1) Ancient history
This is a very old dog breed and we can not be sure about their certain origin. They were found in Britain when Romans invaded the island. We do not know how they got into Britain, one theory suggest that they were brought there by Phoenician traders as early as the 6th century BC. But their history might be much older, it is believed that they were developed from the ancient Alaunt and Molosser dogs and there is a evidence of Mastiff like dogs from mountains of Asia, dating back more than 4 000 years.
2) Original purpose
We dont know how the dogs were used before they were discovered by Romans, but since then, they were used for guarding sheeps and personal protection. They were most likely used as sheep guardians before the Romans came and it is believed that the British people are responsible for creating the Mastiff we have today.
There is also one sad reason, for which English Mastiffs were used and it is fighting. For a long time, English Mastiffs were bred for so called dog sports like bear and bull-baiting and one on one arena fighting. They were four legged gladiators. Luckily, since the 1835, all of this is illegal and most of the English Mastiffs today are either companion dogs or guard dogs.
This is a true giant. Actually one English Mastiff called Zorba held the record for the world’s largest dog. He was 37 inches tall which is 93 cm and weighed incredible 343 pounds, which is 155 kg. According to the breed standard, every male Mastiff should be above 30 inches or 76 cm tall and female above 27 inches or 68 cm. The weight can vary a lot and there are quite big differences between males and females, but commonly it should be between 120-230 pounds, which is 55 to 105 kg.
5) Family companion
Despite its big size and sometimes undeserved bad reputation, the English Mastiff is sensitive, loyal, protective, noble and loving family pet. The socialization is extremely important, because you definitely do not want to live with 200 pounds dog that is not well socialized. But if you will socialize your Mastiff properly, you will have amazing companion by your side.
English Mastiffs are slow to mature. Well, they will be larger than most dogs even when they are just 6 months old, but they will not reach their complete physical and mental maturity until they are approximately 3 years old. Because they are growing for such a long time, you should not go for a run with them or let them jumping up and down, because there is a big risk of joint damage. They can play naturally, but very long walks or vigorous exercise is not recomended until they are about 20 months of age.
I just talked about English Mastiff puppies, so lets stay at this topic. You already know that this is one of the biggest dogs in the world. But not only their size is one of the largest, they also have one of the biggest litters. Typically, there will be between 10-12 puppies in one litter, which is a lot. But a biggest documented litter was 24 puppies. Sadly only 20 of them survived past the first week.
English Mastiffs are natural protectors. They bark only rarely, so they might not let you know when something suspicious is going on around your home, but they will definitely monitor the situation by themselves. They can be very decisive when they or their family is in danger. This dog is alert and suspicious towards strangers and it can take a while for them to make new friends.
English Mastiffs sheds quite heavily, but the maintenance is very simple. Weekly brushing is definitely enough, but during the shedding season, you can brush them daily to minimize the shedding. As you can probably imagine, Mastiffs are sloppy drinkers and they drool a lot. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their ears, eyes and nails and clean them or clip them if needed.
Just like most giant dog breeds, the lifespan of English Mastiff is not the longest, only between 7-11 years. This breed commonly suffers from hip dysplasia and gastric torsion, ocassionaly also from cardiomyopathy, obesity, allergies, entropion or hypothyroidism.