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History The Spanish Mastiff is believed to have been brought to Spain by Phoenician traders who came from India or Syria. Since the 15th century, dogs of this breed have been used to guard flocks on the Iberian Peninsula. Although Spanish Mastiffs have been participating in shows since the early 20th century, the breed standard was only established in 1946. Spanish Mastiffs are known for their excellence in guarding livestock and property, and the Spanish Shepherd's Association even has a record stating that these dogs have been great protectors against wolves since the 1400s.
Today, many Spanish Mastiffs are kept as family companions. Although these dogs are popular at Spanish dog shows, they are still relatively rare outside the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish Mastiff has been named the national dog breed of Spain, and many dogs of this breed can be found in the country, especially in the mountains. It's also believed that the Spanish Mastiff played an important role in the development of other Mastiff breeds such as the Dogo Argentino, the St. Bernard, and the Asian Shepherd.
Appearance Spanish Mastiffs are massive dogs with a stocky build. These dogs have a square muzzle and head. They have a facial expression that resembles that of St. Bernards. The eyes of these dogs are small, and their pendant-shaped ears are medium-sized. Spanish Mastiffs have folds of skin on their face, giving them the look of a hound dog. Unlike their back legs, the front legs of these dogs are straight. their tail is hairy and thick. The face and body of these dogs are framed with sagging skin. They have a coat that is thick and lies close to their body.
Colours The coat of these dogs may come in various colours such as solid or spotted grey, black, red, yellow, or red-brown.
Temperament Dogs of this breed can be very protective of their family and property. They won't hesitate to attack unwelcome guests and will not like other guests until they realize that the new people are not a threat. Female Spanish Mastiffs are typically more intelligent, while the males happen to be more affectionate. These dogs don't like being away from their owners, and they will follow them around. They are alert, but they aren't playful and may tend to act lazy.
Weight Male dogs of this breed usually weigh between 185 and 220 pounds, although there are some specimens that weigh as much as 265 pounds. Females weigh approximately 145 to 170 pounds. The height of these dogs ranges from 28 to 35 inches.
Problems The common health problems associated with this breed include hip dysplasia, eyelid entropion, and heart problems. These dogs are also susceptible to bloating, so it's better for them to be fed with several small meals rather than just one large meal in a day.
Living Conditions It's best for these dogs to live in a country environment rather than in a city. They should be provided with at least a large yard where they can run around and do some physical activities.
Requirements These dogs need to go on a daily walk. As puppies, they should not be allowed to do much jumping and running because overexerting themselves may be bad for them. Spanish Mastiffs are also not very active, so they aren't meant for sporty owners who want their dogs to jog alongside them or to play frisbee with.
Training Requirements Being naturally dominant dogs, Spanish Mastiffs need owners that can be good leaders. They should undergo proper training and socialization at an early age, otherwise they will grow up to be aggressive and suspicious of most people or dogs. Owners of these dogs should train their Spanish Mastiffs with consistency and firmness.
Life Expectancy The average life span of these dogs is 11 to 14 years, although there are some specimens of this breed that live for 14 years or more.
Grooming Owners must brush the coat of these dogs regularly, especially during shedding season. It's also important that the ear passages of these dogs be kept clean.
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More Spanish Mastiff Information: Check out our Spanish Mastiff Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.
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