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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Mastiff


Origin: Great Britain

AKC Group: Working

Height: From 27.5 inches (70 cm) (Male)

Weight: 150 pounds (Male)

Great Britain
Male height: 
From 27.5 inches (70 cm)
Male weight: 
150 pounds
Short, straight, coarse.
Fawn, apricot and brindle, with a black mask around the eyes and nose.

Although the exact origin of the Mastiff is still debated, there is agreement that the Mastiff is an ancient breed type and may be a descendent of the mighty Tibetan Mastiff. The Mastiff is believed to be the oldest English dog breed, and his name mostly likely comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "masty," meaning "powerful." At the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the Mastiff of Sir Peers Legh would not leave his side when he was injured, protecting him for hours. Legh later died, but his Lyme Hall Kennels in Cheshire, where he kept several hundred dogs, survived for five centuries to figure in the foundation of the modern Mastiff. These dogs became the wardens of property, from the grandest of castles to the lowliest of peasants' huts. Mastiffs also served time in the fighting pits facing large, tough opponents during the Elizabethan era. Following the decline of the forbidden matches, these dogs entered a downward trend. By 1945, only eight Mastiffs of breeding age were left in all of Britain! Fortunately, a pair of fine pups, donated by a top Canadian kennel, helped restore the breed in its homeland, where it is now firmly entrenched. The Mastiff was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1941 and has remained firmly popular in the United States.

Despite his giant size and forbidding appearance, the Mastiff is a good family companion. Loyal and brave, he makes an exceptional watchdog and protector. He is self-confident, patient, steady and docile. He rarely barks but will certainly let those by whom he feels threatened know that he is not to be pushed.
At home: 
Very small living quarters may not be the best match for this giant breed. While he is not overly exuberant inside the home and is happy to lie quietly at your feet, his sheer size may require a more spacious living arrangement. The Mastiff will drool, especially after eating and drinking, so be prepared to wipe down cabinets, floors and furniture. A fenced yard is a must for this powerful dog.
The Mastiff requires daily exercise but is not an overly energetic dog. Long walks every day and some time in the yard playing should suit him. Be careful not to overexercise your Mastiff as he is growing because this can put too much pressure on his bones and joints.
The giant Mastiff is a hearty eater who should be fed a high-quality, age-appropriate diet.
The Mastiff is generally a compliant, easygoing dog who understands what is asked of him. He is naturally wary; however, and will respond poorly to harsh words or methods. His suspicious nature, paired with his large size, make socializing him extensively from puppyhood an absolute must.
The Mastiff is great with children although very protective of them, which can lead to an exaggerated sense of protectiveness. He gets along well enough with other dogs and pets if he is socialized to them or brought up with them.
The average life span of the Mastiff is 9 to 11 years. Breed health concerns include bloat; ectropion; elbow and hip dysplasia; persistent pupillary membrane (PPM); progressive retinal atrophy (PRA); and vaginal hyperplasia.
Fun fact: 

King Henry VIII sent Charles V a battalion of 400 Mastiffs as war dogs.

Grooming blurb: 
The short, smooth coat of the Mastiff needs only occasional brushing to keep it looking its best. The face needs extra attention, though the wrinkles all over his head must be kept clean and dry to prevent infection.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.