The Spanish Mastiff is a descendant of the ancient Molosser dog which was believed to have existed around 2000BC. It was the Phoenicians who brought this breed to Spain by the southern trade routes. The Spanish Mastiff was used as a sheep and guard dog to defend livestock from predators. Today, it is still very much used for the same purpose in Estremadura where it is considered a native dog.
The Spanish Mastiff is a powerful and protective animal with infinite color variations. Like most large animals, the Spanish Mastiff has no need of showing its obvious strength to others. It is a calm, alert and unruffled dog that sounds an alarm to the shepherd only when it senses the presence of an intruder. It is quiet and attentive, and it does not have a tendency to attack unnecessarily.
The Spanish Mastiff is gentle with other animals, including cats, and it loves to be around its owners. It enjoys staying with the family, and doing errands for them. It is an honorable protector of children as it is gentle in temperament, but it will show great ferocity if it senses that the children are in danger. This is why it is not advisable to let strangers get close to the Spanish Mastiff.
The Spanish Mastiff is a great watchdog that does not bark without good reason. But when it barks, the sound is loud and emphatic, and you can hear it from a good distance. This is a noble and prudent animal that is very serious about its responsibilities, and it has lots of patience. When keeping over sheep, it sometimes goes on journeys that are up to 20km long, and it can adapt itself well to changes in climate. The Spanish Mastiff is always attentive and it will never let the sheep come to any harm.
The Spanish Mastiff is a dog that does not need much exercise and grooming. It is not only a good guard dog for livestock, it also makes a great family guardian, obedient worker or a search and rescue dog. Breeders of the Spanish Mastiff are basically found in Switzerland and Germany. However, nowadays, the Spanish Mastiff is rather common in the USA and other countries. They can also be occasionally seen at international dog shows. Like most giant dogs, the Spanish Mastiff has a low activity level, requiring only moderate amount of exercise. When owning a Spanish Mastiff, you have to be prepared for its drooling, slobbering and loud snoring.
The Spanish Mastiff has a life expectancy of up to 10 years and it is especially prone to hip disorders and gastric torsions. As a Spanish Mastiff owner, you have to ensure that it does not overexert itself by jumping, running, and going up and down the stairs too much as a puppy. This is because the Spanish Mastiff is a fast growing breed and it needs to save time and energy to develop healthy bones, muscles and tendons. However, when the Spanish Mastiff matures, it will need regular exercise to keep fit.