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Description of Mastiff

The Breed History

This popular and widespread breed was known in England for a few centuries as a pit fighter and watchdog. In ancient times they likely originated in Southwest Asia, moving through Tibet to the west of the continent. Phoenicians were thought to have brought Molosser and Alaunt type dogs westward to Britain by 2000 years BC. Other breeds deriving from the ancient Molosser type dogs include Tibetan Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Neopolitan Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux and Fila Brasileiro. First written accounts of this breed in England date to 55 BC when Caesar made note of them during his invasions. Many were sent back to Italy, and became fighting dogs in the Roman Empire. AKC recognition occurred in 1885. The term Mastiff is actually a generic term for gigantic defense dogs but over the Centuries types emerged, of which the English Mastiff, now simply termed Mastiff is one. At the times of the World Wars of the twentieth century, they became almost extinct in England, but because of breeders sending dogs back from North America, the breed was revived.

Breeding for Function

Pit fighting, police and military work, war cart dog and watchdog duties are the best-known historical duties. Importantly, the peasant class kept these dogs to help with guarding, vermin and wolf control. Many were kept by butchers who were able to afford the high cost of feeding them because they fed the Mastiff dogs their meat scraps. The other function that the breed was prized for was as group hunting dogs for lion and deer. Power, courage and agility are characteristics thoroughly bred into the Mastiff.

Physical Characteristics

Height at Withers: female 27.5" (70 cm), male 30" minimum (76 cm).

Weight: 170-190 lb (79-86 kg).

Coat: The double coat consists of very dense short undercoat and an outer coat consisting of straight, coarse and moderately short hairs. Brindle, apricot and fawn are accepted colors, and in brindle the background should be fawn or apricot. There is generally a black mask and ear coloration irrespective of coat coloration.

Longevity: Approximately 8-9 years.

Points of Conformation: A massive well muscled and heavily boned dog with an equally massive square head, the Mastiff is a picture of brute strength. Medium-sized eyes are dark brown in color and no nictitans should be showing. Ears are v-shaped with rounded tips and possess fairly fine leather. They lie close to the cheeks at rest. A prominent furrow up the center of the forehead is present. The stop is moderate. The muzzle is short, blunt and deep, and forehead wrinkles appear when alerted. The nose is always dark, and the lips somewhat pendulous. The neck is muscular and medium in length, with little loose skin. The topline is straight, until gently curving down over the croup, and the thorax is deep and wide. There is a moderate abdominal tuck up. The tail reaches to the tarsus or a bit longer. The Tail tapers and is straight to slightly curved. The limbs are straight boned and wide set, feet are large and toes well knuckled up. The gait is best described as smooth and ground covering.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Mastiff