Last Updated on November 8, 2021 by Pets Feed
The Spanish Mastiff breed or Mastín Español are the giant dogs of the Iberian Peninsula, whose fame has been thundering since ancient times. These are good-natured, loyal to humans and incredibly intelligent dogs, capable of serving on a country farm, remaining faithful companions.
This dog never shows excessive aggression, he is always gentle and affectionate with his master and family members. Calmly performs all the tasks, so this pet is great for security activities, and will be an excellent assistant in hunting.
Initially, representatives of this breed were bred to help in farming, and later they realized that dogs can easily cope with hunting large animals, like wild boars and bears.
Spanish Mastiff photos
The Spanish Mastiff breed standard was repeatedly rewritten, the first serious edition was published in 1982, the second in 2002. Almost always it was about the maximum permissible dimensions of the animal, the color of the coat or its threshold body weight.
ICF Register – Section 2, Group 2.2 (Molossians and Mountain Dogs)
- Height at the withers – from 72 cm (females), from 78 cm (males)
- Weight – minimum 70 kg
Coat color – in the current edition of the standard is not regulated in any way. Puppies can be sable, wolf black, deer, or reddish-red with a dark mask on the face. Any combination with creamy yellow or white spots on the chest, abdomen or inner surface of the paws is possible.
Tail – not docked, straight when resting and drooping down to the hock. With rapid movement or agitated state, it takes on a saber shape.
Outwardly, the Spanish Mastiff is an extreme-sized dog that resembles a St. Bernard, but with rougher profile features. Muzzle – typical molossian, broad, occupying two-thirds of the circumference of the skull. Under the lower jaw there are pronounced flews with folds, the intensity of which directly depends on the size and weight of the animal. It is forbidden to crock the ears, they seem small, but always – in a hanging position, they reach the neck.
You need to understand that the breed does not have an upper growth threshold at the withers, males sometimes grow up to a meter, and this is far from the limit. At home, cases are annually recorded when a Spanish Mastiff reaches a record level of 120 cm, fully maintaining working qualities.
The character of the Spanish Mastiff
Before you get yourself such a large pet, it is worth remembering that every dog is a bright individual, and some of the breed’s habits may come as a surprise to an inexperienced owner. Of the most typical manifestations of character, the owners note the following:
The Spanish Mastiff rarely bark, even when working in the field with livestock. If the dog raises his voice, it means she or someone around him is in mortal danger; in other cases, the matter is limited to displeased grunting and panting.
Centuries of security service have done their job – the guardian instincts of a four-legged friend are so strong that he can instantly wake up in the middle of the night to go around the territory for the presence of uninvited guests.
The zealous attitude towards the place of residence did not make the mastiffs selfish. They quite calmly get along with any other pet, never showing aggression, be it small cattle, birds or annoying kittens.
The breed is called ideal nannies for children, but leaving the child alone for a long time with a huge animal is still not advised. Active games will easily end up with injuries and abrasions, due to the fact that the dog simply does not calculate the strength.
Spanish Mastiff do a great job with loneliness. They can be left for a long time without the risk of destruction and raised noise – the tailed friend will instantly begin to patrol the house, carefully observing the entrance doors.
The training of the Spanish Mastiff is not as effective as we would like. The reason is the self-will of the dogs, accustomed to making decisions without the approval of a person, and they will obey only the owner whose unconditional authority is recognized.
The health of the Spanish Mastiff is the subject of much controversy. Some compare them with ancient deities, practically invulnerable, others are sure that a formidable appearance hides dozens of genetic ailments. Both sides are wrong – a thousand-year-old selection helped to strengthen the immune system for life in an extreme mountain climate, but certain risks of diseases still persist, and can manifest themselves at any age.
The most common diseases reported by veterinarians:
- Dysplasia of the joints;
- Knee osteochondrosis;
- Adenoma and volvulus of the eyelid;
- Allergic eczema.
Spanish mastiffs live up to 10-11 years, which is a good indicator among all giant molossians. The age of extinction is 7-8 years, an elderly dog will have to be taken to the veterinarian every month in order to detect diseases at an early stage and prolong its life as much as possible. A young pet only needs preventive examinations no more than twice a year.
