Mastiff-Like Dogs

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mastiff-Like Dogs


a group of breeds of large and powerful working dogs of common origin. As a result of many centuries of breeding, they have come to differ widely from one another. Modern mastiff-like dogs include the Great Dane [nemetskii dog in Russian]; the Caucasian, Anatolian, and Mongolian sheepdogs; the Tibetan mastiff; the bulldogs; the boxer; and the Saint Bernard. The name dog has been retained only by the nemetskii dog [Deutsche doggein German, or German mastiff], whose ancestors (of Asian origin) were brought to Europe by the ancient Greeks. The short-haired variety of this group was first bred in Denmark, and its development as a working dog was completed in Germany.

The Great Dane, the largest working dog, combines strength with beauty of form. The males stand at least 80 cm high at the shoulder and the females, at least 74 cm. The head is rectangular, and the ears are cropped. The tail is saberlike and usually falls straight. The coat is short and smooth. The coloration is black, gray, pale yellow, brindle, or piebald. The dog is bred by amateur dog breeders in many countries and is used as a domestic watchdog.

Bulldogs are breeds of short-muzzled, broad-chested dogs. The English bulldog (bred in England) on the average measures about 50 cm at the shoulder. The coloration is white, brindle, spotted, or piebald. The dog is used as a domestic watchdog. The French bulldog is a toy dog bred in France as a pet and companion. The colors are the same as those of the English bulldog. Bulldogs are prevalent everywhere.

The boxer was bred in Germany in the late 19th century by crossbreeding the German bulldogs with English bulldogs. It is a squarely built, sturdy dog. The males stand 63-68 cm high at the shoulder and the females, 58-62 cm. The ears are cropped. The coat is short, without an undercoat. The coloration is fawn, brindle, or white marking on fawn or brindle. Boxers are widespread.


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