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The colossal Mastiff belongs to a canine clan as ancient as civilization itself. A massive, heavy-boned dog of courage and prodigious strength, the Mastiff is docile and dignified but also a formidable protector of those they hold dear. For the uninitiated, a face-to-face encounter with these black-masked giants can be startling. A male stands at least 30 inches at the shoulder and can outweigh many a full-grown man. The rectangular body is deep and thickly muscled, covered by a short double coat of fawn, apricot, or brindle stripes. The head is broad and massive, and a wrinkled forehead accentuates an alert, kindly expression. Mastiffs are patient, lovable companions and guardians who take best to gentle training. Eternally loyal Mastiffs are protective of family, and a natural wariness of strangers makes early training and socialization essential. Mastiffs are magnificent pets, but acquiring a powerful giant-breed dog is commitment not to be taken lightly.