Mastiff Dog Breed

This breed is as brave as it is powerful.
By: PawCulture Editors
Mastiff dog

About the Mastiff Dog Breed

The Mastiff dog has been around since Caesar was leader of Rome. It fought alongside the Roman army and was greatly admired for its bravery. Since then it has used for centuries as guard dogs and hunting dogs. 

Mastiff Physical Characteristics

The Mastiff is a large, powerfully built dog. In fact, it is one of the largest dog breeds. It has a massive head covered in wrinkles and jowls that hang down over the chin. Typically, the Mastiff has dark ears and a black mask over its face, eyes and mouth.


Most commonly seen in fawn, red and brindle.



Mastiff Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



The breed is extremely loyal and affectionate to its human family, including children.

Things to Consider

The Mastiff is the great protector of its domain. Because of this, it should be trained early in order that it may not become overly aggressive and attack unnecessarily. Additionally, socialization and training techniques will equip it to act appropriately around young children and other dogs.

Mastiff Care

Ideal Living Conditions

The breed fares the best in country or suburban areas with lots of room to roam.

Special Requirements

In order to fend off obesity, the breed requires daily exercise.

Mastiff Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Mastiffs:


Mastiff History and Background

The history of the Mastiff dog is a bit muddled due to the confusion between this breed and the ancient Mastiff group from which it originates, but the modern breed is of relatively recent origin. During the reign of Caesar, Mastiffs were employed as gladiators and war dogs, and during the Middle Ages, they were used as hunting and guard dogs. Still later, they were used for bear baiting, bull baiting, and dog fighting. These sporting events continued to be popular even when they were deemed cruel and were banned in 1835.

The modern breed descended from these pit dogs, but also from noble lines, such as the famous Mastiffs owned by Sir Peers Legh, Knight of Lyme Hall under the reign of King Henry V. During the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, Sir Peers’ Mastiff dog stood by and protected him on the battlefield for several hours after he was wounded. In spite of the death of Sir Peers, his dog returned to his home and founded the origin of the Lyme Hall Mastiffs.

There is some evidence a Mastiff dog was brought over to America on the Mayflower, however, the earliest documented entry of the breed did not occur until the late 1800s. Like many other dog breeds, World War II almost annihilated the breed in England; fortunately, there were sufficient dogs in the United States to revive the breed. Today, the breed has become one of the most popular in the U.S.

Mastiff National Clubs and/or Organizations

Mastiff Club of America

Mastiff Fun Fact(s)

The Mastiff is one of the largest breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.