Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Spanish Ranch Mastiffs": When a Spanish Mastiff ISN'T a Spanish Mastiff

"In case you havent noticed, I have the right to name our breeding of dogs whatever I want to…" 
-- Mary Falk

"Hello Mary, I looked at your website and saw the variegated dog. I was going to buy one for $850,
but instead I decided to mate one of my bitches to the neighbors German Shorthaired pointer.
We are having trouble coming to an agreement, so I need your help. Should we call them 
German Shorthaired Ranch Pointers or Spanish Ranch Mastiffs????"  -- Joe Himmelberg

12/10/14 Update:  I like to keep this page updated, and I'll tell you why.  Besides the fact that I think both Mary and Janet hit on this page regularly, several other people access this page when they are researching these women's LGDs, too.  Here's a few other people's comments about Falk and McNally's dogs, culled from various online forums…people who like me, saw through these women's designer breed ploy a long time ago, and had no qualms about posting about it all over the Internet:

Dear All: pastedGraphic.pdf 
This topic has had a lot of looks from our forum, so let me take this opportunity to remind internet searchers interested in this breed: 
Be aware that there is no such breed as "Spanish Ranch Mastiff" in spite of what you may read on sheep or livestock guardian dog (LGD) websites. 
As previously mentioned above, there was a very active communication about this with the "originator" of the invented "breed" on the Yahoo Spanish mastiff group site last year. To prove this out, use any search engine to ferret out "Spanish Ranch Mastiff" and you should discover only about 2 pages of results: 
posts by a couple of sheep breeders who believed they got "pure Spanish ranch mastiff pups" from the same person promoting her supposedly improved version of the LGD. 
pastedGraphic_1.pdf Please keep in mind you can find some nice cross-bred dogs in shelters before giving your money to this promoter of 'designer dogs' in the LGD arena. pastedGraphic_2.pdf

As mentioned in the post above, the thread on the Yahoo Group Spanish Mastiff forum last year, brings readily to mind on how something written on the web can become "fact" in some peoples minds. The woman claiming to have Spanish Ranch Mastiffs (an entirely made up name by her own admission) posted repeatedly that her crossbred dogs were the true type of SM used by spanish ranchers. An incorrect piece of information she picked up from one of the dog breed info sites refering to a lighter mastiff called a lagero (sp?). She also claimed that the larger dogs that meet standards could not function as they were intended even though she does not have, or worked with a true SM to base her opinion on. She had no interest in hearing the facts and apparently has not stopped spreading her incorrect views on to others.

Reminds of "Circle Z" ranch some years ago in Oklahoma, who was mixing spanish mastiffs with anatolians, CAOs and COs supposedly to create a "better" LGD, and calling them "Asian Shepherds". 

I wonder if the place breeding the "Spanish ranch mastiffs" is operated by the same people or have connections?

Here we go with the "special crossbred" label again:

"Mary’s guard dogs are a special crossbreed of Spanish Ranch Mastiffs, American-bred Italian Maremmas, and Polish Tatras." - Mpls St Paul Best of Twin Cities, September 1, 2012

8/3/14 Update:  This year, "Spanish Ranch Mastiff" creators Janet McNally and Mary Falk are trying to pass off their bogus "Spanish Ranch Mastiffs" as the rare "Cao de Gado Transmontano" breed from Portugal (yes, that's not Spain, but Portugal).   We have been sitting on this for some time, but thought we'd liven up your dog days of summer and toss out a couple of incriminating statements from McNally off the Internet, posted just this year.  Keep in  mind, prior to the USDA Wildlife Services importing Cao de Gado's over to the USA this year, for the first time, for testing, these two artisan cheese and dog breed makers never mentioned the breed; in fact, I'd think its safe to say they didn't even know it EXISTED.  Now, that its suddenly 'hot', and their crossed up mutts vaguely (heavy on the vague) resemble one - guess what?  They are trying to re-invent their made up "SRM" mutts….again, as CDGT's.  Thankfully on respectable Facebook Cao de Gado groups, Falk and McNally have already been outed, called what they are (in some cases not fit for print here), and the proud Portuguese are not about to let these two conniving Yank cheese making women try to slander and 'recreate' their cherished national breed.  Have they any credibility in the CDGT community?  Hell no.

