Gentle protectors whose huge bodies hold an equally large heart


Toni Grzunov - Last edited on June 21st, 2021

All you need to know about the Mastiff 

If you’re looking for a large dog that is gentle and loyal, you need to look no further than the Mastiff. Also known as English mastiffs or Old English Mastiffs, these dogs are one of the oldest known dog breeds.

They are known for their extremely large size and their tendency to drool all over the place! Although this may be a dealbreaker to some people, there are certainly those that find them adorable.

Throughout history, these pups were used as guards and were even protecting humans during wars. They are not that common in the United States, but they make for wonderful pets due to their gentle and calm demeanor.

Unlike many other large dogs, Mastiffs won’t mind spending the day on the couch with you. Although they don’t have demanding grooming needs, their drool can end up all over your house, including the most unexpected places.

The Appearance of the Mastiff …

Of course, it is impossible to talk about the Mastiff without mentioning its size over and over again. These pups are huge, and naturally, it is the first thing everyone notices. They are the heaviest dog breed by a long shot.

Interestingly, the breed standard doesn’t list the maximum height for this breed, only the minimum. This should tell you enough about how big they can get.

Despite their size, these dogs are quite athletic, and they rarely seem menacing. In fact, most would agree that mastiffs are really cute.

Their wrinkled brows, droopy cheeks, and tendency to drool adds a certain clownish charm to their humongous size. They have short coats and dark ears, muzzles, and noses. The eyes of a Mastiff are brown and large.

These dogs do look quite powerful and bulky, with a big, square, broad head that has large and well-developed muscles in the forehead. They have broad, short muzzles and strong jaws. You will be able to see the Mastiff’s teeth even when it is resting.

The neck is one of the most noticeable features of a mastiff. It is incredibly muscular and pronounced with an arch at its top. It connects to the equally muscular back, which is wide and long. The chest of a Mastiff is large and wide, adding to the majestic and powerful appearance.

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What colors does a Mastiff come in?

According to the breed standard, the short coat of a Mastiff can come in three colors recognized by the American Kennel Club. Those colors are:

  • Apricot
  • Brindle
  • Fawn

Brindle usually has apricot or fawn as the background color that is then covered with dark stripes. Some white is permitted, usually on the chest, as long as it is not excessive.

If you don’t care about competing or dog shows, Mastiffs can come in other colors. These include black and blue and are quite common.

All about the Mastiff personality

Mastiffs have the DNA of a guardian since they have been fulfilling that role since ancient times. This means that these dogs are extremely loyal, eager to please, and good-natured.

They are generally quite calm but are brave and protective, which makes them wonderful family pets. They are gentle with children and can play with them without much worry. However, if your child is still a toddler, some supervision might be needed since these dogs are quite big.

Mastiffs will also get along well with cats and other dogs. Start bringing your pet to play with other animals while it is still young and it will get used to being around them quickly.

These pups are highly sensitive and very intelligent. They respond great to kindness, so always try to be calm and loving around your Mastiff.

Mastiffs are also highly affectionate and protective towards their family. These dogs will absolutely fall in love with you. While they are still puppies they can be a bit comical due to their awkward behavior. They grow up quickly though.

When it comes to other people Mastiffs will usually be indifferent towards them. This is why socialization is important since it will ensure that your dog is relaxed around strangers. If you notice that your pup shows signs of nervousness try to address it as quickly as possible.

You don’t want these overly protective dogs to become distrustful of strangers! These pups also take all of your criticism to heart and can be quite sensitive.

Is a Mastiff easy to train?

If you want a pet that will be able to learn tricks and be incredibly obedient, this is not the breed for you. Mastiffs are eager to please, but they often refuse to learn anything during your training sessions.

While their ability to feign interest while actually avoiding any actual training might be cute at first, it can become frustrating to some quickly. This is why patience is key when training a Mastiff.

Still, you shouldn’t have too much trouble controlling these pups by using a little bit of understanding. They are also easily housetrained while they are still pups, which is a great bonus.

And that’s about it, basically. Mastiffs can be described as lazy, and they won’t feel the need to impress you with any tricks or new skills. This is why short training sessions work best with them, as they lose interest quickly.

