The Mastiff are characteristically hefty and strong. This breed has accompanied men since ancient times. However, it must be firmly trained since puppy for it to have an affable temperament.
The history of this big dog dates back to the Roman invasion in Europe. It is thought that the English Mastiff came along with Phoenician merchant boats. In Roman times this breed was used as a gladiator dog. This dog has also taken part in guardian and protection activities along the time. Bravery, courage and loyalty have helped these dogs in these tasks. After the British arrival in North America these dogs spread through this continent too. Nowadays, these dogs are very popular in England, Canada and the United States.
The O.E.M.C (Old English Mastiff Club), a club from Great Britain dedicated to this breed, was created in 1883; now being one of the pioneers, with more than a century since its creation. The Mastiff as we currently know it is the result of the crossbreeding between The Mastiff and Bullmastiff Hand Book in 1988, during the XIX century. It is currently used as a guardian, companion and self-defense dogs.
Heght bitch:: 70~91 cm / Height male: 70~91 cm
Weight bitch: 54~77 kg / Weight male: 73~100 kg
It is a big-sized dog with a rectangular structure. It has a broad, compact and flat head, with some small, dark and separated eyes. It has V-shaped small ears. The tail is high-set and gets to the hocks. It has a short coat which color may vary on the body, but not on the ears, snout, nose and eyes; in those parts it must always be black.
The body must be robust with great width and depth, especially on the front legs, which is why they are very separated from each other. The height to the withers is from 70 to 80 cm and the weight between 80 kg and 100 kg for females, and usually 10kg more for males. There have been registered Mastiffs weighing over 120kg.
The Mastiff is a calm, affectionate, quiet and kind dog. It loves being around people and to be pampered. It is very patient with children and it is conscious of its strength in comparison to the kids’. It is understanding and cautious, it must be given some time to learn.
As an adult, it may have some self-esteem problems, which is why its owner must be sensitive and patient with it.
Mastiffs do not stand out because of their intelligence; these dogs tend to be a little clumsy.
Although it may not be one of the most active breeds, the Mastiff needs a big garden to move without problems, if possible, for hours. As all dogs, it is important to take it to do some exercise and for long walks.
It is important for it to have a soft bed, because due to its weight, some body parts, such as the elbows or hocks, may cause callus and provoke the skin to peel off.
It is important to pay attention on the skin wrinkles, especially around the head, because these are places where the infections are most common.
Its coat is easy to maintain; it must be brushed with a bristle brush and after, cleaned with a wet cloth to remove dead hair and to appreciate its natural brightness.
This is a particularly big dog which with an adequate diet and exercise dose may live between 10 and 12 years. Some of the most common problems they may suffer are hip dysplasia and gastric dilatation volvulus. Less common problems are obesity, osteosarcoma and cystinuria.
While deciding to have a Mastiff or not, experts suggest to do some hip, elbows, eyes, thyroid and DNA tests to make sure the dog does not have Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/264g02-en.pdf