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The Mastiff, also known as the English Mastiff or the Old English Mastiff, is an old breed that unsurprisingly originated in England. There are no specifics as to when the Mastiff originated, although with Egyptian monuments depicting the breed in 3000 BC it is fair to say that it is one of the oldest around. The Mastiff can be described as nothing but exceptionally fierce and the fact that they have historically fought alongside British soldiers emphasizes this point. What’s more, historically their ferocity provided entertainment, with the breed being used in the gladiator arena in Rome as they were pitted against human gladiators, bulls, bears and many other strong opponents. There was one point near the end of World War II where the Mastiff became almost extinct in England, yet its popularity has slowly risen and they are now a common pet. Many owners also tend to use the breed as a guard dog or watchdog, while it has been known for the police to utilize the breed as well.
The Mastiff is renowned for its fierce temperament and there’s no doubt that its appearance boasts plenty of aggression. The breed is absolutely huge in size, with many standing anywhere from thirty inches tall and weighing approximately one hundred and sixty pounds – although it has been known for the breed to be even heavier. The main feature this dog possesses is its skull, with the Mastiff having a square-like head that adds to its aggressive image. Everything else is in proportion, with the ears and tail looking absolutely normal in relation to the size of the dog. The coat is very short and course, with the primary colors being fawn, brindle or apricot. However, the muzzle, ears and nose are always a dark color.
As the above may have explained, the Mastiff is undoubtedly a fierce dog although don’t mistake them as something of a lunatic. The breed will do everything to protect their family and unlike many breeds, they do not need to be trained into a guard dog. What’s more, despite their aggression, it’s very unlikely for the Mastiff to attack with full force and if they do feel as though their territory has been trespassed, they are likely to simply hold their intruder until others are alerted. For these reasons, the Mastiff makes an absolutely superb guard dog. Considering their attributes, one would believe that they were not a good pet for a family household. However, they are renowned as a brilliant pet for children and if brought up appropriately, they can also get along very well with other dogs. The breed is also extremely intelligent, loyal, affectionate and while they may look like something of a bully, they will fit into a lot of families very well.
Like many breeds, one of the main health concerns for the Mastiff is hip dysplasia. Other issues that can affect the breed is bloat, elbow dysplasia, CHD and PPM. In terms of exercise, the Mastiff has to be pushed as they are renowned as a lazy breed. While they should be walked daily, they do not require a vast amount of exercise and for that reason they are a breed suited to apartment life. Bearing all of the above in mind, the Mastiff’s life expectancy is still relatively short with most living between ten and twelve years.
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