While there are many Mastiff breed types that are popular around the globe, some of these breed variations are both diverse in temperament and characteristics and deserve further individual exploration.
There are currently 19 different Mastiff breed types that originate from 13 different countries. In order for a Mastiff to be a true “type” they must be recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Though all Mastiffs have similar features, no
two Mastiff breeds are exactly the same. Keep reading to find out what makes
each of these breeds so unique and what their temperaments are really
like....Here's our A-Z list.
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The Abruzzese Mastiff, also known as the Martino Abruzzese, originates from Italy and has been used as a guardian of livestock for centuries in several countries throughout the world. Though most often used as a guard dog, this dog excels when working with other Mastiffs to protect a flock. Given its impressive size, this dog is very powerful and capable of successfully fighting large animals like bears.
The Abruzzese Mastiff is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Abruzzese Mastiff is a tough breed that truly understands its
massive physical size. This dog is known for being loyal and protective of its
own family, though the breed also appears to do quite well with new people once
acquainted properly. This dog is known for being stubborn and difficult to
train, yet very gentle with children and younger crowds.
Weight: 88 to 220 pounds (40 to 100 kilograms)
Height: 26.7 to 29.5 inches (68
to 75 centimeters)
The American Bandogge Mastiff originated in the state of Ohio (America) in the 1980s after the English Mastiff was mixed with the Anatolian Mastiff. The breed was developed in an effort to reduce some of the health and behavioral issues linked to inbreeding among Mastiffs. This dog has a very similar appearance to its English Mastiff ancestors, but is much smaller and doesn’t drool quite as much.
The American Mastiff is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Though the American Mastiff is considered a gentle giant and does well with children, the breed also tends to be a little stubborn and resistant to training. It’s very common for this dog to push the boundaries of the home, yet show a mass amount of affection toward its owners too. The breed is known for being loyal, protective, and, most of all, patient with children.
Weight: 120 to 200 pounds (54 to 91 kilograms)
Height: 28 to 36 inches (71 to
The Argentinian Mastiff, also known as the Dogo Argentino, originates from Argentina after being developed by Doctor Antonio Nores Martinez in the 1920s. He was determined to develop a highly-capable guarding and hunting breed similar to the native fighting Cordoba Dog. Combined with several large breed dogs, such as the Great Dane and the Spanish Mastiff, this dog is now a successful working dog.
The Argentinian Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The Argentinian Mastiff is a highly active dog that appreciates a ton of exercise and having a confident and capable owner. This former hunting dog is known for having a high prey drive, meaning it might not be a great fit for homes with cats and small dogs. This dog has proven to be a successful watchdog and is highly territorial and protective of his own family.
Weight: 77 to 99 pounds (35 to 45 kilograms)
Height: 24 to 27 inches (61 to
The Brazilian Mastiff, also known as the Fila Brasileiro, originated in Brazil and was quite a successful working dog upon its introduction. The breed was once used to chase down large predators while protecting its cattle, learning to pin down any threats and await instruction from its farmer. The highly loyal and protective nature of this dog makes the breed a successful guard dog, even today.
The Brazilian Mastiff is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Though the breed is no longer used as a cattle guardian in most instances, the Brazilian Mastiff continues to demonstrate protective guard dog instincts. The breed doesn’t get along well with strangers and takes a decent amount of time to fully socialize. This dog is recognized for its usually calm demeanor that can swiftly shift to protective in an instant.
Weight: 130 to 180 pounds (59 to 82 kilograms)
Height: 24 to 30 inches (61 to
The Bullmastiff is a combination of the Bulldog and the Mastiff, a mixed breed dog bred specifically for the ideal features of each. This mixed breed resulted in a dog that was both powerful and large and thrived as an estate guardian in the 1800s. This dog was known for excelling at keeping poachers away, known to attack relentlessly until told to stop. Today, this dog maintains its protective instincts at home.
The Bullmastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
Despite its size and incredible power, the Bullmastiff is actually a very friendly and loyal family companion. This dog enjoys spending time with its family and showing affection by just being close to its owners. Though the breed picks up on new skills quickly with firm training sessions, this dog isn’t great with other dogs and is known to compete for dominance.
Weight: 100 to 130 pounds (45 to 59 kilograms)
Height: 24 to 27 inches (61 to
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The Canary Mastiff, also known as the Perro de Presa Canario, was first recognized in the 15th or 16th centuries when the Spanish began bringing their own Mastiffs to the Canary Islands. This dog obtained the role of a loyal livestock guardian, keeping predators at bay and their flocks completely safe. Eventually, this muscular and massive dog would be used as a fighting dog for entertainment purposes.
The Canary Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.
The Canary Mastiff is known as a rather active dog that desperately craves all types of mental stimulation. The breed tends to be protective in nature and demonstrates a high-prey drive, making this breed unfit for homes with small dogs and cats. This dog is known for building deep connections with its family and desiring immense amounts of attention.
