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English MastiffMastiffs, sometimes called English Mastiffs or Old English Mastiffs, are among the most ancient of dog breeds, dating back thousands of years (the exact number varies from source to source).

Mastiff-type dogs appear on the artifacts of ancient civilizations such as Babylon and parts of Asia.

Trade most likely brought the Mastiff to Britain, where they were valued for their size and strength.

Those characteristics were exploited by the ancients, who bred these dogs for protection and as attack animals, using them for dog fights, bear-, lion- and bull- exhibitions. Their fearlessness and ferocity made them ideal companions for the battlefield, where they dutifully accompanied soldiers in combat. In fact, the name “Mastiff” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word masty, which means “powerful.”

After the Romans’ invasion of Britain, they were impressed with the dogs after seeing them fight alongside British warriors, so much so that they exported some of them home. In Rome, these dogs were once again used in blood sports, fighting other animals and even gladiators in the Coliseum. They were also used to protect property and guard prisoners.

Over the years in England, Mastiffs were bred more for their protective qualities instead of for their fighting abilities. They served as guard dogs for landowners, protecting property and livestock from poachers.

Those protective instincts were desired when people began breeding Mastiffs to Bulldogs to create the Bullmastiff, a separate breed that also made a name for itself guarding estates from poachers.

Today, the fighting instincts have been completely bred out of the Mastiffs, to the point that they’re docile creatures with sensitive souls. They make excellent family pets and get along well with all family members, young and old. Because of their sheer size, they may be a little too much dog for some families to handle, but their temperaments are sound.

Mastiffs are content to spend their days lounging and soaking up love from their humans and will likely have to be prompted to get up and exercise. They have retained their intense loyalty and even their protectiveness — a trait that should not be misinterpreted as aggression. They will alert pet parents to a possible danger or even place themselves between their families and a threat.

Mastiff Personality

Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs are remarkably gentle, especially when taking their size into consideration
Paw Print Bullet They are dignified and calm
Paw Print Bullet Watchful
Paw Print Bullet Courageous
Paw Print Bullet Laidback
Paw Print Bullet Completely devoted to their families
Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs are natural guard dogs and will place themselves between their parents and strangers if they sense danger

Mastiff Size

Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs are what’s known as a “giant” breed
Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs are one of the heaviest of all dog breeds
Paw Print Bullet Males can weigh anywhere from 150-250 pounds
Paw Print Bullet Females can weigh from 120-200 pounds
Paw Print Bullet 30 inches minimum for males at the withers (shoulders)
Paw Print Bullet 27-1/2 inches minimum for females at the withers (shoulders)

Mastiff Family & Home

Paw Print Bullet Because they are generally docile, they are considered good family pets (because of their enormous size, though, they may be too much dog for some families to handle)
Paw Print Bullet They are exceptionally loyal and this is especially true with their families
Paw Print Bullet If you’re afraid of a little drool, look elsewhere
Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs tend to snore
Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs lean toward laziness if not prompted to walk and exercise daily
Paw Print Bullet They are protective but not aggressive

Mastiff Care

Paw Print Bullet Pet parents need to walk and exercise their Mastiffs daily
Paw Print Bullet Instead of one large meal per day, feed Mastiffs a few small meals throughout the day to help prevent bloat
Paw Print Bullet Resist the temptation to overfeed these massive animals — they tend to gain weight easily
Paw Print Bullet Bathe and comb when necessary to remove dead hair
Paw Print Bullet Keep ears clean and nails trimmed

Mastiff Bark

Paw Print Bullet Like many puppies, Mastiff babies sometimes bark when excited during play
Paw Print Bullet Adults rarely bark, but may if they feel like there is a threat or something needs investigating

Mastiff Training

Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs require firm but gentle training methods
Paw Print Bullet Be consistent
Paw Print Bullet Positive reinforcement training works best for these sensitive dogs

Mastiff Coat

Paw Print Bullet Mastiff coats are typically short and close-lying to the body
Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs come in the colors fawn, apricot or brindle
Paw Print Bullet Mastiffs always have a “mask,” or black around their muzzles and eyes
Paw Print Bullet They always have black ears

Mastiff Health

Paw Print Bullet Prone to hip dysplasia, bloat and eye problems

Mastiff Lifespan

Paw Print Bullet About 10 years

Mastiff Rescue

To adopt or rescue a Mastiff, visit the Mastiff Club of America’s website to learn more.

PHOTO: ocean yamaha

i Love Dogs, Inc.

i Love Dogs, Inc.’s three websites – ilovedogs.com, ilovedogfriendly.com and findavet.us – provide information and up-to-the-minute news to keep pet parents aware of all things dog. A premium canine vitamins and lifestyle company, i Love Dogs is famous for its line of diamond dog collars. The name says it all — at i Love Dogs, we are committed to the health and happiness of our canine companions.

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May 19, 2006 By : Category : Giant i LOVE DOGS BREEDS M-O Working Tags:

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