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Since the inception of our breeding program over 20 years ago, our mission at Ironstone has been to produce Neapolitan mastiffs which are true to the Italian type, and which also fulfill American society’s requirements for physical soundness and tractable temperament in dogs. The attainment of this goal is the culmination of many years of in depth study of the dogs in Italy. It is a result of studying the bloodlines of the dogs, of going to Italy to see the dogs and the methods of husbandry which the Italians employ in raising these dogs, of attending shows in Italy and other countries of Europe to see which lines of dogs were the typist and most sound. It is the result of photographing and video taping of hundreds of Neapolitan Mastiffs all over Europe and the USA in order to study their facial and body structure so as to completely understand the term “typical mastino expression” as referred to by the Italians. It is the result of years of purchasing many dogs from Italy and breeding certain dogs to others, studying the results, and with continual tracking and examination of all aspects of resultant puppies, determining which dogs would best be suited to satisfy the mission of the Ironstone breeding program.
Throughout these years of working to produce the highest quality Neapolitan Mastiffs, we have seen the results of our efforts in the many show champions we have made. We have seen it in the show champions which clients have made of puppies they have purchased from Ironstone. We have seen it in the standings that Ironstone dogs and their offspring have received in shows all over the world. We have seen it in the consistency of type and mind and temperament, which is found in Ironstone dogs all over the world.
The effort to produce such excellence has been tremendous, in terms
of financial outlay as well as the time involved in the continual study
of all aspects of the husbandry of these unique dogs. The physical and
emotional stamina required to succeed in this sometimes elusive artistic
endeavor is enormous. After 15 years of continuous study of the breed
in all its aspects, I had to let the accumulation of so much information
overflow into several books and videos which I hoped would make it
easier fro other Neo aficionados to understand the breed. Unfortunately,
the main book, The Official Book of the Neapolitan Mastiff published by
TFH, is no longer in print. I am in the process of turning it into a
DVD which I can update with more recent information and then put out to
Times are changing , and Americans are becoming more adapted to technology, and less in tune with Nature and animals. People have less time, space, money and knowledge to care for dogs such as Neapolitan mastiffs. These dogs need to be managed by people who are adept at handling such animals. As a result of changing societies, there will be fewer homes to be found for such a breed. Ironstone intends to keep an elite few Neapolitan Mastiffs, and from time to time there will be puppies available. They will be, in our opinion, some of the finest Neos to be found anywhere. They will be only for the certain few who are able to demonstrate ability to manage these special dogs. Hopefully, for the breed, there will always be a few people around with “animal sense” who can care for this ancient treasure properly.
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