This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
There is every reason to suppose that this is an indigenous breed, like the bulldog, for though the Cuban mastiff closely resembles it, yet the latter is to all appearances crossed with the bloodhound.
Fig. 29. - ENGLISH MASTIFF, GOVERNOR.
The English Mastiff is a fine noble-looking animal, and in temper is the most to be depended on of all the large and powerful dogs, being extremely docile and companionable, though possessed of the highest courage. When crossed with the Newfoundland or bloodhound, they answer well as yard-dogs, but the produce is generally of a savage nature, while the pure breed is of so noble and mild a nature that they will not on any provocation hurt a child or even a small dog, one of their most remarkable attributes being their fondness for affording protection. Mr. Lukey, of Morden, Surrey, has a very fine breed of the pure mastiff, We present an engraving of Governor, the finest of his dogs.
Mr. Lukey began to breed mastiffs rather more than forty years ago, taking a brindled bitch bred by the then Duke of Devonshire as his foundation. Putting her to Lord Waldegrave's celebrated dog Turk, and her puppies to the Marquis of Hertford's Pluto, he obtained a strain with which he stood for some years almost alone as the celebrated mastiff breeder of the day, without any outcross. At length, fearing deterioration by further in-breedmg, he resorted to Capt. Garnier's kennel for a sire, the produce being that magnificent dog Governor, by Capt. Garnier's Lion out of his own Countess, a daughter of his Duche3s by his Bruce II., who was by his Bruce I. out of his Nell. Of the breeding of his own Lion, and Lord Waldegrave's Turk, Capt. Garnier writes as follows:
"Some time ago I bought of Bill George a pair of mastiffs, whose produce, by good luck, afterwards turned out some of the finest specimens of the breed I ever saw. The dog Adam was one of a pair of Lyme Hall mastiffs, bought by Bill George at Tatter-sail's. He was a different stamp of dog to the present Lyme breed. He stood 30 1/2 in. at the shoulder, with length of body and good muscular shoulders and loins, but was just slightly deficient in depth of body and breadth of forehead; and from the peculiar forward lay of his small ears, and from his produce, I have since suspected a remote dash of boarhound in him. The bitch was obtained by Bill George from a dealer in Leadenhall Market Nothing was known of her pedigree, but I am as convinced of its purity as I am doubtful of that of the dog. There was nothing striking about her. She was old, with shoulders a trifle flat. She had a grey muzzle, but withal stood 29 in. at the shoulder, and had a broad round head, good loin, and deep lengthy frame.
From crossing these dogs with various strains I was easily able to analyze their produce, and I found in them two distinct types - one due to the dog, very tall, but a little short in the body and high on the leg, while their heads were slightly deficient in breadth; the other due to the bitch, equally tall, but deep, lengthy and muscular, with broad massive heads and muzzles. Some of these latter stood 33 inches at the shoulder, and by the time they were two years old weighed upwards of 190 lbs. They had invariably a fifth toe on each hind leg, which toe was quite distinct from a dew-claw, and formed an integral portion of their feet. By bad management, I was only able to bring a somewhat indifferent specimen with me on my return to England from America - a badly reared animal, who nevertheless stood 32 in. at the shoulder, and weighed 170 lbs.
This dog Lion was the sire of Governor and Harold, by Mr. Lukey's bitch Countess, and so certain was I of the vast size of the breed in him, that I stated beforehand, much to Mr. Lukey's incredulity, that the produce would be dogs standing 33 in. at the shoulder - the result being that both Governor and his brother Harold were fully that hight. In choosing the whelps, Mr. Lukey retained for himself the best marked one, an animal that took after the lighter of the two strains that existed in the sire; for Governor, grand dog and perfect mastiff as he was, compared to most others of the breed, was nevertheless shorter in the body, higher on the leg, and with less muscular development than Harold, while his head, large as it was, barely measured as much around as did his brother's. I, who went by the development of the fifth toe (in this case only a dew-claw), chose Harold, a dog which combined all the best points except color of both strains, and was a very perfect reproduction on a larger scale of his dam Countess. This dog was the finest male specimen of the breed I have met with.
His breast at ten months old, standing up, measured 13 in. across, with a girth of 41 in., and he weighed in moderate condition 140 lbs., and at twelve months old 160 lbs., while at 131/2 months old, Governor only weighed in excellent condition 150 lbs. with a girth of 40 in.; and inasmuch as Governor eventually weighed 180 lbs. or even more, the size to which Harold probably attained must have been very great. His head also in size and shape promised to be perfect."
The points of the mastiff are: - A head of large size, between that of the bloodhound and bulldog in shape, having the volume of muscle of the latter, with the flews and muzzle of the former, though, of course, not nearly so deep; the ear being of small size but drooping, like that of the hound. The teeth generally meet, but if anything there is a slight protuberance of the lower jaw, never being uncovered by the upper lip like those of the bulldog; eye small; in shape there is a considerable similarity to the hound, but much heavier in all its lines; loin compact and powerful, and limbs strong; tail very slightly rough, and carried high over the back when excited; voice very deep and sonorous; coat smooth; color red or fawn with black muzzle, or brindled, or black; or black, red, or fawn and white, the latter mixture objected to; night about 28 to 31 inches.