Weight: 83 to 130 pounds (38 to 59 kilograms)
Height: 22 to 26 inches (56 to
The English Mastiff, sometimes known as just the Mastiff, is a breed that was first discovered thousands of years ago in ancient civilizations. Once considered a war dog, this dog eventually transitioned into a fighting breed in Roman arenas. The breed also proved successful at hunting large game like bulls and lions while in England and guarding estates and properties against all types of threats and dangers.
The English Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The loyal and affectionate nature of the English Mastiff makes this breed the ideal family dog and companion. This dog would be accurately described as a “gentle giant” and enjoys spending quality time with its family. The low energy levels of this dog makes this breed ideal for families that spend a lot of time in the house relaxing.
Weight: 120 to 230 pounds (54 to 104 kilograms)
Height: 27.5 inches and up (70
centimeters and up)
The French Mastiff, also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, is considered an ancient French dog breed that can be traced back to the 14th century. Back in France, breeders made it a point to keep the bloodline of this breed as pure as possible to promote a consistent physical appearance.This dog was once used as a guard dog for large properties, a large hunting dog, and even a fighting dog.
The French Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
Given the sheer size and muscular strength of the French Mastiff, this breed requires a firm owner capable of consistent training regimens. This dog is a very low energy dog that enjoys relaxing and being affectionate with its owners at home. Despite the protective nature of this breed is also known as being gentle with children.
Weight: 99 pounds and up (45 kilograms and up)
Height: 23 to 26 inches (58 to
The German Mastiff, also known as the Great Dane, is presumed to come from the English Mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound. The breed was known for being kept by the royals of Germany in the 1800s, asserting itself as a successful guardian of large estates and properties. This breed was also an agile hunting dog, capable of pinning down large game like boar and bear until its owner would finish the job.
The German Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The German Mastiff is a loyal breed that also tends to be noticeably wary of strangers and new people. The breed thrives when in the presence of children and is extremely protective of the home and its family. Despite its playful nature, this dog does tend to be difficult to train and requires a large amount of daily exercise and play.
Weight: 110 to 175 pounds (50 to 79 kilograms)
Height: 28 to 32 inches (71 to
The Italian Mastiff, also known as the Cane Corso, is a breed that originated from southern Italy and is believed to be related to Roman war dogs. Once the size and power of this breed were recognized, the breed was eventually used as a guard dog, capable of keeping large boar and other predators at bay. Though a successful guard dog and watchdog, this breed almost completely died out in the 1900s.
The Italian Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The Italian Mastiff is known for being a calm and gentle breed that’s receptive to training and learning new skills. The breed requires a lot of physical activity and enjoys playing and going for long walks. This dog struggles with new people and might become aggressive, asserting itself as a dominant and protective breed.
Weight: 88 to 110 pounds (40 to 50 kilograms)
Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches (60
to 70 centimeters)
The Japanese Mastiff, also known as the Tosa Dog, was once a popular Japanese fighting dog that was first noticed in the 19th century. It’s believed that this breed comes from the Shikoku-Inu, which is another native Japanese dog that’s similar to the Shiba-Inu. Given this breed’s history of fighting and aggression due to poor training, the breed is illegal in many countries, though thriving as a watchdog in others.
The Japanese Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.
Without consistent and firm training, the Japanese Mastiff is known for being potentially aggressive. However, the breed does get along well with its own family, asserting itself as a protective and loyal watchdog. This dog enjoys being dominant, but also enjoys pleasing its owner through obedience.
Weight: 79 to 200 pounds (36 to 91 kilograms)
Height: 21.5 to 23.5 inches (55
to 60 centimeters)
The Korean Mastiff, also known as the Dosa Gae, is a relatively rare breed that’s only really popular in Korea as of right now. Not much is known about the history of this breed, but the appearance of the breed is quite striking and memorable. This dog is known for being absolutely massive and covered in wrinkles and extra skin, setting it apart from practically any other breed in the world.
The Korean Mastiff is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Korean Mastiff is known as being a gentle and affectionate dog, sometimes being described as a loving lap dog and the perfect family dog. The breed is rather social and prefers to be surrounded by its family, willing to do whatever it takes to defend its property and loved ones when a threat appears.
Weight: 145 to 185 pounds (66 to 84 kilograms)
Height: 23.5 to 30 inches (60 to
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The Neapolitan Mastiff comes from southern Italy and was bred to maintain a specific appearance, preferably one that would scare intruders or predators away regardless of the temperament of the dog. The breed was once successful as a property guardian and is actually pretty quick and agile despite its size and muscular build. When this breed started fading in popularity in the 1940s, Piere Scanziani made an effort to bring this breed back.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is still considered a loyal guardian today, though it defends family homes rather than large estates. Though quite territorial and protective of its family (including children), the breed is known for being quite lazy and sleepy. This breed requires a low-energy, relaxed atmosphere without much physical activity.
