When you look at a Mastiff, you can’t help but feel a deep respect for it. Once representatives of this giant breed were used for fights with gladiators, and today they have turned into ordinary Pets.
From the history
English mastiffs are dog-like baiting dogs (molossians). Their oldest ancestors are Tibetan mastiffs from Persia and Babylon, which were crossed with Asian dogs. As a result, puppies were born very large, hardy and aggressive. They were used not only for protection of property, supervision of slaves and assistance to a person in the household, but also in wars.
In Britain, mastiffs were introduced by the Celts in the IV century BC. They were giant, vicious dogs whose harsh temper had been honed by numerous wars. Over time, mastiffs were mixed with Saka dogs, but systematic breeding of the breed in England began only in the XV century. Three centuries later, there was a ban on animal baiting, and this contributed to the decline in the popularity of mastiffs in The British Isles.
To preserve the breed, they were crossed with St. Bernards, great Danes, and Newfoundlands. Mastiffs were officially recognized in 1883. During the first and Second world wars, the number of these strongmen decreased, the breed was close to degeneration. Only in the 50s of the XX century breeding breeds with mastiffs resumed, many clubs for lovers of these dogs appeared.
The breed standard
Modern mastiffs are very large, massive dogs with heavy strong bones. According to the standard, the height at the withers is 70-76 cm, weight — from 80 to 86 kilograms, but these strongmen have repeatedly appeared in the Guinness Book of records. So, in 1989, a leader among dogs in weight Briton of Icama Zorba. The giant’s height was 84 centimeters, weight — 155.5 kilograms!
For a Mastiff, it is considered absolutely normal if its weight is about a hundredweight, the main thing is that the dog is proportionally folded. Despite the fact that representatives of this breed give the impression of clumsy animals, they have a lightning-fast reaction and agility.
Description of appearance:
- The head is massive, three-dimensional-angular, wide between the ears and in the cranial part. The forehead is flat. The brow ridges are clearly defined.
- The muzzle is short, deep, broad, with pronounced skin folds that stand out even more in a state of tension. Straight stop. The jaws are strong.
- The nose is black, broad, flat, with well-opened nostrils. The flanks are clearly defined, moderately pendulous, and square.
- The lips are thick, fleshy, outlined in black.
- Eyes wide apart, small. The color of the iris is nutty or dark nutty. Look serious, attentive.
- Ears of medium size, thin, high-ranking, visually expanding the skull.
- Teeth are strong and white. Fangs are powerful. Bite “snacking” or “ticks”.
- The neck is short and muscular. There are two folds in the throat area.
- The chest is deep and wide. The ribs are developed and rounded.
- The back and lower back are wide.
- The limbs are strong, straight, and widely spaced. The pads of the paws are round, gathered in a ball. The claws are black.
- The tail is Crescent-shaped, thick, and moderately high.
The coat of mastiffs is very dense, hard, and short. The undercoat is thick but soft. Acceptable colors — apricot, dark tiger, silver. The presence of fawn in the color is mandatory. The muzzle should have a black mask.
Health and typical diseases
Veterinarians note that the life span of dogs is decreasing every decade, and this is due to an increase in hereditary diseases. This trend has also affected mastiffs. Like many large dogs, they live an average of 6-10 years. Of course, representatives of this breed cannot be called long-lived, but there are cases when mastiffs even lived up to 17 years with good care.
To hereditary diseases in mastiffs include:
- hip and elbow dysplasia;
- dysplasia of the retina;
- progressive retinal atrophy;
- surface pyoderma;
- myasthenia gravis;
- muscular dystrophy;
- bone cancer;
- Wobbler’s syndrome.
Less often, mastiffs have allergic reactions, “cherry eye”, arthritis, cryptorchidism, vaginal hyperplasia, pulmonary stenosis, Von Willebrand’s disease, hernias.
Mastiffs eat and drink too fast, so they are prone to bloating. This can lead to very serious consequences. During bloating, the dog lies down and begins to twist and turn over to eliminate blood flow to the stomach, which often leads to injuries and death. In order to prevent bloating, the dog should be fed in small portions twice a day. Physical activity and exercise are allowed no earlier than an hour after a meal.
Since there are quite a lot of hereditary diseases in mastiffs, conscientious breeders examine their Pets and use only healthy individuals in breeding programs that have no genetic pathologies. That is why choosing a kennel or breeder should be treated with all responsibility, because it significantly increases the chances of getting a healthy dog.
