The following review is an opinion based on my personal experience dealing with Mad River Cain Corso. I am not suggesting that they breed an inferior dog or that their business practices are suspect. This post is to share my story and personal contempt for the proprietors of that business. My story has a tragic ending that in my opinion could have been avoided. Your decision to do business with this breeder should be based on a number of factors and not just one report you read on the Internet. On or around the beginning of 2012 I lost my dog (a Sheba Inu) of over 10 years and felt confident to get a much larger breed and considered a mastiff. I interviewed many breeders including but not limited to English, Tibetan, French, and Italian mastiffs to determine if this would be a suitable pet for me and my young daughter (six years old at the time). We’ve all heard horror stories about large breed dogs harming small children so I wanted to make sure that my first priority was temperament and reputation of the breeder. Prices range from approximately $1500 to as high as $4500 depending on the breeder. Another notable difference between breeders is how they emphasize the value of their dogs. For instance, in my opinion the ones that gloat about how big their dogs are, you should never consider doing business with. Generally speaking, all they care about is producing a large animal with almost no regard for its temperament or breeding. They know there’s a market of unsophisticated buyers that just want something that looks big and scary. These people are basically puppy mills and should be avoided. I narrowed my search down to a handful of breeders all of which I felt put an emphasis on their dog’s health, temperament, bloodlines, etc. while simultaneously following the breed standards as outlined by the AKC. The reason I purchased from Mad River was because their dogs appear to be beautiful, their website was one of the most professional that I found, and because they happen to have puppies available when no one else did (primary reason). I was very unimpressed when I first called the breeder; I spoke to a woman who seemed very unknowledgeable and disinterested in answering questions. I later learned that Darlene is Darrell’s mother the owner of Mad River. This breeders full-time occupation is that of a carpenter (or some sort of trade) and not a full-time breeder. I understand that making a full-time occupation out of breeding could be difficult however I strongly recommend when buying a dog like this you find a breeder who does nothing but this for a living. Even if you have to pay more, it’s well worth it in my opinion. I was told in my initial conversation with Darlene that they only had two puppies left from a recent litter and that if I wanted one I had to give her a credit card deposit over the phone immediately. It seemed reasonable because someone else may come along and buy the dog so I gave her the deposit and felt that the homework I had done online was sufficient for me to purchase this animal. It took me nearly 5 hours to make it to their house, that’s right; my experience was dealing with the breeder right out of their home versus a legitimate kennel. I asked to see the parents and was told that it was too muddy however if I was willing to wait an hour or so they might be able to get someone to take me down to the kennels. I was already regretting my decision however I was so invested in this process that it didn’t seem practical to walk away especially losing my deposit. Maybe I’m just being pretentious and judgmental however these people seemed extremely uneducated and very unsophisticated. It was extremely clear to me that they breed as many dogs as possible (they put out a huge number of litters per year versus many of their competitors). I will say that the guy that runs the place takes great pains to make sure that the bloodlines are high quality and I will tell you that my dog was a beautiful specimen of the breed. Now that you’ve read the story behind me purchasing the dog here’s the bad stuff and the reason I’m writing this report…. I was recently divorced when I purchased the animal three years ago and my ex-wife was very concerned about the breed because of news articles she had seen regarding the temperament of this type of dog. She was unjustifiably concerned that just because it’s a Cain Corso it’s going to be mean and potentially dangerous towards our young daughter. She gave me such grief that I felt it wasn’t worth keeping the dog when someone else could purchase him who wouldn’t have the issues that I was having. I called Darlene back at Mad River and was met with a completely different attitude than when I was purchasing the dog. All she was doing was negotiating how much money I’d have to leave on the table in order to return the dog that I had for 48 hours!! I was outraged, how dare a legitimate breeder risk someone taking one of their dogs to a shelter versus just taking it back and finding another home for it? I felt that was a very trashy attitude and solidified in my mind that I was dealing with rednecks that breed expensive dogs to make a few extra bucks. I have never seen a legitimate breeder not offer to take back a dog if there was a problem, even if it was a problem like mine. So I kept the dog… And for the first 2 ½ years he was wonderful minus some typical puppy behavior which was carefully mitigated by extensive training classes starting from 10 weeks of age all the way through adolescence. My dog was responsive to hand signals and in my opinion was not only well behaved but truly a pleasure to have around the home. As a puppy (first three years) contractors would come to the house and simply be an awe of the dog… Constantly complementing his appearance and were all very surprised with his temperament which was excellent towards strangers. He never growled, barked, or even put his spike up even when perfect strangers came to the house. It may be noteworthy to mention that the dog was 127 pounds at three years of age with tons of exercise so this was lean muscle. Approximately one week ago my now nine-year-old daughter was with me over the weekend and I was bringing her lunch when the dog ran up to her and bit her arm. Fortunately the bite was not vicious enough to break the skin but understandably hurt my daughter and scared her more than anything. I rack my brains trying to think about what could have prompted this aggression because you can practically put your hand in his food bowl while he’s eating and he would never so much as look at you. We chalked it up as a one-time event until the same thing happened