Mastiffs: Loyal, Obedient, & Affectionate


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The History of the Mastiff

The Mastiff is one of the oldest dog breeds. Its origin has been traced back to Babylonian pictures as early as 2200 BC. These giant dogs were known as Molossus.   Ancestors of Mastiffs can also be traced to Central Asia, including the Himalayas.  The name Mastiff is more than likely a mispronunciation of the word, massive.  Massive dogs became Mastiff dogs.

Trade brought the Mastiff around the world.  Eventually, these dogs found themselves in Britain.  The Romans used these giant dogs in the Coliseum.  Mastiffs are also documented in China and rumored to be used by Genghis Kahn and Kublai Khan.  Pictures of the English knights often show the knight, his horse, and his dog in armor. The dog in armor was normally a female Mastiff with the male Mastiff left home to guard the family home.

By the 1800s, the Mastiff population was centered in England, thus, the name English Mastiff.  The English Mastiff population in Britain dwindled after WWII.  Fortunately, the Mastiff population in North America was sufficient to permit exportation of the breed back to England.  The English Mastiff population in England was restored.  The American Kennel Club refers to the breed as Mastiff, not English Mastiff.

The Mastiff is a great family dog and makes a great watch dog.  The home is its castle.  The Mastiff knows that strangers don’t belong.  The Mastiff is not an attack dog, it is a watchdog.  It guards its domain and protects its owners.  The Mastiff lets well enough alone until its domain is intruded or its family is in peril.  The Mastiff does not usually attack an intruder with vicious intent.  Instead, the Mastiff holds and subdues the intruder.  With its 140-250 pound size, large mouth, and long teeth, the Mastiff is fully capable of holding down most intruders.

The Mastiff will generally be patient with children, especially its own family members.  The Mastiff loves its family and seeks affection.  Strangers are not popular with the dogs. Before seeking a stranger’s affection, the Mastiff will WATCH his family’s reaction to the stranger, as well as the stranger’s actions.  Otherwise, it is best for strangers to leave the Mastiff alone.  The Mastiff can be a couch potato inside the home and a romping canine outside.  Despite its massive size, the Mastiff prefers to be inside the luxury of its home with its family.  The Mastiff strongly bonds with its human family and is devoted to their protection.

Although the Mastiff is a large dog, it is not a horse and not to be ridden.  Mastiffs can pull small carts or wagons with the proper harness.  The Mastiff can carry loads upon his back situated lengthwise.  In WW II, Mastiffs were used by the US Army to carry 50 caliber machine guns, tripods, and ammunition.  While the Mastiff is a large dog, it does not eat excessively. The Mastiff is a slow-growing dog and takes 2 -3 years to fully mature.  The Mastiff is affectionate with its family, and is known as a “Gentle Giant” with those it loves.  The Mastiff has large, strong bones and muscles.  The Mastiff makes a magnificent sight of power and nobility.

Click on this link to find more on-line information about the Mastiff:


We also recommend that those interested in the breed read the following book:


dee dee Andersson
Library of Congress Number: 98-70320
ISBN: 0-944875-51-3
Doral Publishing, Inc.
Phoenix, AZ

This book contains pictures of some or our dogs’ ancestors.