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English Mastiff Information

Description

The Mastiff is one of the heaviest of the dog breeds and large mature males can be over two hundred pounds. The dog is very solid and square in appearance with heavily boned legs and a thick neck. The head is square in overall shape and the muzzle, ears and eye area of the head is always a dark color, no matter what the coat color may be. The coat is always a brown or apricot color that may include brindle. White patches on the chest are acceptable. The coat is very thick with a dense undercoat and stiffer, short outer hairs that provide protection. They eyes are dark and have a somewhat sad or quizzical expression. The ears are folded over and somewhat back when the dog is not attending to something. The tail is long and tapered and turns up slightly at the end.

Temperament

As with most of the large or giant breeds, a Mastiff is a very gentle and loving dog towards the family. They are excellent with children and are very patient. The breed is a natural protector and will act as a watchdog without special training. Because of their large size they should be trained from young puppies and will need constant socialization to prevent any aggression from developing. When socialized properly they are excellent companion dogs to other pets, including cats. The breed requires positive, repetitive training but are very intelligent and love to please. Typically the breed is not recommended for a first time dog owner or trainer since they are somewhat challenging to train and do not respond well to negative training methods. Since they are so strong and powerful leash training is recommended as soon as possible.

Grooming & Shedding

Since the dog is so large the Mastiff is often considered a heavy shedder, but it is just the sheer size of the dog that leads to this misperception. They are actually an average shedder, especially in the spring and fall, and require grooming with a pin or stiff bristle brush to remove hair on a regular basis. They should only be fully bathed when absolutely necessary but dry bathing with a powder can be done in between.

History

The ancient Mastiff bloodlines have been crossed with many different breeds and have actually been found depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian pyramids and tombs. The more modern version of the Olde English Mastiff is a direct descendent of these lines. The breed was likely brought to the United Kingdom and Britain in the 6th century BC by early traders. They have been used a hunting dogs, war dogs and as protectors and guardians and have regained some of their popularity as companion dogs throughout the world. Shortly after WWII the breed was almost non-existent in England but current trends have reversed this.

Health Issues

  • Major Concerns: bloat (gastric torsion), hip dysplasia
  • Minor Concerns: progressive retinal atrophy, ectropion, PPM, vaginal hyperplasia, elbow dysplasia, obesity
  • Occasionally seen: cardiomyopathy
  • Suggested tests: eye, hip, elbow, heart

 

Characteristics

Height

Males from 30 inches (76cm)

Females from 27 inches (69cm)

Weight

Males about 160 pounds (72kg)

Females about 150 pounds (68kg)

Lifespan

10-12 years

Exercise

Medium

Apartment

Yes – with regular activity

Families

Yes

Young Children

Yes

Need exercise space

Yes – small yard

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