Large, massive, symmetrical, and well-knit frame. A combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and docility.
Dogs, minimum 30 inches (76 cm) at the shoulder; bitches, minimum 27 1/2 inches (70 cm) at the shoulder.
Coat and Colour
Outer coat moderately coarse. Undercoat dense, short, and close lying. Colour apricot, silver fawn or dark fawn-brindle. Fawn-brindle should have fawn as a background colour which should be completely covered with very dark stripes. In any case, muzzle, ears, and nose must be dark in colour, the blacker the better, with similar colour tone around the orbits, extending upwards between them.
In general outline giving a massive appearance when viewed from any angle. Breadth greatly to be desired.
Skull: broad and somewhat rounded between the ears, forehead slightly curved, showing marked wrinkles which are particularly distinctive when at attention. Brows (superciliary ridges) moderately raised. Muscles of the temples well developed, those of the cheeks extremely powerful. Arch across the skull a flattened curve with a furrow up the centre of the forehead. This extends from between the eyes to halfway up the skull.
Muzzle: short, broad under the eyes and running nearly equal in width to the end of the nose. Truncated, i.e., blunt and cut off square, thus forming a right angle with the upper line of the face. Of great depth from the point of the nose to underjaw. Underjaw broad to the end and slightly rounded. Lips diverging at obtuse angles with the septum and sufficiently pendulous so as to show a modified square profile. Muzzle dark in colour, the blacker the better. Muzzle should be half the length of the skull, thus dividing the head into three parts - one for the foreface and two for the skull. In other words, the distance from tip of nose to stop is equal to one-half the distance between the stop and the occiput. Circumference of muzzle (measured midway between the eyes and nose) to that of the head (measured before the ears) as 3 is to 5.
Nose: broad and always dark in colour, the blacker the better, with spread, flat nostrils (not pointed or turned up) in profile.
Mouth: canine teeth healthy, powerful and wide apart. Scissors bite preferred but a moderately undershot jaw permissible providing the teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed.
Eyes: set wide apart, medium in size, never too prominent. Expression alert but kindly. The stop between the eyes well marked but not too abrupt. Colour of eyes brown, the darker the better and showing no haw.
Ears: small, V-shaped, rounded at the tips. Leather moderately thin, set widely apart at the highest points on the sides of the skull continuing the outline across the summit. They should lie close to the cheeks when in repose. Ears dark in colour the blacker the better, conforming to the colour of the muzzle.
Powerful and very muscular, slightly arched, and of medium length. The neck gradually increases in circumference as it approaches the shoulder. Neck moderately "dry" (not showing an excess of loose skin).
Shoulder slightly sloping, heavy and muscular. No tendency to looseness of shoulders. Legs straight, strong and set wide apart, heavy bones. Elbows parallel to body. Pasterns strong and bent only slightly. Feet heavy, round and compact with well-arched toes. Black nails preferred.
Back muscular, powerful, and straight. Chest wide, deep, rounded, and well let down between the forelegs, extending at least to the elbow. Forechest should be deep and well defined. Ribs extremely well rounded. False ribs deep and well set back. Loins wide and muscular, slightly rounded over the rump. There should be a reasonable, but no exaggerated, cut-up.
Hindquarters broad, wide and muscular. Second thighs well developed, hocks set back, wide apart and parallel when viewed from the rear.
Set on moderately high and reaching to the hocks or a little below. Wide at the root, tapering to the end, hanging straight in repose, forming a slight curve but never over the back when dog is in action.
The Old English Mastiff is one of the heaviest breeds; a male Mastiff can exceed 200 pounds. This dog is very massive, powerful and muscular. The head is heavy and square with a short muzzle. There is a black mask around the eyes and muzzle no matter what the general coat colour. The eyes are medium-sized and dark; and the small ears should also be dark-coloured. For more details, please read the Canadian Kennel Club Breed Standard.
Originally valued for their abilities as a fierce guard and fighting dog, today's Mastiff is a gentle giant. He is a self-confident, watchful, and patient dog who is gentle-natured towards his family. Intelligent and dignified, he rarely barks, but it is his nature to defend his territory and family. Calm, steady and docile, this dog is normally excellent with children, and responds well to gentle, patient training. Good natured, but very large and heavy, this breed loves to please and needs lots of companionship.
The Mastiff's dominance varies widely depending on the lineage. They can be aloof with strangers or fairly friendly. A born guard dog, brave and loyal; when strangers visit, a Mastiff is likely to refuse to let them in unless they are accepted by its handler. The Mastiff generally holds intruders at bay rather than attacking, and protection training is unnecessary for this naturally protective breed. It is very possessive of home, family and car, yet if properly socialized it will get along well with other animals. The Mastiff tends to drool, and may snore loudly. They can be somewhat stubborn.
Height: Males minimum 30 inches (76cm); Females minimum 27 inches (69cm)
Weight: Males from 175 pounds (80 kg) to 230 pounds (105 kg); Females from 130 pounds (59 kg) to 190 pounds (86 kg)
Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion (bloat), ectropion, entropion, PPM, PRA, and osteosarcomas are just some of the health issues afflicting the Breed. Buyers are encouraged to research the health issues of the Breed. Life Expectancy - 7 to 10 years. Please visit our Health page for more information.
A Mastiff can be comfortable in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and a small yard will do.
Mastiffs are inclined to be lazy but they will keep more fit and happy if given regular exercise.
The smooth, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush and wipe over with a piece of towelling or chamois for a gleaming finish. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.
The Mastiff is one of the oldest breeds of dogs, most probably originating in the mountains of Asia, and is the ancestor of the giant breeds. Bas relief's of the Babylonian era depict Mastiffs hunting lions and horses. Phoenician traders probably introduced the Mastiff to England where the Romans found them and brought them back to fight in the arena. Marco Polo wrote of the court of Kublai Khan who kept a kennel of 5,000 Mastiffs used for hunting and dogs of war. Hannibal, when he crossed the Alps, left Mastiffs
behind which crossed with local native breeds to produce St. Bernard's, once called the Alpine Mastiff, and all the massive mountain dogs of Spain, France, Turkey, and the Balkans have Mastiff blood in their ancestry. Even the Chow carries his blood as does the Pug, which was originally a form of a dwarf Mastiff.
Of all the countries who used the Mastiff, it was the British who kept him to his purest form. They were kept to guard their castles and estates, releasing them at night to ward off intruders. Henry the VIII is said to have presented Charles the VI of Spain a gift of 400 Mastiffs to be used in battle. The Legh family of Lyme Hall, Cheshire, who were given their estate by Richard the II (1377-1399), kept and bred Mastiffs for many years, and reference is found in Stowe's Annual which shows that James the I (1603-1625) sent a gift of two Lyme Mastiffs to Phillip the III of Spain.
The first conclusive evidence of the Mastiff in the United States comes in the early 1880's when they began to appear at bench shows. World War I saw the decline of the Mastiff in the United States and England. World War II almost eliminated the breed in England altogether. At the end of the war, dogs were imported to England from Canada and the United States to re-establish the breed. Slowly but surely, as time passed, the breed has become popular again.