8 Mastiff dog types and their characteristics

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Mastiff breed dogs and their varieties are characterized by having a muscular and strong body. In ancient times, these dogs were used to protect livestock, thanks to their protective nature and the ability they demonstrated to deal with potential predators.

Are you interested in adopting a mastiff dog? So you need to know how many types of mastiff there are and their main characteristics.

Index of contents

  • 1 How many types of mastiff dogs are there?
    • 1.1 English mastiff
    • 1.2 Tibetan Mastiff
    • 1.3 Pyrenean Mastiff
    • 1.4 Bordeaux Mastiff
    • 1.5 Boerboel
    • 1.6 Leonese Mastiff
    • 1.7 Italian mastiff
    • 1.8 Neapolitan mastiff
  • 2 Unrecognized Mastiff Dog Types

How many types of mastiff dogs are there?

The American Kennel Club and the International Cynological Federation are the institutions in charge of determining which breeds are officially recognized and establishing the characteristics of each one.

In this sense, it is considered that there are 8 types of mastiff dog, raised mainly in Europe. Each variety has physical characteristics, but they share the fact that they are descendants of ancient molossian dogs.


This variety is also called South African Mastiff, coming from that region. It appeared around 1600, when it was used as a protective dog on farms. Among mastiff dog types, it is considered the most agile in terms of physical performance.

Their appearance is solid, with short fur and body without excess folds. The coat can be reddish, tawny or sand.

  • How is a Boerboel dog?
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Leonese Mastiff

Also know as spanish mastiff This variety is native to the Peninsula, where since ancient times it was used as a sheepdog. If you are looking for a loving dog, this is an excellent option for you.

As for its appearance, it has a light brown or reddish fur, but there are also black specimens or with a coat of various colors. Another of its distinctive features is a thick neck with several folds of skin.

Italian mastiff

This variety is descendant of a molossian race from Rome. Maybe you recognize it by its other name, cane Corso. It is characterized by presenting a shiny coat, whether black, gray or tawny.

The Italian will be a good watchdog for you as he is very smart, caring and loyal. In addition, you like outdoor activities, a point in your favor if you are a person who enjoys mountaineering or going for a walk.

Neapolitan mastiff

The ancestors of this mastiff dog are found in the 1st century after Christ. The breed was developed in Naples (Italy) and was recognized in 1947.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is an excellent companion if you are looking for a faithful dog to protect your home. As for its appearance, it measures up to 75 centimeters at the withers. The body is muscular, the tail short and the jaw powerful. The coat is short, but abundant and appears in reddish, gray or brown tones.

Unrecognized Mastiff Dog Types

In addition to the 8 breeds mentioned, you will find others that are also called mastiff, but that are not yet recognized by official associations.

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These are some of them:

  • Bullmastiff (cross between mastiff and bulldog)
  • Borinquen Mastiff
  • Cashmere mastiff
  • Afghan Mastiff
  • American Mastiff