The English Mastiff, often known as the Mastiff, is a large Molosser type breed which was once used in blood-sports. It descended from the ancient Molosser and Alaunt and is generally accepted as the oldest British breed. It was probably brought to Britain during 6th century BC and used for bear-baiting, bull-baiting, dog fighting, and lion-bating. The breed lost popularity during the 19th and 20th century due to prohibition of animal baiting, but its status has since then been restored. The Mastiff is the predecessor of many current breeds.
The English Mastiff is one of the largest breeds of dog with a massive, powerful body, wide-set legs, and a broad skull. The breed stands 27.5 to over 30 inches tall and weighs 100 to 200 pounds. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Mastiff from England named Zorba was the world’s heaviest dog in 1989 at 315 pounds. He was 37 inches tall and 8 feet 3 inches long. The coat of the breed is generally short and can be apricot-fawn, silver-fawn, fawn, or dark fawn-brindle, with a black muzzle, ears, nose, and mask.
The breed is dignified and grand. It is surprisingly affectionate but very capable of becoming an excellent guard dog. The Mastiff will take defensive action if it feels that itself or its master is threatened. It is a relatively calm breed but it still needs plenty of room to play. It requires daily activity.
The breed is fairly high maintenance when it comes to diet and exercise. A regular exercise regimen must be maintained in order to prevent health problems.
The English Mastiff typically lives 7 to 10 years. It may have some health problems which can include hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, obesity, osteosarcoma, cystinuria, cardiomyopathy, allergies, vaginal hyperplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, hypothyroidism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy and persistent papillary membranes.