The breed is commonly referred to as the “Mastiff”. Also known as the English Mastiff this giant dog breed gets known for its splendid, good nature. Even though this dog breed got bred as a guard dog, it’s well-known for being docile, despite its ferocious appearance.
Mastiffs are aloof towards danger and strangers, and will not take intruders kindly. The mature male Mastiff stands at least 30 inches tall while the female should be at least 27 inches tall. An average Mastiff weighs about 175-200 pounds. Their outer coat is coarse, straight and short, while their undercoat is short and dense. Mastiffs can be apricot, brindle or fawn, with varying acceptable hues within each color.
History of the breed
The Mastiff boasts of one of the most ancient origins, having descended from the Molosser. Accounts about its exact origin are quite speculative. It is thought to have originated from the mountains of Asia, northern India or Tibet. It’s thought to have been used to guard flocks of sheep from predators.
The Molosers were well-built with a short muzzle, heavy bones, hanging ears, and short, muscled neck. Depictions of Mastiff dogs have appeared in human records throughout ages. They get seen in Babylonian, Egyptian and classical Greek civilizations. Hundreds of years ago, Mastiff-type dogs served as war dogs, guard, and entertainment dogs, pitted against bears and other fierce animals.
Whenever the Mastiffs went, they got prized for their courage and size. In England, the Mastiffs were commonly used to guard estates and patrol the grounds at night. The Mastiff breed almost came to an end after 1835. The outlawing of dogfighting, bear-baiting and bull-baiting saw them almost disappear. Yet, the rise of dog shows in the late 19th century helped revive the breed.
The mastiffs were thought to have got brought to the United Stated in the colonial times; yet, the first Mastiff club got formed in 1879. The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Today the massive size and gentle nature of the Mastiff makes him an admired companion worldwide.
Personality and Temperament
It’s been a while since Mastiffs were employed as hunters or warriors. Modern Mastiffs are sweet-tempered, steady, good-natured, patient and affectionate towards family members. His calm and docile disposition makes him a great companion for older children
The Mastiffs best take gentle training, are eternally loyal and very protective of their loved ones. Their natural wariness of strangers means that they should get trained and socialized early in their puppyhood. They are hearty eaters and droolers and considering their colossal size, you should be a bit prepared for some commitment.
Young Mastiffs should be given enough exercise to keep them healthy and lean. Do not overstretch this as their joints, soft growing bones and ligaments might become overstressed and damaged. Similarly, adult Mastiffs need regular exercise to keep them in shape and healthy. They don not need jogging or running, and try to avoid humid or hot weather for fear of overheating.
Take them for regular walks to help the, release their physical and mental energy and they should always be leashed in public. Note that of young Mastiffs are left alone without exercise, they become bored and destructive.
Suitability as a family pet
The Mastiff can make a great family loving pet and companion. Yet, his massive size and zealous guardianship mean that he should get trained and socialized at an early age. You should expose him to as many new people, situations and places as possible during the puppyhood to cultivate obedience and social skills.
The mastiffs love kids but they are better suited for homes with older children. Do not allow kids to ride the mastiff as this might lead to injuries. Mastiffs will generally tolerate other dogs and cats, particularly if they have been raised together.
Known health issues
Mastiffs are generally healthy, however like many other dog breeds, they are subject to certain health conditions. The most common health condition is the hip dysplasia. This is a common hereditary disorder in which the thigh bone and the hip joint do not fit snugly. Some dogs may show signs of lameness and pain on one or both rear legs.
Before you get your Mastiff, check that your supplier is a certified Mastiff breeder and that the dog’s parents are free from this condition. Other common conditions you can expect in this breed include Elbow Dysplasia, gastric torsion, Cardiomyopathy and Cleft Palate.
The Mastiff is such large dog it needs space and is not suited to city living. They are loyal and courageous companions that will be happy with moderate exercise and large meals. These powerful dogs need training so they are suitable for experienced dog owners.
“Pluto my English mastiff … (four and a half months)” by Claudio Gennari …”Cogli l’attimo ferma il tempo” is licensed under CC BY