Mastiff

Type: Guardian Dog

Height: 27.5 - 32 inches.

Weight: 175 - 200 lbs.

Life Span: 9 - 12 years.

Litter Size: 2 - 5 puppies.

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Activity: Indoors - Low. Outdoors - Medium.

Watch-dog: Very High. Mastiffs are very alert and used for this purpose exactly.

Guard-dog: High. They are also protective of their people and home, and have been the dog to choose for this purpose for centuries.


Description: The Mastiff is a large, massive, symmetrical dog with a well-knit frame. They are one of the heaviest breeds in the world, weighing up to 200 pounds! They give the impression of grandeur and dignity. They have been developed into a guardian, and few intruders would venture onto a property guarded by a Mastiff, yet they are a much loved family dog with a gentle side. Mastiffs have been used since Roman times as guard dogs and dogs of war. They are very aware of what is going on around them, and will act accordingly to anything unusual. Mastiffs tend to keep close to home and are disinclined to roam. Unknown to most people, the Mastiff is a gentle giant. They are surprisingly gentle, caring and calm. They remain easygoing, loyal and protective. Mastiffs are excellent guards, and have been used as such for nearly their entire known history. They can be possessive of their home, their owner, and even their owner's car. They are excellent with children if they are socialized when they are young, and they are perfect for the loving person who wants a kindly gentle dog with defensive capabilities.

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Other Names: English Mastiff, Old English Mastiff

Colors: Apricot, fawn, brindle with black around the eyes and extending up between them, over the muzzle, ears and nose.

Coat: Outer coat short and straight; undercoat dense and close lying.

Temperament: Mastiffs are loyal and alert, caring and protective. They are surprisingly good natured and caring, naturally easygoing and calm. They are capable of guarding, however, and should be properly socialized when they are puppies. They are attentive, good with children and well behaved.

With Children: Yes, usually good tempered and friendly with children.

With Pets: Should be good with pets and dogs if socialized, but not with smaller pets, as these dogs are very large and heavy.

Special Skills: Hunting dogs for large game, watchdogs, guard dogs and family pets.

Care and Training: Easy to groom with minimal attention. Brush with a firm bristle brush and wipe with toweling. Bathe only when necessary. Regular but not over tiring exercise will keep the Mastiff in shape and develop their muscles. Controlled exercise must be given to a puppy until they are fully developed. Firm but gentle training is essential to keep the Mastiff under control. Remember consistency, lots of love, and plenty of understanding. Early human contact should be given to Mastiff puppies so that they are good around children and fast moving animals when they get older. If puppies are not socialized, they may resort to fear-biting if something fast or unusual happens around them.

Learning Rate: Medium. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - Medium to Low.

Special Needs: Attention, financial ability to provide giant sized needs, and socialization.

Living Environment: Large house and large fenced backyard is required, as this breed is very big and needs its space. They are well behaved inside the home but they need a lt of space to stretch. Owners of a Mastiff need to be a strong, confident, patient leader who desire a dog with a protective nature.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye diseases and bloat. Bloat is a health concern to most dogs, being the biggest killer of dogs second to cancer, but Mastiffs are particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests. Bloat is also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion. Other, smaller health concerns include obesity, cancer, osteosarcoma, and cystinuria.

History: Treasured by the Babylonians over 4000 years ago, the breed may have reached Asia through Phoenician traders in the Mediterranean and from other traders across Northern Europe. You can also find them depicted in Egyptian monuments and also mentioned in Persian, Roman and early English literature. They have existed in England for at least 2000 year. Mastiffs have been a resident of Britain since the time of Julius Caesar. Today's Mastiffs should be more correctly called Old English Mastiffs as they can all trace their lineage to two surviving English strains. Once used as dogs of war, their primary role now is a guard dog. Once recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records was the heaviest dog in the world, a Mastiff. This Mastiff, named Zorba, weighed 315 pounds, was 8 feet 3 inches from head to tip of tail! He was the same size as a full grown lioness! This dog probably got its genes from previous old type Molossus dogs that the Romans used for protection and guarding. Mastiffs have contributed to many other dog breeds, including the Bullmastiff. Their name probably came from the Anglo-Saxon word "masty", which meant 'powerful'. A recorded document from 1590 in England states the purchase of "one masty dogge". Before and during the time of Caesar, this breed was well known as a war dog, protector and gladiator. They became guard dogs and hunting dogs during medieval times. Later they went on to be bull baiters, bear baiters and used for dog fights. Mastiffs probably made their way to America long before, but were only documented in the late 1800s. They were recognized by the AKC in 1885. This breed has become somewhat popular over the years due to its gentle nature, as well as its protectiveness and hindering appearance. The dog "Hercules" in the movie "The Sandlot", was played by a Mastiff.

First Registered by the AKC: 1885

AKC Group: Working Group

Class: Working

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 2), KC(GB), UKC