English Mastiff

English Mastiff
Other names: mastiff

The English Mastiff is a real hero of fairy tales about peaceful giants! In contrast to the formidable and imposing appearance, this dog is distinguished by a gentle and good-natured disposition.

Brief information

  • Breed name: English Mastiff
  • Country of Origin: UK
  • Weight: males about 72 kg, females about 68 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males from 76 cm, females from 69 cm
  • Life expectancy: 9-11 years


  • It is worth learning calmness and steadfastness from representatives of the breed: these impressive dogs are difficult to unsettle.
  • Mastiffs are distinguished by a strong attachment to the owner and express their love with a "call" to hug and soak up on the couch together.
  • Between an additional walk and a rest in the warmth of the family hearth, the "English" will choose the second: these dogs are reputed to be avid stay-at-home people.
  • Despite kindness and responsiveness, representatives of the breed make excellent guards.
  • English mastiffs are not suitable for families with young children and people who lead an excessively active lifestyle.
  • With timely socialization, these dogs coexist well with other pets, occasionally competing with animals of their own sex.
  • Learning commands is by no means a priority of the breed, so you will have to make efforts for fruitful training.
  • Dominant character and natural stubbornness are the main reasons why English mastiffs are not suitable for beginners.

English Mastiff is an emigrant from Foggy Albion and a representative of one of the oldest dog breeds. This mighty defender is famous for his brave heart and unshakable self–confidence - such valuable qualities were inherited from his distant ancestors. The history of English mastiffs is multifaceted, as is the breed itself. There were cruel moments and favorable events, bloody wars and peacetime, royal life and wanderings worthy of the poor… Despite the ambiguous fate, the mastiffs managed to preserve the age-old wisdom and steel endurance. It's hard not to pay attention to these impressive and powerful dogs!

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Activity ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Training ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Molt ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Need for care ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Friendliness ?
Very friendly ( Rating 5/5)
Health ?
Below Average ( Rating 2/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Expensive ( Rating 5/5)
Attitude to Loneliness ?
Moderate time ( Rating 3/5)
Intelligence ?
Standard ( Rating 3/5)
Noise ?
Almost inaudible ( Rating 1/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*Characteristics of the English Mastiff breed are based on expert assessment amitypuppies.net and reviews of dog owners.

History of the English Mastiff breed

English mastiffs cannot boast of a reliable version of origin. The history of their existence dates back more than one millennium, and it is difficult for modern dog handlers to determine which of the two theories is correct. The first one says: "the British" descended from molossoid type dogs – massive and hardy animals that were bred for hunting big game or organizing gladiatorial fights. The second version confirms the native English origin of the animals.

It is known that mastiff–like dogs existed even in the era of prosperity of ancient states – Persia, Greece, Egypt and Babylon - and were quite popular among the nobility and common people. Mastiffs were widely used as a draft force, as well as for baiting wild boars, wild horses and even large predators – tigers and lions. In their free time from hunting, the dogs successfully coped with the protection of property and livestock.

No less important was the participation of animals in bloody wars. Mastiff-like dogs were valued on a par with well-trained soldiers. Historical documents have been preserved that confirm the existence of the dog "army" of Alexander the Great, which included about 50 thousand animals! These four-legged ferocious warriors struck fear into the enemy army, forcing it to raise the white flag ahead of time. With the help of dogs, the commander conquered Persia in the V century BC and acquired a new title – the king of Asia.

The ancestors of the English mastiff were also kept by another military commander – Gaius Julius Caesar. The animals were brought to the Roman Empire in the second half of the I century BC. Before that, the commander's legions landed on the territory of Britain, where they met huge dogs. According to Roman soldiers, the animals resembled lions in their size and were distinguished by an equally ferocious disposition. These dogs descended from the Babylonian mastiffs, who came to Britain with the Phoenician merchants long before the appearance of the almighty empire.

The Romans were conquered by the fury and power of animals: in comparison with them, Caesar's Molossians looked docile and harmless. After the capture of the state, the legions set off on their way back, taking with them more than a dozen mastiffs. Since then, more impressive British dogs have appeared in the battle arenas of Rome, which have always provided a spectacular victory over wild animals.