The Cão de Gado Transmontano is the type of dog that Mary Falk brought back on her ventures to learn cheesemaking in Spain. She called it the Spanish Ranch Mastiff, to distinguish it from the show and pet dog that is prevelent on the internet. I obtained three of these pups, and we have both found them to be very effective against wolves....

Janet McNally  Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:49 pm

This, by the way, is the FIRST time Janet has ever called the SRM a CDGT, proving to you how shallow a marketing ploy this really is.  And below, another Internet conversation:

  • Janet McNally I had 3 Cao de Gado Transmontanos (Spanish Ranch Mastiff) and found them to be entirely safe with lambing ewes at any age. They were also very effective with wolves. They did pursue predators much further than I preferred however, and lived rather short lives. Unfortunately, they are not too common here in the US, as these are quite different from the heavier Spanish Mastiff that is more common in the US. Generally I can have my Maremma X SRM x Polish Tatra pups in with lambing ewes for most ages, but am careful with the 8 to 18 month old dogs. I tie them up when lambing begins, just to let the novelty wear off, then release them one at a time (if I have more than one under 2 yrs old) and observe. If they get into trouble they get tied back up until lambing is complete. I tend to neuter the ones who flunk lambing 101. 
Note how McNally says she ties up her LGD's.  Huh?  No one of any stature in LGD circles who has any respect, ties up LGD's in training like this. You either know what you are doing…or you don't.

On to our blog post!


SM's seem to be the latest flavor of LGD crosses out there.  For such a relatively rare LGD breed, its amazing the number of people who suddenly own breeding age SM's.  "Spanish Mastiff" cross puppies are cropping up everywhere from Malta,  UT to Red Lodge, MT and beyond.

Close inspection usually reveals that these pups are really made up of a multitude of breeds, including Great Pyrenees, Polish Tatra and Maremma.  The flecked, speckled or brindle coloring comes most likely from a parent or grandparent that can be traced back to dogs bred by and/or owned by two marketing divas who live - 'natch - back East.  WAY back East.

The "breed" - "Spanish Ranch Mastiff" - was invented by Mary Falk and Janet McNalley, two sheep producers who decided in 1990 to take a trip to Spain, and bring back what they were told, or decided to make into, a "Spanish Ranch Mastiff" (probably more the latter than the former).

The dog they brought over more resembles a Queensland Heeler on steroids:

Note that no real Spanish Mastiffs ever display this type of coat coloration.  Brindle? Yes.  Pintos?  Yes.  But the flecked salt and pepper look?  Never.  Bobbed tails can happen but not often.  And the muzzle of this dog more resembles a Border Collie than a true SM.  There are enough photos on this blog, even the post "Will The Real Spanish Mastiff Please Stand Up" to show you the graphic, wild difference between this purported "Spanish Ranch Mastiff" and a real SM.

Falk and McNalley made quite the cottage industry peddling SRM puppies all over the US and now the scion of said pups are being bred...to everything BUT real SM's - producing sometimes brindle, speckled pups.  These pups are being sold as "half SM" (my ass they are) or such.

For the record, there IS no such breed as the SRM here, or in Spain.

Apparently many others are now catching on to this, as evidenced in this chicken forum post.  My favorite quip from the thread is from someone who smells BS as well as I do insofar as Falk and McNalley are concerned:

Reading their website all i can smell is bs tbh.

"These dogs were similar in appearance and temperament to our dogs,(Maremma X  Tatra crosses ) with the exception that they were much heavier bone mass, carried more height and came in different colors other than white."

How lucky that you ran across a dog in your travels that looks just like a cross you already breed right?

Uh huh.....my thoughts as well.

Meanwhile, the few friends and devotees these two back slapping and at times obnoxiously overbearing and pompous dames have, continue to toot their horns for them and their dogs.  From what I have heard, some of their dogs can be good.

