The movie ‘The Sandlot’, a classic American coming-of-age story, is fondly remembered by many for its fun-loving group of young baseball enthusiasts, their summertime adventures, and the mythical “Beast” from beyond the fence.
But what breed is the dog who played this legendary character? Let’s uncover the mystery behind the beast, better known in real life as an English Mastiff.
The English Mastiff: An Overview
History and physical attributes of English Mastiff:
The History and Origin of the Breed
The English Mastiff, one of the largest breeds in the world, has a history that stretches back thousands of years. These dogs were used for war due to their size and strength. They also served as guard dogs, protecting homes and livestock from predators.
As a giant breed, the English Mastiff can weigh anywhere from 120 to 230 pounds and stands 27.5 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder. They possess a broad, massive head with a well-defined stop and a short, wide muzzle.
Their coat is short and comes in various colors including fawn, apricot, or brindle, all of which could have the trademark black mask.
The English Mastiff in ‘The Sandlot’
In ‘The Sandlot’, the English Mastiff was portrayed as the “Beast,” a mythical dog known for its gigantic size and terrifying presence. However, as the movie progresses, we find out that the Beast, whose real name in the movie is Hercules, is actually a gentle and friendly dog.
This plot twist accurately portrays the English Mastiff’s true nature, which is generally calm, gentle, and good-natured, contrary to their intimidating size.
Care and Maintenance of English Mastiffs
These are some care tips:
Exercise and Training
English Mastiffs do not require as much exercise as smaller, more active breeds. However, they do still need regular walks and playtimes to maintain a healthy weight and muscle tone.
Training should start from a young age to ensure they grow into well-behaved and sociable adults.
As with many large breeds, English Mastiffs are prone to certain health problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, and obesity. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet can help keep these issues at bay.
Lifespan and Diet of English Mastiffs
Find out the lifespan and diet of English mastiffs:
Despite their size and strength, English Mastiffs, like many large breeds, have a relatively short lifespan compared to smaller breeds.
The average lifespan of an English Mastiff is around 7-10 years. However, with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups, they can live into their early teens.
As large dogs with a propensity for weight gain, English Mastiffs should be fed a balanced diet of high-quality dog food. Their diet should be rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and portion control is vital to prevent overeating and obesity.
It is recommended to divide their food into two meals a day rather than one large meal to aid digestion and prevent bloating. Always consult with your vet for the best dietary options for your dog’s age, size, and health conditions.
English Mastiffs and Children
Despite their size, English Mastiffs can be excellent family dogs and get along well with children. They are patient, tolerant, and protective, which makes them great companions for kids.
However, due to their size, interactions with small children should always be supervised to prevent accidental injuries.
Adopting an English Mastiff
Like all dogs, English Mastiffs need a loving and comfortable home. When considering adopting an English Mastiff, make sure you have enough space in your home for them to move around comfortably.
It’s also important to consider the financial responsibilities that come with adopting a large breed, such as food, grooming, and potential healthcare costs.
The Beast’s Legacy
The portrayal of Hercules in ‘The Sandlot’ has left an indelible impact on the perception of the English Mastiff breed.
Despite being initially portrayed as fearsome, the Beast ultimately embodies the affectionate and gentle nature typical of the breed. This juxtaposition serves to remind us not to judge a book, or in this case, a dog, by its cover.
The breed of the Sandlot dog, the English Mastiff, is a large, gentle breed with a rich history. Despite their massive size and formidable appearance, they are known to be calm, loving, and loyal, much like Hercules from ‘The Sandlot’.
As long as they are properly cared for and socialized, English Mastiffs can make a great addition to families who have space for them to grow and play.
So, the next time you rewatch ‘The Sandlot’, remember that beneath the mythical “Beast”, lies a loyal, gentle giant that perfectly embodies the real-life characteristics of the English Mastiff breed.