After the collapse of the empire, dogs have not lost their popularity. Over time, they spread throughout Europe, forming small groups, from which new breeds were formed in the future – in particular, german and bordeaux dogs. British dogs have changed their role, settling in the royal guards and hunting grounds of aristocrats. Commoners were forced to refuse to keep these animals because of their huge size: feeding such a dog is not an easy task.

The peak of the popularity of mastiff-like dogs occurred in the first half of the XIII century, when it became known about the unusual act of a fighting bitch belonging to an English nobleman Sir Pir Lee. She became famous for fiercely guarding the body of the wounded owner during the battle of Agincourt until reinforcements arrived in the city. Then they looked at the animals in a different way, noting not only outstanding physical data, but also amazing devotion. It was the latter that became the starting point, after which the first kennel of Molossian dogs appeared in Britain. From the pet of the Feast came the English line of the breed. The gratitude of the aristocrat was so great that he raised all the puppies of his dog and took care of their future fate. In addition, Sir Lee took an active part in the life of the new nursery.

People's idea of mastiffs changed during the Renaissance. Queen Elizabeth I, who was famous for her love of cruelty and bloodshed, strongly encouraged the conduct of animal fights. For this, the Molossian dogs turned out to be rather clumsy. Their crossing with bulldogs brought out ideal applicants for participation in dog pits. From these animals , a new breed later evolved – bullmastiff .

The baiting of four-legged gladiators has become a favorite "sport" of the British. The fights of mastiffs with bears and bulls were particularly spectacular. The willingness of dogs to fight to the last drop of blood made them fertile ground for the opening of an underground sweepstakes. Private breeders were actively engaged in breeding animals until the XV century, until bulldogs completely displaced Molossian dogs from the bloody arena. The existence of mastiffs began to be forgotten. The prohibition of cruel entertainment in 1835 only worsened the situation. In the second half of the XIX century, the number of English Molossians decreased so much that the breed was on the verge of extinction.

This would have happened if not for the intervention of mastiff lovers. Joining forces, they created the first social club that controlled the selection of dogs in order to increase their number and preserve the purity of the breed. The result of the well–coordinated work of volunteers became noticeable already in 1873, when one of the "pupils" of the club – a dog named Tauras - won an international exhibition. In the future, this mastiff actively participated in the reconstruction of the number of Molossians. Among all the puppies, I remember only one – Crown Prince: he was recognized as the only champion of the breed. From this male came the main line of the English mastiff, which exists to this day.

With the outbreak of the First World War, the fate of the Molossians was under threat. Hungry times have come, and such huge animals have become burdensome. Keeping dogs that ate as much as army soldiers was considered highly unpatriotic. Animals were put to sleep en masse, so only a few mastiffs managed to survive. The events of 1939-1945 destroyed these "crumbs". By the middle of the XX century, the number of Molossians did not exceed fifteen individuals. Among them was the only bitch capable of reproducing offspring. This gave a ghostly chance for the re-revival of the breed.

Nora Dicken had the same strong "grip" as her favorite English mastiffs. In search of surviving dogs, the woman went to Canada and the USA, where she acquired the last representatives of the breed, found several sponsors and began painstaking breeding work on animal breeding.

The official recognition of mastiffs by the English Kennel Club (UKC) in 1948 speaks very well about the success of Miss Dicken. Breeders continued to adhere to the strategy of inbreeding – closely related mating of animals. For this reason, dogs have acquired an impressive list of genetic flaws. We managed to get rid of them partially thanks to successful breeding work. Modern representatives of the breed are distinguished by stronger health.

Now in the character of massive dogs, it is hardly possible to notice the bloodlust of their ancestors. Mastiffs of England occupy the 27th position in the list of the most popular breeds of the USA: these animals make excellent companions and devoted friends.

Video: English Mastiff

Appearance of an English mastiff

The English Mastiff belongs to large breeds. Despite its size, the dog looks proportionally. Female individuals are more elegant and light, the gender type of the animal is pronounced.

