A Brief History of The Mastiff
There are many breeds of dogs to consider when choosing your type. Most of them come from different backgrounds with different with different historical significance to their particular lineage. Some of them like the history of Mastiff date back to the middle ages almost two thousand years ago depicting the breed’s origin in England.
Mastiffs or Molossers are very in tune with their guarding instincts and over the years, have proven to be very capable guard dogs if one would study the history of Mastiff. Their built and tone of voice allow them to be ideal at such duties and are more than capable to participate in search and rescue operations. The history of Mastiff goes beyond its place of origin as they were imported to different continents; even China and different parts of Asia where their skills, instinctual habits, and features would prove useful. Eventually, the breed of the Mastiffs would spread across the world making it more popular for farmers who have livestock and similar fields which require continuous guarding of certain properties of value. They would be introduced as a new breed called empirical dogs and would gain popularity in different parts of the globe altogether.
There are many historical points to address when referring to dogs as some of them, especially the Mastiff underwent different stages and breeding lines over the years. This helps in recognizing one breed from another which overall keeps dog lovers informed and well versed in recognizing one from another. All things considered, the Mastiff shares similar qualities from other canine breeds but due to its unique look and character traits set it a notch above most breeds.
7 Types of Mastiff Dogs
You’ve probably heard about these massive dogs but you might not be familiar with the different kinds of Mastiffs. Below are some quick facts about the different types of mastiff dogs. The American Mastiff is a relatively new type of mastiff. They were produced by crossbreeding an Anatolian and an English mastiff. On the other hand, crossing a mastiff with a bloodhound created the Brazilian Mastiff. This particular breed is very athletic thereby making them excellent guard dogs. Bullmastiffs are lively dogs that are part English bulldog and part mastiff. English mastiffs are most noted for their massive size.
The French Mastiff or Dogue de Bordeaux is most known for its huge head. Aside from being used as guard dogs, they have also been used for hunting, as well as carrying carts. Neopolitan mastiffs are thought to be the most wrinkled-looking of the mastiff breeds. Pyrenean mastiffs, on the other hand, are great long-haired dogs that have their roots in the Pyrenees of Spain. Like the Pyrenean mastiffs, the Spanish mastiffs came from Spain. They were originally meant to protect flocks from predators.
Lastly, Tibetan mastiffs are large, thick-coated mastiffs that were originally used in Tibet to protect herds. Despite their physical differences, there are common denominators between the different types of mastiff dogs. All of them are loyal to their owner and family. They are gentle with kids, and they all make excellent guard dogs. Physically, while their actual sizes may differ, the females are usually smaller than the males. Finally, all types of mastiff dogs need a proper diet and regular exercise to maintain good health.
1. American Mastiff
A typical American Mastiff stands at about 28 to 35 inches at the shoulder and weighs at around 140 to 200 pounds, depending on the dog’s gender. Their coat colors can range from yellowish brown and yellowish orange to brindled, but they all have black muzzles.
This particular breed is the product of the crossbreeding between an Anatolian and English mastiff. The idea came out of an attempt to create a breed of mastiff that could live longer, did not drool as much and did not have the usual health problems. Flying W Farms succeeded in their endeavor and ended up creating a dog that bears a strong resemblance to an English Mastiff but with few of its health concerns.
The American mastiff makes a terrific pet, not only because of its kind nature and loyalty to their family but also because they make excellent protectors. They are typically quiet and may even seem a bit distant at times, but these dogs actually enjoy spending time with their owners and family. Like other mastiffs, they are gentle towards the children of the family.
These dogs have a healthy life expectancy of, on average, 10 to 12 years. This is achieved through proper diet, grooming, and enough exercise. They have a tendency to be lazy which is why regularly walking them becomes important so that they can get enough exercise. The American Mastiff is also fond of sleeping, especially when they are not yet fully grown. As with any other animal, consider consulting your veterinarian if your pet shows signs of any health problems.
2. Brazilian Mastiff
Famously described as a combination of a mastiff and a bloodhound, the Brazilian Mastiff or Fila Brasileiro, are quite large, with heights ranging roughly 24 to 30 inches at the shoulder. They weigh anywhere from 90 pounds up, with the female dogs weighing less than their male counterparts. Their coat colors vary from yellow to red to black.
Historically, these dogs have been used for hunting animals and even slaves, as well as defending ranches from cattle rustlers and wild animals. They did not usually kill the target; rather they pursued, tackled and detained the quarry then waited patiently for their owners to recover the prey.
This breed is more agile compared to the other mastiff breeds. This may be due to the fact that their joints are actually loose, allowing them to swiftly change direction even when they are moving at top speed. These dogs are also not as likely as those of other mastiff breeds to become obese.
Part of what makes the Brazilian mastiff so interesting is the fact that its mistrust of strangers is its most prized trait. At dog shows, it is actually a point for the dog if he attacks the judge. But like other types of mastiffs, Brazilian Mastiffs are very loyal and gentle towards their owners and their families. This loyalty manifests through a very hostile approach towards strangers and any sensed threat towards their owners. They can suddenly attack the intruder without waiting for their owner’s command so it is prudent to keep them away from house guests.
Some people may not know it but the bull mastiff is actually the combination of a mastiff and an English bulldog, with the initial reason for their existence being to guard against poachers. These dogs, on the average, are about 25 to 27 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 110 to 140 pounds. The size depends on the dog’s gender with the males generally larger than the females. Their thick coats can be fawn, red or brindle in color. Some of them also have white marks on their coats but unless it is a small spot on the chest, these are thought to be unattractive for a show dog mastiff. They also have distinctive wide black muzzles and eye markings.
