Breed Review: English Mastiff

Posted by Cyril. June 2nd 2015.

The English Mastiff is an extremely large dog with a heavy, square head, however, it is most known for its calm and passive temperament that families just love.

One of the oldest dogs around and with a history as a ferocious war dog, the Mastiff is the perfect companion to any family.


An English Mastiff sitting down

The history of the English Mastiff

The English Mastiff was originally founded in Britain but has actually been depicted in Egyptian monuments dating back as early as 300BC. This breed also fought alongside British soldiers during a war in 55BC.

It was Julius Caesar who took a liking to the English Mastiff and brought them back to Rome with him where he placed them on show as arena gladiators. Due to its size, the Mastiff was sadly used to fight with human gladiators, lions and for bull baiting.

This breed later became extremely popular among the peasants in England where they were employed as bodyguards due to their size and intelligence. However, later, during World War Two, the breed seemed to disappear from England and make their way to the USA.

They were practically extinct in the UK leading to them often being imported from the USA and Canada to once again become established in England.


While the English Mastiff is a large, dominant dog, it’s often known as a gentle giant. A born guard dog, the Mastiff rarely barks however it is in its temperament to always defend its family and close ones. Because of its protective nature, owners don’t need to train their Mastiff to defend; it is in their personality to do so.

Oozing confidence, calmness and care, these dogs are thought to be excellent with young children in a family setting. However, when it comes to socialising you should begin the dog at a young age to get it used to other people and dogs.


As mentioned, this dog is large with a big, heavy head that’s not to be messed with. The height and weight of the dog will depend on its sex: females can grow to 27 inches and weigh up to 150 pounds whereas a male can grow to 30 inches and weigh 160 pounds.

The tail of the Mastiff is high set with a wide base that complements the rest of the build.


English Mastiff lying down

The English Mastiff normally lives between 10 and 12 years and while it is inclined to be quite a lazy dog you should take it for regular exercise to keep it fit and healthy.

While the Mastiff is suitable for a smaller apartment if exercised frequently, it is recommended that the home is large enough to give the dog space to roam.

It’s also important to note that this breed is prone to bloating and as a result should be fed two to three small meals a day rather than one larger one.

The English Mastiff is the perfect family pet, guaranteed to provide plenty of affection for all.


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