The parameters defined by the breed standard are impressive. The height of bitches at the withers reaches 69 cm and above, the growth of males starts from 76 cm. As for body weight, it reaches 68 and 72 kg, respectively. The weight of individual dogs can be 86 kg.

Head and skull

The width and length of the mastiff's head is in the ratio 2:3, which determines its square format. The musculature is pronounced (especially in the cheeks, temples and crown). The outline of the skull is smooth. The occipital protuberance is smoothed, while the forehead and brow ridges protrude forward.


The ratio of the length of the muzzle to the skull is 1:2, and their lines are parallel to each other. The format is rectangular. The circumference of the muzzle is 2.2 times smaller than the circumference of the head. The stop is expressed to an insignificant extent, a small depression in its central part reaches the middle of the forehead. Wrinkles also appear here when the mastiff is focused or alert. The cheeks are round, the cheekbones practically do not protrude. The nose lobe is flattened in the horizontal plane, pigmented in black, has movable and wide-open nostrils. Thick and fleshy rectangular dog lips: this is noticeable when the animal is turned in profile. Painted black, adjacent to the jaws. There is a "mask" on the dog's muzzle.


Thin hanging ears of the English mastiff of medium length, planted almost on top of the head and strongly removed to the sides of the head. They look like regular triangles with rounded vertices. They differ by leaning forward, they fit against the cheeks of the dog.


The eyes of the "Englishman" are set low, at a considerable distance from each other. The iris is colored in a light or dark shade of walnut color. The breed standard prefers the latter option. The eyelids are adjacent to the eyeballs. The mastiff's look seems good-natured and soft because of the "glasses".

Jaws and teeth

Square-shaped jaws form a scissor-shaped or straight bite. Teeth have a healthy white color. The lower incisors are arranged linearly or staggered. Powerful fangs are widely spaced. When the mastiff closes its mouth, its teeth are not visible because of the tight-fitting lips.


The slightly arched neck of the "Englishman" is characterized by an average delivery and dry musculature. Its circumference is 2-3 cm smaller than the circumference of the skull. The skin is dense, forms symmetrical folds only on the dog's throat.


The English Mastiff is the owner of a powerful and elongated body. The deep chest of the animal is formed by convex ribs, lowered to the level of the elbows. The anterior projection of the thorax is extended beyond the shoulder joints. A straight and wide back begins from the withers. The loin rises slightly above it, the croup is sloping. The lines of the abdomen and groin are tightened.


Set high, tapers from the base to the tip. It has a crescent shape. In motion, it is carried at the level of the back; at rest, it reaches the hock joints of the dog.


Are outlined by musculature, located at a considerable distance from each other. The lines of the elbows and chest form a small angle. The obliquely placed shoulders turn into sheer forearms, and those into massive pasterns. The big paws have a round shape, the fingers are assembled.

Hind limbs

Muscular thighs turn into dry shins. The joints are pronounced, the short metatarsals differ in almost vertical delivery. The paws are arched, the fingers are gathered into a ball.

Manner of movement

The English mastiff moves at a heavy trot, which turns into a gallop when the dog's speed increases. The movements are free, sometimes they look "loose". Regardless of the pace, the animal keeps its back straight.

Wool cover

Representatives of the breed are covered with thick and short hair that fits snugly to the body. It feels harsh to the touch, especially in comparison with a thicker undercoat.


The English mastiff is characterized by a color with a tan. The main tone is represented by tiger, silver, apricot, deer and yellowish-brown variants. Regardless of the color of the coat, the ears are always painted black. The same applies to the "mask" on the dog's face.

Possible vices

Among the defects of the breed are:

  • mismatch of the gender type to the sex of the animal;
  • rocking the croup in a horizontal plane;
  • bulging and/or close-set eyes;
  • shortened or elongated muzzle;
  • pronounced bend of the bridge of the nose;
  • long and/or wavy hair;
  • small and/or flattened breasts;
  • the presence of a white spot on the chest;
  • excessive dental formula;
  • nervous and timid behavior;
  • light shade of the iris;
  • weak muscles;
  • elongated paws;
  • light "mask";
  • convex back;
  • plaque on teeth;
  • clubfoot.

