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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Mastiff Dog Breed Information & Characteristics

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Mastiff Dog

The English Mastiff, one of fourteen Mastiff breeds, is a giant and imposing breed, known for its massive size, muscular build, and gentle temperament. Originating from ancient Molossian war dogs in Greece, their exact lineage is debated, but they are believed to have played a significant role in the development of the breed. Historically, Mastiffs were employed by the Roman Empire in warfare, showcasing their bravery and strength. As time progressed, these dogs found a new purpose in medieval Europe, where they became valued guardians of castles, estates, and livestock. Despite their imposing stature, English Mastiff behavior is often described as gentle, as these loving dogs are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature, making them excellent companions and family pets.

While their size may be intimidating, their temperament is typically calm and good-natured, making them well-suited for families with adequate space to accommodate their considerable size. Regular exercise and proper training for English Mastiff puppies are essential to ensure that these gentle giants grow up to be well-behaved and happy members of the family.

When considering a Mastiff dog, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a dog in need. However, if you’re on the search for Mastiff puppies and decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their dogs. Reputable Mastiff breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for the puppies. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy pup while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: Mastiff dog are an ancient breed with origins dating back to various parts of the world, including ancient Egypt, Asia, and Europe. Different types of mastiffs were bred for various purposes, such as guarding, hunting, and war.
  • Size: Mastiffs are large and powerful dogs. They can vary in size based on the specific type of mastiff breed but generally fall into the category of giant breeds.
  • Lifespan: 6 to 12 years, though some individuals may live longer with proper care and genetics.
  • Coat: They usually have a short, dense coat that can come in various colors, including fawn, brindle, apricot, and more. Coat colors and patterns vary depending on the specific mastiff breed.
  • Temperament: Mastiffs are known for their gentle and protective nature. They are often loyal, devoted, and affectionate with their families. They have a calm demeanor but can be formidable when protecting their home.
  • Exercise Needs: While they are not overly active dogs, they still need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and mental well-being. Moderate walks and playtime are usually sufficient.
  • Training: Mastiffs are generally intelligent and can be trained, but they may have an independent streak. Early socialization and consistent, positive reinforcement training are important.
  • Grooming: Their short coat requires minimal grooming. Regular brushing helps manage shedding and keeps their coat healthy.
  • Health: Like all large and giant breeds, Mastiffs can be prone to certain health issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, and heart problems. Regular veterinary care and a proper diet are crucial.

Types Of Mastiff

  • English Mastiff: One of the largest dog breeds. Males weigh between 160-230 pounds (72-104 kg).
  • Neapolitan Mastiff: This Italian breed has large, loose skin and heavy wrinkles on the face and body. They have a protective nature and used as guard dogs. They have a muscular build and can weigh between 110-150 pounds (50-68 kg).
  • Bullmastiff: Developed in England, Bullmastiffs guarded estates and caught poachers. They are a mix of English Mastiff and Bulldog. Known for their loyalty and protective instincts, they are large, powerful dogs, with males weighing around 100-130 pounds (45-59 kg).
  • Tibetan Mastiff: Originating from Tibet, this ancient breed is impressive appearance and protective nature. They have a thick double coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions. They are independent and strong-willed dogs. Males can weigh between 90-150 pounds (41-68 kg).
  • Dogue de Bordeaux: Also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff or French Mastiff, this breed hails from France. Dogue de Bordeaux has a large, muscular build and a distinctive wrinkled face. Males typically weigh between 110-145 pounds (50-66 kg).
  • Brazilian Mastiff (Fila Brasileiro): Fila Brasileiros have a strong prey drive and a protective nature. They are large, athletic dogs with males weighing between 110-200 pounds (50-90 kg).

Mastiff Dog Pictures

Adaptability



  • Adapts Well To Apartment Living



    Looking for the best dog for your apartment? Contrary to popular belief, the suitability of dogs who adapt well to apartment living goes beyond its size. Apartment dwellers have a myriad of dog breeds to choose from as potential companions, with various factors to consider. Some large breeds can adapt well to apartment living and have lower activity levels. Others may require more space and possess higher energy levels. On the other hand, certain small dog breeds with abundant energy can still find contentment with indoor playtime or brisk walks.

    However, when selecting a dog that adapts well to apartments, it is essential to prioritize your neighbors. Opting for a pet that doesn’t excessively bark and behaves politely when encountering others in shared spaces is crucial. In apartment settings, it’s worth noting that numerous small dogs may exhibit a propensity for high energy and frequent barking. This can make them less suitable for apartment living. Rather than size alone, you’ll want to think about breeds who are quiet, low-energy, and sociable towards other residents.

    Training tips for apartment dogs

    Regardless of your pup’s inherent suitability to apartment living, you will want to invest in additional training to help them be their best selves. Training dogs not inherently suited to apartment living requires extra patience and consistency. Start by establishing clear boundaries and rules within your apartment to create a structured routine for your dog. Focus on basic obedience commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “come”, and “leave it”. Barking-related training commands including “hush” or “quiet” are also crucial. This training is essential for managing your dog’s behavior both indoors and outdoors.

    Since space may be limited, prioritize leash training to ensure your dog walks calmly and obediently, especially in communal areas. Crate training can also help your dog feel safe and secure while you’re away from your apartment. This may help your pup avoid anxiety, which could lead to barking habits.

  • Good For Novice Dog Owners



    When considering adding a dog to your home, it’s important to acknowledge that some dog breeds may present less of a challenge in terms of training and temperament. These dogs tend to be more adaptable, responsive to training, and resilient, readily overcoming any training hiccups or inconsistencies. As one might expect, these breeds may be good for novice dog owners.

    Conversely, certain dogs may pose greater difficulties, particularly for first-time owners. Factors such as heightened sensitivity, independence, energy levels, or assertiveness can contribute to a more demanding ownership experience. Novice dog owners should assess their level of experience and comfort when selecting a new pet, ensuring compatibility with their lifestyle and capabilities for a mutually rewarding relationship.

    Tips for first-time or novice dog owners

    For first-time or novice dog owners, pet ownership can be both exciting and daunting. As a bit of advice, research breeds thoroughly before bringing a dog home. Each breed has their unique traits, energy levels, and care requirements. Consider factors such as size, exercise needs, grooming demands, and temperament to find a breed that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.

    Prioritizing training and socialization at an early age is essential. You may want a breed who is more easy to train or perhaps possesses a lower energy level. Establishing clear boundaries and expectations early on lays the foundation for a well-behaved and well-adjusted dog. Basic obedience training such as teaching commands like sit, stay, and come, is crucial for effective communication and building a strong bond with your new best friend. Additionally, exposing your dog to various environments, people, and other animals helps prevent behavioral issues and promotes confidence and adaptability. Consistent care, patience, and love are key ingredients for a fulfilling and rewarding relationship with your dog.

  • Sensitivity Level



    Sensitivity levels in dogs vary widely among breeds and individuals. This trait can be determined by how a dog responds to their environment. While some dogs remain unfazed by stern reprimands or surrounding stimuli, others are more sensitive. Even the slightest disapproving glance or the sound of a passing car can affect a sensitive dog. Dogs with a low sensitivity level, also known as “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” or “thick-skinned,” are better equipped to handle a bustling household, assertive owners, and unpredictable routines. If you have young children, frequently host social gatherings, engage in noisy activities like playing in a band, or live a busy, unpredictable life, a low sensitivity level dog may be the ideal choice for you.

