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Breeds Home > Breed List > Mastiff

Mastiff Breed Information


Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , MCA , NKC , NZKC , UKC
AKA: English Mastiff, Old English Mastiff
Mispellings: Massif, Mastif, Masstiff

Caring for a Mastiff

Feeding: Mastiffs have a tendency to bloat and thus should be fed two or three small meals a day rather than one large to help with this.

Living with a Mastiff

Temperament: The Mastiff is a good-natured, courageous dog. The have an air of dignity about them. They should never show signs of shyness or viciousness. They are often referred to as the gentle giant among dogs.

Family Dog: Mastiffs make great family dogs though they are not recommended for families with small children due to their size. They get along with other dogs is properly socialized.

Shedding: Mastiffs are average shedders.

Grooming: The Mastiff should be brushed regularly with a firm bristle brush. Wipe their coat with a soft towel or chamois to give it a gleaming finish. Mastiffs should be bathed or cleaned with a dry shampoo when necessary.

Training: Mastiffs love to please and respond well to training. They should be properly socialized starting at an early age because of their large size.

Barking: Mastiffs rarely bark.

Exercise: Mastiffs have a tendency to be lazy so they should be given plenty of daily exercise to keep them fit. They should be taken on long daily walks.

Living Conditions: Mastiffs will do okay in an apartment if given ample exercise. They are typically inactive indoors and will do fine with a small yard.

Mastiff Appearance

Appearance: The Mastiff is a very large dog with a well-knit frame.

Size: Male Mastiffs should be a minimum of 30 inches at the shoulder and often weigh in excess of 200 pounds when fully grown. Females should be greater than 27½ inches tall and can weigh up to 150 pounds.

Companionship: Mastiffs need lots of human companionship.

Head: Mastiffs have a very large head in keeping with their large body size. The top is relatively flat between the ears. The forehead has a slight curve to it allowing the breed's distinctive wrinkles to show. The temple and cheek muscles are well developed and powerful.

Nose: The nose of the Mastiff is dark in color with broad flat nostrils.

Eyes: The Mastiff's eyes are medium-sized and set wide apart giving them a kind yet alert expression. They should not be overly prominent. They should have a brown hue, the darker the better.

Ears: The Mastiff's ears are small in proportion to the size of the head. They are V-shaped with rounded tips and set wide apart on the head. The leather is moderately thin. They should be dark in color matching the color of the muzzle.

Muzzle: The Mastiff's muzzle should be half the length of the head. The muzzle's circumference is about 3/5 the circumference of the head. The Mastiff's muzzle is relatively square in shape and does not taper toward the nose like in some breeds. It is dark in color, the darker the better.

Teeth/Bite: The Mastiff has powerful jaws with well-spread teeth coming together in a scissors bite or slightly undershot bite. The teeth should not be visible when the mouth is closed.

Neck: The Mastiff has a powerful, muscular neck of medium length with a slight arch. The neck broadens gradually toward the shoulders.

Body: Mastiffs have a rectangular body where the length of the body is greater than it height. The overall height of a Mastiff should come more from the body height than the length of their legs. They have a massive, muscular build with strong bones. The topline should be level and firm. The rounded chest is deep and wide extending down between the forelegs to the elbow. The fore chest is well defined with a prominent breastbone extending forward in front of the point of the shoulders. The ribs are rounded, deep and well set back. The underline should have moderate tuck-up.

Forequarters: The Mastiffs' shoulders are muscular sloping moderately. The legs are set wide apart, straight and strong. The elbows should be parallel to body. The strong pasterns should be slightly bent.

Hindquarters: The Mastiff's rear legs are broad and muscular with well-developed second thighs. They should appear parallel and wide apart when viewed from the rear.

Gait: The Mastiff has a strong, powerful gait. The legs move straight when in motion with the rear legs providing the drive. As the speed increases the feet converge toward the center line providing good balance.

Feet: The Mastiff has large, round feet. The toes are arched with black nails.

Tail: The tail of the Mastiff is set moderately high on the back. It has a wide base gently tapering toward the end. The tail should have a slight upward curve with the dog is in motion.

Color: The Mastiff's coat can be apricot, fawn or brindle with a fawn or apricot background. The coat on the muzzle, ears, nose and around the eyes is dark in color. There may be a small patch of white on the chest.

Coat: The Mastiff has short, coarse, straight outer coat. The undercoat is short and dense.

Mastiff Facts

Category: Mastiff, AKC Working

Life Expectancy: The Mastiff has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

Characteristics: Mastiffs make great police, military, search & rescue and guard dogs. They tend to drool, wheeze and snore loudly.

Mastiff Health

Health: Mastiffs are prone to hip dysplasia, CHD, gastric torsion, ectropion, PPM, vaginal hyperplasia, elbow dysplasia and PRA. They may also suffer from cardiomyopathy.

Mastiff History

History: The Mastiff has its early origins in Britain around the time of the Roman invasion. The Old English Mastiff was believed to have been brought to the island by Phoenician traders during the 6th century BC. Over time Mastiffs have participated in arena combat with the Roman Gladiators, tended to flocks of sheep and protected people and property. Most recently they have become a companion dog. The first Mastiff made its journey to America on the Mayflower. By the close of World War II, Mastiffs were almost extinct in England but had resurgence when a number of them were imported from the United States and Canada.

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