The Mastiff is an ancient breed whose roots can be traced to the Assyrian dogs. The name comes from the Latin word “mastinus”, which means "dog-horse." They were used by the Celts for guards and fighting. Many centuries BC they were widespread in Europe and Asia and were trained to hunt lions and wild horses. It is believed that these dogs were imported later in ancient Rome to participate in gladiatorial fights. The great Roman general Hannibal took with him a few hundred Mastiffs in his march through the Alps. According to the Romans, a dog of this breed is equivalent to two warriors. Furthermore, there are traditions and legends, according to which the Phoenician traders brought this breed in Britain. Despite the different views on the origin of these dogs, most researchers believe that thanks to the British this breed is known worldwide. Therefore, the homeland of the Matiff is considered England. It is claimed that King Henry VIII gave the Spanish King Carlos V 400 Mastiffs to fight for him.
The English Mastiff is the largest dog on earth. According to the approved by the FCI breed standard, the height about 76 cm. The average weight is 80-86 kg, but some specimens can reach up to 150 kg.
The body is large, muscular and proportionate. The legs are straight with shapely hips and big round paws. The head is powerful and strong, with distinctive deep wrinkles (folds). The dog's eyes are spaced apart, not very big and dark. The muzzle is black. The tail is relatively high and it rises to the height of the body when the dog is excited. The coat is short, sharp and shiny. The lower layer is short, dense and soft. The color is in different shades of yellow, orange, peach and even silver.
Character and behavior
Nowadays, the Mastiff is a guard dog and companion. It is calm, kind, smart and loving animal. These dogs are naturally silent. They are not playful, and like to be near their family.
The Mastiff does not bite without reason, because it is well aware of the power that will discourage any stranger. The dog can become aggressive if it feels that there is a danger to the family. It will not bite a stranger, but will stand between him and its family until it is sure that there is no danger.
Before choosing from different puppies for sale of this breed, keep in mind that these dogs snore and drool a lot.
Training and education
The Mastiff is an obedient dog, but never execute commands blindly. It should be treated with respect. This breed does not respond well to tough and physical methods of training, but should be clearly shown who's boss.
Grooming and care
Because the Mastiff grows quite rapidly, it shouldn't be overloaded with physical exercise from an early age.Do not bathe your puppy until it becomes at least one year old. It can comfortably live in a larger apartment.
This breed is clean, but the hair falls a lot and therefore should be brushed every day. It is necessary to trim the nails once per month. Check the ears and the eyes regularly.
The Mastiff is a healthy dog, but must be regularly vaccinated. It does not tolerate the heat. In summer it is appropriate to handle your pet with a special spray against mosquitoes, because they carry dangerous for the cardiovascular system of your pet diseases.
Some potential health problems are: hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, kidney stones, cataracts and eye diseases.
Unfortunately, the average life expectancy of this breed is 8 to 10 years.
Children and other pets
The Mastiff gets along very well with all family members, especially children.
In Babylon, in the palace ofKing Ashurbanipal reliefs were found with images of dogs that are huntinglions. Of course, the color of the coat cannot be determined, but otherwise they look exactly like the modern mastiff.
Archaeologists also found Assyrian terracotta figurines of Mastiffs that were attached or embedded above the entrance of the houses to keep owners from evil spirits.