When you hear the term Mastiff, you probably start to think of a very large dog almost immediately. Most people have at least seen a Mastiff of one variety or another and once you see one, you’re not likely to forget it anytime soon. Even if you only see it from a distance, these dogs are large enough to make an impression. With that being said, a lot of people end up with some misconceptions about the breed, simply because of their size. If you really want to know more about the Spanish Mastiff, one of the varieties of the mastiff breed, read through the list below.
1. These dogs are massive in size
As previously mentioned, there is nothing small about these dogs. This might seem like it’s just a little too obvious to even mention in the list itself, but when a dog is this big, it’s worth talking about. On average, the Spanish Mastiff can weigh upwards of 175 pounds when fully grown. In addition, the dog is large enough that if it stands on its hind legs, it can easily look a six foot tall man right in the eye.
2. They were bred to protect
As you might have already guessed, these dogs are bred to protect those who are close to them. In fact, they make excellent guard dogs. Their heritage of guarding people and property goes back hundreds of years and they are ideally suited for exactly this type of job.
3. People still use them to guard livestock
People still use them to guard their livestock all around the globe. Part of the reason they’re ideal for this task is their enormous size and part of it has to do with their demeanor, which will be discussed later. At any rate, this is a dog that you can put in a fenced-in area with livestock and leave it there around the clock, effectively keeping the livestock safe from harm.
4. They’re intelligent
These dogs are not just massive brutes. They’re actually very smart and they’re capable of not only learning what is expected of them, but exceeding those expectations on a regular basis. That’s one reason why it’s so easy to leave them in an enclosure with livestock unattended. They know their job and they’re capable of doing it without any influence from you or anyone else.
5. They have a calm personality
Despite the fact that their bred to be guard dogs, they generally have a calm personality. This is especially true when they’re around people they are already familiar with. While they can be fierce guard dogs, they don’t have a natural tendency to be vicious toward people they know.
6. These dogs are loyal and protective
This particular breed of dog bonds well with people and becomes extremely protective of them. By all accounts, they seem to regard the livestock as an extension of their people, making it their mission in life to protect them no matter what. As far as people that the dogs aren’t familiar with go, they usually ignore them entirely unless they feel like they pose a threat.
7. They can be aggressive if not properly socialized
If the dog does feel like a threat exists it can become aggressive. This can also happen if it’s not properly trained and socialized. Remember, these dogs are very large so it’s imperative that you train them and socialize them properly from the time they’re puppies. Otherwise, they might be uncontrollable once they’re fully grown. With that being said, a properly trained Mastiff shouldn’t pose any problems.
8. It prefers to roam around the property on its own
These dogs are perfectly well at home roaming around your property on their own. It gives them a chance to get exercise and guard the livestock, as well as your property.
9. It needs space
Obviously, this is not a dog that you really want to keep cooped up in a small area. If you live in an apartment in a big city, the dog is going to be out of place and you might get complaints from the neighbors when it starts barking, as their bark is extremely loud.
10. It has a cousin, the Leonese Mastiff
This cousin of the Spanish Mastiff was bred to do exactly the same job. The only difference between the two is that over the years, the Spanish Mastiff has also been bred to certain breed standards for show purposes while the Leonese Mastiff remains strictly a working dog.