Effective July 1, 2004, the Black Russian Terrier and the Neapolitan Mastiff became eligible for competition in the Working Group.
- The Black Russian Terrier first bred true in 1956 and its history is a compelling one. During the 1930's a military kennel named the Red Star started work on a native breed that would be part of the national security force. The kennel worked on selective interbreeding using Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Airedale and Newfoundland mixes. It was important to have a large breed not only reliable but trainable in many different situations. The dog would also have to be able to endure the harsh Russian winters. The result was the Black Russian Terrier, a robust, large and powerful dog. The dog has large bones and well-developed muscles and is expected to be balanced, have a good temperament and be reliable as a guard dog. The breed has great courage, strength, and endurance.
The Black Russian Terrier can sometimes be a clown to those that know him, but this large, protective breed must be well trained and socialized, stated Marjorie Tuff, AKC liaison for the Black Russian Terrier Club of America. This breed needs plenty of space and exercise, and is very social.
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is an ancient breed, rediscovered in Italy in the 1940's. The Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy-boned, massive, awe-inspiring dog bred for use as a guard and defender of owner and property. He is characterized by loose skin, over his entire body, abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a voluminous dewlap. The essence of the Neapolitan is his imposing appearance, astounding head size and attitude. The breed has gained attention due to a brief appearance in the popular movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Over the centuries, breeders of the Mastino in the Neapolitan area of southern Italy focused on breeding guards for their homes and estates. They created a breed that retained the giant size, heavy, loose skin and dewlap. This was an animal that was a stay-at-home type, and was good with the family but was bred to detect unwanted intruders and to deter them from the property under their care.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a breed like no other, with a fantastic head, and unusual movement, said Peggy Wolfe, president of the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club. When you look at the Mastino, you can see the 4000 years of history in its eyes. We are very proud that this primeval canine is finally joining the ranks of the AKC breeds.