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Monday, May 19, 2008

Lake Geneva's top dog

--- Mastiff spends past year as a champion

By Kayla Bunge/Janesville Gazette

For the past year, 2 1/2-year-old Tank has been the nation's No. 1-ranked mastiff puppy.

Tank kept his title until a week ago when the new Grand Sweepstakes winner of the Mastiff Club of America National Specialty Show was named.

Al Hoch/Janesville Gazette
Heather Boggs and her nation's top-ranked mastiff, Tank.
"He's very mellow, very laid back," said owner Heather Boggs of Lake Geneva, "He has to lay by someone. If you sit on the floor, he'll come over and put his head on you."

Tank, otherwise known by his AKC name of Fireside's Monster of the Midway, hasn't let his success go to his head.

An American Kennel Club champion, Tank is one of three mastiffs in Terry and Heather Boggs' house. Tug, also an AKC champion, and Gretchen lumber through the house, too.

"Our dogs are treated like our children," Heather said. "I have five kids, not two."

Terry always wanted a big dog, and when he first saw a mastiff a few years ago, he fell in love. And so did Heather. But neither of them knew what they were getting into.

"I thought we were going to get a dog," Heather said. "I didn't know we were going to get into showing and breeding."

The couple got Tug in February 2004 from a reputable breeder in Georgia. Tug comes from a champion bloodline, and in order to maintain the success, Terry and Heather decided to show him and found a handler in Illinois.

Tug became an AKC champion in six shows. To become a champion, a dog must acquire 15 points, including two major wins (a major win is worth three points or more). Points are awarded based on the number of dogs competing.

The couple planned to get a second mastiff from Tug's handler, who was breeding his first litter. They wanted a female so they could breed her with Tug.

Heather traveled to Illinois to watch the birth of the puppies. She spent six weekends with the puppies, poised to bring home the next addition to her family.

"And I just fell in love with Tank," she said.

The couple began working with Tank in February 2006, teaching him first to stand properly for judging. When he was 5 1/2 months old, they sent him back to the handler in Illinois for more formal dog show training, and at 6 months, he was ready to enter the ring.

Tank became an AKC champion in seven shows.

Despite their crowning achievements, the mastiffs are just normal dogs, Heather said, although passersby would disagree. When Terry and Heather take their three mastiffs for what is supposed to be a leisurely walk downtown, the two-mile jaunt takes nearly two hours because people constantly stop them to ask how tall the dogs are, how much they weigh and how much they eat.

No. 1 mastiff puppy

AKC name: Fireside's Monster of the Midway

Goes by: Tank

Height: 31 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 215 pounds

Diet: 8 cups of Science Diet dry dog food

Favorite treat: Vanilla soft serve from Dairy Queen

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! What a happy story!
I don't understand the "kid" comment, the story is about a dog. Congratulations again! Makes me want one, wish I had the room.

May 28, 2008 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seems like she has 2 human children and 3 dogs which in my opinion means she has 5 children......dogs included being they are treated like family and like their children.
My 2 English Mastiffs are our baby girls. My husband and I chose not to have Human Children and rescued Mastiffs instead. They are our Baby Girls!

May 30, 2008 12:58 PM  

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