The English Mastiff Breed

If you were compiling a list of the best dogs to choose from to guard your property, the English Mastiff would be up there near the top. This massive dog's appearance would make anyone think twice about crossing him… even without his other perfect qualifications for guarding.

The English Mastiff is a massive dog that well deserves the distinction of being the heaviest dog in the world. The word 'mastiff' most likely comes from the Anglo-Saxon word 'masty', meaning powerful. The mastiff was developed in Britain from the ancient Alaunt and Molosser breeds, and is in fact the oldest recognized British breed.

The English Mastiff was used for various fighting purposes as early as the sixth century BC. Capable and muscular, he was the perfect choice for many of the popular blood sports of the day, including bear-baiting, lion-baiting, bull-baiting and dog fighting.

Today's mastiff is an incredible blending of dignity, courage and grandeur. For those who are not familiar with the English mastiff breed, he may be a bit of an enigma. With his family, he is calm, affectionate, loyal and loving. If a stranger threatens his domain or his family, he transforms into a fierce, fearless protector. You can see this first hand when you see a mastiff automatically position himself between a stranger and his owner when someone new to him approaches.

If the stranger does not respond to the dog's defensive posture, the dog may take immediate action to defend his owner. This is why the English Mastiff would be listed among the top guard dogs in the world.

For all this, the English Mastiff is famous for his gentle manner with children.

Physically, the English Mastiff is an impressive figure. Standing around 30 inches tall at the shoulder for males, and around 27 inches tall for females, the mastiff is no lightweight. In fact, males weigh in between 160 and 230 pounds, while females are not too far behind at 140 to 190 pounds.

Just like any other breed, the mastiff has certain health issues that plague the breed. Hip dysplasia and bloating are the two biggest problems. These dogs are also prone to obesity. Bloat and weight can both be addressed by feeding your dog two or three small meals a day instead of one large one. Despite how attached one gets to this breed, there are lots of English Mastiff rescues if you are looking for one of your own.

Another problem is bone cancer. It seems the mastiff is more prone to this type of cancer than most breeds. They can also develop kidney stones.

A healthy mastiff will live somewhere between nine and eleven years. Be sure to feed him a good diet and give him plenty of exercise to keep him healthy. Mastiffs rather enjoy being couch potatoes, so you may need to give him some incentive to exercise.

Brush the short coat your mastiff has every day. This will remove all that dust and dead hair that tend to accumulate. Without daily brushing, dead skin cells, dirt and more will tend to create an odor. Brushing daily will also help prevent skin problems.

Instead of using a regular brush on the Mastiff, though, consider using a "dog-glove." This incredible device was developed expressly for short hair dogs like the Mastiff. Both you and he will find this enjoyable – and it'll be a great "bonding" experience for the two of you as well.

A "dog glove" works really well when grooming a mastiff. This is a grooming tool that was designed especially for short haired dogs like the mastiff. You'll both find it fun, and your dog will look forward to it every day.

The mastiff is indeed a huge dog… but he has a huge heart as well. He will happily give his heart to you for the rest of his life.

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