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History of the breed (Origin)
Mastiffs were the pride of English kings, and, moreover, the English king Henry VIII, sent a battalion of 400 fighting mastiffs to the Spanish king Charles V. The breed, usually called the Mastiff, is called the Old English Mastiff in English-speaking countries. Like the rest of the Mastiff breeds, it is an Old English native of Asia.
Dogs very similar to the modern mastiff have been found on Egyptian frescoes dating from about 3 thousand years BC, and on Babylonian frescoes dating back to 2200 BC. At the same time, it is possible that the English history of the mastiff began not two centuries ago, but much earlier: Julius Caesar wrote that the Celts of the British Isles have huge dogs that fight and die with their owners. Several English fighting dogs were taken to Rome, where they proved their superiority over many others in gladiatorial combat. They were used not only in dog fights, but forced to fight with people, bulls, bears, lions and tigers.
In 1945 there were only 8 dogs of reproductive age left in all of Britain. Fortunately, by this time the good-natured giants had spread quite widely throughout the world, and the reintroduction of puppies from different countries ensured the restoration of mastiffs in their homeland. Now they are used mainly as companion dogs, not forgetting, however, to entrust them with the protection of the owners and their homes.
English Mastiff description
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General form. A massive, powerful, imposing dog of ancient origin.
Sexual type. Well expressed. Males are more massive, with a larger and more massive head, more courageous. Bitches are smaller in stature, lighter in build. Disadvantages. Small deviations from the sex type. Vices. Sharp deviations from the sexual type; males in bitch type.
Constitution type. Strong – rough or strong, with elements of roughness and dampness. The skin is elastic, tight-fitting. May form folds on the head when excited. The skeleton is massive, strong. Disadvantages. Minor deviations from the type of constitution; insufficiently developed muscles. Vices. Rough or lightweight type of build, rough or lightweight skeleton; looseness of constitution; obesity, exhaustion; high-leggedness; squat.
Height and weight. Height at withers: in males – about 76 cm, in bitches – about 70 cm. Average weight – 80-86 kg.
Wool cover. The coat is short, straight, dense, tight-fitting, harsh to the touch. The undercoat is dense, very short, softer. Disadvantages. Longish, slightly wavy, softish coat; somewhat long hair on the back of the thighs. Vices. Long, soft, wavy, sparse, poorly fitting coat on the body; long hair on the abdomen, tail and limbs; lack of undercoat.
Color. Apricot fawn, silvery fawn, dark fawn brindle. Regardless of color, the ears and nose should be black, as should the goggles around the eyes and the mask on the muzzle that extends over the bridge of the nose and rises higher towards the eyes. Disadvantages. Small white spot on the chest; blackened or light-colored mask. Vices. A large white spot on the chest or anywhere else; light mask (“domino”), ears or nose; asymmetrical mask, uneven color of the ears and muzzle.
Head. Massive, square, wide (the ratio of the width of the head to its length is 2: 3), with developed muscles on the temples, cheeks and parietal region. The occipital protuberance is not pronounced. The brow ridges and the forehead are slightly convex. When the dog is focused, deep wrinkles appear on the forehead, which, moving over the eyebrows, give the dog a stern expression. The transition from forehead to muzzle is pronounced, but not sharp, with a hollow in the middle, reaching the middle of the forehead. The cheekbones are accentuated but not protruding. The lines of the skull and muzzle are parallel. The muzzle is short (a third of the length of the head or less than half the length of the skull), more deep than wide, strong, rectangular. The ratio of the circumference of the head to the muzzle is 3: 5. The nose is as if flattened from top to bottom, wide, black, with well-opened nostrils. The lips are fleshy, thick, in front they reach the border of the lower lip, diverging at an obtuse angle, without going beyond the line of the lower jaw; in a rectangular profile. Lip edging is black. The jaws are strong and square. Disadvantages. Light or coarse head, rounded forehead; insufficiently expressed parietal, temporal and buccal muscles; the muzzle is too short or somewhat elongated, narrow or not deep enough; curved back of the nose; damp or dry muzzle. Vices. Rough or light, excessively moist, narrow, domed head; pronounced occipital protuberance; cheekiness or cheekiness; a sharp or smoothed transition from the forehead to the muzzle; narrow, pointed, damp or excessively dry, long or short, drooping or upturned muzzle; incomplete pigmentation of the nose, lips; fleas, sagging flabby flews, converging in front at an acute angle, short upper lip, not covering the teeth of the lower jaw.
