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[Kristin Hitchcock] Belgian Mastiff: Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament, & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Belgian Draft Dog or Belgian Mastiff (Chien de trait belge). Draught Dog from 1915.

NOTE TO CM FROM CHRISTIAN: This post may be better if it’s “Belgian Mastiff: Do They Still Exist (or Are They Extinct?)” Meanwhile, the Wikipedia source was used for referencing the history of the breed because very little information exists. We usually don’t love Wikipedia URLs but in this case, it’s good. When you do multiple searches for Belgian Mastiff, many roads lead right back to Wikipedia. We couldn’t find any information on AKC.

A Belgian Mastiff is a considerably large dog that is believed to be extinct. However, the breed was very recently extinct, so many are still holding out hope that surviving specimens will be found. Therefore, the breed is still recognized by many kennel clubs, even if we don’t know if there are any surviving specimens as of yet.

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Height: 27–31 inches
Weight: 99–110 pounds
Lifespan: Less than 10 years
Colors: Fawn or brindle
Suitable for: Originally used for draught work and guarding
Temperament: Tireless, loyal, protective

The Belgian Mastiff was originally utilized as a draught animal. However, they became increasingly obsolete during the 20th century. Eventually, this breed went extinct simply because they were not needed. It’s believed that they went extinct sometime following the second world war.

Efforts are currently being made to revive the breed. There are a few claims that surviving specimens still exist. However, the breed is still listed as extinct by many kennel clubs.

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Belgian Mastiff Characteristics


Belgian Mastiff Puppies

Currently, you cannot find specimens of this breed for adoption. They are considered extinct, though there are some who hope that specimens are still out there somewhere. Because this breed was only recently extinct, it is still possible that some breeders may be able to locate and bring the breed back from extinction.

You can still find dogs that resemble this breed, though. For instance, Bullmastiffs and the Cane Corso resemble this breed to some extinct and may be a good alternative.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Belgian Mastiff 🧠

Because this breed went extinct during the 20th century, we do not know much about its temperament. No one living today has ever owned one of these dogs. Therefore, we simply can’t know much about it. However, we do know a little bit based on records and the writings about the dog that we have.

They were likely similar to other mastiffs in their temperament and intelligence. Records show that they were known for their loyalty to their family. They were very duty-driven, as well. Those who had them could rely on them for protection, for instance.

They were originally used to haul carts of goods and guard farms. They likely had a strong work ethic and lots of stamina. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to do this job.

However, because of their guarding instincts, they may have been quite aggressive. Proper socialization would be needed if these dogs ever became available again. Some people blame their aggression for their extinction, at least to some extent.

The Belgian Mastiff probably wasn’t very easy to train. Many mastiffs are independent and stubborn, and this mastiff probably wasn’t any different. However, it was likely smart and capable of performing many tasks.

This mastiff just didn’t apply their intelligence to training. Instead, they were bred to work independently for the most part. Therefore, training wasn’t something they had to be good at.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Belgian Mastiff

1. They were originally used as draught dogs.

Draught dogs pulled heavy carts. These canines also guarded their farms when they weren’t helping their owner transport goods.

2. They’re extremely large.

All mastiffs are larger canines. However, the Belgian Mastiff was particularly muscular and heavy-boned. They had a very large head and thick neck. Their tail was probably docked to prevent it from being damaged while they were pulling carts.

3. They became obsolete and may be extinct.

Despite many believing that this dog is extinct, many kennel clubs have simply suspended the breed, holding out hope that surviving specimens may be found. (Or that a breeder may be able to reverse engineer the breed.)

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Final Thoughts

The Belgian Mastiff is a rather large breed of dog that went extinct sometime in the late 20th century (probably). Originally a draught dog, the two world wars and increasing technology led to this breed’s extinction. Furthermore, they were likely very aggressive, which may have contributed to their extinction, too.

As this breed was only recently extinct, many still hold out hope that surviving specimens will be found somewhere in Belgium. In fact, several people have claimed to find specimens, but none of their reports have been verified.

Featured Image Credit: Belgian Draft Dog or Belgian Mastiff (Chien de trait belge). Draught Dog from 1915. (Image Credit: W. E. Mason, Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

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