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Spanish Mastiff
España FCI 91 - Molossoid . Mountain

Spanish Mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff, He is regarded as the oldest Spanish race.



The Spanish Mastiff (also called Leonese Mastiff) is a breed of dog trotting type of large size, originally from Spain where it was abundant in almost the entire country and today is in a particular way in León, Zamora, Asturias and Cantabria. One of its varieties is the Pyrenean Mastiff.

This is a very old dog and like the other broadcast, descends from the molosser of Tibet (Tibetan Mastiff) He came to Europe via Asia minor.

Theories about the breed maintain that at least four thousand years ago the shepherds who inhabited the peninsula already used them as livestock guard dogs..

The natural resources and climate of the Iberian Peninsula gave rise to transhumance, for which reason, for many centuries the Spanish Mastiff has played the role of protector of flocks, especially from herds of 'merino sheep' whose history is closely linked to that of this dog breed. In some places it is known as the 'merinero dog' because it accompanies the Merino sheep..

The Spanish Mastiff, He is regarded as the oldest Spanish race.

The transhumant wandered through the royal canyons of León, crossing the Iberian Peninsula from North to South., and the Spanish Mastiff went with them defending the cattle from the attack of the wolf, the dog in addition to with its imposing nature, He had the protection of his abundant jowls as well as carlancas or carranclas, they are a species of thick metal with spiky necklaces.

Videos of the Spanish Mastiff
Mastin Spanish /Spanish mastiff puppies in kennel Tornado Erben

At the end of the 19th century with the gradual disappearance of the grazing and transhumance, the Spanish Mastiff became 'unnecessary', if we add to that the Spanish Civil War and its consequent period of scarcity and -also- the sharp decline in the number of wolves, as a result we have that this breed of dog was on the verge of extinction.

During that time many specimens of Spanish Mastiff were sacrificed, Some were emasculated and other so many purchased by enthusiasts that breeders, guided more by love of the race than by knowledge, start you a totally disorganized parenting.

After the debacle, fortunately, the recovery of the breed has been achieved though with great difficulty.

The first standard of the Spanish Mastiff was approved by the International Cinological Federation in the year 1946, based on the characteristics of three specimens from central Spain, These specimens were a light type, that still remained in the cattle farms and that were also used for hunting big game, they were of good size, with long legs and her weight was around the 50 kg.

In 1981 a new standard was approved whose main objective was to recover the much larger Mastiff that was used in transhumance livestock.

That same year (1981) was founded the Spanish Association of the Spanish Mastiff Dog (AEPME) as official club of the breed.

Physical characteristics

It is a dog of large size, braquicéfalo and mesomorfo. Well proportioned, very powerful and muscular. Big and heavy, with skeleton compact.

There are no exact size limits., but they must be harmonious, in the males expected a height that not is lower to 77 cm. the cross and in the females, not less to 72 cm.. Those are the bare minimum., but always expected greater height.

The head is significantly large, has a cráneo-hocico relationship of 6:4. If we look at the skull from the top is a square and uniform.

It has eyes small, almond-shaped and hazelnut or chestnut colour.

It has the ears triangular, median, flat and pendants. The legs are long, straight and fitted with good musculature.

The tail, inserted at medium altitude is very thick, flexible and wears it down, arriving at the height of the Hock.

Its the mantle This thick a thick hair hard, semilargo and smooth. The colors the most prized hair are uniforms (or solids), they may be dirty white, leonado, reddish, black, gray wolf, brown. Are also supported in the standard the atigrados, or white spotted robes.


As it's a race in recovery process, is very difficult to find perfect copies (that is to say, adjusted completely to the standard).

It is not a dog suitable for beginners, but it could be a very rewarding challenge for some enthusiast with the desire to breed a dog with a long history and gigantic potential like the Spanish Mastiff..

Character and skills

The Spanish Mastiff is a rustic dog, loving, tame, noble, very firm and self-confident.

It is generally quiet and affectionate, He is very loyal and devoted to their masters. It is-especially- suitable for children, for those who feel special attraction. As well, usually get along well with other dogs.

Essentially, is a calm and balanced guardian, but it can be very scary if they perceived danger to its owner and properties.

These dogs are very happy living in the open air, and especially given the opportunity for long and quiet walks, that will be necessary if we want our Mastiff to be happy and balanced.


As we mentioned in the “History” section, the vicissitudes of the recovery of the race has led to chaos at the beginning of it..., and all that lack of control in the breeding, It has had a direct effect on the character of dog, it is for this reason that today we can find too aggressive specimens, and other, maybe more shy.

Fortunately, the great work which is carrying out the Spanish Association of the Spanish Mastiff Dog, focused on selection in breeding is very hopeful since good results are being obtained, and over time the problem will be eliminated.

Images of the Spanish Mastiff

Videos of the Spanish Mastiff

Type and recognitions:

  • Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs
  • Section 2.2: Molossoid, mountain type. Without working trial. .


  • FCI – Pinscher and Schnauzer-Molossoid type dogs – Swiss Mountain Dogs and Cattledogs. Section 2.2 Molossoid, mountain type.
  • AKC – FSS
  • UKC – Watchdog

FCI breed standard "Spanish Mastiff"

FCIFCI - Spanish Mastiff

Alternative names:

1. Spanish mastiff, Mastín español de campo y trabajo, Mastín ganadero, Mastín Leonés, Mastín Extremeño (English).
2. Mastin Leones (French).
3. Spanischer Mastiff, Mastín aus León (mastín leonés), Mastín der Extremadura (mastín extremeño), Mastín der Mancha (mastín manchego) (German).
4. Mastín español (Portuguese).
5. Mastín Leonés, mastín español de campo y trabajo, mastín ganadero (español).

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