Weight: 110 to 150 pounds (50 to 68 kilograms)
Height: 24 to 31 inches (61 to
The Pakistani Mastiff, also known as the Bully Kutta and sometimes called the Indian Mastiff, appears to have originated on the Indian continent around the 16th century. The breed was known for excelling as working dogs, proving successful in both the guarding and hunting arenas. This dog was also used as a fighting dog for a number of years, though this practice eventually faded away. The breed is most popular in India today.
The Pakistani Mastiff is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Pakistani Mastiff is a difficult and stubborn breed that requires a lot of physical activity. When this breed is bored, untrained, or under-stimulated, it’s much more likely to demonstrate behavioral issues and become aggressive. This dog doesn’t do too well with other dogs and might even be a safety issue with children in its own family.
Weight: 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 91 kilograms)
Height: 32 to 40 inches (81 to
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a large and protective herding dog that originated in the Aragonese Pyrenees area of Spain several centuries ago. The breed was utilized as a herding dog with large flocks of sheep, keeping sheep safe from predators like wolves while traveling across the country in large herds. The breed almost officially died out after financial difficulties caused by the Spanish Civil War, but the breed was ultimately recovered.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is known for being quite calm and gentle, specifically with dogs and children that it’s become acquainted with. However, this breed desperately requires an experienced owner that understands dominance. When trained well and rewarded positively, the breed is usually a well-behaved, obedient breed.
Weight: 120 to 140 pounds (54 to 64 kilograms)
Height: 25 to 31 inches (64 to
The South African Mastiff, also known as the Boerboel, originates from South Africa and is considered one of the most powerful dog breeds in the world when it comes to its bite force. The origin of this breed is believed to be a combination of native African dogs and breeds that were brought over by European settlers. This breed excelled when it came to protecting property, specifically being applauded for its ability to engage with large predators like lions.
The South African Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The South African Mastiff is known for being a highly active dog that needs constant mental and physical stimulation. Without training and with boredom, the breed is known for getting destructive and perhaps aggressive. When trained properly, this dog can be a great family watchdog.
Weight: 110 to 200 pounds (50 to 91 kilograms)
Height: 23 to 28 inches (58 to
The Spanish Mastiff, also known as the Mastin Espanol, is a breed that comes from Spain and has proven itself to be a successful herding and guard dog. The breed is noted for its ability to protect large groups of sheep from relentless predators like wolves, especially when it came to longer travels across the Spanish countryside.
The Spanish Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.
Despite being affectionate with its own family, the Spanish Mastiff also tends to be quite aloof, instead preferring to spend its time keeping an eye on the home and protecting its family from strangers. This breed is considered an active breed that craves sufficient exercise to tone down its normally high energy levels. When not properly trained, the breed might be aggressive and develop a barking habit.
Weight: 110 to 220 pounds (50 to 91 kilograms)
Height: 28 to 35 inches (71 to
The Tibetan Mastiff was the ideal guard dog breed in Himalayan villages in the Tibetan Plateau. The breed was known for being tied up during the day and then being released at night where it would officially begin its duties protecting the village from large predators like wolves and tigers. This dog was also used as a guardian of flock and livestock, employing measures like scent marking to keep predators at a distance.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a member of the American Kennel Club’s working group.
The Tibetan Mastiff is an active dog that needs a massive amount of space or a fenced-in yard to remain happy. The breed tends to be extremely protective of its owners, but it’s also known for having an independent and free-thinking personality. Given these traits, this breed is a little stubborn when it comes to training and doesn’t fare too well with children or strangers.
Weight: 75 to 160 pounds (34 to 73 kilograms)
Height: 24 to 30 inches (61 to
The Turkish Mastiff, also known as the Aksaray Malaklisi or Anatolian Mastiff, comes from the Anatolian region of Turkey. Given the physical appearance of the breed, it’s believed that this breed comes from the English Mastiff and the native Kangal Dog, both highly-regarded guardian dog breeds. This dog is most often used as a livestock guardian in Turkey but isn’t so popular in the rest of the world just yet.
The Turkish Mastiff is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Turkish Mastiff is known as a strong and active dog, craving physical activity and requiring mental stimulation to stay active and entertained. This dog remains protective, even today, making this dog a loyal watchdog for farms and family homes. When it comes to strangers, the breed tends to be aloof and wary of new people, preferring to spend time with its own family.
Weight: 88 to 140 pounds (40 to 64 kilograms)
Height: 28 to 32 inches (71 to
For the most part, Mastiffs make loyal companions and some make for fierce guard dogs. At the same time, not every Mastiff breed would make a good fit in your home. Before you settle on just getting any type of Mastiff, do your research and find out which one is most suitable for your environment. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.