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Country/Date of Origin: Great Britain/100 BC

Standard bearer of the family of dogs that share its shape and phlegmatic nature, the Mastiff is one of the oldest breeds of dogs. Its ancestors were brought to Britain by the Roman invaders. They in turn got the dogs from Egyptians who in turn got them from Babylonians and Assyrians. The recorded history of the giant molossus dog goes back to the beginnings of recorded history. It was a war dog and a guard animal and even a dispatcher of big game. Today, it has a much softer temperament although it retains a lot of its natural guarding instincts. The Mastiff is one of the original breeds exhibited and registered in the American Kennel Club.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Bandog, Alaunt (formerly)

AKC Group: Working

Breed Club: Mastiff Club of America

Rescue Club: Mastiff Club of America Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A massive dog with a huge head and deep foreface
  • A scissors bite is preferred but a slightly undershot bite is permitted
  • Height: 27-30 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 175-190 pounds
  • The high-set tail is natural and is never altered. It is carried low
  • The ears hang and lie close to the head. They are not altered


  • Here is the original homebody. The Mastiff loves its family and surroundings and is willing to protect them with its life if need be
  • Slow in both mind and body. The mastiff is willing to do something to please you - just as soon as it figures out what it is you want. And that may take a while
  • Is awesome when aroused. It is hard to arouse a Mastiff but once "over the edge" this massive breed is difficult to calm down
  • Do not pick a shy puppy. Mastiffs can be fear biters


  • Short, smooth double coat consists of a coarse outer coat and dense undercoat
  • Permissible colors are brindle, fawn or apricot with dark face or mask
  • Minimal grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart disease
  • Bone cancer
  • Bloat
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Short lived. This is typical of the giant breeds
  • Spanish conquistadors brought mastiffs with them to the New World. The fierce war dogs did much to help the Spaniards conquer the native peoples who had never seen big fierce dogs

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