How do the Most Famous Mastiff Breeds Differ Externally?
Dog breeds of the Mastiff type are characterized by their massive physique, broad head, and shortened snout. Their powerful jaws allow them to pack a firm punch – their soft, hanging lips and loose-fitting skin give them further advantages in combat. The main differences between the English Mastiff and other Mastiff breeds are its size and the typical coat coloration with a black mask.
The size of the mastiff is not precisely defined in the FCI breed standard, it is referred to as an “extremely large dog”. American breed standards state a minimum height at the withers of 70 cm for females and 76 cm for males – so extremely large is an apt description. Tall males can weigh 100 kilograms and more. Heights at the withers of 70 to 92 cm are normal for the dog breed. The heaviest English Mastiff recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records had a record weight of 155.6 kilograms and measured 2.51 meters from nose to tail tip. Another famous representative of the breed is Hercules, the current record holder for the world’s largest dog with a neck circumference of 96.5 cm and a weight of 148 kg.
The most famous Mastiff breeds and their characteristics
- English Mastiff (Great Britain): Largest breed of Mastiff (alongside Great Dane and Mastín del Pirineo), black mask and champagne to yellow coat.
Neapolitan Mastiff (Italy): Resembles the classic Roman fighting dog, dark base color, and distinct wrinkles on the face and neck.
- Tibetan Mastiff / Do Kyi (Tibet): Long, dense fur, the well-feathered tail is usually carried rolled up, eyes appear triangular.
- Tosa Inu (Japan): The wrinkles between the eyes and on the forehead crease form a typical symmetrical pattern.
- Boerboel (South Africa): Very short, shiny coat in brown, red, or yellow.
- Perro de Presa Canario (Spain): Wedge-shaped, relatively narrow head, often docked abroad.
- Dogue de Bordeaux (France): Solid red, wrinkled neck, lips hanging wide.
- Bullmastiff (Britain): Resembles bulldogs, shortened and wrinkled muzzle.
- Great Dane (Germany): Longer-legged and narrower than other Mastiff types.
- Mastín del Pirineo (Spain): Minimum height at the withers is 72 cm for bitches, white or dappled brown long coats.
- Aksaray Malaklısı / Türk Mastifi (Turkey): Similar to the Kangal.
The English Mastiff from head to tail
- The head appears large and square when viewed from the front and in profile. The prominent forehead furrows when he is alert. In some dogs, the area between the eyes and the bridge of the nose is covered with wrinkles, but this is undesirable in inbreeding.
- There is a lot of space between the tip of the nose and the lower jaw; the muzzle looks rectangular and powerful. Soft lips hang down slightly, emphasizing the square look of the head. The cheeks are well defined and the masticatory muscle is prominent on the side of the head.
- The small ears are set high on the head and are as far apart as possible. They are relatively thin and hang down limply.
- Due to the dark fur markings and the raised eyebrows typical of the dogs, their facial expressions often appear disappointed, worried, or sad. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark with no whites visible in the eye.
- The neck and body are broad and very muscular. Slight wrinkles form on the neck and shoulders of stocky dogs. The profile line on the stomach is only slightly raised towards the hips and the ribs are very deep. The front legs are straight and set wide apart.
- The broad tail is never carried over the back, only the tapered tip rises when excited.
Coat and colors of the English Mastiff
The English Mastiff’s stick hair lies short and grows slightly longer and bristly on the neck and shoulders. Three colors are bred, with a black mask being essential for breeding dogs. Fluffy types, which are not excluded from breeding and have significantly longer fur than the standard mastiffs, also rarely occur.
Colors of the dog breed at a glance
- Plain apricot with a black mask: from champagne to reddish.
- Monochrome fawn with a black mask: from silvery fawn to beige with a rich gold tinge.
- Brindle: Ground color apricot or fawn, rarely blue.
- The black mask typically covers the nose, muzzle, and eyes. Animals with a brown masks are not permitted for breeding.
- Occasionally the dogs wear a small white badge on the chest.
- Chocolate brown and black puppies do occur, but the colors are not approved for breeding.
Training and husbandry: This is how your Mastiff develops into a sublime protector
The dogs love playful interludes, but find it difficult to learn new commands. Only after many repetitions and with good reward timing will your dog understand what you want from him. You have to have a lot of patience to train your puppy. As adults, well-socialized dogs only tend to have temperamental outbursts in exceptional situations and only rarely contradict your rules and commands. They are very susceptible to heat, but cold temperatures hardly bother them.
This Makes it Easier for Your Mastiff to be Alone
The big and strong dogs can only be tied to masts and wheel stands that are firmly anchored to the ground. When buying a leash and harness, you should make sure that everything fits your dog’s height and weight. Because of its size, your English Mastiff probably won’t be able to accompany you everywhere like a miniature dog. If he has to wait in the apartment for a long time, provide him with various employment options:
Offer your dog space in a fenced yard.
- Leave the TV or radio on (if he’s used to hearing voices and music).
- Hide snacks to sniff out while you’re away.
- Never punish him if he destroys furniture or clothing, throws it on the floor, or howls out of loneliness. These are clear signs that your dog is being neglected too much or is underutilized.
- If you have to leave your dog alone for more than four hours a day, ask a friend or neighbor to check on him during the day. He can also stay alone longer at night and guard the house.
- With intelligence and chewing toys, the dog can occupy itself.
- Never leave your English Mastiff in a cramped car.