A photo of an Old English Mastiff in a green field.
A photo of an Old English Mastiff in a green field.
Height30"
Weight120-230 lbs
TypeHerding
Life Expectancy7-10 years
Area of OriginGreat Britain

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The English Mastiff is a show-stopper of a dog! This is a special and ancient breed, known for its noble personality and companionship. The Mastiff owner must have experience with dogs and also needs to be prepared for having a giant breed. Also known as the Old English Mastiff or, simply, Mastiff, these gentle giants were originally bred as guard dogs.  

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are English Mastiffs From?

English Mastiffs date back to the first millennium BC, when Phoenician traders brought the Mastiff’s ancestors on trading ships to the British Isles. When the Roman Empire landed in Britain in 55 BC, Mastiffs were already cherished by the locals. The Romans were in awe by the strength of this huge dog breed and they were exported for use in the Colosseum, making them the only tame animal to fight against lions and other wild animals.

Mastiffs were exploited for their abilities in dog-fighting, bear-baiting, and bull-baiting for centuries. However, their sweet personalities as companions popularized them in the Industrial Revolution. Mastiffs were among the first dogs to come the New World on the Mayflower. They became a popular American dog breed and were even used to pull munition carts on the front line during WWI and WWII. The modern Mastiff was re-established in 1929 by the American Kennel Club and has been beloved ever since.

Where Are English Mastiffs From?

English Mastiffs date back to the first millennium BC, when Phoenician traders brought the Mastiff’s ancestors on trading ships to the British Isles. When the Roman Empire landed in Britain in 55 BC, Mastiffs were already cherished by the locals. The Romans were in awe by the strength of this huge dog breed and they were exported for use in the Colosseum, making them the only tame animal to fight against lions and other wild animals.

Mastiffs were exploited for their abilities in dog-fighting, bear-baiting, and bull-baiting for centuries. However, their sweet personalities as companions popularized them in the Industrial Revolution. Mastiffs were among the first dogs to come the New World on the Mayflower. They became a popular American dog breed and were even used to pull munition carts on the front line during WWI and WWII. The modern Mastiff was re-established in 1929 by the American Kennel Club and has been beloved ever since.

Care

How Much Should I Feed My English Mastiff?

English Mastiffs have a voracious appetite and require a high daily caloric intake to maintain their large size. Owners should budget accordingly for large quantities of dry food.

Caring for an Old English Mastiff

How Much Should I Feed My English Mastiff?

Do English Mastiffs Shed a Lot?

Are English Mastiffs Healthy Dogs?

Can You Train an English Mastiff?

Do English Mastiffs Need Lots of Exercise?

How Much Should I Feed My English Mastiff?

English Mastiffs have a voracious appetite and require a high daily caloric intake to maintain their large size. Owners should budget accordingly for large quantities of dry food.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of an English Mastiff?

The Mastiff is a massive dog with a thick frame. They are formidable and even intimidating. Their overall appearance is awe inspiring, giving this breed a look of dignity. They can be up to 3 ft tall at the shoulder!

The large head is their characteristic feature with large, pendulous lips. Be careful, they will drool excessively, especially in the summer!

The powerful body of the Mastiff is strong and tall. They can be intimidating to stand next to.

The tail is straight, long, and high.

Mastiffs have muscular and powerful shoulders. Their elbows and forelimbs are straight to the body.

A Mastiff’s coat is coarse and straight. They come in an array of colors including fawn, apricot, and brindle. The face has a characteristic mask, with the muzzle, ears, and nose dark in color.

They also have muscular hindlimbs. They can be predisposed to hip dysplasia and can have a swinging gait.

English Mastiff Facts

1

A Mastiff belonging to Sir Piers Legh, a knight in the 14th century, famously stood over his body and defended him for hours until he was picked up by his soldiers. He later died of his injuries, but his Mastiff was returned to England and started the famous Lyme Hall strain of Mastiffs.

2

Geoffrey Chaucer, using the breed's French name,  Alan, in "The Knight's Tale," described the Mastiff as an animal comparable in size to a steer, hunting lion, or deer. Here is the passage in Middle English: "Aboute his char ther wenten white Alaunts Twenty and mo, as gret as any stere To hunten at the leon or the dere."

3

A Mastiff named Zorba was put into the Guinness Book of World Records for his incredible stature. He weighed nearly 343 pounds, was 37 inches at the shoulder, and was 8 feet, 3 inches long.

Other Breeds to Explore

Choosing a Neapolitan Mastiff
Choosing a Bullmastiff
Tibetan Mastiff

References

  • Gough, Alex, Alison Thomas, and Dan O’Neill. Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. John Wiley & Sons, 2018.
  • Mastromarino, Mark A. “”Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks: The English Mastiff and the Anglo‐American Experience.”” The Historian 49.1 (1986): 10-25.
  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Wynn, M. B. History of The Mastiff-Gathered From Sculpture, Pottery, Carvings, Paintings and Engravings; Also From Various Authors, With Remarks On Same (A Vintage Dog Books Breed Classic). Read Books Ltd, 2011.

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