(English Mastiff)The Old English Mastiff is one of the most massive and powerful dog breeds, with a very solid build. The head is heavy-boned and square, with a short muzzle, and distinctive dewlaps and flews (“the pendulous lateral parts of a dog’s upper lip.”). The medium-sized ears are pendant and fall just below the cheeks. The eyes are small and can be either dark or hazel, the teeth meet in a scissors bite, although a slight undershot bite is also acceptable in dog shows. The single coat comes in a variety of colors, from fawn to brindle to silver. Regardless of coat color, the face will always have a black mask. The tail is set high, and curves down, reaching to the hocks.
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The single coat variation comes in a variety of colors and can be hard to find.
The Mastiff is, like all very large dogs, self-confident and calm. It has a gentle nature, and is affectionate and playful, although toddlers should not be left alone with them. It makes an excellent watchdog, and will not let strangers into the home until a family member indicates it is all right. Mastiffs should be socialized as puppies, otherwise they will become dog-aggressive. Obedience training can be a challenge.
As with all large dogs, they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Bloat (gastric torsion) is also a problem. Other illnesses are Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a joint problem, ectropion (eyelid turns inwards), eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). And persistent pupillary membranes (PPM). Properly cared for, the Mastiff can live around 12 years.
The English Mastiff is thought to have been brought to England by Phoenician traders around the 6th century BC. They were used in bull and bear baiting, as well as dog fighting, and also as a sheep guardian. The Mastiff is considered to be the oldest breed of English dog. They were introduced into North America via the Mayflower. The huge and hungry breed did not fare well in England during World War II, but was re-established with dogs sent from the United States and Canada.
The Mastiff has a smooth, short‑haired coat, and is an average shedder. Brush on a weekly basis with a firm-bristle brush. Give a bath or dry shampoo only when necessary.
The Mastiff have a tendency to be lazy, and so will do fine in an apartment environment, as they'll just laze around. Indeed, a house with a small yard will do just fine. However, in order to keep their weight down the Mastiff should be exercised frequently. They should also always be leashed. Let there be plenty of room in your home, since the Mastiff tends to wheeze and snore loudly.
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