Evidence of ancient Mastiffs is peppered with uncertainty, but traces of the giant breed are found in Egyptian monuments and in images of Roman gladiators. Later, the English prized them watchdogs against wolves and thieves. Today’s Mastiffs are descendants of a noble line of dogs from the Lyme Hall Mastiffs of England. Although some believe the Mastiff arrived in the U.S. on the Mayflower, more concrete evidence suggests the late 1800s. Sometimes called “Old English Mastiff.”


Giant; females 271/2 inches, 120 to 165 pounds; males 30 inches, 165 to 225 pounds (pets often 10 to 40 pounds smaller).


Fawn, apricot, or brindle.


Devoted and courageous guardian, but good natured, docile, and surprisingly gentle; well mannered as a house pet and not overly excitable.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Owner in a roomy suburban or rural home; resources for vet care, food, and a large automobile.


Daily moderate exercise (walks or games), socialization and companionship; drool maintenance, room to stretch and lounge.

Life expectancy:

8 to 10 years.