The Mastiff, also known as the Old English Mastiff, is a member of the giant breed classification of dogs. This breed is believed to have descended from large mastiff type dogs brought to Britain in the 16th century by Phoenician traders. Centuries of selective breeding have produced the dog as it is today.
Mastiffs were bred during the earliest of times and the mastiff qualities became the substance of legend. Initially, the mastiff was bred to hunt wolves and engage in blood sports. Over time the breed became a dog of war and then developed into the guardian of the Manor.
With the advent of the Second World War the mastiff became an endangered breed in Great Britain due to the restrictions placed on the availability of meat. Dog breeders from North America came to the breeds rescue and imported the breed back to Canada and the U.S.
Standing his ground in defense of the home is a basic instinct found in the Mastiff. The Mastiff is guardian and protector of the family, but not a breed to pursue or attack without provocation. The Mastiff is aloof to strangers but not a bully of the small or weak. They are alert to danger with an absolute devotion to family and children. This powerful friend and companion possess the uncanny instinct to distinguish friend from foe.
A sturdy dog measuring 30 or more at the shoulder, females 28 inches or more, weighing from 170 pounds to 270 pounds when fully grown (@ 2-4 years of age). His coat is short and dense in shades of apricot, fawn or brindle, with a dark mask and ears. A vigorous brushing is all the grooming required. A mastiff can live from 9 to 13 years of age.
As a puppy exercise should be limited due to the rapid growth (up to 5 pounds a week) which can cause premature joint aging if over exercised. A young dog enjoys walk and regular exercise. As a mature dog (>12 months) the exercise levels of mastiff can mirror that of its owner -- from a couch potato to a power walker - the mastiff can fit everyone's fitness level. Mastiffs are truly a gentle giant.