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Mastiff FACTS:

mastiff_3This powerful dog radiates dignity and grandeur.

Massive is the word that comes to mind when you first see this dog.  Other breeds might match or come close to his height, but the Mastiff outweighs them all.  He’s 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, weighted in at 323 pounds.  Although the Mastiff’s size makes him appear fierce, his temperament is one of good-natured docility. But let danger threaten his family and he will step up to protect them.

The breed has come a long way since the days when he fought in battle or was pitted against lions and other wild animals.  Kind, dignified, and courageous, he has the same wild puppyhood as any other breed, but matures into a calm and quite dog who loves being with his people. He loves children, although he can unintentionally bowl them over simply by bumping into them.

Given adequate exercise, he 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  He prefers the comforts of home and the presence of his family and will do his best to be a lap dog – or at least a cushy footstool.  Left to his own devices, he’ll pine away or become destructive, with neither being a desirable result.

Like any dog, the Mastiff has some less attractive qualities.  When he shakes 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, he can be flatulent.  Often, however, this can be solved by finding a diet that produces a less odorous outcome.  He also snores.  A snoring Mastiff can make a lot of noise.

Then there’s the elephant in the room – his size.  If you live in an apartment or condo, will there be room for him when he reaches maturity?  Will you be able to get him up and down the stairs if he becomes injured, sick, or old and needs help?  His great size also contributes to his lifespan, which can be heartbreakingly short.

All of these are things to consider before acquiring a Mastiff.  But if you can live with them, you’ll find that his idiosyncrasies are more then outweighed by his enduring love and companionship.


Mastiffs need daily exercise, but take into account the age of the dog and the temperature. Mastiffs can overheat easily.

Without exercise and stimulation, Mastiffs can become bored and destructive.

The Mastiff is considered a breed with a short lifespan, but some Mastiffs have lived to 18 years of age.  A dog is a lifelong commitment, and if you are drawn to the breed because of the chance of a short lifespan, you may want to reassess your choice.

Mastiffs drool and are prone to gassiness, but other than that they are fairly clean.  If their drool would bother you in any way, this may not be a breed for you.

Mastiffs are not the best choice for families with very young children or frail senior citizens.  A Mastiff can easily knock down a child or adult who’s unsteady.

Mastiffs can do quite well in apartments and homes with small yards if they are exercised properly, but they are not really recommended for smaller dwellings because of their size.  The ideal living environment for a Mastiff is a house with a large yard.

Mastiffs can have strong protection instincts and need to be properly socialized with both people and animals.  If they are not properly socialized they can become fearful of new situations and shy of strangers, which could lead to biting.

Socializing your Mastiff to other animals will help ensure that your Mastiff has a happy, healthy life.  If Mastiffs are not properly trained and socialized they may develop aggression toward other animals, and their size and strength makes them dangerous if they don’t know how to interact with them.

Mastiffs have an easy-care coat, but they shed heavily.

When Mastiffs reach adulthood and overcome their clumsiness and energy, they are wonderful companions who are calm, quiet, well mannered, and self-assured.  They make excellent watchdogs, although they tend to not bark as much as other breeds.

Mastiffs need training so they can be easily managed in spite of their size.  Mastiffs arenot recommended for new or timid owners.  They respond best to positive reinforcement, especially if it involves lots of hugs and praise.

Mastiffs snore, snort, and grunt – loudly.

Mastiffs tend to be lazy and need daily exercise to keep from gaining too much weight.

All dogs thrive when they are with their family in the house, and the Mastiff is no exception.  He should sleep and live in the house, not in the yard.  A Mastiff who is tied up in a yard away from his family will pine away or become destructive.


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© 2016 Midwest Mastiff Rescue, Inc.