Also Known as the Old English Mastiff , The Mastiff is the largest breed of dog in the world for both his weight and bulk.
A mastiff is a large,stately,noble breed.They are known as the gentle giants of the dog world.
It was once said.
"What the cat is to the lion,the mastiff is to the dog.The noblest of the family ,he stands alone and all others sink before him."
The mastiff is one of the most ancient breeds recorded by man.They fought by the sides of the roman legions before the birth of Christ.
As dogs of war the mastiff was said to have accompanied the soldiers and chariots to protect their owners should they fall during battle.
The mastiff is a truly versatile working breed.
Their great strength was used to turn the wheels to draw water from the wells.They were used to pull carts and carry heavy loads on their powerful backs.
They excelled as guardians to the children,homes and grounds of noble's as well as those of peasants.
Today the mastiff is generally a rather large, lazy, couch potato. The mastiff is very intelligent, easily obedience trained and we have found them to be usually housebroken within a matter of days.
The mastiff is a dog of massive body, large head, broad chest and powerful hind end. They range in size from small (130 lbs) to large (over 220 lbs),standing at a height of 27 to 34 inches at the shoulder.
Males tend to be larger and heavier than females
Mastiffs are smart, and live to please. However, they go through phases where they are also stubborn, and these phases can last anywhere from a few weeks a couple of times in puppyhood to (in some cases) the lifetime of the dog!
Keep training sessions short (10-15 minutes) and frequent (several times a day). In addition to their stubbornness, Mastiffs have very sensitive feelings, and if they are frightened, hurt, or confused, they cannot be budged. Make training like a game. Use a happy, excited voice. You have to be consistent and firm to train effectively. Once a dog is well trained, it needs practice on a regular basis. Dogs LIKE to be trained because they WANT to know how to please their beloved owners. Once trained, a Mastiff seldom needs stronger correction than a stern voice.
Except for formal obedience training, you can use food treats for motivation. But the best reward for any Mastiff is lavish hugs and plenty of praise. Mastiffs, with their gentle natures, do not have the instincts that dogfighters are looking for. Their protective instincts make them actually the opposite to the aggressive fighting personality. However, they will, at times, fight among themselves, or with other dogs, for the typical canine reasons such as pack dominance and sexual competition. Two 190 pound adult male Mastiffs in combat for pack leadership can be next to impossible, as well as exceedingly dangerous, to separate.
Mastiffs are excellent guard dogs. They go to the door and bark, their hackles stand up, and they look formidable, but Mastiffs, as a breed, are not trigger-happy. They have a gentle, rather than an aggressive, nature.
Mastiffs need the company of their human family much more than some other breeds of dogs do. A Mastiff left alone, tied out, or kept in a fenced yard with too little human company, will either pine away or develop destructive behaviors out of loneliness and anxiety. Denied the needed time with its family, a Mastiff may be much LESS protective because it isn't sure it belongs to that family.
A normal, well adjusted Mastiff will protect it's family, but only if the need arises. You don't want an aggressive Mastiff that protects you from friends and family. The ideal temperament is one where you never know that you are being protected unless a true situation arises where a Mastiff's services are needed.
Mastiffs ARE protective. However, many people do not understand the difference between protection and aggression. If a dog growls when there is no danger, that is aggression, NOT protection. A protective dog has the judgment to see when there is a real risk of danger, and therefore, if you have a TRULY protective dog, you may never know it till you ARE in danger.
The protective instinct is shown in subtle ways, such as the Mastiff tending to stand between their person and a stranger. Many people who have kids discover that they can't spank a kid in front of the Mastiff -- it looks worried and gets in between the parent and child! Couples who sometimes play-wrestle together have reported their Mastiff trying to stop them for fear it is a fight.
Clean, quiet, and undemanding. Heaven to a Mastiff is a rug beside his owner's chair. Mastiffs are naturally clean (except for slobber), and quick to housebreak. Most adult Mastiffs don't chew what they shouldn't, and they don't get on the furniture (unless you let them ;-)).
If you do let your young Mastiff on the sofa, just remember that they grow FAST, and it is unfair and quite unreasonable to let the dog learn to enjoy something, and then decide the dog is too big to get up there any more. Mastiffs have long memories, and are much easier to train correctly the first time than to retrain to get rid of bad habits.
By nature, Mastiffs are eager to please. This makes them good Obedience dogs. But like any other breed, temperaments vary between individuals, so some Mastiffs are better candidates for the Obedience ring than others.
Some Mastiffs are more laid back, aloof, and lethargic; while others are more outgoing, inquisitive, and athletic. Though both types of temperaments are trainable, the latter of these two temperaments would be better suited for competition in the Obedience ring.
What's the sense of having a Mastiff if you don't have it close to you? It certainly can't protect you from the boogie man if it's tied out in the yard. And it's useless as a footstool if you keep it fastened in a kennel or locked in the garage.
Seriously, Mastiffs seem to have an instinctive need and desire to be as close as possible to their human family, to the point that their emotional development can be stunted if they are deprived of that closeness. Many breeders will refuse to sell a Mastiff unless the new owner guarantees that it will be kept as a house dog.
Mastiffs tend to react in predictable ways when faced with a threatening person. If their owner is present and a tense situation arises between the owner and a stranger, the dog will usually get between the stranger and their owner, as a sort of giant protective barrier that no sane mugger would reach over. If the stranger does anything to escalate the tension, the dog will probably growl or snarl at the person. This may occur even within a family, if, for example, the owners fight. This may upset the Mastiff greatly and inspire him to protect the party who is on the receiving end of the disagreement.
If a stranger breaks into a house where there is a Mastiff, the Mastiff's tendency is to corner the person and not let them get away, holding them until their owner gets home to deal with the intruder. The dog may snarl or bark or even snap at the intruder if he tries to get away, but usually will not actually hurt him unless the intruder has tried to hurt the dog or has succeeded in hurting him.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and it is this characteristic that makes them good guards. If, while your Mastiff is a puppy, you allow strangers like repairmen to come into your house when you are away, the dog will see that as normal for your household, and will not realize it is not "OK" for other strange people to come in and do things.
Many Mastiffs, when mature, can recognize something about people who have unpleasant motives, and are watchful or will get in between you and that person. If your dog gets between you and a stranger in a questionable situation, trust your Mastiff! The dog may have sensed something you couldn't recognize in that person.
Because of the intrinsic protective nature of the Mastiff, training as an attack or guard dog is not necessary and to do so may actually be detrimental to the temperament of the Mastiff. Mastiffs are not suitable for attack training or dog fighting and, if raised in kindness and socialized properly, will be a strong, loving companion who will defend his home and family if necessary
A properly socialized Mastiff (which SHOULD be the only kind there is) will stand or sit beside you politely when a stranger is around. The world is full of people who are strangers to you and your dog, but who are nice, normal, decent folks who pose no threat. A Mastiff that is properly socialized (and free of severe shyness) should be polite, possibly aloof, but eventually friendly, after the dog sees your positive reaction to someone