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Welcome to the Mastiff dog microsite. This page contains detailed information on the breed. From this point you can use the above tabs to navigate to the other Mastiff pages.

- Kitt Killion

Mastiff Breed Information

The Mastiff or Molosser is a name for a group comprising several breeds of large, solidly-built dogs, probably all descended from the same root stock. The name derives from Molossia, modern day Epirus.

Molossers are sometimes called "mastiffs". The proper noun "Mastiff", however, is used to refer to the English Mastiff, a breed that originated in England over two thousand years ago. Other terms include "Mastín" (Spanish), "dogge" (Germanic), and "dogue" or "dogo" (Romance languages).

Breeds such as the Bullmastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Mastin Del Pirineo, Spanish Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, and many others fall into the larger category of "Molossers", but are not "Mastiffs". Each is a separate and distinct breed.[1] The Boxer breed is also included, as it is a creation from other Molossers including the Original English Bulldog.

Molossers typically have heavy bones, pendant ears, a relatively short and well-muscled neck, and a short muzzle. Although some Molossers are used for search and rescue, such as the Newfoundland and the Saint Bernard, most are used as guard dogs, due to their deep voices and natural guarding instincts, or livestock guardian dogs for protection against large predators as well as poachers. Some breeds like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog have also been used as cart dogs.

1. Origins

The first known record of a molosser-like dog was in 1121 BC, when a Tibetan mastiff trained for hunting was gifted to a Chinese emperor. The mastiffs would later be imported to Mongolia, Mesopotamia and Central Asia where they would mix with local dogs, resulting in a loss of long hair and colour uniformity. The main features, such as height and a massive head with a big short muzzle were kept. The dogs were considered valuable in Babylon, and are mentioned in cuneiform in the 4th century BC. A large mastiff-like dog is shown on the ancient terracotta by Byrs Nimruda. The dog is rather tall: 90 cm at the withers, has a stocky head and powerful hind quarters. The dogs were used for hunting in ancient Assyria. Archeological digs of the Ashurbanipal palace (7th century BC) revealed pictures of dogs felling wild horses and donkeys. Assyrian mastiffs were also used for military purposes and for protection.

The ancient mastiffs would later be imported from Assyria and Babylon to Egypt and Asia Minor. Xerxes I of Persia led predatory wars to enlarge the borders of his empire, taking with him large war dogs in his Army. After his army's defeat by the Spartans, the mastiffs were taken to Greece as trophies of war. The mastiffs would be bred in Molossia and from there, spread all over the Mediterranean under the name of "epirian" dogs or molosses.

The Alans kept mastiff-like dogs taken from Eastern Europe which acted as retrievers, watchdogs and fighting dogs. The mastiffs were used in unison with sighthounds to hunt Wisent, aurochs and bears. Groups of Alanian tribes came to Europe during the Migration Period, fighting on the territory of modern France, Spain, Portugal and Northern Africa, taking with them their dogs. The Alanian mastiffs then spread to the British Isles. [1]

The Bulldog breeds split from the Molossers in England and spread to the New World with colonization as well as Western Europe and, though smaller, are considered by some to still be Molosser breeds.

2. List of molosser breeds

* Akbash Dog
* Alano Español (Spanish Alano)
* Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
* Alp Mastiff (Cane Garouf)
* American Bulldog, including: o JDJ American Bulldog o Scott's American Bulldog o Southern White American Bulldog
* American Mastiff (Panja)
* American Pit Bull Terrier
* American Staffordshire Terrier
* Antebellum Bulldog
* Anatolian Shepherd Dog
* Appenzeller Sennenhund
* Argentine Dogo
* Bandog
* Bergamasco
* Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennen)
* Boerboel (South-African Mastiff)
* Boston Terrier
* Boxer
* Branchiero Sicliano
* Brazilian Bullmastiff
* Broholmer
* Bucciriscu Calabrese
* Bulldog
* Buldogue Campeiro
* Bullmastiff
* Bully Kutta (Pakistani Mastiff)
* Ca de Bou (Perro de Presa Mallorquin, Mallorquin Bulldog, etc.)
* Cane Corso (Sicilian Brancheiro)
* Cão da Serra da Estrela - see Estrela Mountain Dog
* Cão de Castro Laboreiro
* Cão de Fila de São Miguel
* Cão de Fila da Terceira
* Cão de Gado Transmontano
* Catahoula Bulldog
* Caucasian Shepherd Dog
* Central Asia Shepherd Dog
* Dosa Inu (Korean heavier form of Tosa)
* Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff)
* Dogo Argentino
* Dogo Cubano
* Dogo Guatemalteco
* Dogo Sardesco
* English Mastiff (Mastiff)
* Entlebucher Sennenhund (Entlebucher Mountain Dog)
* Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)
* Gran Mastin de Borínquen
* Great Dane (German Mastiff)
* Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog)
* Gull Terr
* Hovawart
* Himalayan Sheepdog
* Indian Mastiff (Sindh Mastiff)
* Kangal Dog
* Kuvasz
* Landseer (sometimes considered a colour variety of the Newfoundland)
* Leonberger
* Moscovskaya Storozhevaya Sobaka (Moscow Watchdog)
* Neapolitan Mastiff
* Nebolish Mastiff
* Newfoundland
* Olde English Bulldogge
* Perro Cimarron
* Perro de Presa Canario
* Perro de Toro
* Pit Bull
* Polish Tatra Sheepdog (Tatra Mountain Sheepdog, Tatra Shepherd Dog, Polski Owczarek Podhalanski, Owczarek Podhalanski)
* Presa Canario
* Pyrenean Mastiff
* Pyrenean Mountain Dog (Great Pyrenees)
* Rafeiro do Alentejo
* Rhodesian Ridgeback (African Lion Hound)
* Rottweiler
* Sage Koochee (Afghan Sheepdog)
* Saint Bernard
* Šarplaninac
* Shar Pei
* Spanish Mastiff
* Saint Bernard (Alpine Mastiff)
* Tibetan Kyi Apso (Bearded Tibetan Mastiff)
* Tibetan Mastiff
* Tosa (Japanese Mastiff)
* Valley Bulldog
* Vucciriscu
* Xochaso

Nebolish Mastiff the standard originally recorded in 1867

Copyright (c) 2008 Kitt Killion Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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