Once upon a time (or for all I know, two or three times upon a time) Hannibal was getting ready to cross the Alps.
He decided to take soldiers because they fight better than hairdressers (and everyone knew about Sampson) and elephants (because elephants are well-known for enjoying a romp in the snow—not). “Why not take a dog?” said Hannibal’s friend Flavius (Flavius is Latin for “friend who knows nothing but always gives advice”).
“Um, no,” said Hannibal, picturing a Chihuahua (even though Chihuahuas hadn’t been invented yet).
Then Flavius (Latin for “friend who occasionally has a reasonably good idea”) showed Hannibal a mastiff (Latin for “freakin’ huge canine”).
“Holy cow!” said Hannibal who was never really good with animals (see: Elephants and Snow [above]).
So mastiffs marched with Hannibal, the elephants, and the soldiers over the Alps.
On the way, they met (and by “met” I don’t mean “met”) other dogs. Eventually, one of the offspring was born with a barrel of whiskey around its neck and Saint Bernards were invented.
After they crossed the Alps, all the mastiffs got together and agreed that Alp-marching wasn’t anything they were interested in doing again. Ever. In fact, they agreed that most forms of work and/or exercise were worth avoiding, a credo they follow to this day. Do not argue with a mastiff about who gets control of the channel changer.
There are lots of types of mastiff; they are all bigger than you. They are also all furrier than you. It’s possible that they eat more than you (not really). They almost certainly drool more than you. I hope.
Like most dogs, mastiffs are very sweet, delightful creatures. Except when they aren’t (like if they’re being asked to cross the Alps). Always ask the mastiff’s person before saying hello to avoid being its mid-day snack.