Here are some fun and fascinating facts about the English Mastiffs that will surely surprise a lot of people!
The English Mastiffs are one of the strongest and biggest (at least in terms of mass) dogs in the whole world. So, it is quite appropriate that their name is also inspired by their strength and power. It is believed that the term “Mastiff” is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word “masty” which actually means powerful.
According to AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds, the English Mastiffs are placed at #28 spot out of almost 200 distinct canine breeds (at the time of writing this article). And not only that, this breed is ranked above various other Mastiff breeds as well like the Bullmastiffs (51), the Neapolitan Mastiffs (107), the Tibetan Mastiffs (153) et cetera.
The average weight of a fully-grown Mastiff can easily go beyond 100 Kilograms. But several years ago, in 1989, an English Mastiff named Zorba set the world record for the heaviest dog on the entire planet. That pooch was 37 inches high at the withers and he weighed 155.5 Kilograms.
Due to the presence of a dense but short undercoat and a straight and coarse outer coat, the English Mastiffs are known to have a fairly decent tolerance to cold. These pooches can comfortably thrive in low-temperature and chilly areas and it is mostly because of their double-coat that shields them against the harsh climatic conditions. But the same cannot be said about their tolerance to heat and high temperatures.
No one knows the exact origins of this large-sized breed, but there is some evidence that suggests that these pooches go way back almost to 2500 B.C.E. It is believed by many that this breed has descended from ancient Roman war dogs, the Alaunts and the Molossers. And it is also theorized that these canines were used by the Romans for hunting and guarding purposes and also to fight against several big-sized animals like the bears and the elephants in specially designed Roman Arenas.
The English Mastiffs were heavily used in the fighting arenas to combat against several different kinds of opponents like bulls, bears, other canines et cetera. But when this extremely brutal sport (if you can call it that) got banned in England in 1835, the English Mastiffs were given a different job and that was to guard the homes and estates of their wealthy owners. These pooches were also sometimes used for hunting purposes as well.
Due to the food shortage around the time of World War II, several English Mastiff owners decided to put down their dogs so as to maintain a healthy food stock for themselves. And because of this, the English Mastiff numbers took a huge hit and it was very close to becoming extinct. But after the war got ended, this breed made a comeback and gradually its numbers also started to improve and within a few years, it again became extremely popular all around the world.
The English Mastiffs may have an intimidating appearance which might scare away the strangers, but we all know that looks can be very deceiving as these pooches are tremendously warm and friendly with others especially when it comes to small kids. These canines have a soft spot for children of all ages and they like to play various light-hearted games with kids. They also have pretty good protective instincts for children and thus are considered to be an awesome breed for someone who is looking for a playmate and a silent guardian for their child.
A very popular Sherlock Holmes mystery written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Hound of the Baskervilles features a savage hound or a dog that is on the loose and is a danger to the people of a small town. In the end, it was revealed that this ferocious dog was just a normal mortal canine who was, in fact, a mix between the Bloodhound and the English Mastiff.
Kublai Khan, a Mongol Emperor in the 13th century, is believed by many to be the owner of 5000 English Mastiffs. He used this extremely large army of Mastiffs in wars and for hunting purposes.