Description

Illustration of Mastiff

When the Romans invaded Britain in 55BC they found the inhabitants already had a mastiff- type dog, huge and courageous and which defeated the Romans' own dogs in organised fights. The Romans took some of these mastiff types home with them and used them for fighting wild animals in the Coliseum.

The Mastiff, once known as the Old English Mastiff, was used as a guard dog, a gamekeepers' dog, a hunter of wolves, and for bear and bull baiting. He was also used in the fighting pits until this activity was outlawed in 1835. This threatened the breed's survival. A number of Mastiffs had been exported to the United States between the wars and by the end of World War II, just a single bitch, Nydia of Frithend remained in Britain. The dogs exported to the United States became the progenitors of fourteen Mastiffs who were in turn sent to Britain post-World War II to revive the breed.

Now, although they are still not numerous, they have their devotees who take on the challenge of achieving type and substance combined with soundness of movement.

Breed Group
Working
Vulnerable Native Breed
Yes
Size
Large
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
Short
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Yes
Town or Country
Country
Type of home
Large House
Minimum Garden Size
Small/Medium
Lifespan
Under 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Working Breed Group

Over the centuries these dogs were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs. Arguably, the working group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world, aiding humans in many walks of life, including the Boxer, Great Dane and St. Bernard. This group consists of the real specialists in their field who excel in their line of work.



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