The breed commonly referred to as the “Mastiff” in English-speaking countries is more accurately called the English Mastiff or the Old English Mastiff. Also known as the Mestyf and the Mastie, this is a giant breed known for its grandeur and good nature. Originally bred as a guard and watch dog, it is also well-known for its docile disposition, despite a somewhat ferocious appearance. The Mastiff is naturally aloof toward strangers and does not take kindly to intruders, who would be foolish to challenge this enormous animal. The Mastiff’s one-time reputation as a vicious fighting dog is an undeserved and inaccurate description of this kind, calm breed. The Mastiff was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, as a member of the Working Group.
The mature male English Mastiff should stand at least 30 inches at the withers, with bitches standing at least 27½ inches measured at the same place. Mastiffs have no upper height limitation, but animals below the standard are severely penalized. The average Mastiff weighs from 175 to 200 pounds. Mastiffs have a coarse outer coat that is straight and moderately short. Their undercoat is dense, also short, and largely unapparent to the eye. Mastiffs can be fawn, apricot or brindle, with varying acceptable shades within each color. Excessive white on the chest is not preferred.