2010 Seminar report


Sunday the 21st of November 2010
Bantock House Museum, Finchfield Road, Wolverhampton. WV3 9LQ
As we are all aware, In September 2009, we received confirmation from the KC BH&WSG that the changes made to our Breed standard in Jan 09, were to remain in place & were now finalised. The KC also launched Breed Watch, and the NM Points of concern listed excessively heavy in build, excessive wrinkle and dewlap, excessive amounts of loose facial skin causing abnormalities of the eyes, and unsound movement. As our Breed Health Co-ordinator put it: it is very difficult to argue with much of the content of Breed Watch which calls for judges to pay particular attention to weakness in construction, eyes & skin. If we are to continue with our view that type does not equate to bad health we should avoid providing ammunition to the contrary. At this moment in time there is no doubt that the issues of health & type are completely linked, in the minds of those who are not familiar with our breed, and the only way we're going to change this is to: only show our typical Mastini in optimum health, & continue providing educational events.

Thus TNMC felt, another Seminar was in order, more especially as the last Seminar was held just before the KC made the changes to the NMBS. Preparations began in earnest and it was decided, to host a Seminar free of charge, thereby encouraging mass attendance of Club Members, breed enthusiasts, & Judges from our A3, B & C lists. The Committee made a provisional booking of the KC's Seminar Rooms at Stoneleigh, opting for a date in February 2010. In December 2009, the Club received the news that the KC were hosting, free of charge, a Molosser Seminar for all Judges on all Molosser Breed Clubs' Judging Lists, to be held at Stoneleigh, February 2010. We began to think that maybe our Meetings were being bugged! LOL! All preparations for the Clubs' Seminar in February were put-on-hold until after the KC Molosser Seminar. At a Committee meeting in May, the decision to ensure that the information, procured at the KC Molosser Seminar, was cascaded to Club Members & Judges, was unanimous, and preparations for a Breed Specific Seminar for November 2010 commenced in earnest.

On the 21st of November 2010, The Neapolitan Mastiff Club, hosted a Breed Specific Seminar at, Bantock House Museum in Wolverhampton, and I believe, many of our attendees were surprised to find this tastefully restored historical function facility, set in panoramic surroundings, in the heart of urban Wolverhampton, and were decidedly pleased with our choice of venue.
The day began with registration and refreshments, and our panel of speakers very nervously made final preparations to their presentations. We have to say that, in the days preceding our Seminar, the number of apologies we received from enthusiasts & Judges, was quite heart rendering. For the Committee & Speakers who had put so much effort into ensuring that this was to be a Seminar to remember, to have to consider that we were only expecting half the number of attendees who had booked, was very disappointing to say the least. Nevertheless, it was brilliant to see 30 or so enthusiasts & Judges in attendance, and the day proceeded unabated.

The first presentation highlighted the salient points of the Kennel Clubs' Accredited Breeder Scheme and was presented by Bill Lambert. Bill has worked for the Kennel Club since 2005, originally as a breed advisor inspecting breeder's premises on behalf of the Kennel Clubs Accredited Breeder Scheme. And more recently, as the Kennel Clubs' Health & Breeder Services Manager, has been actively involved in a number of KC initiatives aimed at ensuring the health of pedigree dogs.

Bill presented an extremely informative & eloquent presentation on the KC ABS, highlighting the KC's aims and objectives for the scheme, requirements requisite to membership, accolades members can aspire to achieve, and the long term goals & forward developments within the canine world, the KC is hoping to achieve through the scheme. Bill concluded with a Q&A opportunity, in which many attendees raised their enquiries or concerns, which again, Bill addressed professionally.

The second presentation was to have covered a brief history of the Neapolitan Mastiff, and the development of the breed in the UK by Denise Bucknall. And yes! In true Denise OCD style!! had compiled a presentation, which was far longer than time allocated to present it in!! But aware of her misdemeanor, had included the latter part of her presentation in the Seminar Packs. Denise had created a power-point presentation enabling attendees to see on screen, each and every point of reference being referred to throughout her presentation, and has since been informed, enthralled attendees with her history & development of the Neapolitan Mastiff.

The third presentation Breed Health, was presented by Kim Slater, and as many enthusiasts know, Kim became actively involved with Mastini in 1997. Kim helped to establish and sat on the Committee of The 'Proposed' Neapolitan Mastiff Club until 2001. Kim was mentored from the outset by: the founder & President of The Neapolitan Mastiff Club, until his passing in 2008, Douglas Oliff. Douglas saw a future Mastinara in our speaker, and provided her with a wealth of knowledge, which we continue to draw upon today. Kim has traveled extensively over the years, gathering breed specific information and furthering her Mastino knowledge & understanding. In 2008 Kim was asked by The Neapolitan Mastiff Club to take-on the role of Breed Health Co-ordinator in the UK, and in 2009 was approached by the Mastino Health Foundation USA, to assist them in researching and promoting Neapolitan Mastiff Health.

