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 Photo of Mastiff
Photo: by Jill Terry

Mastiff Books

Group: Working - Breed Standard


Similar dogs to the mastiff have been recorded in history as far back as Strabo in AD44, and throughout the Roman Era when such dogs fronted the marching Roman Legions. However, the Mastiff we know today originated in the United Kingdom during the 19th Century, where he was used as on the large stately homes for guard dogs, helping the gamekeepers to catch poachers and guarding the livestock.


A massive powerful dog with a combination of grandeur and courage. The general outline of his head has a square appearance and breadth should have a ratio to length of whole head and face as 2 to 3. The massive body is broad, deep, long and powerfully built, on legs that are squarely set and wide apart.


The Mastiff is a breed that enjoys a job, this can be as simple as patrolling their boundary, or looking after the children. They tend to be standoffish with strangers until they get to know them, but are very affectionate with people they know. Generally they make very good family pets. Although devoted to the whole family, they usually favour the family members who spend the most time with them. Mastiffs mature slowly, often taking up to 3 years to become fully grown, and at puberty they can go through various stages of being silly. Mastiffs are very prone to slobbering and in that respect are not to everyones taste. Be prepared to wash down the walls and ceilings in your home regularly.

Breed Health

In general, they are a healthy breed, but a good diet and correct exercise play an important part in rearing a healthy dog of this size. As with many deep-chested breeds, bloat can sometimes happen, and it is recommended that food bowls are raised and they are not exercised immediately after feeding. There are currently no known hereditary problems within the breed. Average life-span is about 9 years.

Breed Care

Mastiffs do not require any trimming or special grooming, and a brush once or twice a week will keep their coat and skin in good condition. They moult seasonally, and the hairs are reasonably easy to clean up.


An adult Mastiff will require about 30 minutes of brisk exercise twice daily, as well as a large garden to roam about in. As a puppy, care must be taken not to over-exercise them during the early growing stages.


Although Mastiffs are intelligent, they can be rather slow to learn. But they are very willing to please and basic training is fairly easy. See our books on training

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Last link added: 07 Apr, 2008