Mastiff

The Mastiff is the classic gentle giant. He is a peaceful dog, but he is always protective of his family and will step in if danger threatens.

Mastiff
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Overall Status

Height 27.5 to 30 inches or more at the shoulder
Temperament Courageous, Dignified, Good-Natured
Weight 120 to 230 pounds
Life Expectancy 8 to 10 years
Coat Color Black and Tan, Brown, Silver
Barking Level Infrequent

Quick Factors

Playfulness
Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

Though their hair is short, Mastiffs shed year-round, with heavy shedding in the spring and fall. Weekly brushing with a hound mitt can keep flyaway hair under control.

Mastiffs only need to be bathed as needed, but they do need to have their wrinkles cleaned daily in order to prevent bacterial infections. The most essential part of cleaning the wrinkles is to dry them thoroughly. The flews (the part of the upper lip that hangs) also need to be cleaned after meals.

Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal.

Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

Bred to be guardians of “hearth and home,” Mastiffs have comparatively lowexerciserequirements and can live happily in an apartment. They benefit physically and psychologically from free play anddaily walks—a mile or two for adult Mastiffs.

However, owners must be careful not to overtax growing puppies and young adults: Don’t allow them to run up and down stairs, jump from heights, or engage in long walks. Begin with no more than half a block for a 2- to 3-month-old puppy.

Additionally, Mastiffs are notorious for plopping down during walks when they are tired or overheated. Therefore, a rule of thumb is to not walk them farther than you can carry them back!

For rapidly growinggiant breedssuch as the Mastiff, proper nutrition is critical through puppyhood and up to 2 years of age. Slow and steady growth is optimal.

If fed a densely caloric diet lacking an appropriate calcium/phosphorous ratio, Mastiff puppies and young adults are prone to skeletal disorders.

Most breed experts recommend that puppies start on an adult dog food formulation with a protein percentage no higher than 26 percent, and a calcium/phosphorous ratio of approx.1.2:1. Feeding scheduled meals is recommended, rather than free-feeding, to avoid excessive weight gain.

Mastiffs are large and will see a lot of problems corresponding to this size, particularly with joint andhip problemslikehip dysplasia. They also see a range of other health problems that you’ll want to consult an animal doctor about.

Don’t over-run your Mastiff for the first two years of its life.Like many large dogs, the Mastiff can run into hip and joint problems that should not be exacerbated by over exercise. At the same time,regularexercise will be critical in ensuring that your Mastiff has a relatively healthy weight throughout its life.

Obedience trainingand earlysocializationare “musts” for Mastiffs. Mastiffs learn quickly and want to please. However, the repetitions in a typical training class will quickly bore them, at which point they may lie down, snoring.

Make eye contact with your Mastiff; they communicate a great deal with their eyes, and they are excellent at reading your expressions and body language. Use praise and positive rewards—you can easily hurt their feelings by raising your voice. Hold several short sessions during the day, keeping it fun and varied. When treated with love, inclusion, and respect, Mastiffs can be trained to excel in almost any sphere.

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History

The Mastiff (also known as the ‘English Mastiff’) is a British breed which descended from the Alaunt and other Molossers several thousand years ago. ‘

Mastiff’ likely derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘masty’, meaning ‘powerful’. The Mastiff’s ancient origins are with the Molossians, an early Hellenic tribe known for its powerful guard dogs.

In Roman times, the Mastiff was employed as a war dog and fighter, pit in the Arena against gladiators, bears, and even elephants. By the Middle Ages, the Mastiff was a popular guard dog and hunter.

Unfortunately, it was still forced to fight, matched up against bears, bulls, and lions in popular gambling dens. Many Mastiffs today descend from the Lyme Hall Mastiffs, a line beginning with Sir Peers Legh’s Mastiff, who protected him after he was wounded at the battle of Agincourt in 1415 (a stained glass window in Lyme Hall depicts Sir Legh and his Mastiff to this day).

The Mastiff may have arrived in America on the Mayflower; it had certainly arrived by the 1800s. Mastiffs decreased in popularity in England after bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and lion-baiting were outlawed, but grew in popularity in the U.S throughout the twentieth century, remaining a popular pet and guardian today.

The charming character of the Mastiff has helped it find its way into popular culture. Famous fictional Mastiffs include ‘Hercules’ from ‘The Sandlot’ and ‘Kazak’ from Kurt Vonnegut's ‘The Sirens of Titan’.

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Picture & Video

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