Korean Mastiff

The Korean Mastiff is Gentle and Exceedingly Caring even with its Smallest "Companions."

Although large and imposing, the Korean Mastiff is anything but fierce. This dog will bond very deeply with you as its owner, and wants to be with its family at all times. An endearing trait (although physically taxing, on occasion) is that this huge, gentle pet actually likes to lean on his humans, much as Newfoundlands and Great Danes do.

The Korean Mastiff originated in Korea, and makes a great guard dog. Relatively little is known about the Korean Mastiff except that the breed was started in the 19th century, and was probably produced by interbreeding of the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Tosa Inu, and the Neapolitan Mastiff. Notably, this is an extremely gentle dog and has none of the aggressiveness of the Tosa Inu, despite the inclusion of that breed in its lineage. Although the Korean Mastiff will protect his humans if absolutely necessary and by whatever means required, any fierceness or aggression this gentle giant may show is simply to defend those within its care, not because of any innate tendencies toward belligerence.

Although this breed is increasing in popularity in the United States, it still remains rare outside of its native Korea. It is estimated that the breed itself is only about 200 years old, making it relatively new as compared with other established pedigrees.

"Droopy-eyed and droopy-eared" is a commonly-used description of this dog. Its wrinkly skin and gloomy, rather lugubrious, expression seem almost ludicrous on a dog of such massive, somewhat foreboding size. The fur is generally brown, but can be mahogany or red, with a white patch on the chest as a frequent characteristic. As with most mastiff breeds, the head is large in comparison to the body. Males stand 25 to 30 inches at the shoulder, while the smaller female stands 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder. Males weigh between 160 and 185 pounds, while females weigh between 145 and 155 pounds.

These large, sweet dogs make excellent family pets, although they're still relatively unknown in the United States. Native to South Korea, they function primarily as a working dog in that country. Although they are less cherished or pampered there, they still show extreme devotion to their owners, and are known to be loyal, affectionate, docile, and calm, never intimidating unless provoked to defend an owner’s safety. They are so patient that they behave well with small children despite their size, although care should be taken (as with most mastiff breeds) that your puppy has been fully socialized and accustomed to the vulnerability of small children. Although your pet is not inclined to attack or otherwise intentionally harm your child, it may inadvertently knock your child down and cause injury simply because of its youthful exuberance and husky build. Once socialized to be around small children, though, the Korean Mastiff is gentle and exceedingly caring even with its smallest "companions."

Proper Environment
The Korean Mastiff has a moderate energy level, and will actually tend to be lazy once it matures. As a new puppy owner, be careful not to cause your dog injury with an overly zealous exercise routine while its bones are soft and still forming. Because the mastiff is such a large dog and grows so rapidly, it is common to see dogs with bone malformation simply because they were exercised too strenuously before their bones were fully developed.

Puppies will exercise themselves enough on their own if they're given enough space. You can and indeed should take your pet on a daily walk. Although your obedient pet will comply if you encourage strenuous exercise, you are strongly advised against it as this is not good for your dog. Once your dog is two years old, he can engage in more vigorous activity although his natural inclinations will probably be more mellow.

Since the Korean Mastiff absolutely loves its people, this dog will be happy in any environment as long as you are there as well. Apartment living is just fine even for these gigantic dogs because they are so gentle and obedient. Keep in mind that if your puppy carelessly knocks something over with its gangling movements, gentle training can quickly correct this problem. When you train your loving puppy, it is urged that you do so without harsh tones of voice or any physical discipline, as this will harm your exquisitely peaceful, kind, and gentle pet beyond measure. This obedient breed will learn to respect your living space as long as you can accommodate its massive size. The Korean Mastiff is so sweet-tempered that even a family with large rambunctious children is perfectly fine.

What's most notable about the Korean Mastiff in terms of its personality is that it needs to be around people. It simply wants to be with its family, nothing more and nothing less. You should not get a Korean Mastiff if you don't intend to take it with you everywhere! If you're a single person, for example, your pet will most certainly wait for you faithfully if you work long hours, but a lonely existence is not beneficial to a breed like this. It's best to get another breed who can handle a lot of time alone if you don't intend to give him or her constant companionship.

The Korean Mastiff is fairly healthy and hearty and can have a lifespan of between 7 to 12 years. Like other large dogs, it has a tendency to develop hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and something called entropion or ectropion, which is a folding inward or outward, respectively, of the eyelid. This can be surgically corrected so that the gland that causes the problem is repositioned or removed. Surgical interventions continue to evolve for this problem, but the so-called "cherry eye" can reappear even after surgery so that it requires further correction.

Another problem common to the Korean Mastiff is something called bloat. This is also a condition common in large dogs where the stomach bloats quickly and accumulates an abnormal amount of air, fluid, or solids in the stomach. It can be caused by eating too fast or by stress. The stomach becomes obstructed, taxing the organs, as blood pressure lowers, and death can follow.

If you see symptoms of bloat in your pet, take him or her to a vet immediately. Symptoms include a stomach that feels extremely rigid to the touch, along with your pet's unsuccessful attempts to vomit and extreme discomfort. The Korean Mastiff is an extremely docile and stoic dog, so if you see your pet in distress, asking to go outside repeatedly even though defecation doesn't appear to be possible, visit the vet right away. Death can literally occur within an hour or less if you don't get help.

The Korean Mastiff sheds quite minimally and needs only to be brushed weekly. However, the skin folds are deep and will need to be cleaned on a weekly basis. In addition, you should bathe your pet monthly with antibacterial shampoo.

Questions people often ask about Korean Mastiffs...

  • +Is the Korean Mastiff a banned breed?

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