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Mastiffs - General Information

 Mastiffs - Pictures
Courtesy of
Battle Creek Bullmastiffs
Mastiffs are working dogs that can be used in a variety of activities. Their historical uses range from serving as war dogs and guardians to herding dogs and human companions. Many of their physical attributes and basic personality traits have been preserved, which makes it possible to use them in herding, tracking, weight pulling, sledding and some other activities. Today, Mastiffs are primarily companions.

Mastiff owners have faced a problem of late connected with the Breed Specific Legislation. Mastiffs are among breeds that fall under the category of dangerous dogs. BSL has raised much concern in the world of dog ownership by aiming at banning some breeds. As the discussion is still going on, the popularity of Mastiffs increases all over the world.

Mastiffs - Appearance

All the Mastiffs are heavy-boned dogs with a massive head and well-developed muscles. They have a double coat that differs in color from one breed to another. Thus, Neapolitan Mastiffs come in black, blue, and mahogany, whereas English Mastiffs can be of fawn and apricot colors. The Dogue de Bordeaux is usually fawn. The latter two have black and red masks respectively.

Though all the Mastiffs can boast a huge weight, English Mastiffs are leading. This breed is considered the heaviest dog known today. This fact is reflected in the Guinness Book of World Records. An English Mastiff weighing about 286 pounds became famous thanks to its outstanding size.

The Neapolitan Mastiff standard states that a dog should weigh about 110-150 pounds depending on the sex. However, this breed does not seem to be willing to get behind English Mastiffs. Larger dogs appear to be more awesome, which is highly valued by those wanting to have guard dogs in their homes. This feature is rather influential in the process of breeding. In fact, many breeders and owners prefer having Neapolitan Mastiffs that are over 150 pounds. Thus, they appear to be much larger than in the standard.

As for Dogue de Bordeaux, there is no significant weight difference in males and females. The Dogue de Bordeaux weighs usually 120-145 pounds.

Mastiffs - Personality

Mastiffs are said to be loyal to their masters and those who are around them from an early age. It is their characteristic trait to be suspicious of strangers and a little intolerant to other pets. Mastiffs can do OK with children on the condition they have been raised together. Very small kids should be careful when dealing with Mastiffs, since incidents can occur due to these dogs' large size. A Mastiff can knock a child off his feet without even noticing it.

Mastiffs - Training

 Mastiffs - Pictures
Courtesy of
Comstock Mastiffs Of Southern California
Since Mastiffs are working dogs, they should be exposed to consistent training from an early age. Obedience training will teach a dog good manners and will help to avert behavioral disorders. It should be kept in mind that Mastiffs need a firm hand, though this does not imply force. These intelligent dogs with an air of dignity around them will face the pressure with complete silence, but it will probably grow into a problem later.

Mastiffs - History

It is now not clear when and where Mastiffs originated. What is definite is that these dogs are one of the most ancient canines whose history is interconnected with various peoples and countries. Mastiffs' ancestry can be traced with the help of material evidence of their existence, such as drawings on vases, bas-reliefs, and other records. They depict strong Mastiff-like dogs in their customary activities. Mastiffs would serve as war dogs, fighting man and pulling heavy carts full of arms. They also fought lions, bears, and other animals.

In the medieval times, Mastiffs' foremost function was guarding large estates and their owners. They also made wonderful hunting dogs and companions. The 20th century with its devastating wars undermined the population of Mastiffs. Fortunately, these dogs survived the bad days preserving the best of their qualities. Nowadays, Mastiffs are making their way to the hearts of many dog lovers outside Europe including America, Australia, and other countries.

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