Cynographia Britannica definition of the Mastiff

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Cynographia Britannica definition of the Mastiff

Post  rg17 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:07 am

The following excerpt is fromThe Mastiff--Aristocratic Guardian, Chapter 6, "Temperament - The Natural Guardian":
One of the most famous and finest descriptions ever written about the Mastiff temperament was in Cynographia Britannica (1800) by Sydenham Edwards:

What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race. His docility is perfect; the teazing of the smaller kinds will hardly provoke him to resent, and I have seen him down with his paw the Terrier or cur that has bit him, without offering further injury. In a family he will permit the children to play with him, and suffer all their little pranks without offence. The blind ferocity of the Bull Dog will often wound the hand of the master who assists him to combat, but the Mastiff distinguishes perfectly, enters the field with temper, and engages in the attack as if confident of success: if he overpowers, or is beaten, his master may take him immediately in his arms and fear nothing. This ancient and faithful domestic, the pride of our island, uniting the useful, the brave and the docile, though sought by foreign nations and perpetuated on the continent, is nearly extinct where he probably was an aborigine, or is bastardized by numberless crosses, everyone of which degenerate from the invaluable character of the parent, who was deemed worthy to enter the Roman amphitheatre, and, in the presence of the masters of the worlds, encounter the pard, and assail even the lord of the savage tribes, whose courage was sublimed by torrid suns, and found none gallant enough to oppose him on the deserts of Zaara or the plains of Numidia.

When a Mastiff is permitted to be part of the family unit, he will put his own life on the line if that is what is required to protect his family. He always conducts himself with his own innate dignity. Because our attitudes towards the breed changed, parting company with what our ancient ancestors needed from them , we are recognizing and receiving a far gentler and kinder temperament in return.
Mastiffs need only to be given respect and kindness, nourishing food, fresh water, appropriate shelter from the cold and heat, veterinary care, and abundant affection together with consistent and sensible instruction. In return, they reward us with their undivided attention, unconditional loyalty, unbounded love, continuous protection and wonderful companionship. All this, and all we have to do is: Make them part of our family; grant them the right to lay at our feet and adore us; let them occasionally rest their impressive heads on our knees while we offer them kind words or affectionate pats and invite them to sleep at our bedside, so we may rest secure, while they guard us through the night. So little to ask of us, for so much in return from them.
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