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Mastiff

Mastiffs are known for their massive physique. These dogs on average weigh 120-230 pounds. Due to their large build and intimidating size, they were and still are considered as trusty guard dogs. Aside from that, they also serve as war dogs and help in hunting. Although a mastiff can look terrifying at first, once you get to know them, you’ll realize how gentle and tranquil, they really are! They definitely live up to the meaning of mastiff, which is mansuetus or “tame” and “domesticated” in Latin. Mastiffs are loyal, courageous, and protective dogs.

The head of a mastiff is gigantic and is proportionate to its body. The wrinkled face of the breed makes it look like it’s brooding. Its body is muscular and rectangular and is covered with a short coat. Some of the most common colors of mastiff’s coats are fawn, apricot, and brindle stripes. Its pendant-shaped ears hang low on its face. The long tail of a mastiff also hangs low on the ground.

This breed has been around for a long time. It is believed that they existed more than 3,000 years ago making them one of the oldest dog breeds. However, their roles in society may have slightly changed. Back then, this humongous dog breed was trained to be aggressive. They would even organize fights between a fellow mastiff or some other animal like bears and lions. Due to the destruction of this blood sport, the breed almost became extinct in WWI and WWII. Another reason is the lack of proper food and nutrition of the dogs due to the poverty-stricken era. When the sport became illegal and responsible breeding ensued, its population rose. Today, mastiffs remain popular ranking at 29th place out of 195 dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). It is not seen as a hostile breed but one that is a provider of protection, joy, and love.

Mastiff

Mastiff Key Information

Height: 27 inches- 30 inches 
Weight: 120-230 pounds
Life span: 6-10 years
Breed family: Mastiff

Exercise requirements: Medium
Good with children: Mostly
Area of origin: Asia

History

Mastiffs date back a couple of thousands of years. They are descendants of the Molosser. It is speculated that they originated in the mountains of Asia. Traces and evidence of their early existence can also be seen in the Greek, Egyptian, and Babylonian civilizations.

Fighting has been one of the main purposes of mastiffs. They were trained and bred to be aggressive and destructive in olden times. Even Julius Caesar was impressed with the potential and competence of the breed. Mastiffs were sent to colosseums to fight gladiators or even lions for the entertainment of the audience. In medieval Europe, mastiffs were trained to be more mellow. They became the brave warriors of the community. In contrast to the bloodthirsty games that they were used to before, they served as guard dogs and war dogs ready to protect their masters.

There almost came a point when mastiffs became extinct. During the world wars, it was especially hard for mastiffs to survive due to food shortages. Because of their huge built, mastiffs needed more nutrients to keep them healthy which unfortunately they did not receive. As a result,  after the two world wars, it is thought that there were only 14 mastiffs  left in the world.

People knew that these were special dogs and they had to do everything they can to revive the faltering number of the breed. Due to a substantial effort to correct this and with responsible breeding, mastiffs are no longer on the brink of extinction.

Despite having a grisly past, the mastiffs that we know now are far from the aggressive mastiffs before. Mastiffs now are known for their grandeur, intelligence, loyalty, and warmth. Don’t be fooled by their humongous size or intimidating façade. Once you get to know them, you’ll realize that they are endearing and caring dogs.

Table of Contents

Personality

Most people get instantly daunted upon seeing a mastiff but contrary to popular belief, mastiffs are dogs filled with happiness and enthusiasm. They love being around humans. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as they are with their owners, the mastiffs are content. Due to their protective nature, it is crucial for mastiffs to be trained around other people or animals at a young age. They can become tense when they are not used to other people because they are wired to be guard dogs. Having other pets or having visitors won’t be an issue if the mastiff was trained as a puppy.

Interaction with Children

Most people get instantly daunted upon seeing a mastiff but contrary to popular belief, mastiffs are dogs filled with happiness and enthusiasm. They love being around humans. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as they are with their owners, the mastiffs are content. Due to their protective nature, it is crucial for mastiffs to be trained around other people or animals at a young age. They can become tense when they are not used to other people because they are wired to be guard dogs. Having other pets or having visitors won’t be an issue if the mastiff was trained as a puppy.

Interaction with other pets

Most people get instantly daunted upon seeing a mastiff but contrary to popular belief, mastiffs are dogs filled with happiness and enthusiasm. They love being around humans. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as they are with their owners, the mastiffs are content. Due to their protective nature, it is crucial for mastiffs to be trained around other people or animals at a young age. They can become tense when they are not used to other people because they are wired to be guard dogs. Having other pets or having visitors won’t be an issue if the mastiff was trained as a puppy.

Feeding

Mastiffs have a huge appetite. After all, they need all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep themselves in great condition. With that being said, it is important to give mastiff puppies the right food as soon as possible. Some vets would even recommend that puppies start eating adult dog food formulation. This is a case by case basis. So make sure to check with your own vet to be sure that your pup is growing strong. Additionally, be strict about the amount of food intake of your dog. Too much food and treats may cause your mastiff to be obese which is detrimental to its health. Following a schedule of feeding time will surely help in this aspect.