Kim's very interesting presentation gripped us from the outset and highlighted such issues as: Overview of Breed Reconstruction, Scanziani's Aims. Progression from Rural Working Dog to Show-ring & Subsequent Impact on Health. Breeding The Italian Way. Advantages & Disadvantages of Importing to UK. Mastino from the 90's to Present In Terms of Type & Health Issues. The World Mastino Health Foundation. ATIMANA. And How the UK can Contribute. Kim also concluded with an open Q&A opp and provided her personal opinion on the way forward for the health of our breed.

The forth presentation Veterinary Opinion, was presented by Tom Bingham, B.V.M.S., M.R.C.V.S Tom qualified from the University of Glasgow Veterinary College in 1976 & joined the Walpole practice in 1977, and the current partnership of Walpole & Bingham was formed in 1984. Tom specialises in such breeds as the Bulldog and sits upon the Bulldog Breed Council's list of recommended Veterinary Surgeons. Tom has been treating NM's at the practice for approx 12 years and in more recent years, has accepted referrals from TNMC.

Tom's presentation was absolutely first class and should have really been recorded for future reference. In his Veterinary Opinion on Cherry Eye & Bloat, Tom covered such subjects as: Anatomy of Eyelids and Tear Production. Significance of Cherry Eye in various Breeds. Treatment of Cherry Eye. Significance & General Causes of Dry Eye. Bloat, Gastric Dilation / Volvulus (GDV). Tom then provided Q&A opportunity and was bombarded with Q's from attendees, some of whom were eager for insight into conditions that can affect other breeds. Absolutely fabulous presentation as said, should have been recorded.

Over a very enjoyable lunch, served in the exhibition area adjacent to the Tractor shed, both rooms were filled with a buzz of excitement created by the day's proceedings, with attendees discussing all aspects of presentations they had so far received & asking further Q's of lecturers. Massive thanks to everyone who participated in the Welfare Raffle, Jacquie Jordan & Dawn Wilde inform us that £200 was spectacularly raised for NMW during lunch. At 2pm, our Master of Ceremony for the day Steve Greenwood, who carried out his duties to the letter & ensured that proceedings ran smoothly all day, bless him! Called everyone back to the Tractor shed for the afternoon session & the fifth presentation.

The fifth presentation: The KC Breed Standard & Judging the Neapolitan Mastiff in the UK: was presented by Steve Cox. As many enthusiasts are aware Steve became actively involved with Mastini in 1994. In 1996 Steve established the Rayvonley Mastino Kennels, which have since developed into, one of the most successful Mastino Kennels in the UK. Steve started his Judging career in 2002 and has sat on the Committee of The Neapolitan Mastiff Club since 2002. Steve was elected as Club Chairman in 2006, and was re-elected for a further 4 years in Office in 2010. Steve has been instrumental in forging good working relations with Mastinari & fellow Mastino enthusiast's world wide, and continues to represent the Breed Club in the promotion & progression of the Neapolitan Mastiff in the UK.

Steve's presentation was interesting, informative, enjoyable, & as ever, Steve spoke very eloquently about his chosen breed. Steve utilised the services of 3 breed specimens & began by discussing the Breed Standard, highlighting the amendments made in 2009 and the relevance upon Judging the NM in the UK, in Review of KC's Breed Watch Initiative. An in-depth discussion on conformation followed, and then attendees gathered outside for a demonstration of movement, courtesy of 9 Molossers, including example of Bullmastiff movement compared to Mastini. Steve concluded his presentation back in the warmth, reiterating that in essence our long term goals for our breed were already being addressed, but in the present climate it is necessary to be very public in our endeavours & prove that NM enthusiasts in the UK, treat the health of our breed with the same regard as they pay to type.

The Officers & Committee of The Neapolitan Mastiff Club were over the moon with the way the entire day proceeded & the manner in which each presentation was received, and wishes to extend sincere thanks to: Bill Lambert, Denise Bucknall, Kim Slater, Tom Bingham & Steve Cox, for their lectures, Sean&Dawn Platts, John Klien, Mark Spilsbury, Rachel Greenwood, Nelson Ray, Tom& Lorraine Simpson, & Team Rayvonley who brought along breed specimens. Bantock House Museum for superb facilities & catering. And last but by no means least, the Officers & Committee of TNMC wish to extend sincere thanks to all enthusiasts & Judges who attended our Breed Specific Seminar 2010. We hope you all enjoyed your day as much as we did. A truly momentous day Sa'lute!