A Mastiff is a large molosser dog known for size and strength.
The terms "Mastiff" and "molosser"
The terms "the mastiff group" and "the mastiffs" has been used synonymously with the term "molosser". As such, any molosser, including bulldogs, mountain dogs, pit bulls, and even small dogs such as the Boston terriers may be considered "mastiffs" in this broad sense.
However, the term is most commonly reserved for Dog breeds with the word "Mastiff" in their name including many of the largest of all dogs.
List of Mastiff breeds
- Abruzzese Mastiff, from the Italian region of the Abruzzi
- Alpine Mastiff, an extinct Swiss breed
- American Mastiff, a breed originating in the United States
- Bordeaux Mastiff, or French Mastiff, two alternative names for the Dogue de Bordeaux
- Brazilian Mastiff, the Fila Brasileiro
- Bullmastiff, a cross between Mastiff and Bulldog
- Cuban Mastiff, or Dogo Cubano, an extinct species of mastiff
- Dogo Argentino, or Argentinian Mastiff, a breed originating in Argentina
- Dutch Mastiff or Pug
- English Mastiff
- German Mastiff, better known as Great Dane
- Italian Mastiff, better known as Cane Corso
- Japanese Mastiff, the Tosa Inu
- Korean Mastiff, also known as Dosa Gae
- Kumaon Mastiff, a rare breed of dog originating in India
- Neapolitan Mastiff or Italian Mastiff, a breed from Naples, Italy
- Pakistani Mastiff, the Bully Kutta, from Punjab
- Portuguese Mastiff or Alentejo Mastiff, alternative names for the Rafeiro do Alentejo, from Alentejo region of Portugal
- Presa Canario Mastiff, from the Canary Islands (bred with English Mastiffs)
- Puerto Rican Mastiff, the Gran Mastín de Borínquen
- Pyrenean Mastiff, a breed of the Spanish Pyrenees
- South African Mastiff, the Boerboel
- Spanish Mastiff
- Tibetan Mastiff
Nature and History
Genetic research into the dog genome has thus far confirmed the common belief that the mastiffs share a common ancestor and form a coherent branch on the dog evolutionary tree within the molossers. Historians trace the group to the Molossus, a dog bred by the Ancient Greeks.
Semantic overlap with other terms
As to the extent that Latinate words such as "Dogo" or "Dogge" may be translated as "mastiff", molosser breeds such as the Dogo Argentino and Dogo Canario may also be considered "mastiffs". However, these terms may refer not only to breeds called "mastiffs" in English, but also to Bulldogs and pit bulls. In addition, historical records of the development of these breeds shows that they have not only mastiff and other molosser ancestry, but also dogs from several other branches, including sighthounds, terriers, and scenthounds.
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