The English Mastiff is disqualified for the following vices:

  • melancholic or unreasonably aggressive behavior;
  • long or short ears, their atypical color;
  • light or excessively rough build;
  • pronounced cheek or cheekbones;
  • partial or complete absence of undercoat;
  • stretched or square case format;
  • bent or twisted into a ring tail;
  • sharp or completely smoothed stop;
  • strongly prominent occipital protuberance;
  • partial pigmentation of the nose and lips;
  • angry and expressionless look;
  • long wavy hair;
  • no eye edging;
  • asymmetric "mask";
  • domed head;
  • uneven color;
  • heterochromia;
  • brylastost;
  • amble;
  • caries.

Cryptorchidism is unacceptable for males – non-descent of the testicles into the scrotum.

The character of the English Mastiff

There is no trace of the English mastiff's fighting past. Modern representatives of the breed are calm and friendly dogs that show amazing constancy before mood swings. The character of these animals traces the traits of immigrants from Old England: tolerance, reliability and greatness. The mastiff knows his own worth, never stoops to puppy pranks and holds himself with such nobility that individuals of royal blood involuntarily come to mind. At first glance, the dog seems to be an inveterate phlegmatic, but it is not. Deep down, the "English" have an amazing love for their family members.

The attachment of mastiffs can be burdensome (literally): these dogs love strong hugs, so at the slightest opportunity they will jump on the lap of the owner. Considering the weight of the animal, it is worth forgetting about strength training in the gym: it is enough to "nurse" a pet weighing 70 kg!

English mastiffs need constant company, although they don't "talk" about it. If the work schedule or a wild lifestyle do not allow you to spend time with a dog, it is better to give up the desire to have a representative of this breed. Loneliness is the worst punishment for mastiffs. In desperation, the animal will try to entertain itself on its own, and this will damage your apartment in any case.

"Englishmen" are inveterate stay–at-home people, absolutely not prone to escapes. Letting your pet off the leash in a deserted park, you don't have to worry: the mastiff will always come back to you no matter how interesting and fascinating the surrounding environment seems to him.

Although representatives of the breed are considered to be tremulous and gentle giants, they perfectly cope with guard duties. The protective instinct of a dog extends not only to the territory, but also to its family members. Having met an uninvited guest, the mastiff will never rush into the attack first: its impressive size is more than enough. Most likely, the animal will drive the stranger into a corner, where it will "leave" him until the owner returns. However, if it comes to a fight, the dog will never yield to the enemy, even at the cost of his own life.

The mastiff is no less wary of strangers. The animal almost never comes into contact with an outsider. Moreover, the "Englishman" will stand between him and the owner until he is convinced that there is no danger. Even frequent guests in your house will not be able to evade the gaze of the mastiff, ready to rush to the defense at any moment. Dogs attack extremely rarely, so the only thing you should be afraid of is the lack of free space on the couch. The mastiff usurps this "territory" in the most brazen way.

"Englishmen" are not suitable for families with young children – largely because of their size. In the midst of a fun game, the animal may accidentally push the baby and injure him. If you are unshakeable in the belief to have a four-legged friend for your child, pay attention to a less traumatic breed. It can be airedale terrier , poodle or bichon frise .

Representatives of the Molossians are friendly to their relatives – both strangers and their "neighbors" in the apartments. Properly educated mastiffs can put up with a cat company; even dogs are indifferent to decorative rodents and birds locked in cages. In the absence of socialization, the "Englishman" may show aggression towards animals of the same sex. This intolerance should be nipped in the bud: in a fit of rage, a clash between a mastiff and his "rival" can end with the death of the latter.

As befits British aristocrats, these dogs like to loaf and bask on the couch for hours. To complete the picture, there is not enough traditional tea with milk and rainy weather, which will remind the mastiff of the homeland of his ancestors. However, regular physical activity is still important: to maintain shape and a harmonious psychological state. English mastiffs need long walks without running: these dogs do not like fast movements. The exception is a tidbit visible in the distance: then the animal will hurry to it with perseverance and the sounds of a small locomotive.

