- The mastiff breed is the namesake of the larger mastiff family of dogs. The mastiff family is an ancient group of dogs that was used in hunting, battle and in gladiator sports.
- By medieval times mastiff-type dogs were almost commonplace. They continued to be used for large game hunting, bear and bull baiting, dog fighting, and guarding.
- Mastiffs were favorites among many of the nobility. The mastiff of Sir Peers Legh was famous for standing over his master after Sir Legh fell in battle, protecting him for hours. The dog became the foundation of the Lyme Hill mastiffs, which figured prominently in founding the modern mastiff some 500 years later.
- Although a mastiff is said to have been aboard the Mayflower, the earliest documented mastiff in America was not until the 1800s.
- The AKC recognized the mastiff in 1885.
- World War II decimated the breed in England. American mastiffs were used after the war to reconstitute the breed.
Mastiff Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and protective companion.
- Gentle and generally good with children, but may be overly protective of them when around strangers. As with all large dogs, dogs and children should always be supervised.
- Tends to be aloof toward strangers. Early socialization is essential.
- Fairly friendly toward strange dogs.
- Good with other pets.
- Learns quickly, but can be stubborn. It tends to rebel against forceful methods.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
Mastiff Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and well-mannered housedog.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a moderate walk or short jog.
- The mastiff prefers cold weather to warm.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
- Coat is short, straight, and coarse.
- The coat needs only occasional brushing, once every week or so, to remove dead hair.
- Shedding is average.
- Be prepared for drool.
Suggested Mastiff Nutritional Needs
- Mastiffs tend to stay in good weight or be slightly overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.