The Nebolish Mastiff is the smallest and rarest of the 80 breeds of mastiff currently in existence. Despite this, it is still classified as a giant dog, though it is dwarfed by other mastiffs. In any case, the breed is relatively new. It was developed in the 1960s in the northwestern United States and Canada in an attempt to create a more agile mastiff with none of the health problems that mastiffs tend to suffer from, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. The records of the breeding program are confusing; the species that contributed to the breed are still being argued over and will not likely be resolved without a complete mapping of the breeds DNA. The Continental Kennel Club states that the Nebolish is the result of a cross between the Neapolitan and the English Mastiff, though its claim is not backed up with any evidence. This breed has found a niche as a protector of the home and livestock, as it is one of the few breeds of mastiff capable of outpacing predators such as wolves and coyotes.
Begin by assessing the dogs size and weight, as well as taking note of any physical features. Females tend to be roughly 28 inches in height at the shoulder, while males top out at a full 3 feet. Males can weigh up to 200 lbs., while females typically hover around 120 to 130 lbs. The dog should be roughly as long as it is tall. It should have a heavy and wide bodied bone structure with significant muscle mass. The muscles should be obscured by a layer of loose skin, softening the dogs lines. The chest should be deep with the torso narrowing significantly as one looks back toward the hips. The tail should be thick and long enough for the tip to barely touch the ground. It should never be raised at anything approaching a horizontal level or greater.2
Examine the dogs fur. It should be short like and spiky like a crew cut to the touch. Beneath the fur should be a thick layer of skin which hangs loosely from the body. Rolls of fur will often collect at the elbows when the dog is in repose. As far as coloring, the dog will always have a single colored coat with a black mask over the entire muzzle, stopping level with the eyes. The coloring ranges from a light silvery tan to yellowed tan to brown to black. Often the fur along the paws and underbelly will be a bit lighter in shade.3
Conclude your inspection by examining the dogs head. It should be attached to a short neck dwarfed by the immensity of the skull. It should be very heavily built with a wide dome over the top and box-like sides. This should give way to a short, square muzzle. The forehead, brows and muzzle should be dominated by loose wrinkly skin. The ears should be short and triangular, hanging down from the far sides of the skull. The eyes should be dark brown or black and hooded by very thick orbits and brows. The sides of the muzzle should have loose hanging flesh and lips--though this is one of the few breeds of mastiff that does not drool. Unlike many other types of mastiff, the configuration of the brows, drooping lips and twinkling dark eyes should give an overall impression of immense sadness when the dog is calm or in a normal state. When excited, the dog will open its mouth and manipulate its brows to create the appearance of what a human would recognize to be joy. If the dog matches this description, then its a Nebolish Mastiff.