A large, muscular, powerful dog, the Mastiff dog has a broad head and body, a powerful build and legs quite wide apart. He stands at approximately 72-80cm in height when fully grown and weighs up to 73kg. His short coat comes in apricot, fawn or brindle.
- Category size: Giant
- Grooming requirements: Once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Not too noisy
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Working
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: High
One of the ancient breed types, Mastiff-like dogs have been known in the UK since before Roman times. The conquering Romans adopted them and used them as gladiators for the arenas. A popular dog of war, 400 Mastiff dog breeds are reputed to have been given by Henry VIII to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to help boost his armies. The breed has also been used for baiting bulls and bears, as well as acting as a guard dog.
A calm dog that is loving towards his family, he is a guarding breed and is indifferent towards strangers. With children in the family, he is affectionate and devoted, but his sheer size can result in accidental injury if there are little ones in his path. For this reason, he is best in a home with older kids.
As with many breeds, Mastiff dog breeds can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. They are also prone to a particular bladder condition and ligament problems in the knee (cruciate disease).
The Mastiff dog breed needs about an hour's exercise a day and are inclined to be quite lazy, enjoying a good snooze in a comfortable, warm spot. Do not over-exercise when young, as the breed is prone to skeletal problems, which can be exacerbated by muscle and joint strain in a growing dog.
Giant-breed dogs, as well as having giant appetites, benefit from a different balance of minerals and vitamins, supporting different joint and cartilage needs. The Mastiff is prone to bloating and stomach problems; try feeding smaller, more frequent meals to help minimise the risk.
The short coat is coarser around the ruff area (neck and shoulders), and requires very little attention; a brush over once a week should suffice.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
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What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information