Cimbri Mastiffs

Carrying the noble past of the English Mastiff into the future...one litter at a time!


 

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AKC English Mastiffs

Call: (903) 292-6325
 Canton, TX 
 


MASTIFF HISTORY

     

FROM ANCIENT MOLOSSER TO MODERN MASTIFF

By Laurie Ackerman

The Mastiff is one of the original canine breeds from which many modern working dogs were derived. Before Stonehenge or the first dynasty of Egypt, the Celts (native people of England, prior to the Roman & Anglo-Saxon arrivals) were using Mastiffs as guard dogs and for bear/wolf hunting. 

Since "mastiff type" dogs known as Molossers existed in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (simultaneously) thousands of years ago, it may be impossible to determine which region of the world was responsible for their original development.  Most researchers agree, however, that Phoenician traders brought Molossers to Britain during the 6th century BC.   

Between 500 BC (BCE) and 200 AD (ACE), various tribes/clans in the region (including the Cimbri) helped ‘mold’ the northern Molosser into an impressive breed, and the resulting “Northern European Molosser” was a lot like the English Mastiff we have today.  Noble, brave, and extremely loyal to their owners, these northern Molossers were excellent protectors and hunters, and later, of course, became highly cherished family members. 

When the Romans invaded England in 55 BC, one of the first ‘spoils’ taken back to Italy by the victors were 100+ individually selected English Molossers, which even the Roman warriors admitted were ‘superior’ to Italy’s Molosser.  These English ‘Mastiffs’ were mixed with the Italian Molossers to create powerful lion and bear fighters for the Roman Circus. 

As Mastiffs became bigger (via selective breeding), the fights grew larger, and there is even one story of a Mastiff fighting (and believe it or not, killing) a Bull Elephant in the arena.  (A few centuries later, this new Italian canine creation would become the Neapolitan Mastiff.)

English Mastiffs remained popular guarding and hunting dogs over the next 1,500 years, and wealthy estate owners used them to guard their castles.  The monarchy loved the breed, as well, and King Henry VIII even gave 400 Mastiffs to Spain’s King Charles V and claimed them to be highly trained, valiant warrior dogs.

As Mastiffs entered the modern age, however, their popularity waned and their numbers rapidly decreased.  By the early 20th century, only a small number of Mastiffs still existed.  The English had to rebuild the breed by mixing in shorthaired St. Bernards, and by 1935, the Mastiff population was on the rise. 

A mere 15 years later, though, the breed would once again be in crisis.  The Mastiff nearly became extinct during WWII because food was very scarce, and feeding giant dogs (when people could barely feed themselves) was simply too impractical.  By 1947, only 7 Mastiffs were alive in England, but luckily, a few Mastiffs in the US and Canada, in addition to a few Great Danes and St. Bernards, were bred into the group to bring the number up to 48 by the end of 1950.  The Mastiff’s genetic makeup was altered only slightly, since Great Danes and St. Bernards are close relatives.

The modern Mastiff is no longer a warrior or hunter, but is still fiercely loyal and devoted to the family.  Most are also easy-going and gentle, and their favorite activity is cuddling with you on the couch.  (Yes, it takes a big couch! –lol)  They are usually very good with children and other animals, and will often assume the role of protective ‘babysitter.’  Mastiffs are very funny, as well, and their silly antics will make you laugh…a lot!  Once you become a Mastiff owner, you’ll understand why we always say, “You’ll never want to live without one again!”  J 


Written by Laurie Ackerman (You have my permission to copy and repost!)


Sources:

The History & Management of the Mastiff, Author(s): Baxter, Elizabeth J; Hoffman, Patricia B., Dogwise 2004 ISBN 1-929242-11-5.
Taylor, Tamara (1998). "The Origins of the Mastiff."  Canis Max, Winter 1996/1997. Reprinted June, 1998
http://people.unt.edu/~tlt0002/mastiff.htm.
Hubbard, Clifford L.B. Working Dogs of the World. London: Sidgwick and Jackson Limited, 1947.
Sydenham Edwards, Cynographia Britannica, 1800 London: C. Whittingham.
Homan, M. (2000). A Complete History of Fighting Dogs (Pg.10) Howell Book House Inc.
ISBN 1-58245-128-1.
"American Kennel Club - Mastiff". The American Kennel Club. http://www.akc.org/breeds/mastiff/. Retrieved July, 2012.

 

 

 Ancient Mastiff stone relief

 

Alaunt mastiff ancestor

 

 

Ancient Molosser

 

English Mastiff circa 1900


MASTIFF HEALTH TESTING:

 

Mastiffs are susceptible to PRA (an eye disease that causes blindness), in addition to Cystinuria (a metabolic disorder that causes kidney stones and urinary problems).  Luckily, medical tests are available which will identify these genetic defects so we can prevent passing them on to new generations.

The following tests are recommended by the Canine Health Information Center:canine health information, texas

Hip Dysplasia: OFA or OVC Evaluation
Elbow Dysplasia: OFA or OVC Evaluation
Eye (PRA) exam: ACVO Ophthalmologist Evaluation
Congenital Cardiac exam:  OFA Evaluation
Optional:
Autoimmune thyroiditis: OFA Evaluation
Cystinuria: urine test via PennGen


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ttp://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=MF


Our puppies come with a one year genetic health guarantee (eyes, hips, and elbows.) The parents have been determined to be free of PRA, Entropia, and congenital cardiac defects per the grandparents' test results.  They were also given hip/elbow clearance by a board-certified veterinarian.
 
 

 

What is it like to own a Mastiff?       

Cimbri's Sublime Saphire, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In a word, amazing, but I’m rather biased.  Lol…
To read an objective viewpoint, go here:

http://mastiff.org/MASTIFFFAQ.htm
http://www.dogster.com/dog-breeds/Mastiff

Read what AKC has to say about Mastiffs!

AKC Meet The Breeds
Get to know the Mastiff
http://www.akc.org/breeds/mastiff/index.cfm


Excerpt:

"One of the biggest dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club, the massive Mastiff loves being around people and is known to bond closely with his 'family.'  A combination of grandeur and good nature as well as courage and docility, he was bred in England and used as a watchdog for more than two thousand years.  The breed's coat can be fawn, apricot or brindle."


Right Breed for You?

The Mastiff is a powerful yet gentle and loyal companion, but because of his size and need for space, he is best suited for country or suburban life.  The breed requires light exercise and minimal grooming.

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   YES.  In the USA, AKC is the only kennel club that matters.
   Simple as that.