Food Allergies

Mastiffs may develop food allergies. Although there is no definite formula to know which food your dog will be allergic to. If you notice rashes or sudden changes in your dog, make sure to consult with a veterinarian immediately.

Care

Mastiffs may develop food allergies. Although there is no definite formula to know which food your dog will be allergic to. If you notice rashes or sudden changes in your dog, make sure to consult with a veterinarian immediately.

Grooming

This breed doesn’t need a regular visit to the groomers. They have a short coat that sheds off naturally once or twice a year. Although regular brushing is a must to distribute the nutrients from the roots to the tips. Likewise, their faces should be maintained clean, especially the wrinkly part on their head as well as their ears. These areas are prone to infection. One of the most famous characteristics of mastiffs is that they drool… a lot. So make sure to have wet wipes or towels in hand to wipe off their saliva.

 Nails

 Keeping the nails of mastiffs short is recommended. Having a large active dog with long pointy nails could be dangerous. It usually takes 3-4 weeks before a dog needs its nail trimmed. However, if you are unsure about doing this procedure on your own, asking for the help of a vet would be a good idea.

Exercise

Compared to other enormous dogs, mastiffs surprisingly don’t require intensive exercise drills. Although it is good to start training your pup to exercise. Begin with walking your puppy for about a block or two and level up to 3-4 kilometers a day when it becomes an adult. Mastiffs have a high tendency to overheat. When this happens, they may get tired and won’t want to continue the walk. Thus, it is better to walk them in a small radius as it won’t be easy for you to carry them back home when this occurs. Exercise is essential for mastiffs since it avoids them from being bored which leads to destructive behavior.

Training

Mastiffs are an intelligent breed. They can master a trick with the right positive enforcement. They are people pleasers as well so they would want to impress their masters with their new tricks. Mastiffs are good at reading expressions and body language. You can use this skill to teach your dog a new trick easier.

Housing

The place where the mastiff will stay should be considered upon buying or adopting one. They are huge dogs that require frequent human interaction and an area that they can call their own. A mastiff will greatly benefit when taken into a welcoming home. Your mastiff will repay you by becoming the loyal protectors of your home.

Due to how large Mastiffs most dog beds won’t be big enough, to help you find one that will be suitable we have put together a list of the top extra large dog beds for Mastiffs.

Apartments

Although a mastiff would do okay in small spaces, you should take note of the space that it would actually occupy once it starts to be your flatmate. If you live alone and don’t mind sharing your apartment with a large dog, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Dog Houses / Kennels

Mastiffs are prone to overheating. You might want to reconsider your plans for putting them in dog houses during the summer. Likewise, having no human interaction can lead to harmful behaviors. If you are considering getting your dog its own dog house, be sure that it still gets to spend quality time with you and other people. Also, consider the size of the kennel. Be sure to get one that your dog can comfortably stay in.

Leaving them alone

Your house will be protected by your mastiff if you decide to leave it. They are good guard dogs so you won’t have to worry about break-ins. However, leaving your dog alone for a long period can be bad for it. It requires regular exercise and constant human interaction to be at its best behavior. If you really need to leave them alone, make sure that they have an adequate amount of food and ask someone who your dog knows to be afriend to take them for a walk.

Health

Both young and adult mastiffs are prone to skeletal disorders. Another common health issue a mastiff can experience is bloating. This is fatal and should not be taken lightly. It is when the stomach suddenly bloats and twists which can be very painful for the dog. Vets aren’t certain exactly what causes bloating, though things that are thought to raise the risk of it are:

  • Only having a single large meal a day
  • Eating or drinking too much in one go
  • Stress
  • Eating too quickly

If your Mastiff starts to show signs of bloat then it would be worth getting them to your vet as soon as possible to ensure it doesn’t develop to dangerous levels.

Mastiffs can also be prone to heart diseases, cancer, epilepsy, and eye anomalies. Some of the ways that you can do to keep your dogs healthy are through regular exercise and a balanced diet. Making sure that they have regular checkups with an expert will also help immensely in the long run.

Mastiffs can experience canine hip dysplasia, which can lead to severe pain in their joints as well as arthritis.

Older age

Mastiffs are known for their short life span. On average, they live for only 6-10 years. That’s why it is important to properly care for your dog. By ensuring that you give it the right amount of food, exercise, and love you can help to ensure it has a long and healthy life. Always visit the vet for regular checkups this will help to catch any issues early and keep your Mastiff in top shape and they will have a better chance of living a longer and happier life.

Allergies

There are no known allergies that mastiffs naturally have although they may have some seasonal allergies. Despite this, it is important to be observant especially with your mastiff pups if some changes occur. If it experienced a sudden change in appetite or behavior, be sure to visit your vet.

Wrapping up

Mastiffs are gigantic dogs with admirable qualities. They may look intimidating at first but once you get to know them, you’ll realize that they are great companions. When considering adopting or buying one, always evaluate if you will be able to provide for its needs. It requires plenty of food, love, and attention. Mastiffs remain one of the most popular dogs of the 21st century. Although they almost became extinct during the world wars, these stunning dogs are here to stay to care and protect their masters.

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