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The mastiff is one of the oldest breeds and the progenitor of many working breeds. History traces the mastiff to 7th century B.C. with stories of their use in the Coliseum, protecting knights in the Crusades, and guarding castles and manor houses. Although almost extinct in England after World War II, with the help of American and Canadian breeders, they have been saved. Today, they serve as faithful family companions and home protectors, preferring to be with a child or family member rather than sleeping alone.