The Spanish Mastiff: origin, characteristics and behavior


  • Height at the cross: minimum 77 cm for males and 72 cm for females. Elevations greater than 80 cm are recommended for males and 75 cm for females
  • Weight: between 90 and 100 kg in males and between 55 and 77 kg in females
  • Cap: it can be of any color, with uniform and tabby colors, ties and pious colors being preferred
  • Aptitudes: herd and property custody
  • General ranking:Giant dog breeds
  • Classification according to the FCI:Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer dogs Molosoides and mountain dogs and Swiss boyeros> Molosoides

He Spanish Mastiff It is the largest Spanish breed, a male can weigh up to 120 kg.

There are several theories about the origins of Mastiff, it is said that the Celts and the Phoenicians introduced their ancestors in Spain and that the Romans could have used it as a combat dog. What is known about the truth is that in the Middle Ages the Spanish transhumant cattle ranchers used these dogs to protect the cattle from the wolves. They selected some trotting dogs, agile, courageous, hard in the melee and with powerful jaws to cause the greatest damage to the opponent.


He is the perfect guard dog, sure of himself and with a great feeling> His bark is hoarse, serious, deep and very loud. He Mastiff You can let out your great ferocity if you perceive that the owner is in danger. He is distrustful of strangers but noble, faithful, kind and sweet with his owners and children. It is a dog with great intuition and intelligence, obedient, meek, a little independent and friend of the caresses (more females than males).

Specific care

This Mastiff It is an easy dog ​​to care for. The most important thing is to offer affection, good (and abundant) food and a large garden where you can exercise at your leisure. Apart from these basic cares, this dog will enjoy the long walks in the countryside.
It is advisable to brush it frequently so that the hair stays healthy.

The disease that most affects the Spanish Mastiff It is the dreaded hip dysplasia.

Tips to buy a Spanish Mastiff

Searching for a puppy online carries risks. To be clear about the professionalism of the hatchery with whom you contact, we recommend that.

  • You make sure that your questions are answered, that you are knowledgeable about the breed (that attends dog shows), and that it offers to track the puppy after the sale. Is it implied, or is it limited to setting a price?
  • See if it is recommended by other breeders, or if it has references from satisfied customers.
  • Make sure that it has affix, that its dogs are registered in the LOE and have pedigree in order. Keep in mind that processing the pedigree of a puppy is not expensive, distrust phrases like "if I give it to you with pedigree it will be much more expensive." More information about the prices of a puppy
  • I give you guarantees in relation to health problems, physical, hereditary. Does the puppy deliver with veterinary primer, chip, vaccinations, deworming and veterinary checks a day?
  • You ask him to show you his facilities and let you see the specimens. Are they disease free?
  • And finally, remember that puppies need a minimum of two months with their mother before being delivered. Be wary of who wants to speed up the process.

Origin of the Spanish Mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff, like other breeds of mastiff, is a dog of moloso type that has been dedicated traditionally to protect and accompany the cattle. It is said that these races are as old as transhumance itself, So its origins are thousands of years ago.

The function of these breeds is to protect livestock from dangers, especially from wolves and foxes. Mastiffs can be found in all parts of the world where there has been or is still extensive livestock, especially when it comes to flocks of sheep or goats.

The Spanish Mastiff is one of the breed of mastiffs typical of the Iberian Peninsula. Although in each region it has a different name, the displacement of shepherds, cattle and their dogs throughout the territory has meant that the distinctive characteristics of each region have been mixed.

It is a breed of dog that is found frequently in rural areas: they continue to accompany and protect cattle from wolves, but they also protect farms and houses outside urban centers. To a lesser extent they are found in cities, since they do not usually adapt well to a life far from nature.

Characteristics of the Spanish Mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff is a large dog, well proportioned and muscular, robust and wide. It has a broad head and drooping ears on the sides, which reaffirms this giant appearance. Further, It has a lot of loose skin: on the chest, on the belly and also on the head, In fact, the lips are so hanging that the upper one covers the lower one.

