Canine Breed Menu

Old English Mastiff

Old English Mastiff

Old English Mastiff
Breed Organization
Mastiff Club of America
Native Country
Great Britain
Other Names
Mastiff, English Mastiff
Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-12 Years
Litter Size
Average 2-5 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Working
Breed Appearance
This breed is powerfully built, with a massive body, broad skull and head of generally square appearance. It is also the biggest dog breed. Mastiffs have a tendency to over-salivate and "drool" frequently.

Their size is very large and gives an impression of power and strength when viewed from any angle. The body is massive with great depth and breadth, especially between the forelegs, causing these to be set wide apart. While no height or weight is specified for this breed, the approximate height is 27 inches to 30 inches (70 to 76.2 cm) and weight is (140 to 200 lb). The short coat is close-lying and the color is apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle, always with black on the muzzle, ears, and nose and around the eyes.

Breed Description
Head: Square. Broad skull. Flat forehead with distinct wrinkles when at attention. Pronounced stop. Short, blunt muzzle (suqarish). Slightly pendulous flews.
Ears: Small, thin, wide set and set on high. hang flat against the cheeks.
Eyes: Small, set wide apart. Hazel color, the darker the better.
Body: Massive, broad and tall. Slightly arched, very muscular neck. Ribs well sprung. Broad muscular back and loin. Deep flanks. Broad, well let down chest.
Tail: Set high. Broad at the root and tapering towards the tip. Carried straight down at rest and hanging to the hock joint.
Hair: Short, lying very close to the body. Not too fine on the shoulders, neck and back.
Coat: Fawn, apricot, silvery fawn or fawn-brindle. All have black mask, ear and nose. Eyes surrounded by black.
Size: Dog: 75 to 82 cm; bitch: at least 66 cm.
Weight: 70 to 90 kilos.

The mastiff, which is of British origin, is descended from Assyrian Mastiffs (descended from the Tibetan Mastiffs imported to Europe by the Phoenicians), through the Roman Molossus. Originally bred as fighting dog, the Mastiff later was used as a guard dog for English Seigneurs' herds and estates and as a hunting dog for large game. This breed was given the name Mastiff towards the end of the 14th century. The first Old English Mastiff standard was published in 1883. During World War II, this mighty breed almosty disappeared, but was saved and restored from a few remaining Mastiffs imported into the United States.

This peaceable, gentle dog is affectionnate with his owner and children. Courageous and not easily swayed, he is a guard dog through and through. This breed requires rigorous training because he can represent a danger to strangers.

This is a particularly large dog demanding correct diet and exercise. Major issues include hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. Minor problems include obesity, osteosarcoma, and cystinuria. Problems only occasionally found include cardiomyopathy, allergies, vaginal hyperplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, hypothyroidism, OCD, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and persistent pupillary membranes (PPM). When purchasing a purebred Mastiff, experts often suggest that the dog undergo tests for hips, elbow, eyes, thyroid, and DNA for PRA.

The Mastiff needs a lot of space and exercise. Regular brushing is required.

The Mastiff breed is a combination of grandeur, dignity, and courage; calm and affectionate to its master, but capable of protection. This particular mastiff-type breed is an extremely capable guard. If an unfamiliar person approaches near their perceived territory or its master, the Mastiff will immediately position themselves between its master and the stranger. If the approaching person does not back down, they take immediate defensive action. It is because of this instinctive behavior that English Mastiffs have earned themselves a spot in the world's top 10 guard dogs. The breed is innately good natured, calm, easygoing, and surprisingly gentle. It is a well-mannered house pet but needs sufficient room for exercise and activity. This is an extremely loyal breed, though not excessively demonstrative. It is exceptionally devoted to its family and good with children.

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