Mastiff Dog Breed at a Glance
The modern Mastiff dog breed is a sweet-tempered family companion best trained with a gentle manner. It is however, crucial to train and socialize Mastiffs very early on in puppyhood. They are known as “Old English Mastiff” in English speaking countries. These are protective, loyal dogs and excellent guardians. This giant breed with its massive head is quite intimidating, making it an excellent watchdog and guard dog.
Breed Group: Working
HISTORY of the Mastiff Dog Breed
Mastiffs have been depicted as far back as 3000 BCE, and in literature, they have been referenced as early as 1121 BCE, so this is a genuine ancient breed. Regarding the invasion of Britain in 55 BCE, Caesar described these dogs in his account. In ancient times, this dog breed fought against ferocious wild animals, including lions, bears, and tigers, and also with human gladiators. Throughout history, they fought alongside soldiers. They have been associated with Marco Polo, the Babylonians and King Henry VIII. It’s believed that the tough and imposing Mastiff is the ancestor of various mountain dog breeds, including the Saint Bernard.
Origin: United Kingdom
A very high percentage of Old English Mastiff dog owners believe these giant dogs are good with kids, other pets, including being cat-friendly, and easy to train. However, almost 60% of them agree that they are not pets to leave alone for long periods of time. These dogs are not recommended for new owners who have no previous dog ownership experience, however. They are called gentle giants because they are cheerful, social, and affectionate, in addition to being protective of their families.
Biting statistics are important when choosing a dog breed (statistics date back to 1982). The English Mastiff, although very loyal and protective to its family, ranks in the top 20% of dog attacks on humans. Unfortunately, 30 attacks are attributed to the Mastiff in total, with 25 of the victims being children. More particularly, 19 attacks resulted in maiming the victim or causing serious injuries. Also, 5 deaths are attributed to this breed. However, when calculating the average of these statistics, the Mastiff is very unlikely to cause deaths.
Physical Characteristics of the Mastiff Dog Breed
This breed is heavy-boned, powerful, and huge. In fact, the English Mastiff is the largest dog breed, in terms of mass.
The common colors of the Mastiff include brindle, fawn, and apricot with black mask markings. It has a thick undercoat with a straight, short, and coarse outer coat.
The weight of the Mastiff is between 175 and 190 pounds, and typically stands between 28 and 36 inches tall.
Expect shedding with the Mastiff, so prepare to vacuum frequently. It is not a hypoallergenic breed and it also drools.
HEALTH and CARE of the English Mastiff Dog Breed
The life expectancy of the English Mastiff is between 10 and 12 years, which is slightly shorter than averge large dogs.
Common Health Concerns
Each dog breed is susceptible to various health issues and conditions, and the English Mastiff is at a high risk of developing:
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
- Pulmonic Stenosis
and at a medium risk for developing:
- Hip Dysplasia
The English Mastiff does not fare well in hot and/or humid climates, so do not overexert the dog in extreme temperatures. It requires daily exercise to maintain its shape, like a long walk to the park because it is at a high risk of gaining weight.
As previously mentioned, this is the largest dog in terms of mass. As the average weight of an adult Mastiff is about 180 pounds, feed your dog 5 1/4 cups of dry dog food each day. Due to its size, it is important to calculate the cost of feeding such a breed to ensure it is in line with your budget.
Grooming the Mastiff requires little effort and trimming or stripping is minimal, if any at all. However, as mentioned above, the Mastiff does shed throughout the year, so prepare to up the housekeeping efforts.
The AKC recognized the Mastiff dog breed in 1885.