Aloof and calm, Spanish Mastiffs are the perfect example of a guard dogs as they are fiercely loyal to their family. Though they can be wary of strangers, they have an affectionate and easy going personality towards their humans.
Although its origin is still a mystery, it is believed that the Spanish Mastiff was bred over two thousand years ago. At that time, he was already popular as an expert sheepdog and livestock guard in Europe, but he soon evolved to be a family dog, thanks to his protective, loving and calm temperament. Some say that the breed originates from the ancient Molossos dogs, as well as other Mastiffs such as the St. Bernard. All in all, they are today one of the best guard dogs which exist in the world right now.
Spanish Mastiff has a medium length double and dense coat which requires only one brushing per week and occasional bathing, that too when the need arises. The most popular colors of this Spanish giant are: black, brown, red, brindle, tri-color or any mixture in between. Spanish Mastiffs do experience shedding and they are not considered allergic friendly at all. So there is need to brush them regularly, possibly once in every couple of days . A slicker brush is excellent for Spanish Mastiffs as they can glide easily through their skin easily. Brushing of hair also helps in eliminating problems like knots, mats and tangles. When it comes to bathing, you can do bathe them occasionally and preferably more often when the shedding starts. Bathing at this time can hasten the process of shedding quickly. Use a good quality shampoo to eliminate dirt and to leave their skin smelling great.
Spanish Mastiffs have a massive appetite owing to their enormous size. You may have to feed them around 4 cups a day to meet their calorie needs and even more if they are highly active throughout the day. Speaking of nutrition, these dogs need good amount of protein for maintaining good muscle mass and strength. Protein also helps in keeping up healthy skin and hair in them. As these dogs have already a lot of weight on them, you will have to keep an eye on the fat content you are feeding. Puppies will consume a lot of food as they attain 80% of the adult weight by the time they become 1 year old. Also ensure you select a diet with Omega fatty acids in it as it nourishes the skin and coat of Spanish Mastiffs. When it comes to adult dogs, you can reduce their calorie content a little bit from their puppy phase as they have already reached their maximum weight. Senior dogs will also not eat much as they become sedentary, so it it important not to overfeed them.
If you don't like dog hair around your house, then Spanish Mastiffs may not be the right one for you. These dogs shed heavily and more prominently during the autumn seasons. Still, you can significantly reduce their hair fall by regularly grooming and bathing them. As these dogs have a lot of fur, you may want to brush them consistently with a rake pin brush or a slicker brush. Brush them daily so that you keep their hair neat and clean. Also, it is necessary to clean their ears as these dogs are vulnerable to infections, especially if the debris is building up. As Spanish Mastiffs are also big time droolers, you may need to wipe their face with a wet cloth every once in a while. When it comes to bathing, it is important to wash them every week as they have this tendency to become smellier than other dogs. Before bathing, it is essential to go over the entire dog's body with a high speed dryer so that you can remove loose coat, dirt and debris from their body.
The breed, despite needing a good dose of physical exercise daily, is usually quite lazy and inactive when it reaches adulthood, especially when it is indoors. He is also not a dog to live inside small apartments as they a large yard to run and play. This is vital for their physical and mental well being. Apart from the physical activity in backyard, it is also recommended to give them daily walks up to half an hour.
The history of Spanish Mastiffs dates back as far as the 10th century when these dogs were used to guard sheep and to protect their shepherds as well. Spanish Mastiffs were considered ideal protectors of sheep against all the external threats in the mountainous region of Spain. Did you know that one dog of this breed were enough to protect over 100 sheep? Such was their prowess! Fast forward to the 20th century, they started to get inducted in dog shows and became one of the most popular dogs in Europe. Today, there are approximately 24,000 Spanish Mastiffs in Spain and currently they are the national dog breed of the country.