    Highly sensitive dogs are wired differently, with research indicating that their brains process sensory input more deeply. Evolutionarily speaking, scientists theorize high sensitivity levels could aid in survival by functioning as an early warning system, alerting the pack imminent danger. Sensitivity in dogs also includes how they interact with humans and other animals. Some dogs are naturally more sensitive, quickly picking up on subtle cues and changes in their surroundings. Others are more resilient and are able to brush off minor disturbances. Factors such as genetics, early socialization, and life experiences can all contribute to a dog’s sensitivity levels. Highly sensitive dogs may react strongly to loud noises, sudden movements, or changes in routine, while less sensitive dogs may remain calm and composed in similar situations. Being “highly-sensitive” doesn’t always only mean “highly anxious”. Highly-sensitive dogs may also be more empathetic, more affectionate, or serve as better guardians.

    • See Dogs Who Have Low Sensitivity Levels

    Tips for highly-sensitive dogs

    Helping highly sensitive dogs involves creating a calm environment, establishing predictable routines, and using positive reinforcement training techniques. Gradually expose them to new experiences while providing mental stimulation and regular exercise to reduce anxiety and boredom. Monitor their diet and health, offering emotional support and reassurance to help them feel secure and valued.

  • Tolerates Being Alone



    Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work. On the other hand, some breeds are instinctually more independent and easily tolerates being alone.

    It’s essential to remember that individual dogs’ tolerance for being alone can vary greatly, depending on factors such as age, temperament, and training. Providing appropriate mental stimulation, toys, and a comfortable environment can help alleviate any potential distress when leaving these breeds alone.

    Tips for leaving your dog home alone

    When leaving your dog home alone, it’s essential to create a calm and comfortable environment for them. Even if your dog tolerates being alone, always make sure they have access to their favorite toys, bedding, and water. Consider leaving on soothing background noise, such as calming music or a white noise machine, to help drown out any outside sounds and provide a sense of security.

    Before leaving, give your pup an energetic play session or walk to tire them out and alleviate any pent-up energy. Avoid making a big fuss when you leave or return to prevent reinforcing separation anxiety. Additionally, consider providing a special treat or puzzle toy to keep your dog occupied while you’re away, helping to distract them and make their alone time more enjoyable. You may also want to gradually increase the duration of your absences over time

  • Tolerates Cold Weather



    Several dog breeds are naturally equipped to tolerate cold weather and climates, thanks to their thick coats, sturdy builds, and unique adaptations. Some breeds from snowy climates and mountainous regions may immediately come to mind, like the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and Bernese Mountain Dog. Renowned for their cold tolerance and ability to excel in snowy environments, these cold-weather breeds not only tolerate freezing temperatures but may be happiest in the chill. Thanks to dense double coats that provide excellent insulation against the cold, they have no trouble adapting when the temperatures drop.

    Additionally, these dogs may have a higher body fat percentage have a built-in layer of insulation that helps retain body heat in cold weather. Physical attributes also play a role in cold tolerance, enabling dogs to navigate snowy or icy terrain with ease. Certain breeds may have specialized adaptations, such as furry feet for traction on slippery surfaces or water-resistant coats for protection against moisture and wind chill. Moreover, a dog’s natural instincts, such as seeking shelter or burrowing in the snow for warmth, can further enhance their ability to tolerate cold weather.

    Safety tips for cold-weather breeds

    Although come breeds may easily tolerate cold weather, it’s important to research temperature guidelines for safety. For cold-weather breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and Samoyed, provide adequate protection and care during cold weather. Ensure they have access to shelter from the elements, such as a well-insulated dog house or a warm indoor space, particularly during extreme weather conditions. Keep outdoor excursions brief and monitor your dog closely for signs of discomfort or frostbite, paying attention to their ears, paw pads, and tail. Consider using protective paw wax or booties to shield their feet from ice and salt. Additionally, adjust their diet to provide extra calories during colder months to support their energy needs.

  • Tolerates Hot Weather



    Unlike cold-weather breeds and brachycephalic dogs, certain dog breeds are well-adapted to warmer climate and tolerate hot weather with relative ease. Breeds such as the Chihuahua, Dalmatian, and Basenji have short coats and lean body structures that facilitate heat dissipation, allowing them to stay comfortable in warmer weather. Their minimal fur reduces the risk of overheating, and their efficient panting mechanisms help regulate their body temperature effectively. These breeds often enjoy basking in the sun and participating in outdoor activities even during hot days, although owners should still ensure they have access to shade and water to prevent dehydration.

    Moreover, some breeds have evolved in regions with hot climates, equipping them with natural adaptations to thrive in warm weather conditions. These breeds have developed unique features such as hairless or short coats, as well as physiological traits that aid in heat tolerance. Their ability to cope with high temperatures makes them suitable companions for owners living in warm climates, although proper care and attention to hydration and sun protection are still essential to ensure their well-being during hot weather.

    Safety tips for hot weather

    Even if your dog tolerates hot weather, it’s still important to prioritize safety. You can check out guidelines on assessing if the weather is too hot for your dog. Ensure your dog always has access to fresh water, provide shaded areas in your yard or outdoor space, and schedule outdoor activities during cooler times of the day to prevent overheating. Never leave your dog in a parked car, monitor for signs of heat exhaustion, and protect their paws from hot pavement. Consider using pet-safe sunscreen on exposed skin areas and seek veterinary assistance if symptoms persist.

All-around friendliness



  • Affectionate With Family



    When it comes to unconditional love and unwavering loyalty, few animals can rival the affectionate nature of dogs. These remarkable creatures have earned their reputation as man’s best friend, and it’s no wonder! Many breeds are particularly renowned for their love and devotion to their families. With their warm hearts and wagging tails, affectionate family dogs enrich the lives of their owners in countless ways.

    While we like to think that all dogs are creatures of love, some breeds may be more outwardly affectionate than others. Some of this is due to temperament, breed group, and purpose. For example, dogs first bred for working or guarding independently of their human companions may show less affection than dogs specifically bred to be companion animals. Of course, this is no indication of the bond between a human and pup, but rather related to temperament and breed origin.

    Affection may be demonstrated through a myriad of heartwarming behaviors. This may including tail-wagging greetings, cuddles on the couch, and an ever-present eagerness to be by their family’s side. This devotion extends to both adults and children, making dogs wonderful additions to family households. The warmth of a dog’s affection not only provides emotional support but also creates an environment of joy and connection within the family, fostering a sense of togetherness.

    How To Know If A Dog Is Good With Families

    The affectionate nature of family dogs extends beyond play and cuddles. Dogs have a remarkable ability to sense their owner’s emotions, offering comfort and support during difficult times. Whether it’s a wagging tail after a long day at work or a sympathetic nuzzle during moments of sadness, they prove time and again that they are attuned to their family’s needs.

    It is important to note that not all dogs of the same breed will be equally affectionate. Some dogs may be more independent or aloof, while others may be more clingy or demanding of attention. The best way to find out how affectionate a dog is is to meet them in person and interact with them.

  • Kid-Friendly



    If you’re looking for a pup to join your household, you may first want to consider the most kid-friendly dog breeds. A gentle nature, patience, and the sturdiness to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs children can dish out can be some of the most kid-friendly dog-defining traits. Of course, a pup with a blasé attitude toward running and screaming children would be a bonus.

    At first glance, you may be surprised by the most kid-friendly dogs. Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers, an affectionate Pit Bull breed. Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.

    It’s important to note all dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences. Additionally, training plays a big role in how dogs will get along with kids. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, pointy teeth, and may bite under stressful circumstances or mishandling. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone without supervision.

