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"What the Lion is to the Cat, the Mastiff
is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him.
His courage doe snot exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the
kindest of this race." - Cynographia Britannica - 1800
A Mastiff is a giant breed of dog, descended
from the ancient Alaunt and Molosser. The general term 'mastiff' is used to refer to many
different breeds around the world, probably all descended from the same root stock. The
proper noun 'Mastiff', however, is used to refer to a specific breed of mastiff, the breed
that originated in England over 2,000 years ago. Mastiffs (also frequently referred to as
English Mastiffs, or incorrectly, as Old English Mastiffs (OEM's)) are generally very
large dogs; fawn, apricot or brindle in color; all with a black mask and ears; possessing
a medium to short coat with very little white.
Breeds such as the Bullmastiff, Dogue
de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Mastin Del Pirineo, Mastin Espanol, Neapolitan Mastiff,
Tibetan Mastiff, and many others fall into the larger category "Molosser", but
they are not 'Mastiffs'. Each is a separate and distinct breed.
Adult males generally run about 160-230
pounds, females are normally between 120-170 pounds. Males over 200 pounds are not too
uncommon and a few females reach these weights.
Outer coat straight, coarse and of moderately short length. Undercoat dense, short,
and close lying.
By nature, Mastiffs are eager to please. This makes them good Obedience dogs. But
like any other breed, temperaments vary between individuals, so some Mastiffs are better
candidates for the Obedience ring than others.
Some Mastiffs are more laid back, aloof, and lethargic; while
others are more outgoing, inquisitive, and athletic. Though both types of temperaments are
trainable, the latter of these two temperaments would be better suited for competition in
the Obedience ring.
According to the Guinness Book of Records the record holder for the
world's largest dog is Zorba, a Mastiff, at 343 pounds. He stood 37 inches at the shoulder
and was 8 foot 3 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. Zorba set this
record in November, 1989, when he was 8 years old.
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