Lifestyle

Ace is a pooch with pizzazz

Ace the champion bullmastiff
Ace the champion bullmastiff Jay Cronan

HE has all the attributes of a champion bullmastiff - gentleness, obedience, even compassion - and none of the negative behaviours often seen in ill-bred mastiff dogs.

Ace, at eight years old, is doing the gentlemanly thing and retiring from competition on a high note, having just won Best in Show and first Grand Champion at the National Specialty Show in Melbourne.

Ace's owner and devoted companion Melissa Smith lives with her husband Andrew near Lismore.

Their family of six dogs ("they're our children really, since we don't have kids", she says) has Ace as the patriarch, and comprises his half-sister, two daughters, and two grandchildren, some of which are showing the potential to become show winners.

Bullmastiffs are lucky to reach double figures and most have retired by the time they are five or six, Ms Smith said.

"In the past three years, since he was five, Ace has won everything he's been shown in," she said.

"We've always had a very strong bond.

"A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with cancer.

"For about two months before my diagnosis he started acting differently. He wouldn't let me out of his sight and wanted to sleep inside.

"I had to be in Brisbane from Monday to Friday for chemotherapy and felt really sick when I got home.

"He didn't make a big excitable fuss when I arrived home. He was very calm and just sat beside my bed the whole time.

"Now I hear about dogs that have diagnosed cancer and diabetes in their owners and I wonder whether he hadn't known about my cancer all along."

Originally bred to be gamekeepers' dogs, bullmastiffs were trained to see off poachers.

They would hurtle into the poacher's leg from behind, knocking him flat.

Then the dog would sit on its victim's chest, with its teeth at his neck, until the gamekeeper arrived.

These are heavy dogs - Ace tips the scales at 65kg.

The Smiths' dogs , when sold to new owners, come with a 40-page information booklet, and full paperwork.

"We won't sell to anyone who won't make a commitment to taking them to obedience classes and puppy school. Prospective buyers have to fill out a two-page questionnaire before I'll call them," Ms Smith said.

It's an expensive hobby.

The Smiths' vet bills alone come to about $15,000 a year and then there's the butcher's bill.

But she reckons it's all worthwhile, and that even Ace himself gets excited about his success.

"The more people clap, the more he loves it. You can't breed that into a dog," she said.

"The judges are amazed by his wonderful temperament; he's great around other dogs, puppies and children.

"He's my gorgeous 65kg lapdog.

"My husband calls him our golden child."

 

Topics:  dog, dog show




UPDATE: House burnt to ground

The house fire in Givelda.Photo Contributed

Emergency crews rush to house fire

Neighbour's car strikes woman

A person has been hit by a car in Thebeban

Journey through time at the East Bundaberg Water Tower

ARCHITECTURAL DELIGHTS: Mayor Jack Dempsey discovers a little bit of Bundaberg History in the East Bundaberg Water Tower.

Open House event to be held on September 3-4

Latest deals and offers

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

Joe Jonas' 'tough' pals

Joe Jonas' pals are 'tough' with his potential partners

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles