Unleashing the Gentle Giant: Discovering the Charms of the English Mastiff

The English Mastiff

The English Mastiff, also known simply as the Mastiff, is a British dog breed known for its massive size, gentle demeanor, and unique black mask. This breed is descended from the ancient Alaunt and Pugnaces Britanniae, with contributions from the Alpine Mastiff in the 19th century. Despite a period of decline, the Mastiff has recently regained popularity worldwide.

This article will explore the history and characteristics of this gentle giant of the canine world. We will also take a closer look at the English Mastiff breed, including typical male characteristics.

The Mastiff breed is known for its massive body, broad skull, and square head, making it the largest dog breed in terms of mass. Although other breeds, such as the Irish Wolfhound and Great Dane, maybe taller, they are not as robust as the Mastiff.

The body of the Mastiff is large with great depth and breadth, especially between the forelegs, which are set wide apart. The length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is greater than the height at the withers.

According to the American Kennel Club standard, the average height of a male English Mastiff is 30 inches (76 cm) at the shoulder. Males typically weigh 150-250 pounds (68-113 kg), while females weigh 120-200 pounds (54-91 kg). Thank you for joining us as we closely examine this fascinating breed.

The English Mastiff: A Magnificent Dog Breed

The English Mastiff is a magnificent dog breed that originated in England and is now popular in many countries, including the United States.

This breed is known for its massive size, gentle and loving nature, and distinctive black mask.

The breed has been around for centuries and was used for hunting, guarding, and accompanying its owners on hunts.

The typical male English Mastiff stands at a minimum height of 76 centimeters (30 inches) at the shoulder, while females have a minimum height of 70 centimeters (27.5 inches).

Males typically weigh between 73 and 104 kilograms (160 to 230 lb), while females weigh 54 to 77 kilograms (120 to 170 lb). These dogs have a fine, smooth coat that comes in several colors, including apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle (source).

The adorable face of a brindle English Mastiff
The adorable face of a brindle English Mastiff

The English Mastiff has a unique temperament that is gentle and loving. They are loyal, protective, and patient with children, making them excellent family pets. However, their large size requires plenty of space and exercise to keep them healthy and happy.

The American Kennel Club recognized the English Mastiff as a breed in 1885, and it has since become a beloved and popular dog breed in the United States. Despite their massive size, these dogs are well-suited to apartment living, provided they are given enough exercise.

In conclusion, the English Mastiff is a magnificent dog breed that has captured the hearts of many dog lovers worldwide. Their gentle and loving nature and massive size make them a unique and unforgettable breed that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who meets them.

Other names Mastiff
Origin England
Height males: 76 centimeters (30 in) minimum
females: 70 centimeters (27.5 in) minimum
Weight males: 73 to 104 kilograms (160 to 230 lb)
females: 54 to 77 kilograms (120 to 170 lb)
Coat Fine, smooth
Colour apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle

Information About This Fascinating Dog Breed

The English Mastiff is a fascinating dog breed known for its massive size, gentle demeanor, and unique black mask. This breed has been around for centuries and was originally used for hunting and guarding. Today, they are more commonly kept as family pets due to their loyalty and protection.

Typical male English Mastiffs can weigh anywhere from 73 to 104 kilograms (160 to 230 pounds), which can make them intimidating to some people. However, their gentle and loving nature makes them ideal family pets. They protect their owners and home but are patient and tolerant of children. This breed is known for being loyal and docile, making them excellent family companions.

Ownership of an English Mastiff is a big responsibility due to their massive size and specific exercise and dietary requirements. These dogs require plenty of space to move around and exercise, and a nutritious diet is necessary to keep them healthy. Regular vet check-ups are also important to ensure the dog’s health and well-being.

Regarding grooming, English Mastiffs have a fine, smooth coat that requires minimal maintenance. Weekly brushing and regular bathing are usually sufficient to keep their coats in good condition.

In conclusion, the English Mastiff is an incredible breed of dog that can make a wonderful addition to any family. Although their large size may be intimidating to some, their gentle and loving nature makes them great companions. With proper exercise, diet, and grooming, English Mastiffs can live long, healthy lives as beloved family pets.

