Mastiff – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Mastiff is a large size dog of soft nature. What makes this breed so unique and popular? Read on and discover.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
27 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder
130 to 220 pounds
Life Span:
6 to 10 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

If you have a long and positive experience as a dog owner, then you might think about welcoming the powerful Mastiff into your home.

Definitely not a breed for first time dog owners and those who don’t have experience with large dog breeds. This dog, especially males, can easily outweigh a full-grown man.

Their body is strong, well-built, and covered with muscles.

The entire body is covered with a short and double coat of fawn, apricot, or brindle stripes. The head is significantly broad and overall massive.

The wrinkled forehead is their ultimate mark, next to the black-masked face. Mastiffs are great pets if you know how to work with them.

Choosing this dog for a pet isn’t something that should be taken lightly.

Make sure that you truly understand what does it mean to welcome a massive dog into your family.

Quick Facts

Real name: Mastiff
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 130 to 220 pounds
Height: 27 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 6 to 10 years
Litter Size: 6 – 8 puppies
Color: Brindle, apricot, and tan
Coat: Short, straight outer coat with a dense, shorter undercoat

Mastiff History

Mastiff is a direct descendant of Molosser, an ancient type of dog, who originated in Asia.

Molossers were used first probably in Tibet or northern India as guard dogs.

These dogs were massive, had heavy bones, a short muzzle, loaded and strong neck, and hanging ears.

These traits are something that can be seen today in Mastiff and other mastiff breeds such as Tibetan Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, and other modern massive breeds.

Mastiff-type dogs appeared in different records throughout history, dating back to 2,000 years ago.

Some records claim that in ancient times these powerful dogs were used to fight lions. Throughout history, their roles have changed and they evolved from the guard and war dogs to entertainment and companion dogs.

The modern Mastiff, that we know today, was developed in England, where their primary duty was to guard estates.

Lyme Hall Mastiffs were bred from the 15th century to the early 20th century and played a huge role in saving the breed’s traits.

As for the States, Mastiffs probably arrived sometime during the colonial era. In 1879 was formed the first Mastiff club was.

In 1885, the AKC officially recognized the breed, and the first Mastiff registered with the AKC was named Bayard.

Mastiff Club of America that we all know of today was created in 1929.

Today, Mastiffs are massive size dogs of sweet nature. Now, let’s see what are the main physical traits of these powerful dogs.

Mastiff Physical Appearance

Mastiff is a large size dog of soft impression and massive appearance. Females are slightly smaller than males are.

As for the size, they can have up to 220 pounds and rarely under 130 pounds. As for the height, Mastiffs stand 30 inches at the shoulder.

Everything about these dogs is massive. They are heavily boned with large heads and eyes of medium size. Compared to the skull, their ears are small, while the skull is broad.

The neck is powerful and very muscular and of medium length. The tail is set on moderately high and is wide at the root. The outer coat is straight and short.

As for the color they are usually fawn, apricot, or brindle.

It’s not uncommon to see a small patch of white on the chest. Overall, their gait should be confident and strong.

Mastiff Personality

Mastiffs are gentle giants, but they are never recommended for first time dog owners, nor for people who don’t have enough strength to restrain them. That being said, never let your youngster take your Mastiff for a walk alone.

Mastiffs are true people-pleasers, who tend to be stubborn from time to time.

This is why these breeds can thrive only in hands of experienced dog owners, who know their way around large size dogs.

As true protectors, Mastiffs are friendly toward their people and reserved toward strangers.

In fact, no stranger should have enough courage to step uninvited into your yard or home, where there is a Mastiff guarding.

Mastiffs are courageous and loyal dogs who need big living space and a backyard to chill in.

They also have a long tail which means that accidentally knocking off things is possible if you have items set low.

Mastiff With Children and Other Pets

Mastiff will love spending time with children. They will be gentle around children and respect their space.

Since this is a really large breed they can scare children who’re not used to being around dogs, or don’t know how to interact safely with dogs.

