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. By the end of World War II there were only fourteen Mastiffs in the British Isles and some imported from USA were used to swell numbers and enlarge the gene pool.

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.

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.


Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2017. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.