Many dogs are used to cross with other breeds to create a brand new breed of dog. Sometimes this mixing of breeds is to create a more stunning and unique animal for pet shows and competitions, other times it’s to create a more efficient worker or a smaller or larger version of one breed or another. One dog that gets crossbred often is the Mastiff, resulting in various Mastiff mixes. The Mastiff is chosen for cross breeding due to its massive size and strength. At roughly three feet tall and weighting an average of 170 pounds, Mastiff’s are one of the largest dogs on earth (although Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds are slightly taller, and St. Bernards are often slightly heavier).
Retreiver and Mastiff Mix picture by Paul J. Everett.
Great Dane and Mastiff Mix puppy photograph by Rob and Stephanie Levy.
Not actually a breed or cross breed, Zorba Mastiff is simply the name given to incredibly large dogs of the Mastiff breed. They get their name from the former World Record holder for heaviest dog in the world, an English Mastiff named Zorba. Zorba weighed and incredible 343 pounds, was 37 inches tall at the shoulders and measured 8 feet 3 inches long from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. Not long after, this record was broken by Cloe, another Mastiff who was 38 inches tall at the shoulder, 8 feet 5 inches from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail, and a monstrous 365 pounds.
Cane Corso Mastiff
Not as large as Zorba, the Cane Corso Mastiff is over two feet tall and weighs over 100 pounds on average. This animal was on the brink of extinction until saved and bred by a group of enthusiasts in the 1980’s. The Cane Corso is a breed which is thousands of years old and believed to come from Canis Pugnax, the Roman wardog used both on the battlefield and in the gladiator arenas. This hypoallergenic dog is thought to be related to the Neapolitan Mastiff, only instead of great strength like the Neapolitan, Can Corso relies on its speed and agility. While this breed may be aggressive against people it doesn’t know, it’s generally good tempered and children friendly, and often suffers separation anxiety. The Cane Corso Mastiff is also often referred to as Italian Mastiff due to their country of origin.
The Boerboel, also called the African Mastiff, is a large and powerful dog who’s also pretty docile unless provoked. This animal is found almost exclusively in Africa and is the only known dog breed that is bred exclusively for the purpose of being a guard dog. The Boerboel seems to have a kind of “sixth sense” about what people are thinking and feeling. They are able to recognize fear and can tell if their masters approve or disapprove of something or someone. While they will protect their owner fiercely, they will not attack unless provoked or if told. Until then they are mostly docile and use their power as intimidation just by standing and watching. Little is known about the ancestry of this African Mastiff, but it’s believed that it was spawned thousands of years ago when Mastiffs from English settlers mated with dogs indigenous of Africa. These large animals are surprisingly very good with children, making them not only a keen and fierce protector, but also a loveable family pet.
Throughout the years, many other types of dog have also been bred with Mastiffs, including Great Danes (for a Dane-Mastiff Mix), Bulldogs (creating the Bullmastiff), and Bloodhounds (which spawned the Fila Brasileiro or Brazillian Mastiff). The resulting breeds are always massive, regal, and intelligent work dogs.