Belvoir Castle
We are AKC Breeders of Merit!!

"What the Lion is to the Cat
the Mastiff is to the Dog,
the noblest of the family;
he stands alone,
and all others sink before him.
His courage does not exceed
his temper and generosity,
and in attachment he equals
the kindest of his race."
Cynographia Britannica - 1800


This page is for information about the Mastiff, sometimes called English Mastiff or Old English Mastiff. They are often confused with the much smaller and later developed Bullmastiff. Mastiffs were brought over here to the United States on the Mayflower. The Mastiff is the only, the original and the first Mastiff.

Mastiffs are one of the oldest breeds of dog alive today. They were originally bred to guard castles in England over 2,000 years ago and were exported to Rome as Military and fighting dogs, to battle bears, bulls, lions, tigers, and to fight gladiators. Marco Polo wrote of Kubla Khan, who kept a kennel of 5,000 Mastiffs used for hunting and war. King Henry V owned a herd of Mastiffs and sent them to attack his enemy in war. Their temperament has changed over the centuries and now they are a very calm, laid back breed that prefers to be inside near their family. The Mastiff is known as the "Gentle Giant".

Many breeds we know today originated from them like the Bullmastiff, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Bulldog, Boxer, Pit Bull, Pug and many other square headed breeds. They are the largest breed of dog alive today. The males can reach over 200 pounds easily, and the females can reach up to 170 pounds. Mastiffs are a dense, muscular dog and have big paws so they can carry their weight. They are extremely fast for their huge size, and are very powerful. It is an awesome sight to see a full grown Mastiff racing across the yard to greet you, or to scare you away with their huge size.

They are not known for being the most athletic dog, but will play like other dogs. Sheba, our girl that lived to 12 years young played like a puppy up until her last few days of life. She especially played when she saw one of our cats. Most people think they have to have a huge yard for a Mastiff. Not true. Mastiffs tire easy and don't require a lot of exercise. They are a low activity dog. They also don't eat as much as people think either because they spend much of their time sleeping and don't need a lot of food since they are low activity.

Mastiffs have teeth and jaws that are large and powerful with over 5,000 lbs. of pressure behind them, but that doesn't mean they're going to use their teeth or jaws on you unless protecting their home or family. They are not an aggressive breed of dog, but are protective due to the sheer intimidation in their size. They need experienced and strong masters, and need to be handled sensibly. Despite their look and size, they are loving family dogs. The AKC Mastiff standard says this about the Mastiff temperament: "A combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and docility. Dignity, rather than gaiety, is the Mastiff's correct demeanor. Judges should not condone shyness or viciousness. Conversely, judges should also beware of putting a premium on showiness."

Some famous people that own or have owned Mastiffs include: Julius Caesar who writes of discovering the breed when his legions invaded Britain in 55 and 54 B.C., King Henry V who used them to in fighting the French army, George C. Scott, Marlon Brando, Kirstie Alley, Bob Dylan, and Flea (the bass guitarist for the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers). We personally think the Mastiff is the best breed of dog in the whole world and are honored to have them in our home as part of our family!

Is the Mastiff the right breed for you? visit M.C.O.A. FAQ

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