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Mastiff

Breed Name: English Mastiff
Classified Dog Group: Working Dog
Area Of Origin: England, British Islands
Expected Lifespan: 8 to 10 years

General Description: Size is a quality very desirable in this breed. The height should be obtained rather from great depth of body than length of leg. A leggy Mastiff is very undesirable. 
Temperament: The temper of a Mastiff should be taken into consideration by the breeder. They usually have a combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and docility. In these dogs, as in all others, it is a question of how they are treated by the person having charge of them. Any savage dog with such power as the Mastiff possesses is indeed a dangerous creature, and, therefore, some inquiries as to the temper of a dog should be made before deciding to use him. Many Mastiff puppies are very shy and nervous, but they will grow out of this if kindly handled, and eventually become the best guard and protector it is possible to have.
Grooming Requirements: Coat short and easy to maintain. This dog tends to drool.
Exercise Requirements: Puppies should be taken out for steady, gentle exercise, and not permitted to get too fat or they become too heavy, with detrimental results to their legs. Mastiff requires good exercise and much attention to keep him in good condition, without that this breed is apt to become indolent and heavy.
Common Problems: One of the great difficulties that breeders of Mastiffs and all other large dogs have to contend against is in rearing the puppies; so many bitches being clumsy and apt to kill the whelps by lying on them.
Note: Puppies should be allowed all the liberty possible, and never be tied up.
General Breed Standard: Large, massive, powerful, symmetrical and well-knit frame. Massive, broad, deep, long, and powerfully built body with legs wide apart and squarely set. Muscles sharply defined. Size is a great desideratum, if combined with quality. Height and substance important if both points are proportionately combined. Thirty inches may be taken as a fair average height for dogs, and bitches somewhat less. The weight of a full-grown dog should be anything over 160 lb. Many have turned over the scale at 180 lb.

Head: In general outline, head is giving a square appearance when viewed from any point. Breadth greatly to be desired, and should be in ratio to length of the whole head and face as 2 to 3.
Skull: Broad between the ears, forehead flat, but wrinkled when attention is excited. Brows (superciliary ridges) slightly raised. Muscles of the temples and cheeks (temporal and masseter) well developed. Arch across the skull of a rounded, flattened curve, with a depression up the centre of the forehead from the medium line between the eyes, to half way up the sagittal suture. 
Face or Muzzle: Short, broad under the eyes, and keeping nearly parallel in width to the end of the nose; truncated (i.e. blunt and cut off square), thus forming a right angle with the upper line of the face, of great depth from the point of the nose to under jaw. Under jaw broad to the end; canine teeth healthy, powerful, and wide apart; incisors level, or the lower projecting beyond the upper, but never sufficiently so as to become visible when the mouth is closed. Nose broad, with widely spreading nostrils when viewed from the front; flat (not pointed or turned up)in profile. Lips diverging at obtuse angles with the septum, and slightly pendulous so as to show a square profile. Length of muzzle to whole head and face as 1 to 3. Circumference of muzzle (measured midway between the eyes and nose) to that of the head (measured before the ears) as 3 to 5. 
Ears: Small, thin to the touch, wide apart, set on at the highest points of the sides of the skull, so as to continue the outline across the summit, and lying flat and close to the cheeks when in repose. 
Eyes: Small, wide apart, divided by at least the space of two eyes. The stop between the eyes well marked, but not too abrupt. Colour hazel-brown, the darker the better, showing no haw.
Neck: Slightly arched, moderately long, very muscular, and measuring in circumference about one or two inches less than the skull before the ears.
Chest: Wide, deep, and well let down between the fore-legs.
Ribs: Arched and well-rounded. False ribs deep and well set back to the hips. 
Girth: Should be one-third more than the height at the shoulder. 
Shoulder And Arm: Slightly sloping, heavy and muscular. 
Fore-Legs And Feet: Legs straight, strong, and set wide apart; bones very large. Elbows square. Pasterns upright. Feet large and round. Toes well arched up. Nails black. 
Back, Loins And Flanks: Back and loins wide and muscular; flat and very wide in a bitch, slightly arched in a dog. Great depth of flanks.
Hind, Legs And Feet: Quarters broad, wide, and muscular, with well developed second thighs, hocks bent, wide apart, and quite squarely set when standing or walking. Feet round. 
Tail: Put on high up, and reaching to the hocks, or a little below them, wide at its root and tapering to the end, hanging straight in repose, but forming a curve, with the end pointing upwards, but not over the back, when the dog is excited.
Coat: Short and close lying, but not too fine over the shoulders, neck and back.
Colour: Apricot or silver fawn, or dark fawn-brindle. In any case, muzzle, ears, and nose should be black, with black round the orbits, and extending upwards between them.
Mastiff - History
Mastiff is without doubt the oldest of British dogs, cultivated in the British islands for so many centuries that the only difficulty concerning his history is that of tracing his descent, and discovering the period when he was not familiarly known.It is possible that the Mastiff owes his origin to some remote ancestor of alien strain. The Assyrian kings possessed a large dog of decided Mastiff type, and used it in the hunting of lions. It is supposed by many scientists that the breed was introduced into early Britain by the adventurous Phoenician traders who, in the sixth century B.C., voyaged to the Scilly Islands and Cornwall to barter their own commodities in exchange for the useful metals. Knowing the requirements of their barbarian customers, these early merchants from Tyre and Sidon are believed to have brought some of the larger dogs which would be readily accepted by the Britons to improve, their courageous but undersized fighting dogs. In Anglo-Saxon times every two villeins were required to maintain one of these dogs for the purpose of reducing the number of wolves and other wild animals. This would indicate that the Mastiff was recognised as a capable hunting dog, but at a later period his hunting instincts were not highly esteemed, and he was not regarded as a peril to preserved game. In the reign of Henry III. the Forest Laws, which prohibited the keeping of all other breeds by unprivileged persons, permitted the Mastiff to come within the precincts of a forest, imposing, however, the condition that every such dog should have the claws of the fore-feet removed close to the skin.
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