The 1993 film Sandlot revolves around a group of children who plays baseball during the summer of 1962. With a budget of 7 million, the film grossed over 34.3 million in the box office, with worldwide VHS and DVD sales estimated to be around 75 million. The film has since been hailed as a cult classic, resulting in two direct-to-video sequels. So what kind of dog is in the Sandlot movie?
The Sandlot film features a dog named ‘The Beast’ who was rumored to eat children who trespass on its owner’s property. In the early parts of the film, The Beast is depicted within the imagination of the young children as a gigantic dog. Near the end of the film, The Beast is revealed to be a large English Mastiff. This dog in the Sandlot movie was named Hercules.
The English Mastiff is said to have a lineage as far back as ancient civilizations. Due to their large size, many historians believe that English Mastiffs are related to dogs who fought lions and other large beasts in Roman arenas. Many ancient texts describe dogs that are massive and capable of holding their own against other large and aggressive animals. Many of these ancient breeds may have been predecessors to English Mastiffs, such as the now-extinct Alaunt breed.
What we now know as the modern English Mastiff came after World War 2, where a large number of animals from North America were imported into Britain. These Mastiffs were then bred with other large breeds such as St. Bernards, which then gradually restored the breed across Britain. English Mastiffs can now be found worldwide, with many dog owners referring to them as magnificent pets.
Being the largest living canine in the world, English Mastiffs can grow up to 76 cm in height and up to 100 kg in weight. Despite their size, their wrinkled and drooped facial features give them a friendly, distinct facial expression. With that being said, many Mastiffs are said to be very wary of unfamiliar scents and faces, making them excellent guard dogs.
The rumor of ‘The Beast’ is established early on in the film, where a rival baseball team explains that ‘The Beast’ was once a dog who ate a large amount of human flesh, causing it to transform into a giant beast. The so-called beast is said to guard the junkyard, where it preys on several kids who climb over the fence of the junkyard to collect their overshot baseballs.
Later on in the film, Benny, the gang leader, decides to confront ‘The Beast’ in order to get back his prized baseball, only to discover that the beast is simply a large Mastiff named Hercules. After a chase which results in Hercules being trapped under a fallen fence, the gang rescues and befriends Hercules. Hercules then leads them to a large pile of baseballs he has hidden within the junkyard for the gang to use in their baseball games.
Hercules’s transformation from feared villain to loveable ally has endeared him to many fans of the film. Hercules’s photo wearing a shirt bearing his name is an iconic image for anyone familiar with this cult classic.