THE ENGLISH MASTIFF II
Tyre and Sidon are believed to have brought some of the larger pugnaces, which would be readily accepted by the Britons to supplant, or improve, their courageous but undersized fighting dogs.
In Anglo-Saxon times every two villeins were required to maintain one of these dogs for the purpose of reducing the number of wolves and other wild animals. This would indicate that the Mastiff was recognised as a capable hunting dog ; but at a later period his hunting instincts were not highly esteemed, and he was not regarded as a peril to preserved game ; for in the reign of Henry III. the Forest Laws, which prohibited the keeping of all other breeds by unprivileged persons, permitted the Mastiff to come within the precincts of a forest, imposing, however, the condition that every such dog should have the claws of the fore-feet removed close to the skin.
The name Mastiff was probably applied to any massively built dog. It is not easy to trace the true breed amid the various names which it owned. Molossus, Alan, Alaunt, Tie-dog, Bandog (or Band-dog), were among the number. The names Tie-dog and Bandog intimate that the Mastiff was commonly kept for guard, but many were specially trained for baiting bears, imported lions, and bulls.
There is constant record of the Mastiff having been kept and carefully bred for many generations in certain old English families. One of the oldest strains of Mastiffs was that kept by Mr. Legh, of Lyme Hall, in Cheshire. They were large, powerful dogs, and longer in muzzle than those which we are now accustomed to see. Another old and valuable strain was kept by the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth. It is to these two strains that the dogs of the present day trace back.
Mr. Woolmore's Crown Prince was one of the most celebrated of Mastiffs. He was a fawn dog with a Dudley nose and light eye, and was pale in muzzle, and whilst full credit must be given to him for having sired many good Mastiffs, he must