Origin: Great Britain
AKC Group: Working
Height: From 27.5 inches (70 cm) (Male)
Weight: 150 pounds (Male)
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.
King Henry VIII sent Charles V a battalion of 400 Mastiffs as war dogs.