Maintaining the Health of Your Mastiff

As a Mastiff owner, caring for your dog’s health is important to keep them happy and thriving. The Mastiff breed is known for its massive size, gentle nature, and loyalty, but like all dog breeds, they are susceptible to certain health issues.

Hip dysplasia is a common health problem in Mastiffs, as their large size puts extra strain on their joints. This condition can lead to arthritis and pain but can be managed with medication and lifestyle adjustments.

Gastric torsion, or bloat, is another health concern for Mastiffs. This occurs when the stomach twists, leading to severe pain and death. To prevent this, it is recommended to feed your pet several small meals throughout the day rather than one large meal.

Cystinuria is a genetic disorder that affects some Mastiffs and causes bladder stones to form. Regular vet check-ups can help identify this condition early and manage it with medication.

Regular exercise is also important for maintaining the health of your Mastiff, as their large size and weight can put extra strain on their joints. A soft surface for sleeping is also recommended to prevent the development of calluses, arthritis, and hygroma.

An English Mastiff cooling down in the water
An English Mastiff cooling down in the water

In conclusion, the health of your Mastiff is a crucial aspect of caring for this loyal and loving pet. Awareness of common health issues and taking preventative measures, such as regular exercise and feeding several small meals throughout the day, can help ensure a long and healthy life for your Mastiff. Regular vet check-ups and monitoring of any changes in behavior or health can also help catch any potential health problems early, leading to effective management and a happier, healthier pet.

History of the breed

The history of the English Mastiff dates back to ancient times, with evidence of mastiff-like dogs from the Mesopotamia region during the Kassite period (mid-2nd millennium B.C.). These dogs are believed to have been related to those fighting lions, tigers, bears, and gladiators in Roman arenas. The Pugnaces Britanniae, which existed during the Roman conquest of Britain, was another genetic predecessor to the English Mastiff.

The Alaunt, likely introduced by the Normans, was also considered a genetic predecessor to the breed. From Roman to medieval times, mastiff-like dogs were used in various blood sports, including bull-baiting, bear-baiting, lion-baiting, dog fighting, and hunting and guarding. The naturalist Christopher Merret in his 1666 work Pinax Rerum Naturalium Brittanicarum, listed 15 kinds of dogs, including the “Molossus, Canis Bellicosus Anglicus, a Mastiff”.

Sir Peers Legh’s Mastiff stood over and protected him for many hours through the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The Mastiff was later returned to Legh’s home and became the foundation of the Lyme Hall Mastiffs. Other aristocratic seats where Mastiffs were kept in England include Elvaston Castle and Chatsworth House. Mastiffs were also kept at Hadzor Hall, owned by members of the Galton family, famous for industrialists and scientists, including Charles Darwin.

The English Mastiff first came to America on the Mayflower, although the breed’s further documented entry to America did not occur until the late 19th century. Today, the Mastiff remains a beloved pet and a companion to many dog owners worldwide.

Coat Color

The English Mastiff has a distinctive head with dewlap and flews. The black mask is visible even on this brindle. The colors of the Mastiff coat are apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle, always with black on the muzzle, ears, nose, and around the eyes. The former standard specified the coat should be short and close-lying. Long-haired Mastiffs, known as “Fluffies,” are caused by a recessive gene — they are occasionally seen. The AKC considers a long coat a fault but not cause for disqualification.

The fawn is generally a light “silver” shade but may range to a golden yellow. The apricot may be a slightly reddish hue up to a deep, rich red. The brindle markings should ideally be heavy, even, and clear stripes but may actually be light, uneven, patchy, faint, or muddled. Piebald Mastiffs occur rarely. Other non-standard colors include black, blue brindle, and chocolate (brown) mask. Some Mastiffs have a heavy shading caused by dark hairs throughout the coat or primarily on the back and shoulders. This is not generally considered a fault.

Brindle is dominant over a solid color other than black, which may no longer exist as a Mastiff color. Apricot is dominant over fawn, though that dominance may be incomplete. Most color faults are recessive, though black is so rare in the Mastiff that it has never been determined whether the allele is recessive or a dominant mutation.