Its a shame some of it didn't rub off on Falk and McNalley.

A potential customer of mine recently fielded a very weird phone call from a blocked/private number.  The person who called said their name was "Mary".  They proceeded to diss me and my Spanish Mastiffs and crowed that they could beat any of my prices with their dogs.   The recipient of the call was immediately put off by the whole deal and put them off.  The question remains, how this "Mary" got their contact info and phone number.  We suspect a lurking co-hort on a Facebook LGD forum (which is not public) was part of the little game.  Regardless, its nice to know that by getting the truth out about real Spanish Mastiffs I am apparently putting a large dent in someone's over-hyped reputation and their bogus, designer "Spanish Ranch Mastiff breed".

I have no issue with crossbreeding, but I'll be damned if I call my half Spanish Mastiff, 1/4 Maremma and 1/4 Anatolian pups something stupid or misleading like "Nevada Ranch Mastiffs" or "Winnemucca Wolf Killers".....

Ah but back to the 'breed' in question.  Here's a few photos of dogs coming from these typical "SRM" crosses.  Study them closely then go back and look at just about any photo on this blog of REAL SM's,  (save for the sickly thin whippet looking SM bred by Lois Jordan), and you can see the huge difference.

When asked where the purebred SM was who started the cross in Red Lodge, MT, the owner of the dogs above promptly blocked me from her FB page, rather than cop to the truth: there likely IS NO REAL SM up there, but again, a very very diluted crossbred.  That people would grasp at such straws is really pathetic.  That they'd lie to people about what their dogs really are, is downright inexcusable and wrong.

She and some others flunk the Ethics 101 test with me.

For the record, NO legit Spanish breeders in Spain recognize, acknowledge or own or breed, "SRM's".  And from what I know, Mary Falk has zero credibility with any of them.  Who ever sold her the first dog, probably saw and a knew a sucker when he found one.

The other "name" for this invented breed is "The Triple Cross":

We have a few 10 month old 3/4 Spanish Ranch Mastiffs for sale and also a couple of six month old Triple Cross pups available.
All have been raised with sheep, the Triple Cross have been raised with sheep AND chickens.
All of the dogs come with a health warranty and a performance guarantee.
My camera died..again :-( so I dont have any current photos of this exact litter, but I do have a video of the Spanish Ranch Mastiff litter from this summer. In the video there is only one shot of one of the Triple Cross adolescents (all white with the longer hair) and of course it is the only dog that we had that happened to be limping from an injury....sigh. In The litter of the Triple Cross that we have available some are short/ slick coated and a couple have a little longer hair (similar to a golden retriever)

For comparison: here are examples of half SM pups out of my "OOPS" litters of 2012.  Father is Anatolian/Maremma.  For Christ sakes.  Even THEY look more SM than the dogs above do.  Note increased bone mass, heavy skin around neck, broad skulls and face, and ears.

See what I mean?  NO comparison.

These pups of mine distinctly show the SM heritage.  As for the other "SRM" bred pups?  Well, a splash of brindle here and there hardly makes for credentials...but you'd never know it by the way these people hype their pups.  Any "SM" that may have been in those dogs is so damn diluted by now, its reduced again, to a splash of color.

Educate yourself, people......  If they can't show you a photo of a bonafide SM that's behind all their hyped SRM pups.....run in the other direction.  Or buy the pup, but know what you have ain't what they say it is.

So the next time someone points at  their freckled or brindle snipey looking LGD and crows to you that it is a "SRM" - just smile......you know the truth about that now.

Again, I have no issue with crossing SM's on other breeds, having had two 'oops' litters of such, myself.  What I DO have issue with, is the total lack of honesty on the part of breeders who peddle pups as something they are not.

In fact the people in Malta recently got busted and their ads for "SM puppies" kicked off a national puppy advertising site because they were claiming their pups were SM's....and they were half Pyrenees crossed on one of the above, diluted "SRM" type dogs.

Gee....I wonder who had anything to do with that????