Most Popular Types of Mastiffs

Most Popular Types of Mastiffs

Author WDF Staff


Humans have been fascinated by large dog breeds for centuries. Mainly because we worked closely with them and these giant Mastiff-type dogs played a crucial role in our history. There are different types of Mastiffs, and they all played a similar role - livestock and property guardians.

Different places developed their own types of Mastiffs, and they all share some traits. Mastiff-type dogs are enormous, powerful, majestic, and most of all, fearless. These dogs defended us and our livestock from bears, leopards, wolves, and other large predators. However, these traits made them targets for different types of bloodsports.

Human history is full of wars and brutality, not only human on human but also human on animal brutality. The peak of dog abuse was in the 18th and 19th century when sports like bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and dog fighting were popular ways to entertain crowds. Because of their size, power, and fearlessness, different types of Mastiffs were often used for such blood sports.

These days, Mastiff breeds are mostly giant, lazy pets whose guarding instinct might be less sharp than before. Some of them are still guarding livestock and property, and working types of Mastiffs are some of the most efficient guard dog breeds out there. Check out this list of different types of Mastiff dog breeds.

1. Mastiff

Mastiffs, or English Mastiffs as they are often called, are the obvious choice for the beginning of the “types of Mastiff” list. This is an old dog breed that is known since the time Romans invaded Britain. Modern-day Mastiffs are lazy, but their protective instinct remains. They will stop at nothing to protect their family and property.

three english mastiffs

The heaviest dog ever recorded was a massive English Mastiff called Zorba. Zorba reached a staggering weight of 323 pounds. This might be an extreme case, but most English Mastiffs today are giants that regularly reach staggering sizes.

2. Tibetan Mastiff

Although these dogs have the part “Mastiff” in their name, they are not considered a true Mastiff breed. These dogs are large, but they are not a giant breed. European explorers came across this breed in Tibet and named them “Tibetan Mastiffs.” The better name for these dogs would be Tibetan Mountain Dogs.

tibetan mastiff dogs in woods

These dogs are not for everybody. They are notoriously stubborn, and if they believe they are right, they will not listen to their owners. Tibetan Mastiffs are Mastiff-type dogs that are fiercely independent. They will lounge all day and react only when they really have to. These dogs were known to guard Tibetan monasteries by working together with the Lhasa Apso, whose job was to alert their larger partner about a looming danger.

3. Cane Corso

Cane Corso is also known as the Italian Mastiff. These large, powerful dogs were used in Roman times as protectors and as war dogs. They are fearless, powerful, loyal, and highly protective of their families. These dogs were used by the Romans in gladiator arenas and in war efforts. We can certainly imagine what Roman enemies might feel when they saw large armored Cane Corso running towards them.

cane corso laying

These dogs are somewhat intelligent and athletic. Generally speaking, Mastiff breeds are not easy to handle. If you want to get a dog like Cane Corso, you should have plenty of experience handling powerful independent dogs. Modern-day Cane Corsos have the protective instinct of the olden days, so you can be sure they will jump right in the action if the situation demands them to.

4. Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff is nicknamed the “Gamekeeper's Night Dog.” This brave Mastiff breed helped English gamekeepers keep their properties safe from poachers and thieves. They are large, powerful, and will not back down from any challenge that comes their way. These dogs are lighter and thinner than the breed they come from - the English Mastiff.

bullmastiff laying

Bullmastiffs have better athletic capabilities than their larger ancestor. The original breeders created this breed by crossing the Mastiffs with Old English Bulldogs. The idea is to create a large dog breed with Mastiff’s strength and Old English Bulldog’s athleticism. These dogs became a must-have companion and protector of most gamekeepers.

5. Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff is one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world. These large dogs, like most other Mastiff-type dogs, are fearless. They date back to Roman times where they were used as war and gladiator dogs. However, their primary duty was to protect estates and properties.

Neapolitan Mastiff puppy

Neapolitan Mastiffs are independent, loyal, and somewhat lazy. They can be agile and robust, but they prefer laying or napping until they have to spring into action. These dogs can be stubborn. If they are not properly trained from an early age, they can develop behavioral issues. Such powerful dogs with behavioral problems will make your life miserable. Make sure you train them from the moment they come to your home.

6. Fila Brasileiro

The Fila Brasileiro is a large Brazilian dog breed. It is also known as the Brazilian Mastiff. This is a breed that is not for everyone. They are strong-willed, independent, and often pretty aggressive. These Mastiff-type dogs need an experienced owner who will know how to train and socialize them early.

Fila Brasileiro

Brazilian Mastiff is a powerful dog with a bloody history. They were used for slave tracking in Brazil in the time when slaves were legally owned. These dogs have delicate noses, so not only were they used as protectors, but they were also used for hunting. Due to their aggressive nature, the Brazilian Mastiff is forbidden in many countries around the world.

7. Majorcan Mastiff

The Majorcan Mastiff, or Ca De Bou in its native language, is one of the smallest Mastiff breeds. These dogs might be smaller, but they have all the traits you could expect from a Mastiff-type dog. They are fearless and have a strong protective temperament. The Majorcan Mastiffs can become rather dominant, so this is not a breed recommended for inexperienced, first-time owners.

Ca De Bou

Most Mastiff breeds are great with kids, and the Majorcan Mastiff is no different. They will accept the children in the family as a part of their packs and feel the urge to protect them at all times. If you are thinking about getting a Majorcan Mastiff, you have to make sure they are socialized as soon as you get them.

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