2011 Continental Kennel Club
Breeder Merit Award

We are proud to share that the Continental Kennel Club awarded the Hidden Acres Farm American Mastiff Breeding Program their 2011 Breeder Merit Award.

The Continental Kennel Club evaluates all their affiliated breeders across all the categories of breed both within the United States and Internationally.  The decision or breeder to recognize in this annual event is totally at the discretion of the CKC and not something you can apply or be nominated for.

The Hidden Acres Farm annual owner's picnic was scheduled for late June so we invited Michael Roy, the Continental Kennel Club President, to attend and meet lots of owners and lots of American Mastiffs.  Michael Roy flew to Massachusetts from Louisiana to share in the festivities and present the award.

Pictures of the event are on our website for your viewing.

Here are links to two articles: the CKC press release and the coverage from the local press.

Press Releases:
Continental Kennel Club
Daily Hampshire Gazette

Greater Easthampton Chamber News

Member News: Hidden Acres Wins CKC Breeder Award


On June 25, Continental Kennel Club President Mike Roy came to Hidden Acres Farm Mastiffs in Southampton to present their prestigious 2011 Breeder Merit Award to owner Diane St. Martin.


The Chamber congratulates Diane, who was honored for her meticulous breeding of the American Mastiff, also known as the "Gentle Giant." Ranging in size from 140 to 200 lbs., American Mastiffs are recognized for being loyal but restrained protectors.


Diane has been a CKC member since August of 2000 and registered her first litter with CKC in 2005. As a CKC Preferred Breeder for the past six years, she has distinguished herself by choosing quality breeding dogs for her breeding program, producing healthy, well-adjusted puppies for new puppy owners, and keeping accurate registration records.She is also committed to excellent customer service and ensuring that all of her puppies are placed in good homes with well-informed owners.


About receiving the award, Diane said, "Breeding American mastiffs is 'a labor of love' and it was amazing to be honored for doing what I love to do. Mastiffs is what we do every day; it's what we live, breathe and eat, so it was such a nice surprise to get that call from the CKC."


The annual award is CKC's top honor and Diane was its fourth recipient. CKC registers canines and breeders in 75 countries worldwide.

Local resident participates in Veterans Day parade honoring Military Working Dogs

Walter Perog and his American Mastiff were invited to be a part of the inaugural celebration of Miliary Working Dogs (MWDs) in New York City's Veterans Day parade this past Sunday.  A float featuring and honoring 20 representative dogs and their handlers rode their way up 5th Avenue to the delight of thousands of bystanders.

For the first time in history the MWDs were being honored for their service from the War of 1812 to Afghanistan.  Thanks to these heroic K9's and their unique and non-replicable abilities thousands of American lives have been and continue to be saved.

MWDs have served in every major conflict as border patrols, sentries, scouts, detectors (drugs, explosives, enemies), cave clearing, mascots, messengers, combat trackers, guard dogs, etc.  The major breeds utilized over the years included American Coon Hounds, Belgian Matinois, Bloodhounds, Doberman Pinschers, Dutch Shepherds, Fox Hounds. German Shepherds, Labador Retrievers, Mastiffs, and Rottweilers, etc.

For more information on MWDs, contact can be made with Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

American Mastiff ELLA to debut on Sesame Street

I am so proud to share the following story.   Mark, Ella's owner, recently contacted us to share the exciting news......Ella is going to appear on Sesame Street this fall. 

Ella and Mark are quite a pair and enjoy new challenges and new locations.   So this opportunity was perfect for them.

Ella is from the Hidden Acres Farm Breeding program.  Congratulations Mark and Ella.... we couldn't be more proud of the two of you. 

Cortland Standard

Big dog helping kids be less "afraid of the bark"
American Mastiff starring in an upcoming episode of "Sesame Street"!

By CATHERINE WILDE   Staff Reporter   Cortland Standard

At 175 pounds, Ella strikes an intimidating presence as she walks down the sidewalk.  The American Mastiff often turns heads, sometimes stopping traffic, her owner, SUNY Cortland performing arts instructor Mark Davis said.

But the dog's imposing size belies her gentle nature, which was apparent Saturday afternoon as she dropped her bone and rolled over for a belly rub in Davis' Cortland apartment.

Who better to teach children to be less afraid of the bark?   Ella will get her chance when she appears in an upcoming "Sesame Street" episode.  Davis, a dance teacher and performer who was cast in the Broadway production of "The Lion King," got his dog the role through his connections on Broadway.

William Berloni, who provides trained animals for theatrical and media productions, approached Davis a few months ago. Berloni wanted Ella to appear on "Sesame Street" in a segment called "Afraid of the Bark." The role is perfect for Ella, Davis said.  "Ella had never done anything like that before. I wanted to share her," Davis said Saturday, explaining how Ella appears on stage and barks on command during the show.

Davis took Ella to New York City for the taping last week. The experience was tiring for Ella, who had to do many takes during the 45-minute session, Davis said.  In the episode, the character Elmo comes to find out his friend Zoe is afraid of dogs. Zoe is faced with dogs of progressively larger dimensions until Ella's appearance and bark, which causes Zoe to flee in fear. But a happy scene at the end featuring all different dogs, shows Zoe's fear has been squelched.  Davis taught Ella to bark on command through hand gestures, using a treat to help her focus. Ella usually never barks, said Davis, except to alert him if someone is at the door.

Davis walks Ella frequently and her size draws many comments and even stops traffic, he said. People commonly ask whether the dog can be saddled up.  Despite Ella's size, she eats a modest six cups of food daily, Davis said.  Davis got Ella at 8 weeks of age and has been devoted to her ever since. Ella just turned 5.

Davis plans to get Ella certified to be a therapy dog since she is so gentle and friendly with everyone, from the elderly to young children.  "People respond to her positively," Davis said, adding that his dog has caused him to meet many different people and have a range of experiences.

Davis credits Ella with opening his eyes to how he should view the world. Remembering an incident when he lived in Rochester and saw a disheveled homeless woman walking down the street whom people were avoiding. Davis said he looked down and saw Ella looking at the woman and wagging her tail.  "Ella doesn't see that stuff," Davis said, meaning that to Ella all people are the same.

For Davis, who has moved several times since acquiring Ella, the dog has been one constant in his life. Davis credits Ella with getting him through difficult times in his life, including the death of both his parents and the recession, during which he was job hunting in the field of academia after finishing graduate school.  Although he is not sure what Ella's next stage appearance might be, Davis said he has high hopes for his dog.

"Sesame Street" Casting Director Carolyn Volpe said in an e-mail Sunday that the show episodes air about eight months after they are taped. Volpe did not have an exact air date yet for "Afraid of the Bark," but said Ella would appear in an upcoming episode of the show's 42nd season