Color Description
Apricot-Fawn A light “silver” shade, but may range up to a golden yellow
Silver-Fawn A slightly reddish hue up to a deep, rich red
Fawn A light “silver” shade, but may range up to a golden yellow
Dark Fawn-Brindle Base colors of fawn or apricot with black brindle
Black Non-standard, rarely seen
Blue Brindle Non-standard, rarely seen
Chocolate (Brown) Mask Non-standard, rarely seen

The English Mastiff as a Pet

As a pet, the English Mastiff is known for its loyal and affectionate behavior towards its owners. Despite its massive size, the breed is generally calm and gentle, making it a good family dog. However, due to its large size and potential for health problems, potential owners should carefully consider whether the English Mastiff is the right breed for them.

The breed requires considerable space and exercise, so owners should be prepared to provide regular physical activity. While the English Mastiff is generally well-behaved, it may display stubbornness and require firm training and socialization.

As with any dog breed, responsible ownership is essential for the animal’s well-being and those around it. Owners should be prepared for the financial commitment of providing proper nutrition, veterinary care, and potential medical expenses. Proper training, socialization, and exercise are also important for ensuring the English Mastiff’s good behavior and overall health.

7 Big and Friendly Dog Breeds Similar to the English Mastiff

If you love the English Mastiff’s massive size and gentle nature, you may be interested in exploring other dog breeds that share these traits. Here are seven breeds that are just as big and friendly as the English Mastiff:

  1. Great Dane: Like the English Mastiff, the Great Dane is known for its impressive size and gentle demeanor. They make excellent family pets and are very loyal to their owners.
  2. Bernese Mountain Dog: These gentle giants are known for their calm and patient personalities. They are great with children and love to be around their families.
  3. Newfoundland: These water-loving dogs are not only huge but also incredibly sweet-natured. They are great with children and make excellent family pets.
  4. Leonberger: These dogs were originally bred to be family companions and excel in this role. They are large, friendly, and love to be around people.
  5. Irish Wolfhound: These gentle giants are known for their loyalty and affectionate personalities. They are great with children and make wonderful family pets.
  6. Saint Bernard: These massive dogs are famous for their search and rescue work but also great family pets. They are friendly, patient, and love to be around people.
  7. Tibetan Mastiff: These dogs are known for their impressive size and protective instincts. They are loyal to their families and make great guard dogs.

Overall, these seven breeds are similar to the English Mastiff in terms of their size and friendly personalities. If you are looking for a big, loyal, and loving companion, one of these breeds may be the perfect fit for you.

The Great Dane
The Great Dane
Breed Origin Height (cm) Weight (kg)
Great Dane Germany 76-86 54-90
Irish Wolfhound Ireland 71-86 48-69
Leonberger Germany 72-80 45-77
Newfoundland Canada 66-71 50-68
Scottish Deerhound Scotland 75-80 34-50
Tibetan Mastiff Tibet 66-76 45-82
Anatolian Shepherd Turkey 71-81 41-68

Gargantuan and Mighty: The Record-Breaking English Mastiff

The English Mastiff is known for its large size, but did you know that one Mastiff holds the record for being the heaviest dog ever recorded? Aicama Zorba of La Susa, an English Mastiff from England, weighed a whopping 343 pounds (155.6 kg), making him the largest dog ever recorded in history. Zorba stood at an impressive 37 inches (94 cm) tall at the shoulder and measured 8 ft 3 in (251 cm) from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, which is about the size of a small donkey.

While other breeds like Saint Bernards, Tibetan Mastiffs, and Caucasian ovcharkas have been claimed to be larger, Zorba still holds the official record as recognized by the 1989 edition of the Guinness Book of Records. However, since 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records has stopped accepting records for the largest or heaviest pets. Nevertheless, the English Mastiff’s size and strength make them an impressive and awe-inspiring breed.


This article is about the English Mastiff breed, known for its massive body, large head, and gentle nature. The breed has a long history that can be traced back to ancient times and was used for hunting, guarding, and fighting. The Mastiff requires a correct diet and regular exercise to maintain good health, and owners must be aware of potential health problems such as hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. Despite its size, the Mastiff can be kept as a pet in an apartment if given enough exercise. The breed is loyal and docile, making it a great companion for families with children.

Simon Wilson

Simon Wilson

I'm Simon Wilson, and I love beagles. I've been living with and owning beagles for over 15 years now, and during that time I've learned a lot about myself and the beagles. I love to write about my beagle experiences, and I hope that by sharing my experiences, others may find use in my learnings and experiences. Read more about Simon Wilson