    How to Know If a Dog is Kid-Friendly

    Determining if a dog is kid-friendly involves assessing various aspects of their temperament, behavior, and breed characteristics. A kid-friendly dog should display a gentle and calm demeanor, showing an ability to handle the unpredictable behaviors and noises associated with children. Additionally, behavioral signals like wagging tails and a relaxed body language often indicates a positive interaction with kids.

    Breed tendencies also play a role in gauging kid-friendliness. Some breeds are inherently more predisposed to be good with children. It’s essential to consider the dog’s personality, socialization history, and any signs of anxiety or discomfort. A well-socialized dog that has positive experiences with children is more likely to be kid-friendly, regardless of their breed. Conducting meet-and-greet sessions under controlled circumstances and observing the dog’s reactions to children’s actions can provide valuable insights into their suitability for family life.

  • Dog Friendly



    Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may intimidate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others are naturally more dog friend and would rather play than fight. It’s important to note that breed isn’t the only factor when it comes to how dog-friendly your pup will be. Sure, some dogs breeds first bred for working independently may not immediately gravitate towards other dogs, but early socialization plays a lot more into how dogs will interact than their origin. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age or who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood are more likely to have good canine social skills.

    Still, some dog-friendly breeds are more pack-oriented and naturally thrive with other dogs. Dogs with this trait typically exhibit an innate ability to get along well with other pups. Dogs with this trait may be more eager to greet new dogs, display more social behavior at places like dog parks, or more confidently allow intimate sniffs from their canine acquaintances. This quality extends beyond mere tolerance and often manifests as a genuine enjoyment of the company of fellow canines, making these dogs ideal companions for those looking to build a multi-dog household. Additionally, they’ll pair well with pet parents hoping to take their pooch on social adventures, such as going to dog park or hanging out on dog-friendly patios.

    Raising a dog-friendly dog

    While some dog breeds are more naturally inclined to make friends with other dogs, you may choose a puppy or adult dog that needs a little help. It’s may be common knowledge that there is a small window during a puppy’s early development when they are the most adaptable in terms of how they’ll interact with other dogs. You may, however, bring home an adult dog or a rescue and not get the opportunity. Not to fear! There are still many ways to help your pooch become dog-friendly.

    Socialization is always the best way to ensure your dog becomes their most friendly self. You can help by exposing your pooch to as many sights, sounds, and environments as possible. Set up doggy playdates, enroll in dog training classes, or visit the dog park. Of course, be sure to do your research on dog training methods to ensure your dog will listen to you in social settings. Confidence is key!

  • Friendly Toward Strangers



    Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even reserved. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash in public.

    However, it’s worth noting that certain breeds might initially appear more reserved or aloof when encountering new people. Some individuals appreciate this quality, as not everyone seeks a highly sociable canine companion. There is a preference for the calm and composed personalities exhibited by specific breeds. It’s essential to recognize that not all breeds necessarily need to be inherently friendly with strangers; however, it is crucial that your pup is not aggressive or reactive in such situations.

    Raising a stranger-friendly dog

    While some dog breeds are more naturally inclined to make friends with strangers, you may choose a puppy or adult dog that needs a little help. It’s may be common knowledge that there is a small window during a puppy’s early development when they are the most adaptable in terms of how they’ll interact with humans. You may, however, bring home an adult dog or a rescue and not get the opportunity. Not to fear! There are still many ways to help your pooch become stranger-friendly.

    Socialization is always the best way to ensure your dog becomes their most friendly self. You can help by exposing your pooch to as many sights, sounds, and environments as possible. Set up doggy playdates, enroll in dog training classes, or visit the dog park. Of course, be sure to do your research on dog training methods to ensure your dog will listen to you in social settings. Confidence is key!

Health And Grooming Needs



  • Amount Of Shedding



    When considering adding a pup into your home, you may want to consider the amount of shedding your furry companion will experience. Regardless of the dog breed, you will want to be prepared for at least some amount of pet hair on your clothing and around your house. Of course, this amount can vary greatly as shedding tendencies differ significantly among breeds. Some dogs shed continuously, especially dog breeds with heavy double-coats or long fur. Others undergo seasonal “blowouts” and some hardly shed at all.

    Having a set of grooming tools at your disposal is essential for tending to your dog’s coat. Deshedding tools are excellent for eliminating excess hair that can become trapped in your dog’s fur. There are also brushes designed to gently remove dead hair without causing discomfort to your dog’s skin. Grooming gloves and bathing brushes can aid in loosening dead hair during shampooing, making it easier to brush away. Clippers and a detangling spray effectively tackle matted fur. Additionally, home tools for managing pet hair on fabric and furniture can make a big difference. Pet tape rollers, fur brooms, and specialized vacuums can eliminate pet hair from carpet, clothing, and even furniture.

    If you’re someone who values a spotless environment, you might want to opt for a low-shedding breed. Otherwise, equip yourself with the right tools to fight the fur. Concerns about shedding shouldn’t prevent you from relishing your time at home with your dog. Establishing a consistent grooming regimen can significantly minimize the presence of loose hair in your living space and on your clothing. For additional guidance on managing dog shedding, explore our recommendations for addressing excessive shedding and designing your home with your pet (and their shedding tendencies) in mind.

  • Drooling Potential



    Often referred to as “heavy droolers,” some slobbery dog breeds are known for their drooling potential. This trait is more prevalent in certain breeds with loose, jowly skin. A few breeds that may come to mind when thinking about dog drool are Saint Bernards, Bloodhounds, and Mastiffs. Drooling is a natural behavior influenced by factors like genetics, breed characteristics, and individual anatomy. Even among breeds with a higher drooling potential, some dogs may drool very little while others may drool a lot.

    While some dogs may only drool more during specific activities like eating or in anticipation of food, others may be consistent heavy droolers due to their inherent physiological makeup. Living with a dog that drools requires a degree of acceptance and proactive management. Pet owners of drooling breeds often keep absorbent towels or bandanas on hand to wipe away excess saliva. This may be particularly necessary after meals or playtime. Regular dental care can also contribute to reduce excessive drooling by addressing potential oral health issues. Despite the occasional mess, many pet owners of drooling dogs appreciate their unique charm.

    Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re not a fan of the extra slime, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

    Dealing with drooling

    Slobbery Dog At Glasgow Park.
    (Photo Credit: Sonya Kate Wilson | Getty Images)

    Owners with slobbery dog breeds should establish a baseline for their dog’s normal drooling levels. There may be instances where excessive drooling indicates an underlying issue rather than typical breed behavior. Excessive drooling in dogs can serve as an indicator of potential underlying issues. Various factors, such as stress, high temperatures, dental problems, allergic reactions, or nausea, may contribute to increased drooling. If your dog usually isn’t very slobbery or if additional concerning symptoms accompany sudden and pronounced drooling, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian. Keeping track of what is typical for your dog allows you to quickly identify deviations from the norm and address potential health concerns or discomfort.

  • Easy To Groom



    Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Easy-to-groom dogs are a smart choice for pet owners looking for a low-maintenance companion. Breeds with short coats or those that shed minimally often fall into the category of easy-to-groom dogs. Of course there are exceptions to this statement. For example, allergy-friendly, low-shedding Poodles or Poodle Mixes like the Labradoodle or Bernedoodle require frequent grooming. Low-maintenance dog breeds require less frequent brushing sessions. These pups may be more convenient for individuals with busy schedules or those looking for a hassle-free pet care routine.