Ears. Set wide (almost at the edge of the skull) and high (at the top of the skull), drooping, thin to the touch, dark or black in color, medium length (short in relation to the head), with rounded ends, in the shape of an equilateral triangle, directed forward and tight fit with the inner edges to the cheeks. Disadvantages. Ears that are short or long, set on low; loose to the head. Vices. Ears short or long, set low, thick or hanging on the cartilage along the head; no dark or black pigmentation in the coat.
Eyes. Small, dark or nutty, round, relatively wide, straight and set low. The expression is serious and focused, but due to the black glasses that make up the mask, it is soft and sophisticated. Disadvantages. Light-colored eyes, somewhat damp lower eyelids, slightly protruding, close-set eyes. Vices. Light, without black edging or partially depigmented edging of the eyelids, protruding or deep-set, close-set; ectropy or entropy of the eyelids, protrusion of the third century; expression piercing, evil, like an eagle, or expressionless, dull.
Teeth. Large, white, with a linear arrangement of the incisors of the lower jaw. Scissor or straight bite. A staggered arrangement of the incisors of the lower jaw is allowed. Disadvantages. Close undershot, teeth worn out of age, small yellow plaque on the teeth, extra teeth. Vices. Snack with waste; teeth not closed by the lips when the mouth is closed; rare, carious teeth, the presence of broken incisors, if this interferes with the determination of the correct bite; small canines; horizontal arrangement of the incisors of the lower jaw.
Neck. Rather short, powerful (2.5-3 cm narrower than the circumference of the skull), medium carriage, with dense, well-developed muscles, slightly arched, moderately dry, with tight skin. There are two small symmetrical folds on the throat, running from the chin to the middle of the neck. Disadvantages. The neck is somewhat short or narrow, with weakened muscles. Vices. Long or excessively short (on the shoulders), excessively dry or loose, high or low set, damp or dewlap; narrow or weakly muscled neck.
Withers. Moderately pronounced, muscular, falling into a straight topline. The shoulder blades are set obliquely, pressed against the back. Disadvantages. Weak musculature, slightly loose shoulder blades. Vices. Weak, loaded withers, free, vertical or oblique shoulder blades.
Back. Broad, strong, muscular, of medium length. Disadvantages. Soft, convex, narrow back. Vices. Short, overly long, weakly muscled, narrow, sagging or humped back.
Small of the back. Short, broad, well muscled, slightly arched. Disadvantages. Elongated or overly convex loins. Vices. Long, narrow, weak, straight or humped loin.
Croup. Broad, muscular, moderately sloping. Disadvantages. Insufficiently muscled, almost horizontal or sloping croup. Vices. Narrow, short, sharply sloping croup or horizontal croup, high back.
Tail. Set on high, long, sickle, at rest lowered down, beautifully repeating the line of the back, in motion or with excitement rises to the line of the back. Vices. Short, mouse-like, in a ring, curled to one side or a tail that slung over the back.
Chest. Massive, broad and deep (well below the level of the elbows), with prominent, rounded ribs. The circumference of the chest is 1/3 more than the height of the dog at the withers. Falcon of the chest protrudes slightly forward beyond the line of the shoulder joints. Disadvantages. Lightweight, smallish (up to the elbows), slightly flattened chest. Vices. Shallow, narrow, flat, short, barrel-shaped, sunken, or chicken breasts.
Stomach. Moderately fit. The groin is slightly tucked up. Disadvantages. Tucked up or straight belly. Vices. Abdomen with disruption, lowered abdomen; overly tucked, rounded or long groin.
Front limbs. Set wide and straight, lean, with a powerful and strong bone, parallel to each other, framed by prominent muscles. The shoulders are slanting, the elbows are directed back and slightly behind the chest. The forearms are strong and vertical. The pasterns are short, strong and massive, and set almost vertically. Disadvantages. Slight sweeping or clubfoot; straight or pointed shoulders; slightly elongated or short forearms; slight twisting of the elbows outward; slightly sloping pasterns. Vices. Excessively open, loaded, barrel-shaped or narrow front, excessively wide, narrow or barrel-shaped delivery of the limbs; straight or sharp shoulders; free elbows; curved short or long forearms; long, soft, oblique pasterns; Kozinets.
Hind limbs. Well developed, strong, massive, muscular, wide-set, straight and parallel to each other, slightly pulled back behind the line of the ischial tuberosities. The shins are massive, dry, not long. The knee and hock joints are well defined, the latter are dry, drooping. Metatarsus are short, strong, massive, set vertically. Disadvantages. Slight convergence or eversion of the hock joints, straight knee joint, straightened position of the limbs. Vices. Too wide or narrow, barrel-hoisted, cow-like or saber-set; right angles of joints with false high back; long or too short shin; long, soft, weak metatarsus.