Education and training
No matter how many fans of the breed write that it is literally a great pleasure to train the Spanish Mastiff, in practice things are different. These are wayward, sometimes incredibly capricious creatures that require a special approach, and sometimes the help of a dog handler:
The psychological age of the pet is one of the slowest among all the Spanish Mastiff – up to 3-4 years old, puppy habits with unwillingness to follow commands are flashed even by titled hereditary champions, which must not be forgotten.
Early socialization is the key to successful upbringing in the future. Although dogs do not differ in jealousy towards strangers or other animals, by 6-7 months they should have formed a circle of constant communication.
Never physically punish your puppy. He will definitely remember this for the rest of his life, and will take revenge on the occasion. Given the size and strength of the jaws of the four-legged giant, the conflict with the angry dog will not end well.
To guard a private house, mastiffs are strongly advised to undergo a mandatory guard duty course under the guidance of a professional cynologist who has already dealt with similar breeds and knows about the systems for encouraging the sentry instinct.
Taking care of the Spanish mastiff is not as difficult as for long-haired brethren, but it is advisable to remember a few tips for the future owner:
The coat of the breed, although not so long, is very thick with a dense undercoat. Grooming with a stiff brush or furminator is required at least twice a week.
Spanish Mastiff do not like to swim, and water procedures more often than three times a year will do more harm than good. From funds – specialized shampoo for large breeds.
A big hygienic problem is drooling in the wings or corners of the mouth. It is best to wipe them down with a dry soft cloth after each meal.
You will have to check your ears for parasites or inflammation after every walk.
At least once a month – sharpen the claws, especially on the front legs.
Historically, mastiffs have adapted to sleep even on bare snow or frozen ground, but there is a dog living in a spacious house – take care of the presence of a bed.
You need to feed the Spanish Mastiff taking into account the size of the pet and its body weight. Most veterinarians agree that more than two appointments are not needed, this may include:
- Dry super premium food or holistic;
- Wet food with a similar rating.
Spanish Mastiff is often drunk a lot, regardless of the weather outside. Make sure that every 6-8 hours the pet’s water is refreshed, preferably in a tall drinking bowl on a solid foundation.
History of the breed
The first mention of huge dogs in the territory of modern Spain is attributed to the work of the ancient poet Virgil, who, after traveling to the Pyrenees, wrote his didactic text “Georgiki”. In poetic form, the ancient Roman writer talked about four-legged helpers of shepherds the size of a foal, who guarded flocks of sheep and goats, and if necessary, climbed higher into the mountains and looked after rich vineyards.
The main task assigned to the dogs was the protection of cattle during the drives from pasture to pasture. At such moments, the animals were trapped by hunting packs of wolves, but when they saw a large dog, they did not dare to attack. Precisely because of the working purpose, already in the Middle Ages, when fights with animals in pits became popular, the ancestors of modern Spanish Mastiff escaped the fate of gladiators – for their size they seemed clumsy.
World fame for the breed came early – the legendary artist Diego Velazquez in 1656 completes his work “Meninas”, which depicts the family of King Philip IV. At the feet of the court jesters lies a sleeping mastiff, who were then used as guards. After the success of the picture, colorful dogs are forgotten for almost two centuries, although in two provinces – Leon and Extremadura at the beginning of the 20th century, there were 20 thousand individuals.
The first attempts to document mastiffs were made in 1912, when at the Madrid show a dog named Machako won the hearts of overseas dog lovers. However, the civil war that began soon and then the Second World War pushed aside international recognition. Disputes about the acceptable size of dogs continued until the fifties, but the final entry into the register was signed in 1954.
It was not possible to buy a Spanish Mastiff puppy in Russia until the collapse of the USSR. On the territory of Eastern Europe, and specifically – Czechoslovakia – there were several kennels, but the first club puppy came to us only in 1996. The price of a pet-class dog, due to its rarity, starts from 800 euros, breeding Spanish Mastiff with champion pedigrees and an exhibition career will cost 1500 euros or even more.
Spanish Mastiff breed conclusions
Getting a Spanish Mastiff is recommended only to experienced owners, and here’s why:
The breed is considered one of the largest in the world, it needs a physically strong and confident owner, able to inspire trust and authority.
Puppies grow up very slowly, hence the difficulties in mastering even primitive commands, not to mention serious training before exhibitions.
Communication with children is great, but the dimensions of the pet cannot be called safe for active games with a human child.
Thanks to the thick undercoat, you do not need to worry about warm clothes for the winter, but a soft comfortable bed in the house is highly desirable.