    Owners of low-maintenance dogs also enjoy the benefit of reduced grooming-related expenses. Because these breeds typically don’t require professional services, these low-maintenance breeds end up being more budget-friendly. Common examples of easy-to-groom breeds include Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, and Dachshunds. While regular grooming remains essential for all dogs, the easy-to-groom breeds offer a practical option for pet parents seeking a dog without the added demands of intricate care routines. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming. Alternatively, you may want to consider the budget required to pay someone else to do it.

    Some breeds have unique grooming needs

    A Poodle Mix smiles happily at the camera during a grooming session. This type of dog is not an an easy-to-groom breed and requires additional maintenance.
    (Photo Credit: Iuliia Bondar | Getty Images)

    Beyond the usual brushing, clipping, and trimming needs, some breeds require additional grooming for their unique needs. Breeds such as Pugs and Shar-Peis have loose skin and wrinkles that require extra vigilance during bathing.

    First, to prevent grime and even bacteria from becoming a problem, clean between the folds of their skin with damp cotton and then dry well. Keeping these areas dry is also important after a bath or a walk in the rain. Long, droopy-eared pups like the Basset Hound or Cocker Spaniel must be checked weekly for buildups of wax and dirt. A cotton wad with a little water or mineral oil can help keep the ears clean and dry. Drops specifically designed to clean and dry the canal should also be applied for these ear infection-prone dogs. Hair that grows around the canal entrance should be kept trimmed. You can check with a professional groomer or veterinarian for instructions on how to properly and safely do this. Special tools may be available for this unique task.

  • General Health



    While most dogs experience good general health, some breeds may be prone to specific health issues. Conditions like hip dysplasia, cancer, or heart conditions can result from poor breeding practices or genetic dispositions. However, it’s important to note that not every dog of a particular breed will necessarily develop these diseases. Rather, they only face an elevated risk compared to other breeds.

    When considering adding a dog or puppy to your home, it’s advisable to research the prevalent genetic illnesses associated with the breed you’re interested in adopting. Additionally, it can be beneficial to inquire whether your chosen shelter or rescue organization possesses information regarding the physical health of the potential pup’s parents and other relatives. This knowledge can aid in understanding potential health risks and ensuring the best possible start for your new furry family member.

    Happy dog with good general health running on a trail
    (Photo Credit: Mike Linnane / 500px | Getty Images)

    The CHIC (Canine Health Information Center), a program created by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), provides a centralized database for canine health information, particularly focusing on orthopedic and genetic conditions. Despite robust general health, they recommend several health screenings for breeds due to potential predispositions to certain conditions. After screening, the CHIC assigns a number to a dog’s test results. It doesn’t indicate normal results, just that all necessary tests were done and results made available. A CHIC report accompanies the number, detailing the tests, the dog’s age during testing, and the results.

    The CHIC program adjusts its requirements based on evolving breed health concerns. Existing CHIC numbers aren’t affected if requirements change. This number is also displayed on AKC documents, including Certified Pedigrees, Registration Applications, and Registration Certificates. This record signifies to potential puppy parents and breed enthusiasts that recommended tests have been completed. Although the CHIC database only includes purebred dogs, you can look up a hybrid breed’s parent breeds for potential health considerations.

  • Potential For Weight Gain



    Certain dog breeds have a predisposition towards hearty appetites. As a result, they may also be prone to weight gain, similar to humans. Just like in people, obesity in dogs can lead to various health issues. If you opt for a breed prone to packing on pounds, it’s essential to implement strategies to manage their weight effectively. This includes limiting treats, ensuring they receive sufficient exercise, and regulating their daily food intake by serving measured meals instead of leaving food accessible all day.

    Consulting with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet is crucial. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your pet’s specific needs to help maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain not only poses direct health risks but can also exacerbate existing conditions such as arthritis, leading to further complications if left unchecked. Thus, proactive management of your dog’s weight is integral to their overall well-being and longevity.

    Ways to manage weight gain in dogs

    Big white dog sitting on the veterinarian scales while doctor inspects the dog and owner behind the dog.
    (Photo Credit: RossHelen | Getty Images)

    To help your dog manage weight gain, start by consulting with your veterinarian to develop a safe and effective weight loss plan tailored to your pet’s individual needs. This may involve adjusting their diet to a lower calorie option or a specialized weight management formula. It may also include measuring their food portions to control calorie intake, and reducing the frequency of treats. Additionally, increasing their physical activity through regular exercise is essential for burning calories and promoting weight loss.

    Identifying whether your dog is overweight involves assessing their body condition and observing for signs of excess weight. You can perform a simple visual and tactile evaluation by feeling their ribs and observing their waistline. In a healthy weight dog, you should be able to feel their ribs easily with a slight covering of fat. They should have a noticeable waist when viewed from above. If your dog is overweight, you may observe visible signs such as a lack of a defined waist, a rounded or bulging abdomen, difficulty moving or breathing, or reduced energy levels.

  • Size



    Get ready to meet the giants of the doggy world! Large dog breeds aren’t just big balls of fluff, they’re like loving, oversized teddy bears on a mission to steal your heart. Need some convincing? Let’s dive into the awesome benefits of owning one!

    First things first, these pooches are a living security system! With their impressive size and thunderous barks, they’ll have any would-be intruder running for the hills. Talk about peace of mind! Plus, who needs an alarm when you’ve got a furry giant protecting your castle?

    But that’s not all. Large dog breeds are all about loyalty and devotion. They’ll stick by your side through thick and thin, becoming your most dedicated bestie. Their love knows no bounds! When you have a giant fluffball showing you unconditional love, you’ll feel like the luckiest human on the planet.

    Now, let’s talk about their talents. These big fellas are the ultimate working partners. With brains and brawn, they’re up for any challenge. From search and rescue missions to lending a helping paw to those in need, these dogs are superheroes in fur coats. They’ll make you proud every step of the way!

    Don’t let their size fool you—these gentle giants have hearts as big as their paws. They’re incredible with kids and other pets, spreading their love like confetti. Their patience and kindness make them perfect family pets, ensuring harmony in your household.

    Oh, and get ready to break a sweat! These dogs are fitness enthusiasts, and they’ll keep you on your toes. Daily walks, jogs, and play sessions will not only keep them happy and healthy but will also give you a reason to ditch the couch and join in on the fun. It’s a win-win situation!

    So, if you’re ready for a dose of big love, go ahead and consider a large dog breed. They’re the best wing-dog you could ever ask for, ready to make your life a thousand times more exciting, loving, and downright awesome! Get ready for the big adventure of a lifetime!

Trainability



  • Easy To Train



    Easy-to-train dogs have an innate ability to quickly understand the relationships between prompts, actions, and rewards. For example, when told to “sit,” easy-to-train dogs quickly associate the command with the action of sitting, knowing that compliance results in a positive outcome, such as receiving a treat. This ability to learn quickly makes training easier and more enjoyable for both the dog and the owner. On the contrary, some dogs may need more time, patience, and consistent repetition to form these associations, emphasizing the importance of tailoring training methods to individual learning styles.

    It’s crucial to keep in mind that dogs that present challenges aren’t necessarily less intelligent; rather, they may exhibit a more independent nature shaped by their breeding history. Breeds like Livestock Guardian Dogs, for instance, developed an inherent independence due to their historical role in guarding flocks without constant human supervision. This independent spirit, while a unique and valuable trait, can pose challenges when it comes to imparting basic commands. Having been bred to think and act autonomously, they may require a bit more patience and understanding from their owners.

