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Molosser Moment #7

Marie Moore reigns

Arguably one of America’s highest-profile breeders in the 1950s and ’60s, Marie Moore re-established the Mastiff in North America during the latter half of the century. A woman of means, Moore stocked her Mooreleigh Kennel at High Hope Farm in The Plains, Va., with some of the best imports postwar Britain had to offer, from kennels such as Havengore, Withybush and Blackroc. In 1970, she was the first American to judge Mastiffs at Crufts, that most British of British shows. A relentless collector, she was the single most significant donor to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, now the permanent home of her Mastiff art and antiques, from oil paintings (see Moment #12) to carousel figures.

But for all her accomplishments and accolades, Moore remained an enigma to most of her contemporaries in the Mastiff world. She held her breeding stock close, and few breeders were able to procure stock or stud service from her kennel, which in its heyday numbered upward of 40 dogs. Intensely private and from all accounts difficult to approach, Moore made herself synonymous with the Mastiff, but shared little else. What would the breed be like today if Moore had treated her assemblage of dogs less like an art collection, and more like a breeding kennel? We’ll never know.  



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