EnglishMastiff.jpg
Breed Group Group 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country England
Weight Males: 0-0 pounds. Females: 0-0 pounds.
Height Males: 0-0 inches. Females: 0-0 inches.
Other Name(s) English Mastiff, Mastiff
Breed Type Pure
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Old English Mastiff

Breed Group Group 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country England
Weight Males: 0-0 pounds. Females: 0-0 pounds.
Height Males: 0-0 inches. Females: 0-0 inches.
Other Name(s) English Mastiff, Mastiff
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

There is much speculation about the origin of the Old English Mastiff, also called English Mastiff, or just simply Mastiff. The ancestors of the modern day Mastiffs were found in what is now present day Britain by Roman soldiers during the expansion of the Roman Empire. The Romans called these dogs Canes Pugnaces Britanniae, which roughly translated to “British Fighting Dogs.” These dogs were imported from Britain to Rome to fight in the amphitheaters and coliseums for entertainment. They were also employed as dogs of war in combat during the expansion of the Roman Empire.

Where these ancestral dogs came from remains unclear. Some scholars believe that they were most likely brought to England by ancient Asian traders, and were descendants of the even more ancient Tibetan Mastiffs found in the mountains of Asia. Others believe that the dogs are descendants of the ancient and now extinct Alaunt Mastiff introduced by the Normans, who may have obtained the Alaunt’s ancestors from ancient Assyrians. Dogs bearing Mastiff-like similarities have been found on Assyrian and Babylonian bas-reliefs. However, lacking DNA studies, the exact origin of the Mastiff remains shrouded in conjecture.

There are also a number of theories concerning the development of the name “Mastiff.” Some believe the name was derived from the Anglo Saxon masty, which translates to “powerful.” While others claim it was from the French mastin, meaning “tame.” What is known is that these old English breeds have been called Mastiffs as far back as the 1400s.

It was said that in 1415 Sir Piers Legh was wounded during the Battle of Agincourt. His brave and devoted Mastiff stood over his wounded body for hours and is credited with saving his life. This dog was returned home along with his master to the famed Lyme Hall Estates, where this particular dog was used to establish the Lyme Hall strain of Mastiffs. This line is said to predominate Mastiff pedigrees to this day, some five centuries later. Lyme Hall isn’t the only home of aristocracy that kept Mastiff dogs, however. Others include Elvaston Castle, Chatsworth House, Hadzor Hall, as well as many other estates and homes throughout the country, as well as the meager homes of peasants.

Throughout the next few centuries, these dogs were used as war dogs and gifts of royalty. They were also not exempt from the bloody fighting pits, where they were pitted against other animals, such as bulls and bears, as well as other dogs for cruel sport. Once the sport of baiting and dog fighting were banned, the breed suffered a loss of interest. In one year, the entry numbers for Mastiffs at a dog show were nonexistent. World Wars I and II further depleted the numbers. It was estimated that only eight breeding dogs remained in Britain in 1945. Since then, restoration efforts have been made to bring the Mastiff back, and those efforts have been largely successful. Many dogs were recovered from the remote surrounding areas, and breeding dogs were donated back from other countries in which the breed remained strong. Thus, the Old English Mastiff began to flourish once more, and it is now recognized as one of the most popular and easily recognizable Mastiff breeds throughout the world.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat brachycephalic to mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. It is broad and powerfully muscled, with well-developed temporal and masseters giving the head breadth and depth. The head is somewhat clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The topskull is broad (measured across the top in front of the ears), as it is long (from stop to occiput). The width of the head in comparison to the length of the head is approximately 3:2. From the front, the skull appears flat between the ears. In profile, the forehead may appear slightly arched. A median furrow that begins at the stop and runs upward toward the occiput is visible in mature dogs. This furrow is enhanced by strongly developed temporal muscles. The brows are somewhat prominent. The head should never appear elongated, narrow, or snipy. In no way should it be so narrow or elongated as to resemble that of a Great Dane. It should not appear so bulky, coarse, or brachycephalic as to resemble that of a Bullmastiff. Some wrinkling may appear at the forehead when the ears are brought to the alert position, and a light wrinkle may run from the outer corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth.
Eyes: The eyes are medium in size, set well apart, and open-almond to oval in shape. Eye color may range from hazel-brown to dark brown. They eyes are set well under the brows, with sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. The eye rims are well-fitted and darkly pigmented, without any looseness, excess skin, or visible whites or haw. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: The ears may range from somewhat small to moderate in size. They set at the highest and widest corner of the skull. They are drop, V-shaped, with a broad base and rounded tips. The inner edge of the ears should lie close to the head when alert. Properly placed ears give the plane of the skull the appearance of a continuous broad topline when viewed from the front. The ears are never long and pendulous or fly-away (rose).
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, broad, and deep from the base of the muzzle to the end. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. The muzzle never tapers, but instead ends bluntly, forming a square-shaped muzzle. The end of the muzzle and the lower plane of the muzzle form an approximate right angle. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Thick and of a moderate length to allow for proud head carriage. It is powerfully muscled with an arch. The neck tapers only slightly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is overall clean-cut and without a pendulous dewlap; however, slightly looser skin at the neck and throat area is permissible.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is moderately developed but not overly prominent (pigeon chested).
Body: Substantial, rather compactly knit, solid, and deep. The body is never squared, leggy, racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set somewhat high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. The tail is a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints, or just below, when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.
Movement: Although the Old English Mastiff is a large dog, his movement should still reflect a healthy and capable structure. Movement should be a smooth and powerful, yet agile, trot without pacing. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Old English Mastiff is truly a gentle giant. Although he impressive in size and strength, he is surprisingly gentle in nature and makes for a wonderful family pet. They are intelligent, loyal, and calm toward their families and people— especially children; however, they can be watchful and indifferent toward strangers. They are intelligent and enjoy learning. Because of their large size, obedience and socialization classes are needed to teach Old English Mastiffs to be mindful of others and prevent them from causing accidental injuries. These dogs naturally exude a quiet confidence. They should never appear timid, shy, or fearful. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds

