The Welsh Gafaelgi aka Celtic Mastiff breeding program was created by Mr G.W from Valley Forge Kennels in South Wales. This is an old write up on the breed by him.
For hundreds of years prior to the industrial revolution, Wales’s economy was agriculture, and primarily the rearing and sale of livestock. The biggest customers by far were the English, so the stock had to be transported and very often, all the way to London. This most difficult task was carried out by professional Drovers on foot and mounted, with their dogs, the Red collie for sheep herding, Corgis for keeping cattle moving, and the Gafaelgi also for moving cattle, catch dog to assist with butchery, and to guard this precious shipment from two legged and four legged thieves. During the Glyndwr rebellion when Wales was again fighting for independence, the droves still went on. The drovers were offered no protection by law at that time on the journey through English lands and had to look out for themselves. The Gafaelgis were used in a defensive roll, to harry mounted raiders and even hamstring their mounts. Droves of some 9000 head were not unknown, with the Royal Houses of England buying thousands per year. The drovers would make their way back to Wales with purses full, and this wasn’t all their money. They still had to pay the farmers for the stock, thus another hazardous journey where the Gafaelgi would show his worth and earn his crust. With the coming of the railways the Gafaelgi went into decline. In those days dogs were bred for a function not a fancy and redundancy meant just that. The legendary Gwyllgi a monstrous black dog terrorising travellers on hills and valleys probably arose from the now rarely seen Gafaelgi. Was Gelert a Gafaelgi? Who knows but there was a cattle fair in Beddgelert for hundreds of years, and he would definitely be capable of slaying a gaunt wolf.
Breed standard – Description: The Gafaelgi has strong musculature and bone structure and a well proportioned body. Head Massive, without wrinkling, with tight lips. Height Males : On average around 26 inches (65cm) Weight Males: 110 lbs (50 kg) Coat Short and of medium thickness. Colour Usually black but any solid colour is permissible. Not more than a little white on the rear toes and chest. No brindles, whites or piebald. Eyes Almond shape, any colour but light eyes are preferred, with a confident, direct gaze. Tail Straight or curved reaching the hocks. Temperament Steady, Determined, Intrepid, Fearless. Note – Bitches are 10% smaller.