A brief inside Cedwalla Mastiff, Pam and Doug Chidwick, one of the most successful and respected mastiff breeders, exhibitors,  edited by George Z Faynad

We got our first mastiff in 1976 after losing our bloodhound bitch. We were looking for a breed that had less problems than bloodhounds. Our children were 1 and 2 and we just wanted a pet. Some friends had just bought a newfoundland puppy and they persuaded us to go to a show with them.

At the Birmingham show we saw some lovely dogs and decided we wanted a show mastiff. After studying the breed for a while we were very impressed by Forefoot Prince of Darkness and eventually got a puppy out of his litter brother Forefoot Rex Mundi. Claude did well in the ring but was not quite what we were looking for. A short time later we saw a bitch we liked very much, this was Hollesley Devil Dancer. later we saw her off spring, Hollesley Rowella and her litter brother Hollesley Medicine Man, he especially, was what we envisaged in a mastiff.

We bought 2 bitches, litter sisters. They were both very typy and our plan was to ask to use Hollesley Medicine Man on one of them, she was not a good mover but very massive, and to use Forefoot King Kong on the other. He was an erratic mover but the bitch we hoped to use had good movement.. We summoned up the courage to ask Mrs Greenwell if we could use MM and were delighted when she agreed. We then approached Richard Thomas and Peter Tugwell who at this time owned Forefoot King Kong and we were set to go.

In due time the matings were done and we had 3 puppies to Hollesley Medicine Man. The bitch we kept was Cedwalla Sweet Ellenor, we also kept a dog Cedwalla Lionheart (we were aware he was a fluffy but kept him because we loved having him around) the other bitch went to the Duvals, Cedwalla English Rose at Chevelu who, mated to Arcemedes Lion when he came here two years later produced Chevelu Blodelwedd of Bredwardine.

Ellenor  took the bitch CC at Crufts two years running. She also won at the OEMC’s Championship Show one year but lost to her daughter the next year and collected the RCC. She won under most of the well known judges of the day and the only bitch that beat her more than once was her daughter. As we had a young family at the time we could not attend all the shows we would have liked but she still managed 19 Challenge Certificates. She was Top Winning Mastiff in 1986

After being made up Ellenor was mated to Glynpedr Dom Ruinart and produced 3 puppies, one of which was Cedwalla Miss Edwina. Edwina was soon a Champion and we let them fight it out in the ring. She won the bitch ticket at the OEMC Championship Show in1988 and was also to become Top Winning Mastiff  later that year. She won the reserve CC to her mother at Crufts in 1988 but unfortumnately she was not to have any progeny.

Ellenor had a second litter3 years after her first. She had two puppies one of which Warwick was to be mated to Cedwalla Harriet who in turn was out of Cedwalla Rosamunde who was out of Saucy Sarsh and one of Medicine Man’s sons Glynpedr Dom Perignon.

Warwick and Harriet produced 2 puppies from their first mating,  both of which we kept. They were to be Cedwalla Sweet Charity and Cedwalla Cedric. They were to be mated again a year later and produced Cedwalla Lucinda.

During these years the Mastiff Association had grown from strength to strength and in 1994 they held their first Championship show. I was privileged to be asked to judge it. It was a massive show and judging it was terrifying but very rewarding as there were so many good dogs to choose from.

Soon after the MA show we started showing Cedwalla Sweet Charity and she went on to win at most of the shows she attended.( I have enclosed her complete show record, at the bottom of the page)

In 1995 Charity took the bitch CC at the MA Championship Show, the year after in 1996 she took BOB, and the year after, 1997 the bitch CC again. In 1996 she also took BOB at Crufts as she did the following year 1997. In 1995,Charity took the BOB at the OEMC Ch Show and the BOB in 1997.  This was her last show.

We mated Charity to Ch Jengren Pluto and they produced two puppies, one was a fluffy Cedwalla Brutus the other was Cedwalla Prince Charming and charming he was. He was so much what we loved in mastiffs but unfortunately he was to die of bloat before fully mature. He was operated on and everything looked hopeful but late the next day he died suddenly without coming home. This was our worst moment in the breed, we had lost Cedwalla Lucinda during a c-section a few months earlier. She had been mated to Prince Charming but the three puppies she was carrying also died. A great deal of our interest in showing died with all these lovely dogs.

