A Brief History

The origin of the Mastiff is lost in antiquity. It is thought that dogs of this type were known in Britain before the advent of Christianity. Some believe they were most likely brought to the island by Phoenician traders as early as the 6th century B.C. Since then Mastiffs were used as arena gladiators by the Romans, in the bloody sport of bull, bear and dog combat.

As recently as 1826, a circus lion was matched against six Mastiffs in Worcester, England.

Yet, in spite of these gruesome uses, Mastiffs were also used as sheep guardians, bodyguards/protectors, and companions. A Mastiff came to America on the Mayflower and subsequently other dogs were imported.

By the end of World War II, Mastiffs were almost extinct in England. However, they have since been restored, becoming quite popular the world over. Despite the dog's early uses, the breed is not ferocious; it is actually quite dutiful, obedient, and good natured.

They make a wonderful family pet in city or country, since they require less exercise than many dogs of great size. Masiff's patience with children is legendary.