    Dog training guidelines

    Cute dog working on training. This dog gives his owner a paw in exchange for a treat.
    (Photo Credit: Kinga Krzeminska | Getty Images)

    Training is essential to keep your dog safe in various situations, whether it’s staying within the yard or maintaining control during emergencies. The mental exercise from training helps keep your dog sharp, burn off excess energy, and minimize undesirable behaviors. Consistency and patience are key; reward your dog when they get it right. As the adage says, you can always teach an old dog new tricks.

    No matter what you’re trying to teach your dog, from housetraining to “heel,” there are a few basic guidelines that can help make the process easier. Be sure to check out our feature on several of the most popular dog training methods. We also have articles on the basics of leash training for your pups. If you’ve got the basics covered and are looking for a few extra tricks, check out 10 Fun, Impressive Tricks You Can Teach Any Dog.

  • Intelligence



    Dogs exhibit a remarkable spectrum of intelligence, encompassing a wide array of cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills. From the astute problem-solving abilities of breeds like Border Collies to the keen observational skills of German Shepherds, canine intelligence manifests in various forms. Some dogs excel in tasks requiring social intelligence, such as understanding human emotions and cues. Other may showcase exceptional learning capacity in their ability to master complex commands and tasks. Additionally, certain breeds demonstrate remarkable memory retention and the ability to adapt to new situations swiftly. However, it’s essential to recognize that intelligence in dogs is diverse and multifaceted. Intelligence is influenced not only by genetics, but also by individual experiences and environmental factors.

    Dogs bred for tasks requiring decision-making, intelligence, and focus, such as herding livestock, require mental stimulation akin to how dogs bred for endurance need physical exercise. Lacking such mental engagement, they may resort to activities like digging or chewing to occupy themselves. It’s worth noting that while intelligence is valued, it doesn’t always correlate with trainability, especially in breeds bred for independent thinking. Hello, Livestock Guardians! Incorporating obedience training, interactive toys, and engaging activities like dog sports or careers such as agility and search and rescue can provide the mental challenge these dogs crave.

    Mental stimulation for your dog

    Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is crucial for their well-being. One way to do this is through interactive play and toys. Treat-dispensing toys or puzzles that require problem-solving can keep your dog entertained and mentally engaged. Regularly rotating toys can also prevent boredom. Additionally, incorporating training sessions into your daily routine provides mental stimulation while strengthening your bond with your dog. Teaching new tricks or practicing obedience commands challenges their mind and keeps them sharp.

    Another way to stimulate your dog mentally is through enrichment activities. This includes activities that engage their senses, such as hide-and-seek games using treats or scent trails. Taking your dog on different walking routes or exploring new environments introduces novelty and mental stimulation. Additionally, providing opportunities for social interaction with other dogs through playdates or visits to dog parks can stimulate their minds through socialization. Regularly changing up their environment and offering new experiences helps prevent monotony and keeps your dog mentally sharp and happy.

  • Potential For Mouthiness



    Mouthiness, a tendency to nip, chew, and playfully bite, is a common behavior in puppies across many dog breeds. For some breeds, the tendency persists into adulthood, particularly with sporting and herding breeds. Because of this inherent instinct in many breeds, mouthy dogs are more inclined to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members. Of course, this isn’t always appreciated! They require training to learn that chewing on toys is acceptable, but not on people. Breeds with a higher potential for mouthiness often greatly enjoy interactive games like fetch, as well as chewing on toys stuffed with kibble and treats.

    Dog biting and mouthing

    Puppy mouthing and nipping may seem cute initially, but it can develop into an unwanted habit as the dog matures, especially in breeds with a potential for mouthiness. It’s important to understand that in the early stages of a puppy’s development, biting and mouthing is one of the ways they begin to explore and understand their environment. These aren’t true bites, but rather the puppy using their mouth to sense and interact with its surroundings. Even so, it’s a good idea to teach your dog commands like “drop it” or “let go” from a young age. This will help curb the mouthing behavior before it becomes an entrenched problem in adulthood.

    Training dogs with a potential for mouthiness

    A black retriever, a breed type prone to potential mouthiness, happily holds a tennis ball. This happy dog sits on green grass, looking at the camera.
    (Photo Credit: TJ_Kloster | Getty Images)

    The best way to train your dog out of mouthiness is to teach them how to play with a gentle mouth. Whenever your dog puts their mouth on your skin, make a high-pitched yelp or squeal. This teaches them that biting hurts. As they learn that their bite causes discomfort, they’ll start to use less pressure. It’s crucial to help your dog understand that they may accidentally apply too much force, resulting in a painful bite. You’ll need to consistently use this technique until your dog only applies the lightest pressure, using just their gums, when engaging in playful mouthing behaviors.

    The key is to show your dog that hard bites are unacceptable, so they learn to play more gently with a soft mouth. The yelping response reinforces this lesson over time, allowing your dog to develop more control and gentleness when playing with their mouth.CopyRetry

  • Prey Drive



    Dogs with a high prey drive have an instinctive desire to stalk, capture, and prey upon potential food sources. Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase — and sometimes kill — other animals. Anything whizzing by — such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars — can trigger that instinct.

    How to address a high prey drive

    Off-leash adventures are too great a temptation for pups who will wander and hunt. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed. And, even on a leash, you may experience your dog pulling on the leash to reach rodents or birds in their sight. Otherwise, these pups should be kept in a fenced area when outdoors. If your pup has a high prey drive, you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard.

    These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

    Other behavioral concerns

    Observing your dog’s prey drive, which is instinctual and biologically-rooted, is not the same as observing aggression. Much aggression is born of fear and anxiety, especially in the case of dog aggression toward humans.

    The tendency to wander, even into oncoming traffic, can produce diasterious results for pups with predatory instincts. It can also lead to pups being bitten by snakes or attacked by other wild animals they may pursue while on the hunt.

  • Tendency To Bark Or Howl



    Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes. Learn more about breeds with a tendency to bark or howl.

    If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby who may not be thrilled about the booming barks? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.

    Effective ways to deal with a vocal dog

    Portrait of Basset Hound, a breed with a tendency to bark or howl, standing on rock
    (Photo Credit: Mica Ringo | Getty Images)

    Training a dog with a tendency to bark or howl excessively requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques. Begin by identifying the triggers that prompt your dog to bark, whether it’s the doorbell, passing cars, or other animals. Once you understand the underlying causes, work on desensitizing your dog to these stimuli through gradual exposure and counterconditioning. For example, if your dog barks at the doorbell, practice ringing the bell repeatedly at a low volume while rewarding calm behavior with treats or praise. Gradually increase the intensity of the stimulus while continuing to reward quiet responses, reinforcing the idea that remaining quiet brings positive rewards.

    In addition to desensitization exercises, teach your dog an alternative behavior to replace barking, such as “quiet” or “speak.” Use these commands in training sessions to encourage your dog to bark on cue and then stop when prompted. Consistency is crucial, so ensure everyone in the household is on board with the training plan and reinforces the desired behavior consistently. Finally, provide mental and physical stimulation through regular exercise and interactive toys to help alleviate boredom and reduce the likelihood of excessive barking.

