The Old English Mastiff is a massive dog. The mastiff has a large, heavy square head with a well marked stop between the eyes. The muzzle should be half the length of the skull. The medium sized brown to dark hazel eyes are set wide apart with a black mask around them. The nose is dark in color. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite, but a slightly undershot bite is also acceptable in the show ring, providing the teeth do not show when the mouth is closed. The tail is high set with a wide base, tapering to a point reaching the hocks. Coat colors include: golden fawn, light fawn, apricot, silver, tiger, or brindle.
The mastiff is a very massive, powerful, muscular dog. Dominance levels vary, even within the same litter, but they are often called a gentle giant. A born guard dog, they rarely bark, however it's in it's nature to defend it's territory and family and is more a silent guard than a barker. When an intruder is caught, they are more likely to hold them at bay, either by trapping them in a corner, or laying on top of them, rather than an all out attack. You do not need to train them to guard. No matter how friendly they are, if they sense danger they will naturally guard on their own unless the owners are there to tell them otherwise. Self confident and watchful, they are patient and considered excellent with children. Intelligent, calm, even tempered and docile.
This breed is very large an heavy. They respond well to firm, but gentle, patient training. They love to please and need a lot of human leadership. Socialize them well to prevent them from coming shy with strangers. Owners need to be firm, calm, consistent, confident with an air of natural authority to communicate to the Mastiff that dominance is unwanted. If socialized with proper leadership, it will get along well with other dogs. The Mastiff tends to drool, wheeze, and snore loudly. They can be somewhat difficult to train. The objective in training this dog is to achieve a pack leader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in their pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined and rules are set. Because a dog communicates his displeasure with growling and eventually biting, all other humans must be higher up in the order than the dog. The humans must be the ones making the decisions, not the dogs. That is the only way your relationship with your dog can be a complete success.
Height: Dogs from 30 inches at the shoulder, Bitches from 27 1/2 inches at the shoulder
Weight: Dogs range from 175 pounds to 225+ pounds, Bitches range from 130 pounds to 180+ pounds
Beware of hip displasia. These dogs are also prone to bloat, so feed two or three small meals a day instead of one large one and do not exercise right after eating. Also prone to CHD, gastric torsion, ectropion, PPM, vaginal hyperplasia, elbow displasia and PRA. Occasionally seen is cardiomyopathy.
The Mastiff will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently excercised. They are relatively inactive indoors, and a small yard will do.
Mastiffs are inclined to be lazy, but they will keep fitter and happier if given regular exercise. Like all dogs, the Mastiff should be taken on daily regular walks to help release it's mental and physical energy. It's in a dog's nature to walk. While out on the walk, the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the head, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. All dogs should always be leashed in public.
The life expectancy of a Mastiff is around 8 to 10 years
The smooth, short haired coat is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush and wipe over with a piece of toweling or chamois for a gleaming finish. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.
The English Mastiff was founded in Britain. A very old breed, it was depicted in Egyptian monuments as early as 3000 B.C. The breed fought along side the British soldiers in 55B.C. Caesar brought a pack of Mastiffs to Rome where the dogs were put on display as an arena gladiator and forced to be in fights with human gladiators, lions, bull baiting, bear baiting, and in dog to dog combat. They later became popular with the peasants in England where they were used as bodyguards, protector of wolves and other dangerous predators and as a companion dog. In the eighteenth century, the Mastiff was described: "As a lion is to a cat, so is a mastiff compared to a dog." It is believed that a Mastiff came to America on the Mayflower. Later more were imported. Like most breeds, by the end of World War II, the breed was almost extinct in England. Dogs were imported from the USA and Canada and are once again well established in England. Some of the Mastiffs talents include: watch dog, guarding, police work, military work, search & rescue, and weight pulling.
The Mastiff is classified as a working dog with AKC and is recognized with CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR, DRA