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Mastiff Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

They call him the Gentle Giant!

Well, he is certainly a Giant in fact, the adult Mastiff stands up to a height of 30 inches and  weigh up to 200 pounds or more.

Which make him…

Quite easily the biggest of the large breeds – even bigger than the Great Dane.  So big that even that Mastiff puppies can be big in size!  In fact, when you just get right down to it, probably the one thing that the adult Mastiff is best known for is his or her imposing “size”.


It’s probably safe to say that you really don’t need us to go on and on about this “trait”.  So instead, let’s move on to why the English Mastiff or the “Old English Mastiff” if often called a gentle giant.  Because when owned and raised by the “right” owner, these dogs can be very loving and extremely loyal to his human family.

After all…

Just ask any current Mastiff owner and you’re sure they’ll tell you that their Mastiff loves them to death and is especially protective of the children.


Is owning a Mastiff the right “choice” for you.  That is a question that only you can answer but it also why we decided to write this article.  Because in this article, were going to try and provide you with some clues on what it might be like to own one of these magnificent creatures so that if you ever have an opportunity to make a Mastiff your own, you’ll know if that is something that is a good idea or not.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Mastiff Fast Facts

Country of Origin: England

Original Purpose:  Guardian

Height: 27.5 to 30 inches or more at the shoulder

Weight: 120 to 230 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Working group

Life Span: 8 to 10 years

Origin of The Mastiff Dog Breed.

While most dog organizations will credit England for the origin of the modern-day Mastiff, truth be told, these magnificent creatures actually come from a variety of locations including the mountain regions of central Asia.

In fact…

The Tibetan Mastiffs were well known even more than a thousand years ago. These were gigantic dogs that were talked about by traders and wandering nomads across Asia, Middle East and the Mediterranean.

This is right around…

The time when the Romans learned how fearless and loyal they could be which earned them a spot on the Roman legion where they were used as “war dogs” helping the Roman soldiers conquer new lands and rule those lands with an iron first.


During the medieval times, Mastiffs were used as guard dogs and hunting dogs.  Later on, they were also used as “sport” animals where they were cruelly used for dog fighting as well as bull and bear baiting.

The first English Mastiff…

Was bred by a knight named Sir Piers Legh of the Lyme Hall Estate in 1415. This was the first of the Lyme Hall line of Mastiffs, the last of which died in the 20th century.

And while…

These Old English Mastiffs were originally bred for many of the same reasons why they had been breeding in the past, over the centuries, they were eventually “domesticated” and breed to be much calmer which is why England is generally credited for giving us what we now know and love.


The Mastiff was brought to the United States in the 19th century and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. This was followed by the formation of the Mastiff Club. This breed remains fairly popular in the United States even today.

Physical Characteristics

The Mastiff is a large and heavy dog, who stands at 30 inches at shoulder level. The females of the breed stand at 27.5 inches.  Males can weigh up to 230 pounds and females up to 190 pounds.

This is a tall, muscular, bulky dog with a rectangular body. He is a real powerhouse of a dog, a marvelous physical specimen. He has a short and straight outer coat and short and dense undercoat. The coat is of the colors brindle, fawn or apricot. He wears a noticeable black mask on his face.


When we talk about Mastiff, we are referring to the English Mastiff here. But there are many other types of equally large Mastiff dog breeds such as the Bull Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff and the Pyrenean Mastiff.

The Lyme Hall Mastiffs…

Which were a special variety of English Mastiffs originally bred at the Lyme Hall estate in England, were equally impressive. They were the original English Mastiffs.

The Mastiff can be compared to other large breeds such as the Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Neapolitan Mastiff and Dogue De Bordeaux.

Worth a special mention is…

The male English Mastiff called Aicama Zorba of La-Susa or Zorba, who lived through the 1980s. Aicama Zorba was recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest and heaviest dog of all time. He weighed 343 lbs. in 1989 and rose to a height of an astonishing 37 inches!

Temperament and Personality

The Mastiff can be a very good Guard Dog, but he is not the sort of guard dog that is going to protect your property. He doesn’t care about that. But he is more than willing to risk his life to defend you and your family against an attack.

This is a very…

Loyal dog, a brave and courageous one as well. He may not appear to be assertive, but you should see him in action when you are under threat. He will leap to your defense and be as ferocious as a lion.

He is easy to live with…

He may not look like it, but the Mastiff is a sweetheart. He is very easy to live with. He does not try to impose himself and remains quiet at most times. You never see him getting too excited for any reason. He is like this gentle lumbering giant who has no idea how big and powerful he really is. You never see the Big Guy asserting himself or projecting his dominance.

In fact…

The Mastiff is so timid that he is happy to play second fiddle to a two year old child. He loves kids and is happy to indulge them when they play with him.

Of course…

Because of his size, you should never let a child play with him without adult supervision – but you can be sure that this isn’t the sort of dog that’s going to snap at a child.

Health Problems

Like other large breeds, the Mastiff has serious health issues which limit his life expectancy to 9 to 10 years. He may suffer from medical complications such as…

And while…

Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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