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This Spanish native was used to guard herds and protect property. A rare breed in most parts of the world, it has a very gentle nature despite its large size. This loyal and affectionate breed comes in a variety of colors, most common being wolf-gray, red brown, black, red, yellow, spotted or "broken" colors. The dog averages over 30 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 230 lbs. Minimum standard height is 28 inches, with dogs of larger size preferred. Contact the dog breeders below for your next family friend.
Typical of the Mastiff breeds, the Spanish Mastiff is very large, with a massive chest and incredible power. With an adult weight of at least 140 pounds, the Spanish Mastiff can grow to 200 pounds and even more. The Spanish Mastiff is very similar to other Mastiff breeds like the Tibetan Mastiff and the Neapolitan Mastiff.
As a very old breed, the Spanish Mastiff got its start over 2000 years ago, with its ancestor likely the first of the Mastiff breeds. This ancestor was mentioned in writings of the Iberian Peninsula; the breed was most probably introduced there by the Phoenicians before the Romans invaded. It's been used historically in Europe as a herding dog, to protect and transport merino livestock. There have been many crossbreedings in the 2000 years since the dog's ancestors appeared in the Extremadura region of Spain, resulting in the modern Spanish Mastiff. An interesting historical fact is that in 1526, approximately 2.5 million Merino sheep migrated with approximately 1 Mastiff for every 100 sheep guiding the way. Spaniards also likely used the Spanish Mastiff in battles against those they conquered.
In the 1400s, the Spanish Mastiff was a very efficient protector against wolves, as noted by the Spanish Shepherds Association, Mesta.
Today, the Spanish Mastiff continues to be a very popular herding dog, able to weather harsh climate conditions and with an independence that makes it possible for these dogs to work nearly alone with little human interaction. That said, these dogs are also very popular as companions for families, although they are quite rare outside of the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish Mastiff is the national dog of Spain and is the most popular of the native Spanish breeds in that country, with approximately 24,000 currently residing in Spain alone. Leon is Spain's "Spanish Mastiff" capital.
Although the AKC has not yet recognized this rare breed, it is included in the AKC’s Working Group designation in its Foundation Stock Service which is the initial step prior to full breed registration.
As with all Mastiff dogs, this robust and "rustic" dog is massive, with a stocky, sturdy appearance and broad chest. The coat is short and straight, with an undercoat that is dense and woolly, perfect to stand up to harsh climates. The skin hangs loose on the body and coat colors can be wolf-gray, red brown, black, red, yellow, spotted or "broken" colors. Although the Spanish Mastiff was first mostly white, today, that should not be the dominant color of the coat.
There are actually two types of Spanish Mastiff: the Mastin Pesado, or "Heavy Mastiff," which is the mountain type; and the Mastin Ligero, or "Light Mastiff," which is more refined and from the steppes. The type most commonly thought of as the Spanish Mastiff is the larger, heavier, mountain Spanish Mastiff, which can reach weights of 200 pounds or greater, while the lighter steppe Mastiff is more athletic and agile, faster, and prevalent to the south of Spain rather than in the mountains. Even though the Spanish Mastiff is mostly identified with the "Heavy Mastiff," it should be noted that within Spain itself, these are not considered separate breeds. They are regional variations with the heavy type coming from the north and the light type coming from the south and central regions of Spain.
In adulthood, females can weigh 145 to 170 pounds, while males can weigh 185 to 220 pounds or even more; some have been known to reach 265 pounds. It is the largest of the native Spanish dog breeds, and is the heaviest of the LGDs, or Livestock Guardian Dogs.
Cousin to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Spanish Mastiff is a classic "LGD," with a noble dignity and devoted loyalty – but without a lot of demonstrative behavior. Dedicated to the death, this is a dog with no qualms about sacrificing its life for you, or for your livestock, if you use this breed as a shepherd dog.
Alert and watchful, this breed has an almost "lazy" demeanor that belies its true nature, which is to always be wary of any imminent danger. Very intelligent, the Spanish Mastiff has a resting personality of calm, but of course can spring into action on a moment's notice.
Because the Spanish Mastiff can get so large, apartment living is not recommended unless you plan to make sure to keep your pet very active outside of your apartment for a significant period of time every day. If you provide your pet with daily walks and vigorous exercise, though, the Spanish Mastiff can tolerate apartment living as long as it has access to a yard of some type. Indoors, your "not so demonstrative" pet still wants to be close to you and is pretty inactive, so it's not hard to control this dog as long as you set a few firm boundaries and are consistent yet gentle with your guidance. Drooling is a constant consideration, as with most Mastiff breeds, so keep that in mind as you figure out perfect living arrangements for your pet.
This dog is also very easy to house break, and can stand both extreme heat and cold with few problems, since the breed's natural mission is to work outside in harsh conditions – both extremely hot as well as extremely cold – with equanimity. The Spanish Mastiff can adapt to any climate, but generally prefers a dry climate over very humid one. If you live in a high heat, high humidity area, be careful that your pet doesn't get overheated, since the breed is used to the semi-arid climate of Spain.
This is an extremely large dog breed, and as such lives a relatively short period of time – 10 to 11 years on average, with some reaching 14 years or more. This dog needs exercise, but will be slow to mature (especially if male), and will keep growing until it is 2.5 to 4 years of age. The breed doesn't need a lot of activity, but requires regular and moderate exercise – two daily walks of an hour each are ideal. This very large dog does not like to run long distances, play fetch or Frisbee, but has no problem running at fast clips for short periods of time if it senses you are in trouble.
This dog is one of those breeds that will "blow" its coat in spring, and will shed heavily year-round if kept mostly indoors. If you want a neat and tidy home, the drooling, heavily shedding Spanish Mastiff is probably not the pet for you. Brush the coat every day – just don't expect that there will be "little to no" shedding even if you do. You're just cutting down on the extra hair that would be shed if you didn't brush. Make sure as well to clean your pet's ears regularly.
Meet the Spanish Mastiff.
Retrieved June 21, 2015.
Retrieved June 21, 2015.
Spanish Mastiff (Mastín Español) (Mastín de España) (Mastin de la Mancha) (Mastin de Extremadura) (Mastin de Leon).
Retrieved June 21, 2015.
Spanish Mastiff Dogs.
Retrieved June 21, 2015.
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