two more times the next day. He was acting very aggressively towards my daughter who was never with the dog out of my sight and did not treat him any differently than she had the last three years. Let me make it very clear… The dog was in no way injured, frightened, threatened, or put in the position in which it should have felt that it needed to defend itself. I was simply bringing lunch to my daughter on a plate (not a dog bowl) and he went from one room to another for the sole purpose of biting her in what experts have agreed was a show of dominance and aggression. My daughter was okay although a little shaken up however I was devastated knowing that I was going to have to give up the dog. Only an idiot puts their pets welfare above their children’s and those are generally the people that you read about in the newspaper whose dog mulled their child. My first call was to the veterinarian who said that based on the description of the events the dog has reached full maturity and is becoming aggressive. He said it is not uncommon in this breed. He told me that despite what you might see on Discovery Channel (certain well-known shows about magic animal workers) aggression cannot be trained out of the dog. He said I have to rehome the dog or put him to sleep. The breeder’s immediate suggestion was because he is such a fine specimen of the breed and it still intact (not neutered) that I should contact the breeder and see if they would be interested in taking the dog back, of course free of charge. I contacted the breeder and of course got a voicemail. I left a relatively urgent message and Darrell did call me back very quickly however not only was he annoyed but he explained to me that he was “working” and that I was going to have to keep it short. I questioned him about what he meant as far as “work” meant and that’s when he told me that they are not full-time breeders but that he has a full-time job. Notwithstanding the foregoing, I explained to Darrell exactly what happened and I did not even receive the slightest bit of sympathy regarding my daughter being attacked by one of their dogs but received a lecture regarding the fact that I had not neutered the dog within the 12 months that the contract stated. First of all, let me interject that a contract that you sign where no damage occurs to the other party is totally unenforceable says my attorney. In other words me not neutering the dog has no impact on that company whatsoever, the only reason in my opinion that they require it is because they do not want people purchasing dogs and competing against them. Darrell goes into some nonsensical explanation about why their contract requires neutering within 12 months even for a male dog, states that 50% is because it will stop aggression. This is totally untrue based on the opinions given to be by people that are not carpenters but actual veterinarians who went to college to understand animal physiology and behavior. Basically Darrell accused me of being the reason why my dog bit my daughter. Knowing the type of people in dealing with I understand that it’s probably just within his nature to immediately become defensive versus trying to understand that no one is making any accusations about him or his business. I never even got to ask if they would take the dog back, he told me to go get the dog neutered at three years of age… That was his solution. Again, I will reiterate that a very competent veterinarian used these exact words “there is a 0% chance that neutering the dog at three years will taper his aggression. Even if you had done it at 18 months to two years it would’ve only taken the edge off”. The veterinarian told me that this dog just happens to be on the aggressive side and it will only get worse as he gets older. I started this near dissertation by saying I’m not commenting about the quality of their product but only my disgust for the way I was treated as a customer and the fact that they appear, in my opinion, to treat their animals like a commodity versus a pet. I have purchased an animal from Mad River and he was a beautiful dog but was regrettably put to sleep at the veterinarian’s suggestion. All other options were considered however placing an aggressive dog at nearly 130 pounds is a potential legal liability and a foolish move. I love my dog and it devastated me to have to bury a perfectly healthy pet at only three years old. Mad River should have offered to take the dog back and find him another home or breed him like their other animals. I have relayed this story countless times to other breeders while considering purchasing another dog, many of which point out to me that their contracts require you to give them a first right of refusal before turning the dog over to a shelter or destroying it. It’s very sad that the only concern they seemed to have when I first had an issue with the puppy was money… They could’ve taken the dog back and this would not have been an issue. I’m sure there are many people who’ve gotten great dogs from these guys however when I called Darrell nearly in tears he practically scolded me for not following their contract (self-serving in my opinion) versus trying to help me with a solution for my dog. Whether or not you choose to buy a dog from this breeder is up to you. PS there are probably just as many people who have opinions about when it’s appropriate to neuter a dog as there are Republicans and Democrats. When I brought my several month old puppy to the veterinarian for the first time they went to great lengths to explain that you never neuter a male large breed dog before 18 months and preferably two years. The reason is because the animal requires the testosterone to develop and occurrences of hip dysplasia and other joint related problems are substantially increased when you do that. Your several thousand dollar dog will be unhealthy and appear lanky and awkward which is not what you’re paying for. Imagine what would happen if you were to castrate a human male before puberty… That’s pretty much what happens to a male dog. I only added this postscript because should someone put some long dissertation regarding how important it is to spay or neuter a dog I want it known that this is not a layman’s opinion; three separate veterinarians, in three separate practices, told me the same thing. As a matter of fact, I had one refuse the new the dog at around 14 months old.
This complaint and/or review was posted on HolySmoke.org on 08:16 am, June 19, 2018 (CST) and is a permanent record located at: https://www.holysmoke.org/scam/mad-river-cane-corso-review-3/.
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