Educate your children on how to behave around dogs, not to pull them, push them, or try to take things from them.

Mastiff is a huge dog and as such can easily knock the children down, especially children, unintentionally.

This is why any interaction between children and Mastiffs should be supervised.

Mastiff Training

Mastiff needs proper training and socialization.

Just like with any other dog breed, properly structured training and early socialization are two major factors that separate dogs from great canine citizens.

Extra training and additional socialization are a must when a dog is so big as Mastiffs are.

Mastiffs are people pleasers and they will be polite, but they will also try to lead you, which is why they tend to be stubborn from time to time.

All in all, Mastiff is a really sensitive dog who should be trained using only positive reinforcement training.

No dog should ever experience any harsh training methods, and Mastiff is no expectation no matter their size.

If you feel like you need training assistance, think about hiring a professional dog trainer, or enroll your pup in puppy classes.

Both approaches should speed up the training process and provide professional inputs on further training.

Mastiff Exercise

Mastiff is a large size which means one thing -you need to be extra careful of their joints.

To keep their joints strong and their mind sharp you need to provide enough exercise. That being said, Mastiffs need one hour of exercise per day.

Make sure that you don’t over-exercise them and make walks gentle and calm and never too long.

Mastiff Grooming

Mastiff comes with a short but dense coat that needs weekly brushing to stay neat.

Brushing is a great way to bond with your dog further and check the skin for fleas and any sign of skin infection.

A good brush every few days should be enough to keep the coat debris-free.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Check gums weekly
  • Bathe only when really needed
  • Brush weekly
  • Clean ears when needed

If your veterinarian recommends it, brush Mastiff’s teeth.

When it comes to brushing teeth and bathing, you should use only products that are specially designed for dogs.

To get the most out of grooming, you should use the right grooming tools. This way you will make the grooming process fast and stress-free.

You can always think about getting a professional groomer, but know that it will be pricey. However, it will save you a lot of time and energy.

Still, make sure that you do brush your Mastiff because otherwise, you will lose that stronger bond with your dog.

Mastiff Health

Before you get a Mastiff make sure that you can provide enough living space for this large size dog.

  • Do you have enough time to invest in training this breed?
  • Can you afford regular veterinarian check-ups?
  • Can you provide high-quality food?
  • Could you get the best possible pet insurance?
  • Do you have a plan B for days when you are not home, or when a vacation season starts?

These and many other questions are mandatory to ask yourself if you are thinking about getting a dog, especially this breed.

This way you will have a much better start and the right expectations.

Are you thinking of buying a puppy or adopting? If you are up for adoption make sure that you check local animal shelters and see if they have a Mastiff caring for.

Make sure that you have experience with adopting large size dogs, because adopting a dog is a great gesture, but requires more dedication to training and house training more specifically. Plus, it will be more challenging to approach an abandoned dog.

If you are buying a Mastiff, make sure that you do your research and find a responsible dog breeder.

Reputable and responsible dog breeders will always screen puppies for most common health issues and present your medical documentation on the puppy.

They will also ask a lot of questions to make sure that you are a good fit for their Mastiff, and even provide straightforward inputs on training, overall care, nutrition, and possible health issues down the road.

Some of the health issues that may be seen in this breed include:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Eye anomalies
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Eye and hip dysplasia
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Epilepsy

The best way to avoid any of the listed issues is to provide regular veterinarian check-ups.

Learn what bloat is and how it can lead your dog to a life-threatening situation. Make sure that you avoid feeding your Mastiff after exercise time.

Is Mastiff For You?

As mentioned earlier, Mastiff is not a breed for first time dog owners. Even those who have some dog experience, but have no experience working with large size dogs should think about getting this specific breed.

If you do want a huge dog who will take a lot of living space, who may be destructive when bored, and needs strong training this breed isn’t for you.

On the other hand, if you want a massive and powerful dog who needs only moderate exercise, a Mastiff could be the right breed for you.

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