The breed standard specifies a minimum but not maximum size: adult males must measure at least 77 centimeters to the cross. The females are a bit smaller, but reach at least 72 centimeters. The standard does not specify a weight, although they are usually above 50 kilograms.

The Spanish Mastiff has a thick and semi-long mantle. It can be of any color, although the most wanted are black, brown, reddish, yellow or tabby. As this breed has been bred to work and not for beauty, all possible combinations of colors are accepted.

Spanish Mastiff Care

The Spanish Mastiff in general is a healthy breed, although Because of its enormous size, it is prone to have health problems that need special attention: Your joints, especially the hip, may suffer from dysplasia. You can also suffer stomach torsion, so it is recommended that their owners be careful with the amounts of food they provide.

As it is a dog that works in the mountains, After each excursion, the body should be completely checked for parasites, skewers or thorns stuck. It is also essential to keep your internal and external deworming calendar up to date, as well as your vaccinations and medical check-ups.

Due to the characteristics of his mantle, he needs frequent brushing. Only then can you get rid of dead hair and avoid irritations and other skin problems that can be accentuated due to wrinkles that form on your face, chest and neck.

The Spanish Mastiff is a big dog, always linked to protective work. They are loyal but independent, hardworking but calm and big but loving and familiar. Without the work of these dogs, the lives of cattle and shepherds would be much more difficult.

The Spanish Mastiff. The dog of legend.

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The Spanish mastiff, the shepherd's great ally.
Main breeds of cattle defense dogs in Europe
The mastiff has its raison d'être in the protection of transhumant cattle
Tibetan Mastiff, mistakenly considered as predecessor of the Spanish mastiff
It is believed that the mastiff originated among the Celtiberian peoples. Cover of "Kayla", by Ángel Benito Gastañaga.
Cañadas Reales in Spain, for the transhumance of cattle
In León, the mastiff was especially preserved, due to the importance of transhumant livestock in that province
Note the disparity of racial criteria for the Spanish mastiff
The wolf is the great adversary of the Spanish mastiff
The mastiff retains instincts and semi-wild impulses. In your education you have to intervene as little as possible
Mastiff with lever to the neck
It is important to recover the Spanish mastiff as a working dog. It is rural culture.
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The breeders created a dog and created a business, good mastiffs are still in abundance like the historical ones that Velazquez or Goya painted, historical like the stone engravings of pre-Romanesque cultures.
The Spanish mastiff not only protected the wolf, raised all kinds of vermin to the passage of livestock avoiding mishaps, abandoned and domestic dogs can also cause problems. The Spanish mastiff has been used on farms and in hunting as a dog to grab until the arrival of breeds created for this purpose (Argentine bulldog).
I liked being able to read something so whole about our mastiff, I feel that the photos have not shown it, those dogs would not last two days of the transhumance of the 30s.

Totally agree with what you indicate. As for the photos, unfortunately it is not easy to find photos of the real working mastiffs, and I think it is an indicator of the process of denaturation that the race has undergone. It is urgent to recover this breed for work, which is what it was selected for millennia.

This comment has been deleted by the autor.

Another synonym used to define this type of dogs is that of 'moloso'.

In fact, the physical type to which the mastiffs belong is the molosides or molosides.

those mastiffs do not seem to be the ones who used to accompany merino sheep. A place where there were also wolves and many were the province of Palencia whose northern half is depopulated and full of forest. That is why even small herds carried at least one mastiff

Hello, sorry to be so sincere but what mental cocoa you have, of course it is normal with the information about the mastiff, but it is a matter of searching. By the way I am the one who made the map that with races of Western Europe, but they are not all the European cattle guardian races, much less, those of Eastern Europe are in another graphic. And there are practically all over Asia, and North Africa.

If you need photos, send me mail and I will give you photos of real cattle mastiffs. The vast majority of photos are of meo show dog or show mix between cattle but not native.

Thanks for the input.

Thank you very much for your offer. It is difficult to find photos on the internet of real working mastiffs, and it is good to know who can provide them when I need them. A hug!

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