Tosas whose life histories I knew. Of these, 38% made it eight years and only 20% made it to 10 or beyond. A couple of months ago, I heard of the death of a Tosa (a descendant of my first dog Zuma) that had been whelped in 2004, but that was very exceptional.

    The Japanese dogmen cull the vast majority of their bitch puppies. If they knew there was a lucrative market for them in the States, they could certainly have spared more for export purposes. For that matter, my imported male Zuma came from excellent fighting lines. His great grandsire was a Warrior Grand Champion (the very rare highest ranking among Tosas); his grandsire was a National Grand Champion (the next rung down), and his sire made Yokozuna/Champion sometime after Zuma's death from bloat...20 days after his third birthday, sad to say. A number of other good dogs were imported.

    Only a couple of breeders charged that preposterous $5K figure. Most charged $3,000 to $3,500, which was still very steep (especially 25 years ago, when a dollar went further), but even then some breeders charged a more reasonable $1,500 or so. As to the matter of cost, I think that French Bulldogs cost about $3K these days, are likely to cost you a small fortune in vet bill, yet you see them all over the place.

    Why the Cane Corso was the big winner among the rare-breed mastiffs that came into vogue in the '80s (I'm not sure if they are more or less popular than the Neo and the DDB) has been something of a mystery to me except they seem to be very popular in the African-American community, for whatever reasons. Good looking dogs, but my impression has been that genetic shyness, low trainability and physical unsoundness were rife within the breed. Admittedly, my impressions were formed 20+ years ago, and perhaps breeders have improved them since then. I can recall your stating that the breed was created by Michael Sottile out of crosses of Neapolitans, Rotts, Pits and Boxers. That made a lot of sense to me. It's hard to believe these impressive dogs had been lurking in byways of Calabria and Sicily since Roman times only to be suddenly discovered in the late 1980s.

    I also have to wonder if the Presa Canario has any ancient islands stock in it. From what I have heard, they are mostly the result of breedings of Bullmastiffs and Amstaffs. For better or worse, I gather they seem to be more prone to human-aggression than most of the other "molossers" except perhaps the Fila. I'd be chary of them only because of the notoriety they acquired from the Diane Alexis Whipple killing in San Francisco in 2001. However, I've met some Presas at rare-breed shows that seemed like pleasant, level-headed dogs.

    Just a postscript here: I was just looking at the AKC popularity/registrations rankings. I see now that the Cane Corso is now number 40 on the list. This puts it ahead of such familiar large-breed dogs as the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Bullmastiff and St. Bernard. Beats me! I note the DDB was in 63rd place, and I was surprised that the Neapolitan was only in 99th place. Great Danes and English Mastiffs were 14 and 28 respectively, so giant size can't be too much of a hindrance to popularity.

    Speaking of Bullmastiffs, I saw a gorgeous bitch a couple of weeks ago that looked just like a Tosa. I couldn't believe that she was one, and she wasn't. She was a young apricot Bullmastiff with a longer muzzle than usual. Until they "fixed the type" of the Bullmastiff circa 1930, most of them were longer-muzzled dogs almost indistinguishable from Tosas or Filas. About the only giveaway that the bitch I saw wasn't a Tosa was that her hair was somewhat longer than customary for a Tosa although I believe some Tosas do have longer hair like that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017


  5. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    It rather saddens me to see that this interesting thread, which has gone on for years, seems to be drying up. Except for the exchange between lefty and me about the Tosas a month ago, there has been no action on this thread since early May. Have people suddenly lost interest in dogs, I wonder?
     


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