Breed Group: Working Group
Shoulder Height: 27.5-30 in.
Weight: 120-250 lb.
Life Span: 7 years
Colors: Apricot, brindle, fawn
- The English Mastiff is the breed most commonly associated with “Mastiff,” which is actually a sub-group of extremely large working dogs
- The breed originated in England during the 1800s and is a descendant of the Alpine Mastiff from Italy
- It is one of the largest and most powerful dogs in the world, capable of hauling hundreds of pounds and even fighting packs of wolves and bears
- The breed nearly became extinct during World War I
Notable for their massive size and powerful build, the Mastiff is a wonderful dog for anybody who can handle them. Though capable of a lot of damage, they actually have a very friendly streak that makes them great family pets. It is even stated in the early editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica:
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family.… His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”
What this means is that the Mastiff has a very even and docile temper. The breed is one of the best large dog breeds for children and is the ideal guard dog. It rarely barks unless provoked and will remain loyal to you until the very end. It relies heavily on firm human leadership, so it is not recommended that you take up the breed unless you are familiar with standard training practices.
The coat is very short and does not require a tremendous amount of grooming. However, the size of the breed does mean that Mastiffs need regular exercise. Mastiffs are also notorious droolers, so always have paper towels at the ready. Appropriate social training is also required, as this is not the type of dog you want sitting in your lap or waiting to jump up to greet you at the front door.
The Mastiff is generally a healthy breed, but conditions of note are:
- Mastiffs should have controlled exercise and feeding during puppyhood as they are prone to bone growth plate disease
- Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and cruciate ligament injury are relatively common in this breed
- Mastiffs are at risk for a number of heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy
- Entropion and ectropion (deformities of the eyelid) are relatively common
- Mastiffs are at risk of bloat / GDV
- Hercules, who portrayed the Beast in The Sandlot, was a Mastiff.
- The breed has appeared in numerous films both for adults and children. Some notable appearances include the Transformers films, Marmaduke, and Hotel for Dogs.
- Mastiffs have appeared in the news numerous times performing feats of heroism for their pet parents.
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