Check how his position as the world's heaviest breed influences the breeding of this dog.
He is the heaviest dog in the world, occupying a place in the Guiness Book, because of an English individual who weighed 155,48kg, 30kg more than the heaviest boxe fighter in history, the Italian Primo Carnero.
The English Mastiff is indeed a giant, with a massive and long body, well defined muscles, a massive head and a powerful neck that impresses anyone that looks at him.
An ancient breed, over 4 thousand years, it was used in wars, combats and arena spectacles, where he had to fight bears and lions, and distingueshed himself for his ferociousness. Its temperament has been tamed since it stopped participating in these activities, and today may be considered a good family dog.
Even with his acute guarding insting, allied to his real and apparent physical strength, which make his an implacable attack in threatening situations, the Mastiff, when accustomed to strangers from an early age, does not have to be chained in the presence of visitors, because he may be docile and friendly towards them. He lays at their feet, rubs his head on their legs, raises his paws imploring for caresses, and then sleeps quietly next to them, with loud and deep snores, worthy of an animal whose average weight may be something like 90kg.
The challenge of the English Mastiff breeding is to get very large individuals, but with a harmonious physical structure, which is hard on a dog that develops so quickly. His weight can be multiplied by 4 only in his first month, that is, the puppy is born with up to 700g, and may weigh 2,80k only 30 days later. During the period when he grows the most, until he is one and a half years old, he may reach 100kg, which demands an intensive follow up by the owner, so that a large adult may be obtained, but with good proportion. Vitamine complements plus aminoacids, specific for dogs, are necessary, and must be dosed according to weight, with a veterinarian's assistance. Its use, however, demands regular exercises, useful to avoid overweight. These must be moderate in the first 12 months, such as 30 minute walks; the puppy is not ready for greater impact.
FCI adopts the English standard, the country of origin of this breed, and doesn't set limits as to size, but demands physical proportion, determining that "height and substance are two important issues, if proportional." AKC, on the other hand, only establishes a minimum of 76cm for males, and 70cm for females, which, in Douglas B. Oliff's opinion is a retrocess. In his book The Mastiff and Bullmastiff Hand-Book, he says even though a small Mastiff is not desired, the fact that he is tall doesn't mean he is large and massive as he should be.
The aim of increasing breed's size, desired by everyone, has been achieved. According to Carlos and Luiz Renato Flaquer Rocha, veterinarians and breeders since the 70's, if we compare the individuals which participated in dog shows between the 70's and the 90's, we will notice that the averate weight and height has gone from 80kg and 77cm to 100kg and 82cm respectively.
There is no doubt that this progress is the result of the work done by good quality breeders, who import dogs to renew blood lines, and make a studied selection aiming to obtain large individuals without ever losing proportions.
There are evidences that people without scruples, in order to achieve an ideal dog faster, or to improve other big sized breeds, have been practicing cross-breeding. The 5 people we interviewed (see names in: INFORMATION), are unanimous in stating that part of our stock presents signs of this cross-breeding, which instead of improving breed, produces undesired characteristics, and causing harm to breed. The Napolitan Mastim, for instance, could be being used to make the Mastiff look massive, which is noticeable in dogs with a blueish gray coat, without the desired black mask, with a swayed topline, a wider insertion of tail and gait unlike the typical gait of the breed. Another suspition is that the German Dog is used to increase height, consequently narrowing the structure, the body, making in thinner, with longer head and muzzle, and coat less dense.
It is also believed that the St. Bernard dog, (wisely used to save Mastiff from extinction after the Second World War) is still being used in breedings today. The evidence is that, 50 years later, there are still dogs with longer coat and white spots on the face, paws and chest, and these are characteristics of the St. Bernard. Breeder Trieste de Lucca Perri thinks that "some puppies, from excellent blood lines, are born with white spots because of a genetic inheritance from other ancestors." Silvia E. Crusco dos Santos, specialist in Animal Reproduction explains that though the it is a remote possibility, some genes can manifest after a long period of time. Therefore, we cannot categoricaly state that this breeding is still being practiced today.
The fact is that the products of the cross-breedings, independently of breeds used, always bring along "side effects". Even the individuals who are born with the typical physique of the English Mastiff, they carry genetic characteristics of their ancestros, and may transmit them in the future, making improvement of the breed even more difficult. People who practice the cross-breading also come up with false documents. These iniciatives should be altogether condemned in every aspect.
Another method to create muscles quickly is the use of anabolic substances, which "cause sterility," informs Carlos Flaquer Rocha.
Attitudes like these do not add to the good breeding work.
Purchase of Puppy: "Puppy must have strong
bones, large paws, wide chest, a pronounced head, with a mask. If inner ear is
black, it means the outer part of the ear, which is usually light at birth, will
also grow darker, as it is desired," Carlos and Luiz Renato Flaquer Rocha,
from Kennel Chaputepek, São Paulo. "One should prefer scissors or
level bite, because adults are prognats and puppies present a slight prognatism
which tends to grow, sometimes more than is desired," Trieste de Lucca
Perri, Kennel Vista de Manduri, São Paulo. "Exercises and vitamine
complements are essencial to development of puppy's weight, so it will grow with
good proportions," Francisco Antonio Arrobas Martins, Kennel Arrobas, São
Paulo. "Until it is one year old, exercises should be moderate, because
bone structure is heavy, and muscles are not strong enough yet. After a year and
a half, dog may be exercised with more intensity, until they are submitted to
agility competitions." Maria Rita F. da Rocha, Kennel dos Tapuias, São
Special Care: "The Mastiff cannot be raised in places where floor is slippery. Very heavy, his paws get crooked, fingers opened and hocks close," Ibrahim Elias Hercheui, Kennels Bambore and Hin.
Adults:The Mastiff's weight develops until he is 3 years old, and the height stops earlier, when he is a year and a half. When in repose forehead should be flat, presenting no wrinkles, which should only appear when dog is in attention (never too much, though)." Trieste.
Color: Fulvo-apricot, fulvo-silver, or dark fulvo-brindled. In any of these cases, ears, topknot and muzzle should be black extending between the eyes. (CBKC Standard from 04.11.94).
Coat: Dense (double), short, slightly longer on the neck, shoulders and croup.
Problems: Hip dysplasia, as in other large breeds.
We would like to thank breeders for the long interviews and
review of this text, also done by Hilda Drumond.
Research and text: Flávia C. Soares. Text edition: Marcos Pennacchi
Picture: Luiz Henrique Mendes
Owner: Kennel Vista de Manduri, SP