Originating in the Spanish territories of Asturias, Cantabria, Province of León and Province of Zamora, the Spanish Mastiff, or Mastín Español, is a large dog that was traditionally bred to be a livestock guardian dog (LGD) protecting flocks and/or herds from predators.
Mentions of a Spanish Mastiff-like breed on the Iberian Peninsula can be traced back over 2,000 years ago when they were introduced by the Phoenicians prior to the Roman invasion of 218 BC. Virgil, in his poem The Georgics (30 AD), wrote that the Iberian mastiff’s nurturing character would make it the best guardian and defender of the herd.
From medieval times until the mid-20th century, the Spanish Mastiff accompanied herds of Merino sheep during the Mesta, the seasonal crossing of livestock from their summer homes in the mountainous north to their winter pastures in southern Spain. During the migration, the dogs wore a carlanca (spiked collar) to protect their necks from wolves and bears. Today, the Spanish Mastiff is used mostly as a working/herding dog.
The Spanish Mastiff is the national dog breed of Spain. The first breed standard was registered by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1946.
Weight: Female: 110–170 lbs (52–77 kg) Male: 200–220 lbs (90–100 kg)
Height: Female: 28–35 inches (72–88 cm) Male: 30–35 inches (77–88 cm)
Coat Type: Short and straight with a dense, woolly undercoat.
Color: Black, Brindle, Fawn, Wolf-Sable, Yellow, Red.
Life Span: 10-12 years
Temperament: Affectionate, Aloof, Intelligent, Self-assured, Determined, Noble.
Health Concerns: May be susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, obesity, heart problems, entropion, and breathing problems.
• Also known as the Perro Merinero, Mastín de España, Mastin de la Mancha, Mastin de Extremadura, and Mastin de Leon.
• Originated from an ancient Molosser-type dog.
• During the Mesta, the ratio of sheep to Spanish Mastiff was 100-1.
• Ancestor of the Dogo Argentino and Saint Bernard.
UKC: Guardian Dog
FCI:Group 2, Section 2.2 Molossian: Mountain type #91