At this time keen to keep the line going we mated Charity to her brother Cedwalla Cedric, they were to have one puppy Cedwalla Prudence who in turn was mated to Fayad King of Our Cottage. She had one puppy Cedwalla Sweet Clementine. Clementine was to have a litter of nine. Our largest litter ever. Until that time three was our largest number of puppies from a mating. Clementine was mated to Fin Mac Cual at Jengren.

Our elation at the size of this litter changed to consternation when we heard that the OEMC were to take action against this dog although they had accepted him a few years earlier. This persuaded us to get one of the puppies in the ring to show how silly they were being. After making Cedwalla Miss Amelia a champion we mated her and she also was to have nine puppies, one of her sisters was made up in Italy and was to produce many excellent puppies. We also sent some very successful semen.

Amelia was mated to Chevelu Easter Parade for Heffalump, and although we have not campaigned  the bitch we kept, Cedwalla Matilda, the Heffalump kennel have campaigned Cedwalla Country Boy with great success. We kept Cedwalla Serenity and have recently had one puppy out of her to Ch Faynad Frankincense.

In our 42 years in the breed we have only managed to have 46 puppies, not a very good record for anybody wishing to be a breeder, but we only mated when we thought there was a chance of something really good. We have over the years brought three dogs in to increase our chance of puppies but only considered one of them good enough to use so the other two were passengers but no regrets because we have produced some excellent mastiffs that we felt enhanced the breed.

Do you remember the first time you saw a Mastiff?

The first mastiff I saw was in a book. We had lost our bloodhound and were looking for a breed with less problems. (Little did we know what we were doing )Doug bought a book showing three hundred breeds of dogs. He had already decided what he wanted but not told me. As soon as I saw the mastiff I knew what he wanted and just said, I am not having that with 2 young children etc.

What are the breed’s greatest strengths right now? And its greatest weaknesses?

The breeds greatest strength right now is probably there are less cripples in the ring.

 Its greatest weakness I believe is that there is less line breeding and so kennels don’t always have a definite type.

Name a Mastiff of past and not of your breeding that you consider to be a fine example of the breed?

There are two dogs that spring to mind when asked who was the most impressive. One is Forefoot King Kong who went to the Bredwardine kennel when the Cowes had to give up mastiffs. He was beautiful standing, massive bone, long bodied and a head to die for, unfortunately he lost it all on the move.

That brings me to Hollesley Medicine Man who surely must be the best overall. He had one or two obvious faults, for example an abrupt stop that did not look quite right from the side and a cut away underjaw, he might also have been a little shorter in body than I would like but all this is nothing against his good qualities. He was a brilliant showman, quite exceptional in a mastiff. He had excellent bone and was always unbelievably sound and fit. I know Phil Greenwell, one of his owners, used to walk him 5 miles a day. From the front, his head was one of the best I have ever seen. He had a beautiful bite which he usually passed on to his progeny as he did his excellent conformation and balance. His temperament was outstanding.

I remember at Crufts one year a family made a fuss of one of our dogs and as we talked he told us of an embarrassing experience he had had a little while before when he had been bending over a dog making a fuss of him and then went to stand up at which point the dog had stood up and barked at him. The man was so shocked he shot backwards and sprawled across the aisle on his back.

A little while later Phil Greenwell came along and told us about an embarrassing moment she had had when somebody  who had been making a fuss of Medicine Man stood up to leave and MM being upset that he was leaving, barked at the man who fell backwards across the gangway. MM loved everyone. At another show Pam Day who bred him and used to attend shows with him, got to the show late when he was collecting his CC, he saw her coming and barked and jumped from foot to foot like an excited child. He was a truly charming dog who had an air of  strength and invincibility about him.

What one fault can you absolutely not forgive in a Mastiff? and What one virtue do you prize almost above all in a Mastiff?

The fault I absolutely can’t forgive is aggression to people or young dogs and puppies. Over the years I have put up dogs with a range of faults but never that showed aggression. In the same vein good temperament has to be the quality I prize most

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