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Adopt a Mastiff

Mastiff Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


livestock dog, sheepdog, mastiff

Area of origin:


Original function:


Average size of male:

Ht: 30, Wt: 175-190

Average size of female:

Ht: 27.5, Wt: 175-190

Other names:

English mastiff

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Mastiff Dog Temperament

The mastiff is innately good-natured, calm, easygoing and surprisingly gentle. He is a well-mannered house pet, but needs sufficient room to stretch out. This is an extremely loyal breed, and though not excessively demonstrative, he is devoted to his family and good with children.

Mastiff Dog Care

The adult mastiff needs daily moderate exercise, consisting of either a good walk or game. He does not enjoy hot weather; in fact he is a breed that should live inside with his family so that he will be inclined to fulfill his role of devoted guardian. He tends to drool. Coat care is minimal.

Mastiff Dog Health

Major concerns: CHD, gastric torsion
Minor concerns: ectropion, PPM, vaginal hyperplasia, elbow dysplasia, PRA
Occasionally seen: cardiomyopathy
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye
Life span: 8-10 years
Note: Obesity can be a problem.

Interested in the history of the Mastiff dog breed?

The mastiff is the prototypical breed of the ancient mastiff group of dogs. The confusion between the mastiff breed and the mastiff family makes it very difficult to trace the history of the breed. Even though the mastiff family is one of the oldest and most influential, the breed is undoubtedly of more recent, though still ancient, origin. By the time of Caesar, mastiffs were used as war dogs and gladiators. In medieval times, they were used as guard dogs and hunting dogs and became so widespread as to become commonplace. Mastiffs later stepped into the arena of dog fighting, bull-baiting and bearbaiting. Even when these cruel sports were banned in England in 1835, they continued to be popular events. The modern mastiff descends not only from these pit dogs but also from more noble lines, being descendants of one of the most famous mastiffs of all time: the mastiff of Sir Peers Legh. When Legh was wounded in the battle of Agincourt, his mastiff stood over him and protected him for many hours through the battle. Although Legh later died, the mastiff returned to his home and was the foundation of the Lyme Hall mastiffs. Five centuries later the Lyme Hall mastiffs figured prominently in founding the modern breed. Some evidence exists that the mastiff came to America on the Mayflower, but the breed's documented entry to America did not occur until the late 1800s. The breed was nearly decimated in England by World War II, but sufficient numbers had been brought to America by that time to keep the breed going. Since that time, he has gradually risen in popularity.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Mastiff Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Mastiffs ready for adoption:

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