mastiff

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mastiff

(măs`tĭf), breed of very large, powerful working dogworking dog,
classification used by breeders and kennel clubs to designate dogs raised by humans to herd cattle and sheep, as draft animals, as message dispatchers in wartime, in police and rescue work, as guardians of persons and property, or as guides (see guide dog) for the
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 developed in England more than 2,000 years ago. It stands from 27 to 33 in. (68.6–83.8 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 165 to 185 lb (74.9–83.9 kg). Its coarse, short, close-lying coat may be silver fawn, apricot, or dark fawn brindle in color, with a black muzzle, nose, and ears and black around the eyes. The mastiff was first bred as a fighting dog and guardian. As a fighter it was cited for its physical prowess and courage by Caesar in his account of the Roman invasion of Britain in 55 B.C. Indeed, it was later imported to Rome to fight in the arena. In its native country the mastiff was a popular antagonist in bullbaiting and bearbaiting contests and in organized dogfights until these blood sports were outlawed in 1835. However, throughout the entire history of the breed in England its greatest popularity has derived from its widespread use as a guardian of home and family. This centuries-old association with man is undoubtedly responsible for the mastiff's unexcelled suitability for the role of family companion and its particular devotion to and gentleness with children. The term mastiff is also applied to a general type of giant dog whose origin has been traced to Asia and of which the modern Tibetan mastiff, infrequently seen in the United States, is representative. See dogdog,
carnivorous, domesticated wolf (Canis lupus familiaris) of the family Canidae, to which the jackal, fox, and tanuki also belong. The family Canidae is sometimes referred to as the dog family, and its characteristics, e.g.
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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mastiff

 

an old English breed of dog used for hunting large animals, guarding livestock herds, and dog fights. The modern mastiff was developed in Ireland in the 19th century. It is a large breed, with male dogs standing 75-85 cm high at the shoulder. The body is broad and massive; the coat, short and reddish yellow, brown, or reddish black. There are often dark “tiger” stripes. The mastiff is used as a guard dog, largely in Ireland and Great Britain.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

mastiff

an old breed of large powerful short-haired dog, usually fawn or brindle with a dark mask
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
'Some look like a French mastiff and some have their short ears, but some of the others have long basset hound ears which is unusual to look at.
The dog that attacked Carol and Pip is a tan colour and the other French Mastiff is a brindle colour pattern.
Marie Caldow "I have two French Mastiffs. They are such a loving breed, not at all like they have been portrayed!
A council warden seized Jason Singh's French mastiff pup Zeke, believing it was a pit bull.
The centre in Allesley appealed to Telegraph readers for donations towards the pounds 2,600 procedure to fix French mastiff Shiru's soft palate.
The case of Neil Silverthorn, 30, of Brackla, Bridgend, who faces allegations of neglecting his French Mastiff dog was also supposed to be heard yesterday.
The Dogue de Bordeaux, also called the French Mastiff or the Bordeaux Bulldog, is a short, stocky breed with a huge, heavy, broad, wrinkled head.
Then one of the contacts on his beat is murdered and there's only one 'witness': the victim's dog Hooch, an ungainly French mastiff with a slobber problem.
A DOG-LOVING grandma was bitten on the face by a French Mastiff as she tried to protect her pet from an attack.
The French mastiff suffers from a life-threatening soft palate which allows food to enter his lungs and makes eating difficult.
The 22-year-old has splashed out on a EUR1,700 French Mastiff puppy as a Christmas present for himself.