It’s too bad, really. Fang is described in the Harry Potter books as a cowardly “boarhound,” which is traditionally a name applied to Great Danes, but he is played by a mastiff in the movies. Along with Mudge, Fang gave us Mastiff-owners a lot of good publicity. Rather than looking worried about a dog that weighs five times more than they do, most kids are excited to come and plan with our Finn.
Unfortunately, I worry that the whole Ving Rhames thing is going to change that. It’s still not even clear what types of dogs they were. I’ve heard three bullmastiffs and an English bulldog, but the pictures do not look like bullmastiffs. If you take a look at the Wikipedia pages for the English Mastiff and for its cousin, the Fila Brasileiro, you will note that while they look similar, they have very different temperaments. Us Weekly dug up an interview Rhames gave about his dogs (with some unfortunate bravado about mauling), at least one of which at the time was a Fila Brasileiro, but I would like to know the breed of the dogs involved here.
As animal control led them off, they were wagging their tails, and seemed excited by all the commotion. The police said that the dogs were known to be friendly, and had a good relationship with the caretaker. I suspect that the bites and scratches were attempts to rouse the injured caretaker, as the police reported that they were all to the extremities (not, e.g., the face or neck). It would be really sad if they were responsible for the caretaker’s death, not only for the dogs involved, but for the reputation it gives to other big dogs.