  • Wanderlust Potential



    Dogs possess a natural inclination for exploration and adventure, often displaying wanderlust tendencies that stem from their ancestral instincts. With their keen sense of smell and curiosity, dogs are drawn to new scents, sights, and experiences. As a result, they may be inherently prone to wander off if given the opportunity. This wanderlust potential varies across breeds, with some exhibiting stronger instincts for exploration than others. Breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Beagle, and Australian Shepherd are known for their independent spirits and high energy levels. They may be more likely to wander off in search of excitement or stimulation. However, even breeds typically considered more docile may still succumb to wanderlust if not properly trained or supervised.

    Safety tips for dogs with wanderlust potential

    Close-up of Beagle, a breed prone to wanderlust, looking away while standing on field.
    (Photo Credit: IzaLysonArts / 500px | Getty Images)

    To mitigate the risk of dogs wandering away, responsible pet ownership involves implementing preventative measures and training techniques. Providing adequate physical and mental stimulation through regular exercise, interactive play, and enrichment activities can help satisfy a dog’s innate desire for exploration and reduce the likelihood of wandering behavior. Having a general awareness of the “escape artist” tendencies in certain breeds can help you in ensuring the safety of your pup. Additionally, training commands such as recall and leash manners are essential for establishing boundaries and ensuring that dogs remain under control when outdoors. Investing in secure fencing for outdoor spaces and using identification tags or microchips can also provide added security and peace of mind in case of accidental escapes.

Exercise needs

  • High Energy Level



    Energetic dogs, bred for specific tasks such as retrieving for hunters or herding livestock, are always ready for action and have enough stamina to work a full day. Additionally, active dogs with high energy levels necessitate a significant amount of physical and mental activity. These dogs enjoy jumping, playing, and discovering new sights and smells. Owners of high-energy breeds must provide outlets for their dogs’ physical and mental needs to keep them healthy and happy.

    Low-energy dogs, on the other hand, are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to spend their days sleeping. When choosing a dog breed, you should consider your activity level and the energy level of your potential companion. Determine whether you would find certain dogs’ lively and energetic personalities invigorating or potentially overwhelming. Understanding a breed’s energy requirements is critical for ensuring a harmonious match between the dog’s needs and the owner’s preferences, resulting in a satisfying and balanced companionship.

    Exercise needs for your active dog

    Candid portrait of an Australian Shepherd, an active dog with a high energy level breed, on a run in the woods.
    (Photo Credit: VSFP | Getty Images)

    Exercise requirements for high-energy dogs can vary even within the same breed. It’s also important to note that age doesn’t exempt senior dogs from exercise; they simply require shorter walks compared to their younger years. For energetic dogs, a leashed stroll around the block won’t be enough. The goal is to ensure that your dog is sufficiently tired and content by the time the exercise session concludes.

    To meet the exercise needs of active breeds, it’s recommended to provide at least 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise most days. This applies not only to larger breeds but also to smaller ones. Some toy breeds are prone to obesity and may need more activity than one might assume. Safety is paramount, so during extreme weather conditions, it’s advisable to stay indoors and engage your dog’s mind through activities like trick training, interactive play with toys, or running up and down stairs together. A well-rounded exercise routine involves activities that challenge both mental and physical muscles, such as exploring new hiking trails. Check out our guide on the Top 10 Ways to Exercise With Your Dog.

  • Intensity



    A dog with high intensity exudes boundless energy and enthusiasm in everything they do, whether it’s pulling on the leash, tackling obstacles with gusto, or devouring meals with voracious appetite. While their exuberance can be endearing, it also necessitates consistent training to instill good manners. However, not everyone will appreciate their high energy levels. Some high intensity dogs may not pair well to households with young children or individuals who are elderly or frail, as their exuberance could inadvertently pose a risk.

    In contrast, a low-intensity dog approaches life with a more relaxed and subdued demeanor. These dogs typically exhibit a calmer disposition, preferring leisurely strolls and gentle interactions over exuberant displays of energy. Their tranquil nature often makes them ideal companions for those seeking a more laid-back canine companion. This may be particularly true in homes where a quieter atmosphere is preferred.

    Exercise and training for high-intensity dogs

    Mix breed dog caught in the middle of a jump.
    (Photo Credit: shevvers | Getty Images)

    Training and exercise are crucial for dogs with high-intensity personalities to manage their energy effectively. Consistent training using positive reinforcement techniques helps instill good manners and impulse control. Engaging them in mentally stimulating activities, alongside regular physical exercise like agility or fetch, is essential to prevent boredom-driven behaviors and promote overall well-being. Variety in their exercise routine, such as exploring new trails or participating in dog sports, ensures both physical and mental stimulation for a balanced and fulfilling life.

  • Different dog breeds have varying exercise needs, and understanding these requirements is crucial for ensuring a happy and healthy canine companion. Some breeds are content with a leisurely evening stroll around the block, while others demand daily, vigorous exercise routines, particularly those originally bred for physically demanding tasks like herding or hunting. Without sufficient physical activity, these high-energy breeds may face issues such as weight gain and express their pent-up energy in undesirable behaviors like excessive barking, chewing, and digging.

    We often think of exercise only as a health issue, but it has significant day-to-day effects on a dog’s behavior as well. Dogs — particularly puppies and young dogs — have a lot of energy, and if they don’t get the chance to burn it off, destructive behavior is often the result. If you’re annoyed at your dog’s digging, have headaches from barking, and need to replace pillows shredded into expensive fluff, your dog is probably not getting enough exercise.

    How much exercise does my dog need?

    First person view of a Cavapoo dog playing with a a rubber ring toy
    (Photo Credit: Image by Chris Winsor | Getty Images)

    Generally speaking, a leashed walk around the block isn’t going to cut it. Most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Your canine pal needs enough that they’re slowed down by the time you stop.

    Some general guidelines for getting your dog enough exercise:

    • Active breeds need a minimum of 30 minutes of hard aerobic exercise most days of the week, preferably daily.
    • Not all toy or small breeds get enough exercise inside the house, contrary to popular belief. Pugs, for example, are prone to obesity and need much more activity than they usually get.
    • It’s not safe to go out in extremely hot or cold weather. During such periods, stay inside and teach tricks to engage your dog’s mind, throw toys, or run up and down the stairs together.
    • Good exercise uses both mental and physical muscles. Exploring a new hiking trail, for example, engages your dog’s mind as well as their body.
    • Live by the philosophy that a tired dog is a good dog.

      Exercise Needs


  • Potential For Playfulness



    Understanding your dog’s temperament is crucial when considering their exercise and play needs. Some dogs have a high potential for playfulness, constantly seeking out games and activities to engage in. These playful pups can be endearing, but it’s essential to consider how much time and energy you have to dedicate to play each day. Think about whether you’re prepared for multiple rounds of fetch or tag and if you have other family members, kids, or even other dogs who can serve as playmates for your furry friend.

    On the other hand, some dogs are more serious by nature. While they may still enjoy playtime, it might not be as frequent or vigorous as with their more playful counterparts. Understanding your dog’s individual temperament helps you tailor their exercise routine to suit their needs and preferences. It’s about finding the right balance between providing enough mental and physical stimulation without overwhelming them or neglecting their need for relaxation and downtime.

    Make the most of playtime

    Horizontal wide image of a 4 months playfull Labrador Retriever puppy, a breed with a high potential for playfulness. The puppy is running in backyard with a tennis ball in its mouth in a beautiful sunny morning
    (Photo Credit: Stefan Cioata | Getty Images)

    Playing with our pups is good for us. Seriously, science says so! To make the most of spending time with breeds with a high potential for playfulness, consider incorporating a variety of interactive games and toys to keep them mentally stimulated and physically active. Engage in activities such as fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek, which tap into their natural instincts and provide both mental and physical exercise. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage good behavior and reinforce the bond between you. Remember to be patient and flexible, allowing your dog to lead the play session and adapt to their preferences. Finally, ensure a safe environment by removing any potential hazards and supervising closely, especially when introducing new toys or activities.

