Sarabi Mastiff Breed

A large breed that is known for being among the most powerful dogs the world over, Sarabi Mastiffs are livestock guardian dogs. For centuries, they have guarded the sheep of Iran against bears, jackals, wolves, and other predators. These protective dogs are indigenous to a city in Iran’s northwest called Sarab, from whence their name is derived. Dogs of this breed have a long history of loyal service to their masters.

Sarabi Mastiff Breed Type

Sarabi Mastiffs belong to the livestock guardian dog group. Such canines stay with herds or flocks under their protection as a full-time member of the group of animals being guarded. Livestock guardian dogs should not be mistaken for herding dogs, which control the movements of flocks or herds. Rather, they live within the livestock group, watching for intruders. Often, the very presence of a guardian dog serves as a deterrent against predators. Otherwise, dogs like the Sarabi Mastiff confront predators using vocal intimidation first. They display extremely aggressive behavior. If this does not suffice, the guardian dog may attack predators.

Breed Description of Sarabi Mastiffs

The Sarabi Mastiff is a molosser-type breed of dog. These dogs historically belonged to the kingdom of the ancient Molossians. They are known for their large statures, muscled legs, and wide chests. Dogs of this group mainly include mastiffs and bully breeds. They are among the oldest known categories of dogs in the world.

Sarabi Mastiffs are giant dogs with heavy bones and a very large head of the molosser type. In weight, they range between 120-200 pounds. Their ideal height at the shoulder is between 28-35 inches. Their broad muzzles should be neither too short nor too long. They have dewlaps, but not as heavy as other giant mastiffs. Their eyes are a dark yellow color and have a characteristic almond shape.

Their necks are strong and their backs are straight, leading to thick tails that are long and shaped like sickles. In color, the Sarabi Mastiff is typically brown with a mask of black. White may be present on the chest. Other colors include bronze, black, gray, and pale gray. They have two coat types: medium and short.

Sarabi Mastiff Origin and History

As molosser dogs, Sarabi Mastiffs have a long history. According to lore, King Xerxes brought a Tibetan Mastiff back with him, perhaps thus creating the beginning of the Sarabi Mastiff. Much of its history has been lost to time due to the arrival of Islam in Iran. Iranians loved dogs, and the invaders realized this, thus tormenting dogs to distress the indigenous culture. There are indications that the great dog was also used as a fighting dog versus big animals such as lions. Still, Persian breeds persisted, and remain as powerful dogs to this day.

Persian Mastiff and Other Names of the Sarabi Mastiff

The name of the Sarabi Mastiff comes from its place of origination, Sarab. While a somewhat rare dog today, it still is known by several different names. Persian Mastiff is one such name. Persian Sarabi Mastiff, Sarabi Dog, and simply Sarabi are other names that identify this powerful breed.

Sarabi Mastiff Temperament Behavior and Personality

Sarabi Mastiffs are not ideal for novice dog owners. Inexperienced owners will find themselves dominated by the powerful breed. These dogs need a firm hand. For example, a dog owner that is new to training might let the large dog forge ahead on walks. With Sarabi Mastiffs, this indicates that the dog is in charge.

When examining Sarabi Mastiff temperament behavior and personality, it is important to note that while they are gentle and friendly with their families, they can be quite defensive and hostile against strangers. Here, too, it is important for the Sarabi Mastiff’s owner to be well in control. An out-of-control dog with the strength of a molosser-type breed is extremely dangerous.

Ideal Living Conditions for Sarabi Mastiffs

These large dogs require room to roam. An apartment is far from ideal for this breed; such cramped living conditions do not suit its size or its background. A fenced property is to be preferred. This Mastiff breed is independent of attitude and could take off after animals that wander into its territory.

Exercise Requirements of the Sarabi Mastiff

As a breed that was developed to work hard all day long, the Sarabi Mastiff requires quite a bit of exercise. Long walks at a minimum are important. They should have a chance to stretch their legs and scent out new territory as they go. A couple of half-hour walks each day will satisfy an adult mastiff, while puppies will require more frequent and numerous outings to work out their energy levels. Mental stimulation is as important as physical stimulation. The chance to smell is part of this. Toys that release treats when manipulated are great for such intelligent dogs.

Sarabi Mastiff and Children

When raised with children, the Sarabi Mastiff is an excellent companion and guardian. However, they do not necessarily get along well with strange children. A firm hand on a leash, at minimum, should be used when new children are introduced to the Sarabi Mastiff. Their great size makes them ill-suited to companionship with toddlers. They are not recommended for interaction with quite small children, being better suited to older children and teenagers.

Sarabi Mastiff Health Problems

A healthy breed, Sarabi Mastiff health problems are largely limited to obesity and hip dysplasia. Obesity is a problem because many do not receive sufficient exercise. A proper diet balanced with adequate exercise will ward off this issue. As with many large breeds, hip dysplasia can occur in Sarabi Mastiffs; this condition may eventually lead to joint degeneration with severe pain, as well as arthritis. Genetics play the largest part in the chance of developing elbow or hip dysplasia, so awareness of a dog’s lineage is important.

An impressive breed, Sarabi Mastiff origin and history culminate in a powerful dog that is excellent for home protection in the modern world. These Mastiffs are still used to protect flocks of sheep as well. Best suited for experienced dog owners with fenced-in properties, Sarabi Mastiffs are gentle giants with their families and faithful guardians against strangers.

Tim Schmidt


Tim is a Florida based Entrepreneur and Author. When he's not busy chasing around his 14 year old, he's caring for Snoop and Cookie. This blog is his outlet to help dumb down the often demanding journey of caring for dogs and help others.