The Spanish Mastiff, known as Mastín Español in Spanish, is a large breed of dog originally from Spain, where it was primarily used as a livestock guardian. The Spanish Mastiff's history stretches back many centuries to the Iberian Peninsula, where they were first bred by shepherds to protect livestock from wolves and other predators. Their robust size and courageous temperament made them excellent watchdogs. They are thought to have descended from the ancient Molosser dogs, which were large, powerful canines kept by the Greeks and Romans for guarding livestock and property. The Spanish Mastiff has been recognized as a breed since the 18th century.
Like many large breeds, the Spanish Mastiff is susceptible to certain health conditions. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, a genetic condition that affects the joints; obesity, due to their propensity for overeating; and gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat), a potentially fatal condition that large-chested breeds are especially prone to. Heart problems, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, and various types of cancer are also potential health risks for this breed.
Spanish Mastiffs are known for their calm and gentle disposition. Despite their size, they are often quite docile and good with children. They are protective and loyal to their families but can be wary of strangers. Spanish Mastiffs are intelligent and can be trained, but they are also independent thinkers and may not always obey commands immediately. They are not typically aggressive, but they will defend their family if they sense danger.
Spanish Mastiffs are one of the heaviest breeds, with males weighing up to 220 pounds (100 kg) and females up to 170 pounds (77 kg).
The Spanish Mastiff is the national dog breed of Spain, and they are often depicted in Spanish art and literature.
Despite their size, Spanish Mastiffs only need moderate exercise and are quite content to laze around for much of the day.
The Latin word for Mastiff is "Mansuetus", which means "mild and tame".