The Bullmastiff does not bark as much as other breeds and they are normally peaceful in nature unless they feel threatened. A bull mastiff will render an intruder helpless by either acting as a barrier between the intruder and their owners or by knocking the stranger down. These intelligent dogs are also good with children but because of their comparatively massive size which can overwhelm the kids, make sure to keep an eye on the smaller children while they are playing with the dog.
Like most other pets, these dogs require a good diet as well as regular exercise. This allows them not only to stay healthy; it also keeps them from becoming obese. Among the potential health problems that a bull mastiff may suffer from are: lymphoma, hypothyroidism, and hip dysplasia. To ensure that your pet is healthy, remember to schedule visits with a veterinarian.
4. English Mastiff
One of the first things that people notice about the English Mastiff is its size. These relatively large dogs can weigh anywhere from 140 pounds to 230 pounds, depending on their gender and age. Height-wise, they can stand from about 27 inches to 36 inches at the shoulder. Again, this depends on the mastiff’s gender, with the females being smaller than the males. Physically, these dogs are described as having a huge head and a hefty body. The coat color can vary between mastiffs but all of them have a black masking on their face. Mastiffs, however, have a tendency to snore and to salivate excessively, which may bother some owners.
Don’t let the mastiff’s size fool you. These giants are actually quite gentle and friendly until they feel that their family or owners are being threatened. When this happens, hey immediately put up a guarded stance that they will not drop unless the trespasser backs off or the owner acknowledges the intruder. And while they are almost tender towards children, it is best to keep them away from younger kids because their size might end up causing harm to the child.
Like with any other breed, taking care of an English mastiff involves providing him with the proper diet, grooming him regularly, and ensuring that he gets enough exercise. Other things that English Mastiff owners should watch out for include: obesity, bloating and hip dysplasia. If all goes well, the average life expectancy of a healthy English Mastiff is about nine to eleven years.
5. French Mastiff
French Mastiffs, or the Dogue de Bordeaux, have a long and distinguished history, reaching back as far as the early fourteenth century. Aside from that, what makes this breed so special?
One distinguishing feature that the French Mastiff has is its large head, which is said to be the biggest head among the dog breeds. Their head circumference, when taken from the skull’s widest point, can be as much as their height at the shoulders. The height of a French mastiff at the shoulders can vary from 22 to 30 inches. These dogs also tip the scales at 120 to 145 pounds. Their coat is usually of a reddish or brown hue.
French mastiffs have an extensive history of being used as guard dogs, hunters and even as beasts of burden. They are quite loyal to their owners and their family and form a deep bond with them. They are usually unflappable but because of their protective nature, they will not hesitate in challenging intruders into their home.
As a breed, they are actually quite athletic. They also have very good hearing and smell which, which when coupled with their perceptiveness, allows them to respond to threats quickly.
Proper training can help these dogs to stay fit. It can also help them to become better behaved. Common health concerns that their owners must watch out for include hip dysplasia and cancer. The lifespan of these dogs can reach 11 to 15 years if they are taken care of properly.
6. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan mastiffs have big heads and bulky builds which contribute to their relatively hulking appearance. They are generally about 24 inches to 31 inches in height at the shoulder. Their weight averages
anywhere from 100 to about 160 pounds. These dogs which originated in Tibet have coats that can be gold, brown, grey or black in color. They may also have tan markings on some areas of their body like around the eyes, their forelimbs, or the underside of their tail. The hairs on their coats are thick, stiff and straight. This allows them to have ample protection during times of extreme weather conditions. Another defense mechanism that these dogs have is the thick coat over their neck area, where their enemies are most likely to attack.
Tibetan Mastiffs have been used by shepherds to protect herds against predators like wolves, and also by Tibetan monks as guardians from intruders and vicious animals. Like other types of mastiffs, Tibetan mastiffs are very loyal and protective of their owners and families. They are wary of strangers but will drop their guarded stance if the owner or a family member is with the intruder. Just how hostile these dogs vary according to their age and gender, as well as how they were bred. This aggression, however, does not extend to children with whom these dogs are quite gentle.
These dogs are known to be quite clever but they can also be stubborn at times. Proper training, especially while they are still pups, will allow them to be more docile to commands.
7. Zorba Mastiff Monster
If you have seen a mastiff before, you’ll know that even regular-sized mastiffs are already enough to daunt most intruders. As a breed, these dogs, specifically the English mastiffs are very huge. Their build is also wider in the front than in the back, which creates an illusion of brawniness, which in turn leads to their well-deserved reputation as guard dogs.
Now, have you ever encountered a mastiff that is larger than usual? These mastiffs are sometimes referred to as Zorba mastiffs. This is not the name of their breed, however. The term comes from a record-setting English Mastiff named Zorba.
Aicama Zorba of La-Susa, popularly known as Zorba, was born on September 26, 1981, to owner Chris Eraclides, who resided in London, England. Eight years later, in 1989, he was already 37 inches at the shoulder in height. His length of 8 feet and three inches was enough to earn him a place in the record books as the world’s heaviest dog. His weight of 343 pounds was also enough to get him another record as the world’s heaviest dog. Sadly, Zorba passed away in November 1989.
Are you considering getting a Zorba mastiff of your own? The Zorba mastiff makes an excellent guard dog and its affection towards its family and particularly to its owners is part of what makes these breed such valuable protectors. You do not need a massive guard dog to get the job done, however, but it’s hard to deny their usefulness and the intimidation factor they exude