Proportions: Somewhat rectangular, with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is approximately 5:4. The body is deep and well-put together, with sturdy substance and solid bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type. Preference should be placed over soundness and quality, as opposed to sheer size alone. A smaller-sized specimen can be given preference if all of the elements of quality and soundness are present. The English Mastiff should never appear square, or leggy. The body is rectangular, with the height coming from the depth of the body (withers to brisket), rather than length of leg.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat brachycephalic to mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. It is broad and powerfully muscled, with well-developed temporal and masseters giving the head breadth and depth. The head is somewhat clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The topskull is broad (measured across the top in front of the ears), as it is long (from stop to occiput). The width of the head in comparison to the length of the head is approximately 3:2. From the front, the skull appears flat between the ears. In profile, the forehead may appear slightly arched. A median furrow that begins at the stop and runs upward toward the occiput is visible in mature dogs. This furrow is enhanced by strongly developed temporal muscles. The brows are somewhat prominent. The head should never appear elongated, narrow, or snipy. In no way should it be so narrow or elongated as to resemble that of a Great Dane. It should not appear so bulky, coarse, or brachycephalic as to resemble that of a Bullmastiff. Some wrinkling may appear at the forehead when the ears are brought to the alert position, and a light wrinkle may run from the outer corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth.
Expression: Grandiose, dignified, noble, watchful, intelligent, and alert.
Stop: The stop is definite and well-marked.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 2:1, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is convergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, broad, and deep from the base of the muzzle to the end. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. The muzzle never tapers, but instead ends bluntly, forming a square-shaped muzzle. The end of the muzzle and the lower plane of the muzzle form an approximate right angle. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Thick, well-pigmented, and well-fitted, yet sufficiently loose enough to allow for the muzzle to appear square in profile. Never excessive or overly pendulous as to extend beyond the bottom plane of the lower jaw, appearing pendulous like that of a Neapolitan Mastiff.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are powerfully muscled, never appearing chiseled.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, and white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: The eyes are medium in size, set well apart, and open-almond to oval in shape. Eye color may range from hazel-brown to dark brown. They eyes are set well under the brows, with sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. The eye rims are well-fitted and darkly pigmented, without any looseness, excess skin, or visible whites or haw. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: The ears may range from somewhat small to moderate in size. They set at the highest and widest corner of the skull. They are drop, V-shaped, with a broad base and rounded tips. The inner edge of the ears should lie close to the head when alert. Properly placed ears give the plane of the skull the appearance of a continuous broad topline when viewed from the front. The ears are never long and pendulous or fly-away (rose).

Body and Tail

General Description: Substantial, rather compactly knit, solid, and deep. The body is never squared, leggy, racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Thick and of a moderate length to allow for proud head carriage. It is powerfully muscled with an arch. The neck tapers only slightly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is overall clean-cut and without a pendulous dewlap; however, slightly looser skin at the neck and throat area is permissible.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is moderately developed but not overly prominent (pigeon chested).
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never short, swayed, or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped, may be arched just over the rump.
Underline: Slight tuck-up present, or the underline may run parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set somewhat high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. The tail is a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints, or just below, when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of solid bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of solid bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Old English Mastiff comes in two coat varieties; the smooth coat and the long coat.
Smooth-coat variety: Moderately short, close, coarse, straight outer coat, short, dense, close undercoat. Coarser over shoulders and neck.
Long-coat variety: The coat is short on the face, forehead, and front of the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The coat is longer on the neck, ears, rear of the forelimbs and hindlimbs, feet, and tail, forming well-developed fringe and furnishings.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Old English Mastiff breed: the standard color and nonstandard pied color variety.
Standard coat color variety: Fawn, apricot, golden fawn, light fawn, silver; any shade of brindle, always with black mask extending up around the eyes to the brows and darker ears.
Nonstandard pied coat color variety: The above listed standard colors with varying degrees of white markings, or white with colored markings in the above listed standard colors and patterns.

Movement

Although the Old English Mastiff is a large dog, his movement should still reflect a healthy and capable structure. Movement should be a smooth and powerful, yet agile, trot without pacing. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Old English Mastiff is truly a gentle giant. Although he impressive in size and strength, he is surprisingly gentle in nature and makes for a wonderful family pet. They are intelligent, loyal, and calm toward their families and people— especially children; however, they can be watchful and indifferent toward strangers. They are intelligent and enjoy learning. Because of their large size, obedience and socialization classes are needed to teach Old English Mastiffs to be mindful of others and prevent them from causing accidental injuries. These dogs naturally exude a quiet confidence. They should never appear timid, shy, or fearful. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.