If you’re someone who thinks big and is up for a challenge, you can’t do better than a majestic Mastiff. I’m the world’s heaviest breed, weighing 175 to 220 pounds and standing 27 to 30 inches tall. Once a fierce fighter in Caesar’s army, I’m now a gentle, good-natured dog who is loyal to family and adores kids. Use caution around little ones, though—I’m not to be ridden. I’m aloof with strangers and will hold off intruders with firm courage but no aggression.

My energy level is low, so a brisk walk or daily game will suit my needs. I’m not an outdoorsy dog, particularly in hot weather. Early obedience training and socialization are critical—pesky puppy behaviors become real problems when I’m fully grown. I need a lot of space to stretch out, and I drool and snore.

My coat may be fawn, apricot, or brindle with black markings on the face and ears. The coat is short and straight, and can be managed with a weekly session with the rubber mitt. Some of us shed regularly; others shed mostly in spring and fall. My skin wrinkles should be washed and dried daily to avoid infection, and my hanging upper lip should be wiped after eating.

Similar to other very large breeds, I have a relatively short life span at 8 to 10 years. Major health issues are hip dysplasia and gastric bloat, with lesser risk of elbow dysplasia, vaginal hyperplasia, and eye problems. Obesity can also be an issue—and I’m big enough at regular weight!