Bull Mastiff - Photo ©
Blumenbiene, 20 March 2012
  Bull Mastiff - Photo ©
Blumenbiene, 20 Mar. 2012
  Bull Mastiff - Photo ©
Claudio Gennari, 8 April 2009

The mastiff is a very ancient breed of dog and was known to exist in Babylonia over 4000 years ago. Phoenician traders introduced the mastiff into Britain, where it was used as a dog of war. The Tibetan Mastiff originated in the mountains of Asia and can be dated back to 2500 BC. Alexander the Great brought the Tibetan Mastiff to Greece and the Roman 'Molossian' descended from this stock. The molossian is described as a large, well muscled dog with erect ears, a lean head and a mane. The laconian or spartan and the molossian, both native to Greece were used by the Romans for hunting. The laconian as described in the Cynegeticus is used for the swift chase of gazelle, deer and the swift-footed hare. Laconian hounds were slow and hunted by smell alone and, if the trail was uncertain, the prey frequently escaped.

Kubla Khan kept a kennel of 5,000 mastiffs for hunting and war.
Hannibal used several battalions of trained war mastiffs.
During Anglo-Saxon times it was compulsory for the peasants to keep mastiffs to keep wolves under control.
King John ordered all mastiffs found poaching in the Crown Forests to be destroyed.
Henry VIII presented Charles V of Spain with 400 war mastiffs.
King James I sent a gift of two mastiffs to Phillip II of Spain.
Mastiffs were used to pull munitions carts during the first world war.

Breeds that descend from the mastiff : Bullmastiff, Rottweiler,
Great Dane, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard and Great Pyrenees.

See Also

Dog Breeds : Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5 (USB only)

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