It is believed that the Spanish Mastiff is derived from the Greek dogs imported into Spain by sea merchants around 1000 BC. The Greek worriers used these dogs to fight because of unique abilities, strength and resilience they possessed. In conquest of America, conquistadors brought with them these mastiffs and other molos dogs in battle against local Mayans and Aztecs tribes. These well trained animals instilled real fear in the Indians because of the breed’s ferocity and strength.
The Spanish Mastiff is a powerful and large animal, similar to other molossoid breeds. It has a mighty head, skin wrinkles and jowls neck. Males of this breed are 78 to 85 cm high at withers. Their weight varies between 51 and 65 kg. Females are at least 72 cmhigh, and weigh 50 to 60 kg. Spanish Mastiff has an elongated muzzle. Its fur is mostly reddish or light beige, but there are other options of shade.
Character and behavior
Spanish Mastiffs are not very active dogs and love to be laze. Not very loving, but would protect their owners in need. They are very suspicious and distrustful with strangers, and do not like company of unfamiliar animals.
These dogs are noble, dignified, and not too demonstrative. They are extremely loyal and ready to love and sacrifice their life to protect their owners, family or even property. They adore being close to their master, but the one they choose should be confident, consistent and a 100% pack leader. This breed needs a 100% firm, consistent, confident pack leader at all times.
Training and education
This is a brave dog that has highly developed protective instinct. If not properly socialized from an early age, it can become aggressive. Owner must be with a dominant character and to have experience in growing dogs.
Spanish Mastiffs are prone to obesity, eye problems and hip dysplasia, and average lifespan is about 10-11 years. However, there are cases of specimens that lived up to 14 years or more.
Some representatives may suffer also from Entropion. The Spanish Mastiff is prone to so called bloat, so it is advisable to give it small portions of food instead of one big meal.
Grooming and care
The breed can be grown in an apartment, but a house with a large yard would be a perfect home for these dogs. It is important that their owners had an experience in breeding dogs because they have a dominant character. It is better to be socialized from an early age, because it is only way to avoid any aggressive behavior. Coat of the Spanish Mastiff does not require specific care and is easy to maintain, but their ears should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections.
Children and other pets
The Spanish Mastiff is not friendly to strangers and animals. It would get along well with grown children, but will not play with them a lot. It prefers to lie on couch all day, but that does not mean it is not observable. Once it sees something wrong, it is always ready to defend the family.
In the USA today there are about 3000 Mastiffs. This is not a rare breed, but puppies for sale are still expensive, as well as the cost of raising a big dog like this. A puppy costs from 1000 to 2500 dollars depending on success of parents on dog shows. All tribal and exhibition work with the breed is conducted by the American club of mastiffs, founded in 1929. These dogs are quite widespread in Europe. Unfortunately representatives of this breed don't live long enough.