Mastiff is a giant and powerful breed of dogs. But, in spite of the intimidating size, these wonderful dogs are calm, gentle and always ready to mingle with kids and other pets. Consequently, they are regarded as excellent family pets. They are successfully used as therapy dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs and also for the purpose of weight pulling and conformation showing.
The breed is also known as English Mastiff or Old English Mastiff. Mastiff dog breed is believed to have originated from Britain and descended from the Alaunt and Molosser breeds. In earlier times, these ancient and courageous dogs were used to fight wild bears, lions, bulls etc. With the passage of time, people started using these devoted dogs as companion dogs and hence their aggressive temperament was gradually bred out.
These large dogs are characterized by massive square heads, deep chests and heavy bones. They tend to have brown to dark hazel colored eyes that are moderate in size and set wide apart. Their small and dark, triangular ears are small in proportion to the skull as well. The nose and facial mask are black in color. There is no loose skin on the neck. The long, broad and tapering tail of a Mastiff should be protected against accidental injuries.
Color: There coats can be apricot, fawn or brindle colored. Excessive white marking on the chest or other parts of the body are not desirable.
Height: An average Mastiff can grow up to the height of 30-32 inches. The females can be around 27-28 inches in height.
Weight: Male Mastiff dogs generally weigh around 160 to 200 pounds whereas the female Mastiffs are usually 120 to 170 pounds in weight.
Deep chested Mastiff dog breed is susceptible to bloating. This problem should be immediately dealt with, or else it may prove to be fatal. They are also prone to hypothyroidism, cardiomyopathy, leukemia, cystinuria, vaginal hyperplasia, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bone cancer, urinary tract infections and eye diseases like glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, blindness etc.
Allergies and heart related troubles may also be present. These couch potatoes have a tendency to become overweight quite easily. Therefore, their diet and activity needs should be carefully planned and managed. They should mostly be kept indoors as they are sensitive to extremely hot weather.
Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of Mastiff dogs is 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: 2 to 5 puppies
These dogs are fairly easy to groom because they have short and sleek hair coats. Regular brushing and combing with a firm bristle brush is sufficient to maintain their smooth coats. These average shedders should be brushed more frequently during the shedding seasons to remove loose hair. They are usually clean.
Therefore, they can be bathed or dry shampooed occasionally. Mastiffs have a tendency to drool after eating and drinking. Therefore, their faces should be wiped and cleaned from time to time. Other significant aspects of Mastiff grooming include eye cleaning, ear cleaning, teeth cleaning and nail trimming.
They are smart, intelligent, alert, calm, affectionate, reliable, sensitive, tolerant, confident and even tempered. Mastiff breed dogs are protective but not aggressive under normal circumstances. Plus, they are not noisy. Though mostly carefree and laid back, still some Mastiff dogs have a deep passion for digging. They are easy to train, especially in terms of housetraining.
During obedience training, their stubborn streaks of behavior are often balanced due to their natural eagerness to please. Lack of proper training and socialization may make the dog shy, fearful and often destructive in nature. Their immense size helps them in carrying out their watchdog and guard dog duties quite successfully.
Mastiff dogs are always fully devoted and inclined to please their owners in every possible manner. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that they truly thrive on human companionship. As they are not aggressive, they tend to hold off intruders merely by the force of their great size and weight and not by biting.
Due to their calm and easy going disposition, these bulky and massive dogs can do quite well in apartment situation even without a yard. Nonetheless, they should be taken for daily walks as they tend to be lazy and inactive indoors. Otherwise, they do not require lots of physical exercise.