The Mastiff, sometimes called the Old English Mastiff, is similar to other breeds that share his name. However, this version is perhaps the most impressive dog in the entire world. These dogs are massive, with males regularly weighing more than grown men.
No one would think of challenging their giant, lumbering frames. However, these mastiffs are usually laid back companions who can most likely be found sleeping. Read on to learn more about the Mastiff.
Description of the Mastiff
These dogs are impressive. You would not meet one on the street without stopping to exclaim. They are absolutely huge, not only in height, but in bulk as well. The Old English Mastiff really is a giant breed.
From far away, you might mistake them for normal dogs. However, look closer and you’ll see a gargantuan head. His body is covered in loose folds of skin, like he could grow larger at any given moment.
Covering all that skin is a short coat, which can be various shades of tan. They come in apricot, brindle, and fawn with a black mask around their faces.
Life Expectancy and Size
This breed stands between 27 and 30 inches tall, and can weigh in at a cool 230 pounds. Females generally weigh significantly less, and can be as small as 120 pounds.
Maintaining such a creature is not easy. The Mastiff eats large amounts of food, can easily damage his joints, and often doesn’t know his own strength.
Unfortunately, because of their giant size, these dogs do not live as long as many other breeds. Their life expectancy is between 6 and 10 years.
This breed is the epitome of a protector. The Mastiff is most effective as a deterrent. Most often, they are not overly aggressive, but are often suspicious of strangers.
However, the Mastiff turns protective when need be. This can be an issue when other dogs or people provoke him. He often does not seek out the fight, but can certainly win one without lifting a paw. It is essential to socialize this breed early and often.
This breed responds best to positive, reward-based training. Harsh words will cause these dogs to clam up or become moody and sad. Do not let yourself resort to these methods. Mastiffs can become bored easily, so make sure to keep you voice upbeat and light. Indeed, try to make training a game!
These dogs will let you know if it’s not going well. Indeed, they very well may fall asleep!
These huge dogs simply cannot maintain much energy expenditure. In fact, they overheat quite quickly! It can be a challenge to provide the proper amount of exercise to reduce stress on their bodies while still keeping them fit. These dogs can be downright lazy, but need muscle tone like anyone else. Make sure to consider this when he inevitably tells you that it’s more fun to sleep.
What Living with a Mastiff is Like
Mastiff needs plenty of room in his living space. Otherwise, it’s easy to bump into things! A home without too many stairs would be ideal. This helps protect the dog’s sensitive joints. He doesn’t need much outdoor space, as short walks will satisfy his exercise needs.
Although the Mastiff is a popular guard dog, they are generally also cool companions. With proper socialization, aggression should not be an issue. They are usually plenty gentle with children, but sometimes they do not realize their own strength. For this reason, they should be monitored with kids – especially outside of the family.
Care of the Mastiff
These dogs need careful handling to maintain their health and wellbeing. However, families willing to put in the effort will be rewarded with loving, lumbering companions and protectors.
The Mastiff does not need as much outdoor space as many more athletic dogs. However, they require adequate living space for their giant selves.
The breed also overheats quite easily. They may not be suited to extremely hot climates. On steamy days, it is important to provide them with adequate water and shade. They should not be over stimulated, either.
The best type of exercise for the Mastiff is a gentle walk. This may seem like a chore for the lazy breed, but keep up daily exercise to maintain their health. They should not be allowed to run too much for fear of hurting their joints. When they are romping around outside, be sure to provide plenty of water.
Puppies in particular are susceptible to exercise related injury. Because they are more energetic when young, they may hurt themselves without realizing it. Limit young Mastiff’ access to stairs, which can be very hard on the knees.
Shedding and Grooming
This breed only sheds some seasonally, but they are quite easy to maintain.
The Mastiff requires only the occasional bath. Make sure to wipe off their folds of skin with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly to avoid infection. The occasional brushing can keep them looking shiny.
Ideal Home Environment
The Mastiff is perfect for families that can provide the necessary attention to detail that giant dogs require. They need ample living space and a careful exercise. However, most of the time they will spend sleeping.
Providing early socialization and training will make living with the Mastiff much more enjoyable. Still, they are big, slobbery beings. They won’t be travelling in a purse anytime soon!
It is important to think about the Mastiff’s nutritional needs. Consult with your vet so that your Mastiff puppy receives the proper nutrients, but low enough caloric density. Too much weight gain too fast can lead to big problems.
Unfortunately, this breed faces a slew of problems. Epilepsy, heart disease, cancer, and bone disorders are among the worst and may shorten this dog’s life. Allergies and eye problems can also present themselves. Bloat, a life threatening stomach disorder, affects Mastiffs like most large dogs.
Of course, there are a few problems that come along with being so big. These giants may not realize their own size or power, consequentially pushing people or other dogs around. Although they don’t usually pick fights, they can win most fights they enter.
Most of the time, though, the Mastiff is gentle. He may slobber and fart, but his biggest issue is his inevitable sadness when he has to be separated from his loved ones!