Making a choice in favor of the mastiff, do not be afraid of the fighting past of this breed. The character of the pet depends solely on the participation of the owner in his upbringing and socialization. What features will be emphasized, such will prevail in the character of the "Englishman", therefore, the main task of the owner of the Molossian dog is to "mold" a calm and friendly animal out of it.

Education and training

Representatives of the breed "grow up" for quite a long time, which misleads their owners: large and massive, as it seems to them, dogs are in fact only playful puppies who like to play against the rules. The education of the mastiff should begin as soon as possible, namely from the first day of the appearance of the animal in the house. The kid should learn the main rule: the title of leader is not assigned to him at all, but to you. Stop the slightest attempts of the "Englishman" to show self-will and even aggression, but in no case do not hit the pet. Mastiffs love tenderness and affection, but need a firm hand. Your task is to find the golden mean.

The tendency of "Englishmen" to fruitful training varies from dog to dog. Some representatives of the breed want to please the owner and are happy to learn new tricks; others are stubborn and are limited only to basic commands. The main secret of effective training of the English mastiff is in the positive consolidation of the studied. Do not forget to compliment your pet and encourage his behavior with a treat. It is better to abandon the raised tone and painful pokes.

In order to avoid potential problems, dog handlers recommend sticking to a certain daily routine. The mastiff is much more willing to follow your command if he knows that soon he will have a delicious dinner and a long-awaited sleep. Training should take at least an hour. Learn the commands gradually, not forgetting to repeat the material already passed. Do not force your pet to repeatedly perform a trick just because you are bored: it will not be difficult for an English mastiff to reveal these selfish intentions, and then you can forget about the fruitful study of commands. Representatives of the breed are well aware of the level of their intelligence, so they will not want to play the role of a puppet.

The inquisitive mind of a dog can lead to another problem: the English mastiff will easily find your weak spot and will be able to manipulate. Do not forget to be deceitful in communicating with your pet, do not succumb to his pitying looks and, if necessary, consult with a professional trainer. These little tricks will help to bring up a docile and intelligent gentleman from a stubborn dog.

Care and maintenance

Caring for mastiffs cannot be called burdensome, and this is the merit of the short coat of dogs. It is enough to comb it once every two or three weeks, during the seasonal molting period - a little more often. To remove dead hairs, use a stiff bristle brush. Pukhoderki and special gloves with silicone spikes are not suitable for this procedure. Fabric or suede will help to "apply" a healthy shine to the wool of the English mastiff. So your pet will look even more neat and sleek.

Mastiffs do not need frequent water treatments. Some owners of these dogs are completely limited to care with dry shampoo. It is necessary to bathe the animal completely only as needed. To do this, use a special animal remedy: "human" shampoos often cause skin irritation and even hair loss. After taking a mastiff bath, make sure that the dog does not lie in a draft. This is fraught with colds.

Remember: although you do not need to regularly arrange a bath day for an English mastiff, you should not forget about the cleanliness of the animal's muzzle. Wrinkles regularly accumulate dirt, fat, sweat and even food particles. Clean them daily with a damp cloth flap to avoid infectious diseases.

After a long walk (especially in windy weather) do not forget to carefully examine your pet's ears and wipe them with a moistened cotton swab. For a drying effect, you can use a weak solution of boric acid or another special remedy from a pet store.

The same goes for the eyes of the English mastiff. Inspect them as often as possible and clean them with strong tea or chamomile decoction. Abundant discharge of unhealthy color is an alarming sign. A timely visit to the veterinary clinic will help prevent inflammation.

The oral cavity of the "Englishman" needs no less care. Dog handlers recommend brushing your dog's teeth weekly, armed with a brush or a compact nozzle on your finger. In extreme cases, you can do with a bandage folded in several layers. Do not forget that due to the peculiarities of the bite, English mastiffs practically do not use their back teeth, so you will have to monitor the safety of their enamel.

Don't forget about the dog's claws. Despite the fact that they are mostly worn off during a walk, it is periodically worth using a pruner for large breeds to relieve the pet from discomfort.

