The Breed That Got Around

You could be looking at a Mastiff and not even know it.

Allow us to clarify.

We all know when we’re looking at a Mastiff,  this Molosser descendent can never be mistaken for any other breed. There are, however, other breeds that carry Mastiff ancestry, such was its impact all over the world. The Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Great Dane (and some would add the Dogue de Bordeaux and Cane Corso to the list) were all influenced by the Mastiff.  In fact, many of the huge mountain dogs found in Turkey, France, Spain and the Balkans contain Mastiff blood in their ancestry, thanks in large part to Hannibal who included several battalions of war-trained Mastiffs as he crossed the Alps, as well as the ancient Celts who used them as war dogs, and the Romans who took the dogs back to Italy after they invaded Britain, and then spread them throughout their empire. Let’s not forget the Normans who used Mastiffs after their conquest of England in 1066. Whatever the locale or century, Mastiffs were dogs, and dogs being dogs “fraternized” with local wenches and swains.

We came across one site that suggests that the Chow Chow carries Mastiff blood, as well as the Pug, originally thought to be dwarf version of the Mastiff that was even once called the “Dutch Mastiff.”  We’ve not been able to verify either statement, and if you know differently, we’d like to hear it!

Image: English Mastiff Puppies by Nadi Spencer, winner of National Purebred Dog Day’s inaugural Fine Art/Poster competition in 2016


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