Mastiff Overview

“Massive” is the word that comes to mind when you first see this dog. Other breeds might match or come close to their height, but the Mastiff outweighs them all. They’re considered the largest breed in the world and can weigh 220 pounds or more. A Mastiff named Zorba, listed in the 1989 Guinness Book of Records, weighed in at 323 pounds.

Although the Mastiff’s size makes them appear fierce, their temperament is one of good-natured docility. But let danger threaten their family and this dog will step up to protect them. Mastiffs, sometimes referred to as Old English Mastiffs dog, take their name from the Latin word mansuetus, meaning “tame” or “domesticated.”

The Latin word was eventually transformed via Old French and Middle English into the word mastiff, which was first recorded in Middle English in a work written before 1387. The breed has come a long way since the days when they fought in battle or were pitted against lions and other wild animals. Kind, dignified, and courageous, they have the same wild puppyhood as any other breed, but mature into a calm and quiet dog who loves being with people.

They love children, although the pup can unintentionally bowl them over simply by bumping into them. Given adequate exercise, they can make himself at home in any environment, from a city condo to a country estate. If you’re thinking that the Mastiff is an outdoor dog, think again. They prefer the comforts of home and the presence of their family and will do their best to be a lap dog–or at least a cushy footstool. Left to their own devices, they’ll pine away or become destructive, with neither being a desirable result.

Like any dog, the Mastiff has some less attractive qualities. When they shake that massive head, drool flies everywhere. You’ll find, however, that if you let it dry, it’s easily wiped away. And you get used to keeping baby wipes or hand towels nearby. To put it politely, they can be flatulent. Often, however, this can be solved by finding a diet that produces a less odorous outcome. They also snore. A snoring Mastiff can make a lot of noise. Then there’s the elephant in the room–their size.

If you live in an apartment or condo, will there be room for the pup when they reach maturity? Will you be able to get them up and down the stairs if they becomes injured, sick, or old and need help? Their great size also contributes to their lifespan, which can be heartbreakingly short. All of these are things to consider before adopting a Mastiff dog. But if you can live with them, you’ll find that their idiosyncrasies are more than outweighed by their enduring love and companionship.

Mastiff Highlights

  • Impressive Size: English Mastiffs are among the largest dog breeds, showcasing an imposing and majestic stature.
  • Historical Roots: With origins traced back to the Molossian war dogs of Greece, English Mastiffs have a rich history, serving in the Roman Empire during warfare.
  • Distinctive Appearance: Characterized by massive heads, broad chests, and a wrinkled face, English Mastiffs have a unique and easily recognizable physical presence.
  • Signature Coat: They possess a short coat that comes in various colors, often with a prominent black mask around their eyes and nose.
  • Gentle Giants: Despite their historical roles as guardians and warriors, English Mastiffs are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, earning them the reputation of “gentle giants.”
  • Loyal Companions: English Mastiffs are highly loyal to their families, making them excellent companions and protective members of the household.
  • Calm Demeanor: While their size may be intimidating, these dogs typically display a calm and friendly demeanor.
  • Training Importance: Proper training and socialization are essential to ensure their gentle nature is properly harnessed, making them well-behaved family members.
  • Unique Presence: The combination of their strength, historical significance, and gentle temperament contributes to the English Mastiff’s unique and captivating presence among dog breeds.

Mastiff History

The Mastiff descends from one of the most ancient types of dogs, the Molosser, which probably originated in the mountains of Asia, perhaps in Tibet or northern India. They would most likely have been used to guard flocks from predators in those cold, high passes. These Molossers were solidly built with heavy bones, a short muzzle, a short, well-muscled neck, and hanging ears.

Their ancestry can be seen not only in the Mastiff dog but also in the Tibetan Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Rottweiler, Dogue de Bordeaux, and many other modern breeds. Depictions of Mastiff-type dogs appear in the human record throughout the ages, in Egyptian, Babylonian, and classical Greek civilizations. Archaeologists excavating the palace of the Babylonian ruler Ashurbanipal uncovered bas-reliefs dating to the seventh century BCE–more than 2,500 years ago–of a Mastiff-type dog fighting lions. For millennia, Mastiff-type dogs served as guards, war dogs, and entertainment, being pitted against lions and other fierce animals. The dogs made their way throughout the known world, arriving with armies or transported by traders.

Wherever they went, they were prized for their size and courage. Kublai Khan is said to have had a kennel with 5,000 Mastiffs used for hunting and war. When Hannibal crossed the Alps, he did so with trained war mastiffs. During their trek, the war dogs crossbred with local dogs, and their offspring became the foundation for the Saint Bernard, the Rottweiler, and other breeds. Even the Pug–described as a Mastiff in miniature–can lay claim to Molosser heritage.

In England, where the modern Mastiff was developed, the huge dogs guarded estates, patrolling the grounds at night. Lyme Hall was famous for its strain of Mastiffs, which were bred from the 15th century through the early 20th century and played a role in saving the breed from extinction. The breed almost came to an end after 1835, when the brutal sports of bear-baiting, bull-baiting, and dog-fighting were outlawed. But the rise of dog shows in the mid-19th century helped bring about the Mastiff’s revival.

They almost died out again during World Wars I and II because food shortages made it impossible to feed them, but a pair of Mastiff puppies imported from Canada after World War II helped bring them back from the brink. Mastiffs probably came to the United States in colonial times, but it wasn’t until 1879 that the first Mastiff club was formed in this country. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885, and a Mastiff named Bayard was the first of his breed to be registered with the AKC. The current Mastiff Club of America was formed in 1929 and still watches over the breed today, almost 80 years later. Today, the Mastiff’s gentle nature and massive size makes them a much-loved companion throughout the world.

Mastiff Size

The minimum height for a male Mastiff is 30 inches at the shoulder; for females, it’s 27.5 inches. Weight ranges from 130 pounds to 220 pounds or more.

Some dogs can be smaller or larger than average.

Mastiff Personality

The proper Mastiff should be a combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and docility. They’re always dignified, never shy or vicious. A well-socialized Mastiff treats normal strangers with polite aloofness but will step between you and anyone or anything that seems threatening.

Normally it’s not necessary, but if the threat continues, they’ll escalate their response as needed. Thieves who are foolish or unlucky enough to break into a home with a Mastiff will find themselves cornered until a family member arrives to call the police. Mastiffs dislike conflict between family members as well and will step between arguing spouses or a parent punishing a child. While they might look tough on the outside, the Mastiff  dog is a sensitive dog who can become shy, fearful, or aggressive if mishandled.

Never treat your Mastiff roughly or allow anyone else, including children, to do so. Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy if you have an option, not the one who’s beating up their littermates or the one who’s hiding in the corner.

Meet at least one of the parents if you can–usually the mother is the one who’s available–to find out if they have nice temperaments that you’re comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents can also be helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when they grow up. Like every dog, Mastiffs need early socialization–exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences–when they’re young.

Socialization helps ensure that your Mastiff puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling them in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking your pup to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help them polish their social skills.

