One of the most ancient breeds of dogs, the English Mastiff is renowned for its large size, gentle and docile demeanor as well as a protective nature towards its kith and kin.
Powerful, large, massive with a symmetrical body, these dogs are characterized by the following physical features:
Head: Broad and massive mostly of a square shape.
Eyes: Medium size, widely set though not prominent, bearing an alert but gentle expression.
Ears: Small in size when compared to its skull, v-shaped and round to the tip.
Neck: Powerful and muscular being slightly arched.
Tail: Moderately high, being slightly curved.
|Other names||Old English Mastiff, Mastiff|
|Coat||Outer coat: Coarse, straight and of a short length; Undercoat: Short, dense, closely fit|
|Color||Apricot, fawn, brindle|
|Average lifespan (How long do they live)||7 to 12 years|
|Height of a full grown English Mastiff (How long do they grow)||Male: About30.5 inches; Female: About 27.5 inches|
|Weight of a full grown English Mastiff
(How big do they get)
|Male: 150 to 250 pounds
Female: 120 to 180 pounds
|Litter size||Approximately 8 puppies|
|Behavioral characteristics||Courageous, docile, good-natured, dignified|
|Good with children||Yes preferably older kids|
|Climate compatibility||Cannot adapt well to hot and humid climate|
|Shedding (Do they shed)||Moderately high but excessive in spring and fall|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||FCI, CKC, AKC, ANKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)|
While talking about these dogs, we should not confuse them with the mastiff breeds that are a term to refer to most large and sturdy canines. These dogs do have an ancient history and can be traced back to the Mesopotamian civilization as early as the sixth century B.C., where dogs similar to the Mastiffs of the modern time were said to have existed, though there is a lack of genetic evidence to prove this fact.
Their existence in Britain can be recorded from the time of Julius Caesar when the latter had invaded the country. He was charmed by the protective nature of the mastiffs, also mentioning them in his journal. In medieval England, they were used for hunting big games, guarding estates as well as during wartime.
They were referred to as Alaunts (an extinct breed developed by the Iranian nomads or Alans who inhabited parts of France) in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales who even spoke about their ability to hunt deer or lions.
Post the Second World War there was a depletion in their numbers with only 14 of them remaining. It was the initiatives of the breeders of the United States which helped in reviving the breed. AKC recognized it in 1885 with the formation of the Mastiff Club of America in the year 1929. Presently it ranks 32nd of the 155 AKC recognized breeds.
They are grand, dignified and courageous. The English Mastiff is suspicious when it comes to strangers, though well-socialized dogs would remain politely aloof rather getting aggressive and would notify his master only if there is any threat, qualifying as great guard and watchdogs. They are peace-loving dogs and would always interfere whenever they come across any dispute between a husband and a wife or a parent scolding a child. The English Mastiff is great with kids though older ones are well suited than the little kids as these large dogs could knock down the young ones in pursuit of play. They are even known to share a good relation with other canines as well as cats.
Note: When choosing their bed for sleeping, make sure you give them a soft surface to lie on lest they could develop arthritis, hygroma, and calluses.
Though gentle in outlook they could sometimes be stubborn thus needing a firm hand to tackle them.
Since they tend to get obese and might even suffer from a severe kind of bloating which could prove fatal for them, you should be careful while choosing a diet for them. Give your English Mastiff a meat-based meal containing 21 to 25% protein and 8 to 10% fat. However, do not give the older dogs more than 21% protein as this could lead to hepatic and renal failure.
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