The English Mastiff (along with other dog breeds including the English Bulldog, Bull Terrier and Boston Terrier) belong to an ancient group of dogs called Mollosers. These dogs are thought to have been around since 2200 BC in the mountainous regions of Central Asia.
The name Mastiff most likely came either from the two Latin words massivus, meaning ‘huge’ or mastinus, which means ‘house dog’.
They were often used to guard properties and hunt bears. They once travelled with traders and nomads from Tibet or Northern India across the Middle East, Mediterranean countries, China, and even Russia.
During the time of Ancient Egyptians, mastiff-type of dogs were represented on the pyramid walls. Based on Greek and Roman mythology, the three-headed dog which guards the underworld is a mastiff-type of dog.
They served as war dogs in Europe during the Greek and Roman civilization through the Middle Ages, 16th century, and World War II. Many dogs died during these wars. The limited supply of food was one of the main causes why these dogs died.
At the end of 1947, there were only about 7 English Mastiff survivors. With the help of many active breeders, the movement to save this breed became a big success. As of today, the Mastiff is the 28th most popular breed in the United States according to the American Kennel Club’s official list.
Traits and Behavior
The English Mastiffs are active, playful dogs and are suitable in outdoor environments.
They are resistant to cold temperatures and can withstand wet conditions and will gladly accompany the owner/trainer or members of the family in activities that can make these dogs excellent companions.
They are highly intelligent and obedient and, therefore, are easily trainable. Since they are naturally working dogs, they love to do much work as dog companions.
They can easily get bored if training and work tend to be repetitive exercises. These dogs have a fondness for children, elderly ones, and even the handicapped.
If trained well and know how to socialize in their early stage, they can serve as aid dogs for the handicapped or elderly people.
Relatively, they are barkers who tend to bark whatever or whenever they feel something strange is present within their parameters. Even in normal situations, Mastiffs like to bark because they are curious animals in nature.
Pet Care and Diseases
Grooming this dog is quite an easy task. Combing and brushing are recommended at least weekly.
Bathing or dry shampooing is recommended only when needed as their coat already serves as protection from water or climate conditions.
They usually produce natural oils to prevent skin diseases.
They need regular exercises like long walks, running or other dog activities like fetching or Frisbee to help in their mental stimulation and, likewise, maintain a healthy body.
They can be susceptible to several health issues like hip dysplasia, cardiovascular problems, neurological disorders, and stomach issues.
Mastiffs are so-called ‘gentle giants’ because of their size. The English Mastiff in particular is considered to be the largest dog breed in the world (in terms of mass) according to experts.
Generally, adult males can weigh 150-250 pounds while adult females can weigh from 120-200 pounds. Both genders stand around 27-30 inches tall.
These dogs have a solid and broad body with a large, heavy-squared head. They have a black mask. The thin ears are small and are set far apart. The tail is set high. It also has a short coat with a dense undercoat that comes in colors fawn, apricot or brindle.
The English Mastiff has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. The litter size is around 2-5 puppies. The English Mastiff is also known as the Old English Mastiff.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to English Mastiffs. Click this link: