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The History And Origin Of The Mastiff Dog Breed

September 28, 2010 on 10:33 am | In Mastiff | No Comments

The History And Origin Of The Mastiff Dog Breed

Mastiffs in one form or another have been around since before written history began. Carvings from the Babylonian palace of Ashurbanipal (these carvings are on display in the British Museum) show large Mastiff-type dogs hunting lions in the desert near the Tigris River.

Mastiffs as war dogs

Phoenician merchants introduced the Mastiff to ancient Britain in the 6th century BC. The ancient Celts began using them as combat dogs who accompanied their owners into battle. This was the beginning of a long history of Mastiffs as fighters, soldiers, protectors, and watchdogs. A popular story tells that when Sir Peers Legh was injured in the Battle of Agincourt, his Mastiff stood over him and protected him for many hours while the battle raged on.

When the Romans invaded Britain around AD43, they took Mastiffs back to Italy and used them to protect property and guard prisoners, in addition to fighting in the arena. The Mastiff is said to have been Julius Caesar’s favorite dog. Kubla Khan had a kennel of 5,000 Mastiffs for hunting and war use. When Hannibal crossed the Alps, he took several battalions of war Mastiffs.

Mastiffs in Britain

Back in Britain in the 11th century, the Mastiff was one of the few breeds listed by name in The Forest Laws of King Canute, the first written laws of England. Mastiffs were recorded as being kept for protection, and the middle toes of their front feet had to be amputated so the dogs could not run swiftly enough to catch deer (which traditionally belonged to royalty).

British royals kept Mastiffs to protect their castles and estates, releasing them at night to ward off intruders. Henry VIII is said to have presented Charles V of Spain with 400 Mastiffs to be used in battle.

From the 12th through 19th centuries, Mastiffs were used for bear-baiting. This “sport,” in which dogs attacked chained-up bears, bulls, and even tigers, was especially popular during Queen Elizabeth’s time. Such fights were often staged for the queen’s entertainment.

The size of the Mastiff and its need to eat about as much food per day as an adult man made a Mastiff too costly for most common folk, except butchers, who had enough meat scraps to feed a Mastiff well. Therefore, the Mastiff was often called the “Butchers Dog.”

Mastiffs in the United States

The first Mastiff in North America was brought from Britain on the Mayflower by the Pilgrims. The breed didn’t become prominent in America until the 1800s, when Mastiffs were often found on plantations in the South as property guards.

During the World Wars, Mastiffs were commissioned to pull munitions carts at the front lines. However, their popularity was declining at the same time, partly because of their size: It was considered unpatriotic to keep a dog that ate as much in one day as a soldier. By the 1920s, Mastiffs were almost extinct in Britain, and by the end of World War II, Canada and the United States were sending Mastiffs to Britain to save the breed. Now, the breed is well-established in both continents.

From war dogs to family pets

How did Mastiffs go from hunting and fierce war dogs to the gentle pets we know today? Part of the reason is that breeders have bred the Mastiff for gentleness and have thus created an excellent companion. In addition Mastiffs are simply treated differently today. No longer are they used for barbaric practices like bear bating or lion fighting. As for being war dogs, modern warfare has made them obsolete as war dogs. Instead, Mastiffs are either kept as pets or put to use as watchdogs, guards, police or military dogs, search and rescue dogs, or as weight pullers.

Get more info and advice on the mastiff or a full list of dog breeds at this Dog Behaviour website.

Thirsty Dog (mastiff drinks from the fridge!)

August 31, 2010 on 10:25 am | In Mastiff | No Comments

Look what my son taught our dog, Rupert, to do! Now we can’t get him to stop. Funny, except for the mess it makes and the fact that I have to sanitize it now!!

Considering A Mastiff Puppy? Look At Thest Tips!

August 24, 2010 on 8:24 pm | In Mastiff | No Comments

Considering A Mastiff Puppy? Look At Thest Tips!

Raising a mastiff is much the same as caring for any other breed of dog. You should take care to begin training your mastiff puppy as soon as you can, as well as develop a good exercise routine. Mastiff training can be stressful if you don’t have the drive for correction. Your mastiff will need a good diet and regular grooming to ensure he remains in good health. Be aware when taking in a mastiff that they have a tendency to want to lie around with very little desire to exercise. You will need to have a determined attitude toward exercising your mastiff.

A good place to start in regards to an exercise routine is to walk your mastiff on a daily basis—preferably twice a day. If you have a private yard, letting your mastiff walk around for a bit is an excellent source of exercise. If you live in an apartment or other area without a private yard, it is recommended that you walk your mastiff twice a day in the nearest dog-friendly area.

Mastiff puppies need a good and regular diet to help them stay healthy. After they have been separated from their mothers they should be fed about four times a day to help them to grow strong and healthy. As your mastiff gets older you can start to lower the amount of food you give him on a daily basis to twice a day. Make sure to give your mastiff a balanced diet of meat and dried food.

Grooming a mastiff is generally a very easy process, so you won’t have to spend hours a week combing through fur. They are naturally shedders (watch out in the spring time!), so you don’t have to work so hard when you brush them. They do have natural oils in their coat to help protect their skin, to take extra care not to over-wash your mastiff; about once a month should work nicely.

Although they are very large, mastiffs are a gentle breed and can be very wonderful pets if taken care of properly. They have a wonderful attitude towards children, but naturally their size may not make great pets if your child is very young and can easily get knocked over by a grown mastiff. There are many different types of mastiffs, some of the most popular being bull mastiffs, English mastiffs, and American mastiffs. If you decide to introduce a mastiff into your home, you won’t be sorry!

My son doesn’t pull hair any longer but still loves to give Hugo hugs. I’m constantly wiping dog slobber off my son’s face and hands. If anyone has a mastiff you know about the drool!
Video Rating: 4 / 5

How long will a Bull Mastiff dog live for?

August 24, 2010 on 5:01 am | In Mastiff | 7 Comments

Question by Caroline H: How long will a Bull Mastiff dog live for?
We have a gorgeous Bull Mastiff X (she’s mostly Mastiff, with a little great dane we think) and I would like to know how long these guys live. Please, only people who have owned/bred Mastiffs.
Its a girl, btw.

Best answer:

Answer by chelsea.18_1990
it will live a long good life if u look after him well and spoil him.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!


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