Masttiff illustration
Working

Mastiff

Courageous, powerful breed with ancient root

Breed characteristics

Size
Large
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Large house
Grooming
Once a week
Coat length
Short
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Under 10 years
Vulnerable native breed
Yes
Town or country
Country
Size of garden
Small/ medium garden

About this breed

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.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

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.

 

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Apricot Fawn
  • Brindle
  • Fawn

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed standard colours

Non-breed standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Mastiff.

Breed watch

Category 3

Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard including current issues. In some breeds, features may be listed which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future.

Read more

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club's rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.

Looking for a puppy?

Looking for a new four-legged friend? Explore our list of puppies and rescue dogs for sale near you.

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