Still, never skip on training, as it will have many other benefits. One of them is the reinforcement of the fact that you are the leader of the family and your pup should listen to you. Use positive reinforcement, be kind and consistent and you definitely will see results.

Other than that always make sure to socialize your Mastiff as much as possible. Positive interactions with other pets and humans will be crucial in the development of your dog.

How much Grooming does a Mastiff need?

Mastiffs have minimal grooming needs. Brush their short coat a few times each week and you will take care of the most important part.

They don’t shed too much, although they will have two shedding periods each year when it will happen more profusely. Make sure to have a vacuum cleaner ready at all times during those times!

As they do shed, but more importantly, drool quite a bit, Mastiffs are not hypoallergenic! Look for a different large breed if you suffer from allergies.

You won’t need to bathe these pups often either, but an occasional bath will help their coarse coat look good. You might need to clean the wrinkles around their face and neck from time to time, so keep that in mind.

These pups have extremely strong nails, which means they won’t wear them off during walks. This means you should trim their nails every 3 to 4 weeks so they don’t grow too long. You will need to use a good-quality nail clipper.

Lastly, Mastiffs will require dental hygiene. Make sure to consult with your vet on what is the best toothpaste for your pet. Brush their teeth twice a week.

The Living Environment of the Mastiff

Mastiffs are known as pets that love leading the life of a couch potato. They will enjoy the occasional walk (just don’t make it too long), but they won’t mind spending the day curled up next to you while you watch TV.

These pups are known to develop joint issues, which is why the best living environment for them has no stairs. It is important that mastiffs avoid too much running and jumping while they are young. 

Even long walks can cause problems while they are developing. The reason for this is that they grow extremely fast and these workouts can become huge burdens for their bodies.

Once your Mastiff grows older it won’t refuse walks, but don’t expect them to run around and show too much enthusiasm during your march around the neighborhood. Usually, they will decide when they’ve had enough of walking and that will be it.

This is why Mastiffs make wonderful pets for families that love spending most of their time inside the house. They also don’t like being left alone, so if you like being around the house a Mastiff might be the perfect pet for you.

Of course, drooling can become a huge issue for some, which is why you should always have plenty of towels available at all times. Don’t get a Mastiff unless you’re comfortable with cleaning its drool constantly. The drool might even end up on your walls and ceiling!

When you take your Mastiff out for a walk, never do so when it is too hot outside, as these pups are prone to overheating. A walk shouldn’t last longer than 20 or 30 minutes.

The Health and Nutrition of the Mastiff

Mastiffs are large dogs, so they have a shorter lifespan. On average, they live between 7 and 10 years. They can also be prone to a number of health issues. Naturally, joint problems can be quite common, but they can also suffer from heart disease, eye problems, some cancers, and neurological issues like epilepsy.

Bloat, also known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is a common problem in Mastiffs. This is a stomach condition that occurs when the stomach gets filled with too much air and starts to twist. It can lead to death and should be treated immediately.

Demodicosis is another condition that commonly affects these dogs. It is a skin condition caused by parasites that proliferate due to a genetic immune deficiency. This can lead to severe skin irritation.

These pups are also prone to obesity, which can significantly shorten their lifespan. This is why you need to pay extra attention to the diet.

Consult with your vet on what the best food is for your Mastiff. It will depend on its age, size, and activity level. Make sure to divide its daily food into portions.

Where does the Mastiff come from?

Mastiffs are an ancient breed and have been around since 2500 B.C. They are actually depicted on murals from that era and shown hunting lions near the Tigris river.

It seems that these pups were also trained to be used in wars back then, and kept as pets by famous warlords and generals. In the year 55 B.C. Mastiffs helped defend Great Britain when Julius Caesar invaded the country.

Caesar was incredibly impressed by these dogs and he decided to take them back to Rome. There they were trained to fight in the Colosseum. These dogs were used as instruments of violence throughout history, making their docile temperament today even more surprising.

It is believed that the first Mastiff came to the United States on the Mayflower in the 17th century. These dogs became incredibly popular in the New World because of their abilities to protect and work.

Mastiffs were first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, only a year after the organization was originally formed.

Questions people often ask about Mastiff puppies

  • +Are Mastiffs good pets?

  • +Are Mastiffs aggressive?

  • +Are Mastiffs high energy?

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