The Mastiff is a large, majestic breed with a storied history, going back 5000 years. This breed has a big and strong build and has a black mask on its face. The male Mastiff can weigh up to 230 pounds while its female counterpart can reach a weight of 170 pounds. Their height can reach up to 30 inches, giving them a towering look. With a huge head, the look of the Mastiff is toned down by the wrinkles on their forehead which give them a matured, kind and benevolent expression. Their coat is of a fawn or apricot hue and their body is thick-set with pronounced muscles.
Personality wise, the Mastiff is a calm, courageous and collected dog and barks only when needed. Moreover, not only are they good guard dogs, they also make good bed companions and will warm up your bed on even the coldest of nights.
Read on these 9 fun facts about our dear Mastiff, the Gentle Giant.
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The forefathers of the modern Mastiff are Alaunt and Molasser dogs. Dating back to 2,500 BC, there is proof that Mastiff-like dogs lived in Asia. Even ancient Babylonian evidence exists which shows reliefs of Mastiff type dogs hunting lions. Proof of this can be found in the British Museum.
#2 Evolution in Britain.
It is believed that the Mastiff breed we know today evolved in Britain. Ancient Phoenician traders brought these Mastiffs to Britain where the Romans took a liking to them, using them as fighting dogs. The British made a different use of the Mastiffs, namely as guard dogs for their castles and land. They were free to roam at night to keep trespassers at bay.
#3 Hailing from the mountains.
The Mastiff is originally a mountain dog breed and several other well-known dogs, including the St. Bernard, are their descendants. Their large size is attributed to their forefathers coming from Turkey, Spain, France, and the Balkans. There’s a story that when the renowned Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the Alps, he had a huge fleet of war-trained Mastiffs with him. So, no wonder that the mastiff is a dog breed with significant heritage.
#4 Entry into the New World.
It wasn’t till the late 1800’s that Mastiffs began to appear in the US through formal channels. They were brought by the new colonists in the Mayflower along with spaniels way before then. In the USA, Canada, and Britain, the Mastiff is a shorter name used in place of Old English Mastiffs.
#5 Size matters.
The size and build of the Mastiff convey the impression of a dog that is dignified, courageous and larger than life. The minimum height for males is 30 inches while the same is 27.5 inches for the females. In additon, the males can weigh up to a heavy 230 pounds, more than most healthy humans, while the female can have a weight of 170 pounds.
#6 The record-breaker Mastiff.
The world’s largest dog record was set in November 1989 by an 8-year old Mastiff. Reaching a height of 38 inches at the shoulder, Zorba the record-breaker, measured 8 feet 3 inches from tip to toe. That’s not the end. He weighed a massive 343 pounds.
#7 The Wonder Years.
Mastiffs take a longer time – around three years – to mature both in size as well as mentally. So there are a few cautions for Mastiff owners. Until they turn at least two years old, it’s better not to take them along for long walks or any kind of other exercise like jumping as these kinds of activities may hurt the joints of the Mastiff pup.
#8 Kid gloves treatment.
Mastiffs are naturally intelligent and quick to learn commands. They try their best to please their owners but if their sensitive feelings are hurt, they can show their stubborn side and will absolutely refuse to do as told. So, owners should train and socialize them from an early age. They should be treated gently and have short training sessions that they can enjoy.
#9 Best of both worlds.
Mastiffs make both good guard dogs as well as family pets. They can even serve as therapy dogs. Some moderate exercise should be enough to keep them in good health. If kept in good shape, Mastiffs can perform well in obedience, search and rescue, tracking, and other activities. So, this dog breed is really special in its own ways.
Have you ever owned a Mastiff? Share your experience with us in the Comments section below!