The Spanish Mastiff, is a giant breed of dog, originating in Spain, originally bred to be a guard dog whose specialised purpose is to be a livestock guardian dog protecting flocks (and occasionally herds) from wolves and other predators. The mountain dog type has a heavier coat. (1)
The Spanish Mastiff is a very large and powerful dog, similar in appearance to the other mastiff breeds. They have a large powerful head and serious and vigilant expression. It has small eyes and drop ears resembling triangles. (1)
It is a dog of great size, hypermetic (taller than average), of medium proportions and of sub-long line structure. Well balanced, very powerful and muscular. Compact bone structure. Massive head and a body covered with a semi-long coat. Most important are balance and functional harmony in the dog standing as well as on the move. His bark is raucous, low-pitched and deep, very sonorous, audible from a considerable distance. (2)
Important proportions: The length of the body exceeds the height at the withers. The relation between the length of skull and that of the muzzle must be 3/2. (2)
The coat is dense, thick, medium length, smooth, distributed all over the body down to the interdigital spaces. Two types of coat are distinguished; covering coat on the back and another protecting type on the ribcage and the flanks. Shorter on the legs, longer and silky on the tail.The colours most appreciated being self-coloured like yellow, fawn, red, black, wolf colour and deer colour. Also appreciated are the combined colours like brindle, parti-coloured or dogs with a white collar. (2)
Temperament & Suitability
He is a very intelligent dog, not without beauty, whose expression manifests both these qualities. Rustic, affectionate, kind and noble, he is very determined when facing dangerous animals and in front of strangers, especially when he has the opportunity to defend and protect farms or cattle. In his behaviour, one can see it is a dog sure of himself, determining his strength because he is aware of his enormous power. (2)
This noble giant is aloof, dignified, calm and intelligent. It is devoted to its family and may politely accept strangers if it has been socialised properly, although it will be wary of them. It can be aggressive toward other dogs. The Spanish Mastiff may be a less-than-ideal pet in urban situations, where its booming voice and massive size could be problematic. It is a wonderful protector of its home and family. (1)
Socialisation and training should begin early to ensure this dog a stable and reliable pet. Supervised exposure in puppy-hood to a variety of unfamiliar but non-threatening dogs will help dampen a tendency to aggression toward other dogs. The breed is quite alert and food motivated but can bore easily; training must be consistent and firm but gentle. Once the trainer has established the dog's respect as leader, the Spanish mastiff will be an extremely loyal pet. (1)
This dog is more inclined to lumber than gallop, but it can move quite rapidly when necessary. A long daily walk will be sufficient, although it will appreciate a fenced area where it can exercise at its own rate. (1)
There is no upper limit of size, the subjects of greatest size being the ones most highly thought after providing they are of harmonious proportions.
Height at the withers: Minimum size for males; 77 cm Minimum size for bitches 72 cm
It is desirable that these measurements be amply exceeded; the size in males should be over 80 cm, and in females over 75cm. (2)
Now you know a little about the Spanish Mastiff, you may have think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Spanish Mastiff and its needs and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.