They call him the Gentle Giant! Well, he is undoubtedly 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 giant breeds – even more significant than the Great Dane. So big that even Mastiff puppies can be enormous in size! When you just get right down to it, probably the one thing that the adult Mastiff is best known for is their imposing “size.”
It’s probably safe to say that you really don’t need us to go on and on about this “trait”. So, 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 their human family. After all, 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 only you can answer, but it is also why we decided to write this article. Because in this article, we’re 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 come from various locations, including the mountain regions of central Asia. The Tibetan Mastiffs were well-known even more than a thousand years ago. These gigantic dogs were talked about by traders and wandering nomads across Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.
This is right around…
The time when the Romans learned how fearless and loyal they could be 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 fist. Then during medieval times, Mastiffs were used as guards and hunting dogs. Later, they were also used as “sport” animals, cruelly for dog fighting and bull and bear baiting.
The first English Mastiff…
He 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 bred initially for many of the same reasons why they had been producing in the past, over the centuries, they were eventually “domesticated” and born to be much calmer, which is why England is generally credited for giving us what we now know and love.
Eventually, the Mastiff was brought to the United States in the 19th century and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. The formation of the Mastiff Club followed this. This breed remains relatively popular in the United States even today.
The Mastiff is a large, heavy dog standing 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 an absolute powerhouse of a dog, a marvelous physical specimen. He has a short, straight outer coat and a short, dense undercoat. The skin is of the colors brindle, fawn, or apricot. He wears a noticeable black mask on his face.
When we talk about Mastiffs, we refer to the English Mastiff here. But many other types of equally large Mastiff dog breeds exist, such as the Bull Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff, and Pyrenean Mastiff.
The Lyme Hall Mastiffs…
Which were a unique variety of English Mastiffs originally bred at the Lyme Hall estate in England, were equally impressive. They were the original English Mastiffs.
Worth a special mention is…
The male English Mastiff is Aicama Zorba of La-Susa or Zorba, who lived through the 1980s. Guinness World Records recognized Aicama Zorba as the most significant and heaviest dog ever. He weighed 343 lbs. in 1989 and rose to a height of an astonishing 37 inches!
Temperament and Personality
The Mastiff can be an excellent Guard Dog, but he is not the guard dog that will 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, brave, and courageous dog. He may not appear 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 straightforward 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 with no idea how big and powerful he is. You never see the Big Guy asserting himself or projecting his dominance. The Mastiff is so timid that he is happy to play second fiddle to a two-year-old child. He loves kids and indulges 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 will snap at a child.
Potential Health Concerns
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…
- Bloating (Gastric dilatation volvulus),
- Progressive retinal atrophy,
- Vaginal hyperplasia,
- Elbow and hip dysplasia,
- Corneal dystrophy,
- Pulmonic stenosis,
- Cystine urolithiasis,
- Mitral dysplasia,
- Persistent papillary membrane.
And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, 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 suitable 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.