Feeding a mastiff is not an easy task. Due to the impressive size of the dog consumes a lot of food, so in this regard, the maintenance of moloss is very expensive. There are two possible diets – ready-made premium food and natural food. The first option combines the microelements necessary for full development, the second one implies careful development of the mastiff menu and taking vitamins.

It is important to know: the combination of two types of diet is unacceptable! Dry food for breakfast and porridge with meat for lunch is a direct way to indigestion. Do not forget that Molossian puppies up to four months must be fed 5 times a day. Babies up to six months are provided with 4-fold nutrition. A dog under one year old needs to be fed at least 3 times. For adults, 2 meals are enough.

There should be no English mastiff in the diet:

  • milk (if the animal is older than four months);
  • high-carb foods;
  • lamb or pork (due to fat content);
  • food with a huge amount of spices;
  • tubular bones of all sizes;
  • goodies from the "human" table;
  • raw or boiled river fish;
  • "caffeinated" drinks;
  • mushrooms in any form;
  • berries with pits;
  • legumes;
  • smoked meats;
  • sweets.

The dog's bowl should be filled with fresh, unboiled water. Owners of English mastiffs are advised to use bottled.

Representatives of the breed feel equally comfortable both in apartments and in a private house – however, only on condition of timely and long walks. Mastiffs need daily physical activity, but at the same time they are rather clumsy and lazy. The owner of the giant will have to make an effort to interest his pet.

English Mastiff is a great company for inactive people. Animals have enough of a long promenade in the park, they are indifferent to agility and the pursuit of frisbee. Mastiffs are categorically contraindicated from walking in hot weather. The reason for this is the brachycephalic type of muzzle, which makes it difficult for the dog to breathe.

Fair chistyulyam and aesthetes should think about acquiring another breed. English mastiffs are characterized by profuse salivation, eat sloppily because of saggy wings, snore loudly and also suffer from flatulence. If you are not ready to put up with this, make a choice in favor of other dogs.

Health and diseases of English mastiffs

Despite the "iron" immunity and high life expectancy, representatives of the breed suffer from certain ailments. Among the most common diseases of mastiffs are:

  • hip dysplasia;
  • inversion of the stomach or intestines;
  • osteoarthritis of the knee joints;
  • stretching of the heart walls;
  • urolithiasis;
  • eversion and inversion of the eyelid;
  • breathing problems;
  • redness of the eyes;
  • intestinal obstruction;
  • bloating;
  • cataract.

It is strictly forbidden to engage in self-treatment of a mastiff when symptoms of the disease are detected. Timely treatment to the veterinarian is the key to good health and a long life of your pet.

How to choose a puppy

The best place to buy an English mastiff is an official nursery, where you can find a healthy and compliant baby with good genes. The main selection criterion is character. It is better for families with children to pay attention to puppies with a less dominant disposition, who will not compete for leadership and test the authority of the owner for strength. Remember: an excessively timid character is a disqualifying vice of English mastiffs.

The same rule of choice applies to families where other dogs already live. At the same time, it is desirable to purchase a puppy of the opposite sex.

The dominant type of character of the "Englishman" is suitable only for people with experience of keeping large breeds of dogs. Be ready to constantly fight for supremacy in the "pack" and accept the challenge from the mastiff. However, proper upbringing and timely socialization will make an obedient and friendly companion even from a born leader.

Dog handlers recommend buying puppies aged one and a half to three months. Dogs are already distinguished by stable psychological health and are ready for independent life. Before buying, carefully inspect a potential pet. The coat of a small mastiff should be shiny, the eyes and gaze should be clear, the nose should be moist and cold. Pay attention to the conditions of keeping babies, ask the breeder to present the necessary documents and a certificate of timely vaccination. It would also be useful to get to know the puppy's parents: this will help make a first impression of what to expect from your four-legged friend.

The price of an English mastiff

The price of the breed depends on many factors – in particular, on the pedigree and title of the parents, the location of the kennel, the sex of the dog and its compliance with the standard. On average, the cost of English mastiffs starts from $300. For a lower price, you can purchase a culled copy. In both cases, you will become the owners of an ideal partner who will brighten up monotonous everyday life with warm and weighty hugs!

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