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"To err is human, to forgive, canine."

Author Unknown
 



 

Mastiff

The English Mastiff, often called simply Mastiff, is a large breed of dog of the general mastiff or Molosser type.

Appearance
This breed is powerfully built, with a massive body, broad skull and head of generally square appearance. It is the largest dog breed in terms of mass, though the Irish Wolfhound and Great Dane are taller.

Their size is very large and gives an impression of power and strength when viewed from any angle. The body is massive with great depth and breadth, especially between the forelegs, causing these to be set wide apart. The AKC standard height (per their website) for this breed is 75cm (30 inches) (minimum) at the shoulder for males and 69cm (27½ inches) (minimum) at the shoulder for females. A typical male can weigh 45.4-90.8+ kilograms (100-200+ pounds), a typical female would weigh 45.4-72.6+ kilograms (100-160+ pounds).

The short coat is close-lying and the color is apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle, always with black on the muzzle, ears, and nose and around the eyes.

Guinness Book of World Records recognizes a mastiff from England named Zorba as the heaviest dog in the world, at over 315lb (142.8 kg). Zorba stood 37 inches (94 cm) at the shoulder and was 8 feet 3 inches (251 cm) from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail[citation needed]. Zorba set this record in November 1989, when he was 8 years old, and about the size of a small donkey.

Temperament
The Mastiff breed is a combination of dignity and courage; calm and affectionate to its master, but capable of protection. This particular mastiff-type breed is an extremely capable guard. If an unfamiliar person approaches near their perceived territory or its master, the Mastiff will immediately position themselves between its master and the stranger. If the approaching person does not back down, they take immediate defensive action. It is because of this instinctive behavior that English Mastiffs have earned themselves a spot in the world's top 5 guard dogs. The breed is innately good natured, calm, easygoing, and surprisingly gentle. It is a well-mannered house pet but needs sufficient room for exercise and activity. The Mastiff is an extremely loyal breed, exceptionally devoted to its family and good with children.

Health
The mastiff is a particularly large dog demanding correct diet and exercise. Excessive running is not recommended for the first two years of the dog's life. However, regular exercise must be maintained throughout the dog's life in order to discourage slothful behavior and to prevent a number of health problems. A soft surface is recommended for the dog to sleep on in order to prevent the development of calluses, arthritis, and hygroma (an acute inflammatory swelling). Due to the breed's large size, puppies may potentially be smothered or crushed by the mother during nursing. A whelping box, along with careful monitoring can prevent such accidents. The expected lifespan is about 7 to 10 years.

 

Other names: Mastiff, Old English Mastiff
Other names: Mastiff, Old English Mastiff
Country of origin:
England


Major issues include hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. Minor problems include obesity, osteosarcoma, and cystinuria. Problems only occasionally found include cardiomyopathy, allergies, vaginal hyperplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, hypothyroidism, OCD, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and persistent pupillary membranes (PPM).

When purchasing a purebred Mastiff, experts often suggest that the dog undergo tests for hips, elbow, eyes, thyroid, and DNA for PRA.

History
The Pugnaces Britanniae (Latin) is an extinct breed of dog and progenitor to the English Mastiff.

The Mastiff name probably evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word "masty", meaning "powerful". The Mastiff is descended from the ancient Alaunt and Molosser and is recognized as the oldest British breed. The Mastiff might have been brought to Britain in the 6th century BC. It was used in the blood sports of bear-baiting, bull-baiting, dog fighting, and lion-baiting. Throughout its long history, the Mastiff has contributed to the development of a number of dog breeds.

When Sir Peers Legh was wounded in the Battle of Agincourt, his Mastiff stood over and protected him for many hours through the battle. Although Legh later died, the Mastiff returned to Legh's home and was the foundation of the Lyme Hall Mastiffs. Five centuries later this pedigree figured prominently in founding the modern breed.

Some evidence exists that the Mastiff came to America on the Mayflower but the breed's documented entry to America did not occur until the late 1800s.

In 1835, the Parliament of the United Kingdom implemented an Act called the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, which prohibited the baiting of animals. Subsequently, the Mastiff lost popularity and was extremely rare in England by the Second World War; however, sufficient numbers had been brought to America by that time to keep the breed going. Since that time, it has gradually been restored in Britain.