Mastiff Health

Mastiffs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Mastiffs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. Here are a few conditions to watch out for:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can be worsened by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries incurred from jumping or falling on slick floors.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don’t make it a habit to move the furniture around.
  • Seizures: Seizures can have many causes, including epilepsy and trauma. Often, they can be managed with medication, although not cured. A dog can live a full and healthy life with the proper management of this condition.
  • Cystinuria: Cystinuria is an inherited kidney defect. Kidneys filter the amino acid cystine and prevent it from going into the urine, but in dogs with cystinuria the acid goes into the urine. Cystine is then reabsorbed in the kidney tubule where it often forms kidney or bladder stones, which cause urinary blockages and urinary tract inflammations. If cystinuria is not treated, the blockages can prove fatal. Treatment needs to be rapid and usually consists of a drug that prevents stone formation. Seen more often in males, it can years before symptoms occur, if they occur at all. Not all dogs with cystinuria form stones. There is a DNA test available to determine if an individual Mastiff carries the genetic predisposition.
  • Gastric Torsion (Bloat): Commonly called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs, especially if they’re fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large amounts of water rapidly, or exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid themselves of the excess air in their stomach, and blood flow to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is drooling excessively, and retching without throwing up. They also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate. If you notice these signs, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
  • Cancer: Dogs, like humans, can develop cancer. There are many different types of cancer and the success of treatment differs for each individual case. For some forms of cancer, the tumors are surgically removed, others are treated with chemotherapy, and some are treated both surgically and medically. In Mastiffs, osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is common. The first sign of osteosarcoma is lameness, but the dog will need x-rays to determine if the cause is cancer. Osteosarcoma is treated aggressively, usually with the amputation of the limb and chemotherapy. With treatment, dogs can live nine months to two years or more. Luckily, dogs can adapt well to life on three legs and don’t suffer the same side effects of chemotherapy as humans, such as nausea and hair loss.

Mastiff Care

Mastiffs are housedogs. They can adapt to any environment, city or country, but they do best in a home with a fenced yard. Their exercise needs are moderate. An adult Mastiff will be satisfied with a couple of 20- to 30-minute walks daily. Because of their great size, they’re not good jogging companions.

They overheat easily, and their joints can be damaged from the stress of running. Walks are best scheduled for cool mornings and evenings. During the day, bring along water in case they get hot. Puppies are more active and need free play in a fenced yard, but until they reach physical maturity at 18 months of age, it’s important to limit jumping, long walks, and other exercise that could damage their still developing bones, muscles, and tendons. Let young puppies play, walk, or rest at their own pace.

Once they’re 18 months old, you can gradually increase the amount of exercise they receive to a moderate level. No matter what their age, learn to recognize your Mastiff’s signs of fatigue, because they’ll never let you know that they’re tired; they want only to please you. Mastiff puppies are nosy, curious, and into everything. Crate training is highly recommended. Not only will it keep them out of trouble and save your belongings from destruction, it’s an excellent aid to housetraining.

This breed is easily housetrained, but a crate will help them learn to control their bladder and bowels. Your adult Mastiff is just the right height to go counter-surfing, so keep food well out of reach. A swipe of their long, tapering tail can clear a coffee table. You might want to put breakables elsewhere. Mastiffs of all ages are chewers and will chew on anything that smells good or looks interesting.

Be diligent in letting your Mastiff know what’s okay to chew and what isn’t. They still might eat your recliner, but if you’ve provided them with plenty of chew toys and exercise, they’re somewhat less likely to do so. Obedience training is a must for this giant breed. They may be sweet, but a full-size Mastiff who doesn’t have nice manners is unmanageable.

The sensitive Mastiff is easy to train with positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and food rewards. Start with puppy kindergarten and go through basic obedience to ensure that you have a well-mannered, well-socialized dog who will react appropriately in any situation.

Clean their wrinkles daily to prevent bacterial infections. Wipe them out with a damp washcloth and then dry them thoroughly. Do the same for the flews (the hanging part of the upper lip) after every meal. Brush your Mastiff’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and bacteria. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems.

If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding–and your dog may not cooperate the next time they see the nail clippers come out. So, if you’re not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.

Their ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog’s ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don’t insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

Occasionally, Mastiffs have impacted anal glands. This happens when the dog is unable to naturally empty the glands by defecating. If you notice your Mastiff “scooting” or obsessively licking his anal area, take them to the veterinarian or a professional groomer to have the glands expressed. You can also learn to do this yourself, although most of us prefer to let someone else do this stinky job.

Mastiff Feeding

How much your adult dog eats depends on their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference–the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.

Mastiffs are sloppy drinkers and leave plenty of backwash–drool–in their bowls. Rinse bowls daily or more often as needed. Keep your Mastiff in good shape by measuring their food and feeding them twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you’re unsure whether they’re overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at your dog. You should be able to see a waist.

Then place your hands on their back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see their ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, they need less food and more exercise. Mastiffs are prone to gastric torsion, also known as bloat. Factors that contribute to bloat include eating a large meal and then drinking large amounts of water, heavy exercise directly before or after a meal, giving food in raised feeding dishes, and stress. Keep these things in mind when you feed your Mastiff. You must speak to your vet about your individual dog’s dietary needs. The generally recommended daily amount for an adult Mastiff is 6 to 8 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. For more on feeding your Mastiff, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

Mastiff Coat Color And Grooming

The Mastiff has a short, straight outer coat with a dense, shorter undercoat. The coat comes in fawn, apricot, or brindle. Brindle Mastiffs have a fawn or apricot background color with dark stripes. The muzzle, nose, ears, and eye rims are dark, the blacker the better.

They may have a small patch of white on the chest. Brush your Mastiff’s coat weekly with a rubber hound glove. You may want to brush them daily during the spring and fall shedding season to keep flying hair under control. Some Mastiffs do most of their shedding during this time, while others shed year-round.

A stripping blade can also help remove excess hair. Begin accustoming your Mastiff to being brushed and examined when they’re a puppy. Handle their paws frequently–dogs are touchy about their feet–and look inside their mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when they’re an adult.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

Mastiff Children And Other Pets

Mastiffs love children. That said, they are large, active dogs and can accidentally knock a toddler down with a swipe of the tail. They’re best suited to homes with older children. Bear in mind as well that Mastiffs are not ponies, and children cannot ride them.

Your Mastiff can be injured if children try to ride them. Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party.

Teach your child never to approach any dog while they’re sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child. In general, Mastiffs will tolerate other dogs and cats, especially if they’ve been raised with them. If you’re adding a second adult Mastiff to your family, you may want to consider getting one of the opposite sex to avoid any arguments over who’s top dog.

Mastiff Rescue Groups

Mastiffs are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Mastiffs in need of adoption and or fostering and a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don’t see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Mastiff rescue.

  • Great Lakes Mastiff Rescue
  • Sugarland Ranch
  • Mastiffs To Mutts Rescue, Inc.
  • Mastiff Rescue Oregon

Mastiff Breed Organizations

Finding a reputable dog breeder is one of the most important decisions you will make when bringing a new dog into your life. Reputable breeders are committed to breeding healthy, well-socialized puppies that will make great companions. They will screen their breeding stock for health problems, socialize their puppies from a young age, and provide you with lifetime support.

On the other hand, backyard breeders are more interested in making a profit than in producing healthy, well-adjusted dogs. They may not screen their breeding stock for health problems, and they may not socialize their puppies properly. As a result, puppies from backyard breeders are more likely to have health problems and behavioral issues.

Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas expert in training and caring for pet dog breeds. Whether he spending quality time with her own furry companions or contributing to websites such as Dogsbreed.org and Animalpet.com, dedicated to our canine.

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