The Mastin Espagnol
This large dog with its powerful barking certainly does not lack confidence. As a former protection dog, he finally took on wolves, bears or other predators. But despite its strength and dominance, this well-balanced dog breed has amazing self-controlhere...
Even the ancestors of the Mastín Español stood out for their movement, strength and endurance. While little is known about the origins of this dog breed, its ancestors are believed to be among the large dog breeds brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Greeks and Phoenicians about 2,000 years ago. The strong, courageous dogs with their innate instinct for protection were best known to the Spanish draft herders. As early as the 12th century, they accompanied large herds of sheep on their treks and reliably protected them from wolves, bears and other predators. According to an 18th century tradition from Castile, a flock of 1000 sheep was usually accompanied by five dogs. So a dog was responsible for 200 sheep that he tended independently and without directions from the shepherd. The Mastín Español was much appreciated for its excellent mountain dog qualities. They were therefore well looked after. The shepherds took as much food for the dogs as for the shepherds. Those who injured a Mastín Español could expect severe punishments from the Mesta, the medieval organization of Spanish sheep farmers. Just owning such a valuable dog had to be approved by the Mesta.
Today, the Mastín Español is still a valuable asset for shepherds in Spain. He guards the herds on the native pastures and during tours. The Mastín Español is found all over Spain; especially in the mountains of the provinces of Asturias and Leon and in the Cantabrian mountains, the Entremadura, as well as in all areas and pastures where herds are taking place. Because the dog is widespread in Spain, it is also called Mastín Leonés, Mastín Extremeño and Mastín Manchego in the different regions. Unlike its country of origin, Spain, the breed is rare in other European countries.
The Mastín Español is aware of its strength. The heavy giant with its deep gruff barks seems very confident. He is aware that he can appear intimidating to people and animals and that he can command respect with his appearance. Therefore it is not necessary to demonstrate its power. Despite its strong protective instinct and natural distrust of strangers, the dog will never be unjustifiably aggressive. These properties make it an excellent watchdog. The dogs want to protect their family and would go to great lengths to defend them. Still, thanks to their intelligence, the dogs can estimate when to intervene and when not to. In nature, the purebred dogs are very balanced and good natured. The dogs are not that quick on their toes. They do not let themselves be thrown off balance by other dogs. They have a lively and cheerful disposition and are very gentle, almost tender to their dear owner. This makes the mountain and guard dog a popular family and companion dog. The dogs feel most comfortable in the lap of their family. The dog also prefers to go everywhere. He loves playing with children and - with the right education - can be kept with small children too. He is aware of his strength and uses it in doses. However, small children should not be left alone with the big heavy dog.
Mastiffs are considered to be eager to learn, sometimes even sensitive to dressage, yet as an owner one should be aware that they do not go to extremes to please their owner. The Mastín Español is stubborn and - even though he likes living together in a family - will occasionally be stubborn when he wants something different. Males in particular can appear very dominant if too much pressure is put on them during upbringing. It can happen that an outsider gets the impression that the dog is raising his owner rather than the other way around. In addition to the usual consequence, raising a Mastín Español requires a lot of patience and confidence.
The confident at times dominant nature of the Mastín Español is also reflected in its behavior. The confident giant is neither shy nor aggressive. His muscular body already shows enough strength. With a height at the withers of 77 cm in males and 72 cm in females, the Mastín Español is undoubtedly one of the large dog breeds. In Spain, his country of origin, he is bred as a working animal without respecting the FCI standard and heights of up to 100 cm and a weight of more than 110 kg are possible. According to the FCI standard, the recognized purebred dogs still have an impressive weight of 70 kg.
The smooth not-too-long coat emphasizes his well-proportioned even physique. The dog is molting twice a year. The coat is very thick and weather resistant, revealing the lineage of the Spanish Sheepdog that survived even in the cold heights of the Spanish mountain landscape. The dog comes in different colors. The FCI prefers unicolour. They can occur in yellow, red and roe red to black and wolf gray. But also combined colors such as brindle, with white collar and mottled are allowed.
Unlike the exceptionally long Mastiff's muzzle, the ears are quite small and pendulous. The short, powerful neck has a double dewlap. His chest is deep and broad. Despite its body weight, it is an agile dog that radiates harmony both standing and moving according to its standard.