Dog Breeds

Spanish mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff is a huge dog of low temperament, covered with short but thick and thick hair, balanced and confident, with outstanding predispositions to guard. I need a consistent and mentally strong owner.

Nature

The Spanish Mastiff is a very strong and powerful dog, but agile. He has a balanced and calm character, although at the same time he remains extremely distrustful of strangers and animals. However, a well socialized mastiff easily accepts strangers if they are brought into the area by the owner.

Spanish mastiff

Very confident and strong, he maintains stoic peace in most situations. It seems lazy, because while guarding the area it is usually lying watching the surroundings. Due to the fact that it does not use a lot of energy for movement, it is also – for such a big dog – very economical to maintain. He is reluctant to intervene, scare away intruders with his appearance and deep barking. However, if provoked, it surprises with the speed and violence of the attack.

Spanish mastiff. Skills

The Spanish Mastiff is an excellent guardian of herds of farm animals and belongings. Their ability in this respect has been glorified for centuries. Interestingly, in the first half of the 17th century, a book about hunting was published, mentioning mastiffs used as heavy hounds for a big game.

Training and education

The mastiff is not suitable for defense training, its innate terrain defense skills are enough. It should be remembered that this dog likes to rely on its own assessment of the situation and should not be aggressive in it.

Who is this race for?

The Spanish Mastiff is a typical dog of one master, at the same time loyal to the whole family, which he considers a herd entrusted to his care. Contrary to appearances, this quite independent dog appreciates human contact very much.

Spanish mastiff

Due to these character traits, the Spanish mastiff is definitely not a dog for everyone. He should have a wise and responsible guide who will be able to control him. Because it must have space, it is not suitable for living in a block. Of course, contact with the human “herd” should be ensured.

Spanish mastiff. Advantages and disadvantages

Disadvantages

  • requires an experienced guide
  • misbehavior can be dangerous
  • sometimes aggressive towards dogs
  • expensive to maintain

Advantages

  • excellent guardian and defender
  • calm and restrained every day
  • he doesn’t bark without a need
  • easy to care for

Spanish mastiff. Health

This breed is not particularly sickly, but one should be aware of the problems typical for giant breeds – hip and elbow dysplasia as well as gastric dilatation and torsion. Unfortunately, this is not a long-lived breed, on average about 10 years.

Spanish mastiff

Feeding

Growing up is the key to his health – during a year this dog can reach a weight of 80 kg. During this period, it should be fed especially carefully, providing all the necessary ingredients, but not overfeeding (overweight is very bad for joints) or overdosing on nutrients (which can also have very negative effects). After reaching full maturity, the mastiff ceases to be so demanding in this respect.

Spanish mastiff

Care

It is not complicated – it is enough to brush the coat once every 2 weeks, more often during molting.

Spanish mastiff. History

Spain’s medieval economy was based on sheep’s wool trade. This branch of production has been developing intensively since the 12th century. Soon before, a new breed of sheep – merino, was bred in Spain, giving wool of excellent quality. Merino herds spent the winter in the south of the country to return to the mountain pastures of the north at the beginning of summer. Twice a year there was a herd movement that would not have been possible without the help of herding shepherds and large guard dogs – Mastiffs.

Spanish mastiff

In 1273, a union called Mesta was established, whose goal was to protect the interests of shepherds and wool producers. Hence, the annual drives began to be called “mestas”. This was done on a huge scale – it was calculated that in 1526 over 3 million sheep and over 18,000 took part in the journey. mastiffs!

The job of the Mastiffs was not to drive herds, but to protect them from predators, including wolves, and also from thieves. The Mesta existed until the early 19th century. Migration of herds was suspended in the 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish mastiff

In 1946, the FCI approved the first breed standard. Three dogs from central Spain were used as model individuals, differing significantly from the original mastiffs. They were light, high-legged, and the adult male weighed about 50 kg. In 1981 a new pattern was approved, describing a completely different type of mastiff. The main goal of breeders was to restore a larger mastiff, once used to protect herds.

Dogs of this type almost became extinct in the ’70s, when traditional breeding was significantly reduced and the number of wolves decreased significantly. Sheep were transported from the mountains to the pastures in the south by train – that was 30 years ago.

Spanish mastiff

A handful of enthusiasts gathered up the surviving dogs and made the effort to recreate the breed. In 1981, the official club (AEPME) was created. Initially, breeders could not agree on what type of dogs should be bred for.

Spanish mastiff. Template

Spanish Mastiff – group II FCI, section 2.2, reference number 91

  • Country of origin: Spain
  • General impression: A large, heavy but proportionate dog, strong, muscular, with a strong bone. Slightly rectangular silhouette.
  • Head: Big, strong. Proportions of the skull to the muzzle 6: 4. Stop slightly sloping, slightly defined. Eyes small in relation to the skull, almond-shaped. Medium-sized ears, set above the eye line.
  • Body: stocky and sturdy, well-defined withers. Straight back. The chest is broad and deep.
  • Tail: Broad at base, strong. At rest kept low. In motion carried saber.
  • Forequarters: Straight and parallel, strong.
  • Hindquarters: Strongly muscled. Hocks moderately angulated. There may be single or double “wolf claws”.
  • Coat: Thick, smooth, two-layer. Different colors are allowed, but uniform: yellow, fawn, red, black, wolf-like, brindle. There may be white markings.
  • Dimensions: Dog min. 77 cm, female min. 72 cm. Larger dogs are preferred.
  • Weight:  Usually 60-90 kg, but can reach up to 120 kg.

Interesting facts

Some Spanish mastiffs are used to work as police dogs as tracking dogs.

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