The English Mastiff is an extremely large dog breed that has possibly been descended from the ancient Alaunt and Pugnaces Britanniae, with some major input from the Alpine Mastiff in the 19th century. The modern type was stabilized in the 1880s and has been refined ever since. Throughout the history of the Mastiff has contributed to the development of numerous dog breeds, some generally known as Mastiff-type dogs, or just as “Mastiffs”. One of the likely progenitors of the Mastiff were the Canes Pugnaces Britanniae, which was the name given by the Romans, to the original war-dog of the Britons. The origin of the term “Mastiff” is unclear, but many say it evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word “masty”, which means “powerful”.
The Mastiff has a massive body with a broad skull and a head that is square in appearance. Its body is large and has great depth and breadth. This is especially true between the forelegs, which causes them to be set wide apart. The AKC height standard for the breed is 30 inches at the shoulder for males and 27.5 at the shoulders for females. The average weight for the Mastiff is 150-250 pounds for males and 120-200 pounds for females. The standard for the coat of the Mastiff is short and lies close to the skin. The colors seen in the coat are apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle. They should always have black on the muzzle, ears. And around the eyes.
This breed is a combination of grandeur, good nature, courage, and docility. They are powerful but loyal and gentle dogs. Because of their large size and need for space, the dog is best suited for the country or suburban life. The breed is a patient, nurturing and protective on which makes them excellent with children. They will deeply attach themselves to their loved ones. They are not aggressive, however they are vigilant and make great guard dogs for protecting their homes and family. In order to keep their protectiveness from getting out of hand, early socialization is recommended. Mastiffs are good with other household animals as long as they have been raised alongside them from puppyhood. Once older, in his adolescence, the Mastiff does not tolerate new animals coming into his territory.
The average lifespan of the Mastiff is 7 years, however, it is not uncommon for some to live 10-11 years. Some major health problems found within the breed are hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. Some minor problems include; obesity, osteosarcoma, and cystinuria. Some less common health issues include, cardiomyopathy, allergies, vaginal hyperplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, hypothyroidism, OCD (Osteochondritis dissecans), entropion, progressive retinal atrophy, and persistant pupillary membranes.