The name Mastiff means a large molosser dog. There are more than 20 different breeds of Mastiff from all across the world. From the American Mastiff to the German, Korean, Spanish and Tibetan Mastiff, all have distinct looks from the area they were bred.
Full of slobbery drool and a lot of love, the giant Mastiff is loyal to its owners and its family. It may be gentle and calm, but threaten a Mastiff’s family and you will see the ancient ferociousness that earned them status as fighters thousands of years ago.
The Mastiff is one of the oldest and most ancient of the dog breeds. The ancestor of a Mastiff, the molossus (bred by the Ancient Greeks), was known 5,000 years ago. Originally the Mastiff was a ferocious war dog, but now the very large animal has become a gentle giant.
The modern Mastiff was bred in England, and they were used to guard estates and patrolling grounds at night. Lyme Hall bred a specific genetic strain of Mastiff that were bred from the 15th century through to the early 20th century. This specific line of Mastiff also played a role that saved the breed from extinction.
In 1835, the breed almost died out, but came back in the middle of the 19th century. Thankfully it came back enough to make it through World War I. With food shortages, these giant animals weren’t at the top of the list for feeding. Luckily a pair of puppies imported from Canada contributed to the breeds ultimate survival.
It is said that the Mastiff came to the United States in colonial times, but the officially recognition of the breed came in 1879 when the first Mastiff club was formed. In 1885, the Mastiff breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Mastiff is considered a giant-sized dog. Although many animals may be at tall as a Mastiff, the Mastiff always wins the weight category. The average height of a Mastiff is 27 to 32 inches, while the weight average for a Mastiff is 130 to 220 pounds. Males are normally 30 inches in height and females are 27.5 inches on average.
An interesting fact: a Mastiff named Zorba, listed in the 1989 Guinness Book of Records, weighed in at 323 pounds.
It is very true that the Mastiff is considered to be a massive animal, but unlike its ancestors, the modern-day Mastiff is a soft and docile creature. The one thing that will change that is if the family of a Mastiff is being threatened; then the breed will go into protect mode.
The Mastiff is a kind, calm and quiet breed, who loves children and its family. As a puppy, a Mastiff is just as boisterous as any other breed and loves to play. You may think that due to its size the Mastiff is an outdoor dog, but the opposite is true. This gentle giant loves to be inside the home with its family.
A few negatives about this loving and calm animal, they are prone to a lot of drool. If they shake their head, you better hope you aren’t in the blast area.
Mastiffs live anywhere between 6 to 10 years and are generally healthy animals. There are; however, a few health problems that may arise. They include Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Seizures, Cystinuria, Gastric Torsion, and Cancer.
Mastiffs need to exercise like any other breed does, but there are no extra actives needed for its size. Don’t assume that the Mastiff wants to be outside either; they’d rather much prefer to be on your lap—yes, Mastiffs have been known to see themselves as lap dogs.
Make sure to play with your Mastiff every day. Talking a walk or running around the yard is a must. If they are restless or left alone for too long, they will become a bit destructive. Being the size of a human means the destruction can be a lot worse than what another breed can do.
Food can make the difference between a flatulent Mastiff or a regular Mastiff. It all depends on the diet. Being a big dog doesn’t mean they can eat anything. It is still important to give them a regular diet with healthy foods.
Keep in mind that Mastiffs are chewers, so make sure to put anything away that you don’t want your pet getting into. At the same time, give your Mastiff plenty of things it can chew on with no problems. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a Mastiff along with food rewards. They need obedience training, and early socializing is beneficial for this large breed.
Here is a link to the Mastiff Club Of America. Please check your local area for other rescues near you or to learn more about this breed. www.mastiff.org