Alpine Mastiff

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Alpine mastiff
Alpine mastiff (1815)
OriginSwiss and Italian Alps
Foundation stocklandrace, mastiff types
Breed statusExtinct. Not recognised as a breed by any major kennel club.
Dog (domestic dog)

The Alpine mastiff was a type of molosser, or "flock-guardian phenotype" with the same or similar ancestral origins as the Saint Bernard.[1] However, unlike the Saint Bernard, the Alpine mastiff was never a bona fide breed. It is believed to be the progenitor of the modern English Mastiff,[2] as well as other breeds that derive from these types of dogs or that are closely related. M. B. Wynn wrote, "In 1829 a vast light brindle dog of the old Alpine mastiff breed, named L'Ami, was brought from the convent of Great St. Bernard area, and exhibited in London and Liverpool as the largest dog in England." William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire, is believed to have bred Alpine mastiffs at Chatsworth House. It was earlier thought that ears of the Alpine mastiffs were cut to prevent them becoming frost bitten.[3]

The names "Alpine mastiff" and "Saint Bernard" were used interchangeably in the early 19th century, but are two different types of dogs, though the variety that was kept at the hospice at Great St. Bernard Pass was significantly altered by introducing other mastiff types, including the Newfoundland and Great Dane,[4] and was developed into the modern, officially recognized purebred dog known as the Saint Bernard.[5] Inevitably, these dogs filtered through to the wider population and the original variety dwindled in its pure form.[6] Alpine Mastiffs are great pets for families due to their protective and kind mindset. Their loyalty and affection to family members, especially the children, make them great family companions.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hancock, David. "Archive". Charwynne Dog Features. Retrieved 2022-06-26.
  2. ^ Wynn, M. B. (1886). "The history of the mastiff, gathered from sculpture, pottery, carving, paintings, and engravings; also from various authors, with remarks on the same". Melton Mowbray [ Eng.?] William Loxley. Retrieved 11 December 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Lee, R. B. (1894). A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: (The Terriers.).
  4. ^ The Dog Book Vol. 2, James Watson, 1906. Doubleday, Page & Co.
  5. ^ The American Book of the Dog, G. O. Shields, 1891, Rand McNally.
  6. ^ "Molosserworld's Cane Garouf Breedfacts Page". 28 February 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  7. ^ Gupta, Parth (2023-11-30). "Alpine Mastiff (Extinct) Dog Breed Guide - The Pet Max". Retrieved 2023-12-07.
  8. ^ The Practical Kennel Guide with Plain Instructions on How to Rear and Breed Dogs for Pleasure, Show and Profit, M. D. Gordon Stables, 1875, Vintage Dog Books, ISBN 978-1-4437-4077-7.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mastiffs, the Big Game Hunters, Their History, Development and Future, Col. David Hancock MBE. ISBN 0-9527801-3-5, 2000. Charwynne Dog Features Publishing.
  • "Alpine mastiffs". Natural History. 2013-09-18. Archived from the original on 2015-11-21. Retrieved 2017-05-02.