14. Mastiff / Old English Mastiff
For the uninitiated, a face-to-face encounter with these black-masked giants can be startling. Standing as high as 30 inches at the shoulder and outweighing many a full-grown man, Mastiffs make an immediate and lasting impression.
The rectangular body is deep and thickly muscled, covered by a short double coat of fawn, apricot, or brindle-stripe. The head is massive (a word that comes up often with this breed), and a wrinkled forehead accentuates an alert, kindly expression.
Ancestors of the Mastiff were used as battle dogs and arena gladiators, then as guardians, and hunters. Despite the abilities it was known for in the past, this breed has gained popularity as a housedog.
Nevertheless, it is still valued as a watchdog and guardian, as it is able to assist in police and military work, search and rescue operations, and show its talent in weight pulling.
It’s been a long time since Mastiffs have been employed as warriors or hunters. Modern Mastiffs are steady, sweet-tempered, patient family companions and guardians who take best to gentle training.
Eternally loyal, Mastiffs are protective of their loved ones, and their natural wariness of strangers makes it essential that they be trained and socialized in early puppyhood. They are droolers and hearty eaters, and acquiring a dog of such colossal size and strength is a weighty commitment.