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The Mastiff - Calm, Loyal and Good-Natured Giant

Gentle Giants

If there was ever a gentle giant, this dog is it. The Mastiff loves everybody and everything, especially his family. They are an especially good dog with children and make an excellent dog breed for a family.

That is a bit surprising since they were originally bred as war dogs. Outfitted with saddles that carried live coal, the dogs were trained to run underneath horses so the enemy knights would fall to the ground. Once a knight was on the ground he was helpless.

At other times the Mastiff was pitted against gladiators, lions, bears and bulls. This is a far cry from the gentle and low-key dog of today who is happiest when with his family.

They are extremely loyal and should be allowed to live indoors where they can fulfill their role of devoted guardian. They only require enough room to stretch out comfortably.

These large dogs are not very active and do not need much exercise. Unlike the sporting dogs that will run and run for miles, the Mastiff is happy to just lie around the house. One walk each day or a good game is enough exercise for them.

An Ancient Dog Breed

The Mastiff originated in Great Brittain. They come from the mastiff family which is one of the oldest and most influential dog breeds. Like the mastiff family, the Mastiff is also an ancient breed that has been around since before the time of Caesar.

In the years leading up to World War II they almost disappeared in Great Brittan. Thankfully, they were a popular dog in the United States and so the breed did not completely die out. Since then their numbers have increased, and today it is the 33rd most popular dog in America.

Special Needs of a Large Dog Breed

The only drawbacks to this dog are the amount of food they require and the space they need indoors. They are not active indoors, but like to stretch out in comfort. They require very little grooming, are generally very healthy, and very easy to train.

When acquiring a Mastiff it is important to gain his respect at an early age. If the dog learns to listen and follow orders when he is a puppy, he will be very happy to obey when he is 230 pounds.

Males can reach up to 230 pounds and females can reach 170 pounds. They are a little shorter than the Irish Wolfhound but heavier. As a result of their large size it is especially important that puppies are bought from reputable breeders that do not feed puppies anything that will speed their growth. This can lead to health problems later on.

How to Choose a Good Puppy

Other things to beware of when looking for a Mastiff for a pet is to make sure the mother is older than 22 months and younger than seven years, and that the prospective owners check the parents' hip and elbow certificates to verify that they do have hip or elbow dysplasia.

Reputable breeds will be happy to comply with any questions the buyers ask. Remember that people who really care about the breed are not breeding just for the money, but are also breeding for a pure and exceptional line.

Anyone who purchases a Mastiff will have a wonderful companion for as long as nine to eleven years. The Mastiff is definitely an excellent dog for families to consider.

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About The Author: Discover tons of information about dogs, dog training, dog breeds, and dog care at, brought to you by two dog enthusiasts. Carol Stack has been working with dogs for more than three decades. Carol and her daughter Christy have created this Web site especially for dog lovers and those who want to know more about dogs.

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