Initially, mastiffs were ferocious dogs with a vicious temper. These qualities were specially trained in them so that they could fearlessly engage in fights with large predators and fight gladiators in arenas. Today we can say with confidence that there is no trace of the former hot burrow of mastiffs. Now they are socialized dogs with a stable emotional state, quite suitable for home maintenance.
The character of representatives of this breed is calm, balanced, confident. They are characterized by determination and steadfastness, patience and courage. Mastiffs will never give in to panic, show violent enthusiasm, argue and show stubbornness. The territory entrusted to them is guarded vigilantly, keeping the situation under control, and are ready to protect their owner to the last drop of blood.
If you start raising and socializing a puppy from an early age, it can become a full-fledged member of the family, a loyal friend and a pleasant companion. The Mastiff has a neutral attitude towards children, but it is not recommended to leave it alone with the kids. Such precautions are not related to aggression, but only to the large size of the animal. No wonder even a light slap of the Mastiff’s tail is compared to a blow with a rubber hose.
On walks, the Mastiff behaves calmly, with dignity. Even if you remove the leash from it, it will not run away and will continue to walk nobly next to the owner.
How to choose a puppy
If you are planning to purchase a Mastiff, carefully study the breed standard. The puppy should have straight, wide-set limbs, thick paws, soft, high-ranking ears, and a large square head. Fluffy hair indicates that an adult dog will have wavy hair, which is not allowed by the breed standard.
Focus not on the biggest, but on the most active and friendly baby in the litter.
Mastiff is a fairly rare breed, so their prices are quite high. The cost depends on the exterior class. If you can buy a pet class puppy for 20,000-40,000 rubles, then you will have to pay from 60,000 to 80,000 thousand rubles for a show class representative.
It is better to buy a purebred puppy in a kennel with a good reputation. The organization will draw up a purchase and sale agreement with you and issue a puppy metric, which is later replaced with a pedigree. A puppy from a kennel must have a brand. The breeder will provide you with information about your parents, vaccinations, and feeding habits. Do not buy a dog from an ad on the Internet or on the market. You risk getting a dog with a whole bunch of genetic diseases.
To take care of the Mastiff is easy. Basically, it comes down to the necessary hygiene procedures — bathing, combing, etc.
Bathe the Mastiff is extremely rare, the extent of contamination, with the use of typed shampoos. But you need to comb it regularly. For combing, a rubber brush or mitten is suitable. Since the dog is very large, this can take a long time. Mastiffs shed profusely, so that the hair of only one dog can cover the entire apartment and furniture.
After each meal, you need to wipe the folds and wrinkles on the dog’s face, as they can get stuck in the remnants of food, which is fraught with irritation and infection.
Once a week, they trim their claws, clean their ears and teeth. Ears are cleaned with a special lotion. To do this, a little of the product is poured into the ear and massaged a little at the base. Separated sulfur is removed with a cotton pad. Teeth are cleaned with a special paste and brush, in order to prevent Tartar, it is advisable to buy chewing bones for the dog.
Eyes should be examined daily and wiped with a prophylactic agent.
It is better to feed the dog with specialized premium or super-premium food intended for large breeds of dogs. Mastiffs are not allowed to eat “from their own table”. If you prefer to feed your pet natural food, then try to make it as balanced and varied as possible. Be sure to give him products enriched with potassium, chondroprotectors and vitamin and mineral complexes.
You need to walk with a Mastiff regularly and for a long time, combining a walk with physical activity. In the cool season, it is better to wear warm clothes on a short-haired dog that does not tolerate cold.
Keep mastiffs, as a rule, in the house, as a short coat can not provide dogs with sufficient protection from the cold. In the apartment, the pet should have its own place where it will sleep and rest.
Pros and cons
Based on the characteristics of the breed, we can conclude that not everyone can keep such a large animal. Before you buy a Mastiff, you need to carefully weigh all the pros and cons, so that later you do not experience problems in the maintenance of this special dog.
Advantages of the breed:
- the excellent protective qualities;
- friendly attitude to people;
- calm, balanced temperament;
- lack of aggression;
- does not try to dominate and defend leadership.
The disadvantages include:
- high price;
- heavy shedding;
- content only in the house;
- the need for long walks and physical activity;
- excessive phlegm, sometimes turning into laziness;
- they snore, grunt, gas loudly and often, and drool.
Mastiff — a dog is not for everyone. It is not recommended to start it for pensioners, families with small children, people who lead an active lifestyle
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and I’m a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.