Paws. Large, round, strong, arched, tightly packed, with strong bones. The nails are black. Disadvantages. Longish, flat feet. Vices. Hare, long, flat, loose legs; sweep, clubfoot.
English mastiff character
Despite their past as a fighting dog, English mastiffs today are affectionate and gentle pets, very smart and self-confident.
In general, these are extremely good-natured dogs, loving and in need of the company of people. English Mastiffs are not playful dogs, but they love to be as close to their family as possible. English mastiffs are by nature silent and only occasionally can you hear their barking. However, they have drawbacks: they snore loudly and drool.
This breed of dog responds very poorly to harsh training methods and physical punishment. Only patience and gentleness work well with mastiffs. Dogs of this breed need early socialization, as they are prone to isolation and suspicion.
Mastiffs may not be bad guard dogs. They always prefer to make sure their family and property are safe before they let a stranger into the house. It is also known that a mastiff will stand between a stranger and a member of his family until he gains confidence that that person is safe. This breed of dogs does not attack people, they rather keep them at bay..
Care and training
Grooming of the English Mastiff is minimal, but somewhat difficult due to the large size of this dog. It is advisable to comb the English Mastiff daily, so you can reduce the amount of hair in the house, as this breed sheds a lot.
Bathing the English Mastiff should be done as needed. Using a special dog shampoo, human shampoo or soap can irritate the mastiff’s skin. It is also important to monitor the condition of the dog’s eyes and ears and cut the nails in time.
Even though these dogs are lazy, they will be happier and healthier if they get regular exercise. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for active owners of English mastiffs to find any joint activity with their pets, due to the laziness and lack of interest in playing with this breed.
However, for inactive people, a mastiff may well be a company for a walk in the park, for example. Such a walk will be quite enough stress for this breed. Remember, English mastiffs do not tolerate heat well, so if it’s hot outside, it is better to leave your pet at home and let him be lazy.
Like most large dogs, the mastiff develops emotionally and mentally very slowly. Hence the need for a fairly long, systematic and consistent training. Obedience classes should be conducted, as for all guard dog breeds, exclusively by the owner under the guidance of a specialist. (If you want your dog to obey only you, and not just anyone, you need to do certain exercises when engaging in protective-guard service, which will also help to suppress the aggression of superiority). One cannot expect instant feedback from a mastiff, but he does not forget well-learned commands.
Almost all mastiffs have a strong bodyguard instinct, i.e. active behavior in relation to the aggressor in mastiffs is observed most of all precisely when attacking the owner, which can be used to strengthen the grip, restore the dog in stressful situations, in exercises to “turn on”, etc. The mastiff is quite well weaning from the “fixation” on the sleeve. The mastiff bites a person rather reluctantly. In some countries (South Africa), he learns, when arresting an offender, to simply knock him down, which is also quite effective with the size of this breed of dog. Note that with its size, this dog is quite mobile and grandiose, especially if it spends a lot of time in open spaces outside the apartment. A well-trained mastiff copes well with many stressful situations. And if he still passes, then he recovers quite quickly.
A stressful situation should be understood as any non-stereotypical situation that can frighten or surprise a dog. It is to educate the readiness to meet unexpected danger with dignity, without turning the dog into a hysterical, unreasonable aggressor, that the trainer should strive for. Stress for a city dog is not only tests of the Henz type (we have better known as a frontal attack) and various tests of temper, but also the situation when it is necessary to work out in real conditions to protect the owner in the presence of any threat. Some problems when training this breed of dogs arise when training for instant inclusion in a situation, as well as when working without an owner..
In general, English Mastiffs are a healthy breed of dog. However, they are prone to the following diseases:
- Dysplasia of the hip joint
- Urolithiasis disease
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (gonarthrosis)
- Entropion (turn of the century)
- Ectropion (eversion of the eyelid)
- Cherry eye
- Corneal dystrophy
In addition, English Mastiffs are prone to arthritis, obesity, elbow dysplasia and vaginal hyperplasia in bitches..
Estimated price of English Mastiff
In the kennel you can buy a mastiff puppy according to your needs and personal preferences. The price of an English Mastiff puppy ranges from 1000 to 3000 euros, depending on the specific puppy taken.
List of nurseries
- Shulvi Rosean Moscow //www.englishmastiff.ru
- Giant pets, St. Petersburg //www.giantpets.ru
- MASTIFHILLS Moscow www.mastiffhills.ru
Photo of the English Mastiff
List of sources