One of the largest dogs in the world, the Mastiff was originally used for guarding and fighting. These days, this giant breed makes a great companion dog, but he has not forgotten his ancient roots. By Melinda McHugh.
Recognised as the oldest British breed, the Mastiff existed in Great Britain approximately 2000 years ago. Its exact origin is unknown but the breed is said to have come from south-west Asia and spread into Tibet, China and Japan.
Possessing a powerful and muscular body, the Mastiff was perfect for military work and during Caesar’s time was exported to Rome as a military and fighting dog. These dogs were also used to fight human gladiators and entertain the nobility in dog fights, as well as bringing down bears, bulls, lions and tigers. Gabrielle and Paul Simmonds have owned and showed Mastiffs for around 15 years and are big admirers of this magnificent breed.