english mastiff

English Mastiff dog – History Appearance and Care


The mastiff belongs to one of the most ancient types of dog breeds in the United Kingdom. They are classic gentle giants loving but sometimes stubborn. They are the peaceful dogs though, but they are always protecting their family and step in if danger threatens. Full grown Mastiff’s size start at 30 inches tall and can weigh as much as 90 kilograms (200 pounds).

Origin and History of English Mastiff

The history of Mastiff also known as “gentle giant” goes all the way back to 2500 BC. They descended from a prehistoric type of dog “Molosser.” Mastiffs found their way around the world and transported by traders, armies, and nomads from northern India or Tibet.

In England, Mastiffs were used for the brutal sports of bear-baiting, bull-fighting, and dog-fighting. In fact, they almost became extinct when these brutal sports were outlawed. England Mastiffs began to be developed in England in the year 1835. During World War 1 and 2, the breed was in danger due to the high cost of feeding them, so they were imported to Canada and the United States. Today, English Mastiff is one of the famous dog breeds in the world.

Personality and temperament of English Mastiff

Mastiffs are very powerful, massive and muscular dogs. Although they were known to be the ferocious war dogs, the modern day Mastiffs are called the gentle giant. They are very even-tempered and are rarely subject to extreme mood swings. It is in their nature to protect the family and territory. They are silent guards and rarely bark.

They are self-confident, patient, and trainable dogs. They often form an intense bond with the favorite people. They are loving towards people and are excellent with kids. However, it can create a problem sometimes as they like to be with the family all the time, so there is a chance for them suffering from severe separation anxiety. Due to their youthful exuberance, very young Mastiffs may not be the best housemates for tots and toddlers.

Mastiffs are a smart breed and love to have a lot of attention. They are eager to please you and love to dot and cuddle with you. They are not really into the playing fetch but require an average amount of exercise. Well, Mastiffs are prone to shyness and timidity. They are docile and calm dogs who love to take naps. However, they are loud snorers due to their long soft palate.

Pros And Cons of English Mastiff

You have your heart set on Mastiff for your next family member there are a few things you need to know. Let’s have a look below to know some highs and lows of buying Mastiff:

  • They are boisterous, but Mastiff puppies
    usually spend the majority of the day napping between their bursts of
    activities. They are pretty much couch
  • Mastiffs are mushy, adorable and cute.
  • They are loving family dogs.
  • Mastiffs are not the sort of dogs who
    chase or kill the neighboring cats and squirrel etc.
  • The giant size and loud bark of Mastiffs
    is indeed a great deterrent against intruders and sketchy people.
  • Mastiffs are pretty mellow and are not
    known for dog aggression.
  • CONS.
  • Mastiffs usually live only about ten
    years or even a bit shorter.
  • They are prone to many health problems.
  • Mastiffs drool so much.
  • Sometimes Mastiffs take quite a long
    time to learn control.
  • You can’t consider a Mastiff adult until
    it is at least three years old.
  • Substandard breeding can result in timid
    or highly reactive temperament.
  • Physical Appearance of English Mastiff

    Mastiff is considered to be the prototypical animal for the entire Molosser family and is one of the world’s most recognizable breeds. Mastiffs usually weight 120 to 200 pounds. They stand approximately 26 to 36 inches tall. They are huge dogs, have a short coat and the colors come in fawn and brindles.

    Taking Care of English Mastiffs

    Mastiffs have sweet and obedient nature and are comparatively hassle-free pets. If you intend to own a dog at home, then remember that owning a dog as a pet comes with several responsibilities. Here are the guidelines that will let you give the right amount of care to your pet:


    Mastiffs are inclined to be lazy. However, regular exercise will keep them fitter and happier. Free play and daily walks (a mile or two for adult Mastiffs) will keep them healthy. Don’t let your Mastiff run up and downstairs. Do not engage him in long walks or allow them to jump from a height. Mastiffs are notorious for plopping down during long walks so do not walk them farther than you can take them back.

    Training an English Mastiff

    Early socialization and obedience training is indeed a must for English Mastiffs. They get bored of the repetitions in a typical training class so they may take a nap. You can hold several short sessions of training, but your loud voice can hurt their feelings easily. They are excellent at reading your expressions so; you can use your positive rewards and praise to train them. Mastiffs communicate a great deal with their eyes; make eye contact with them. Treat them with love and respect to train them to excel in any sphere. Make training fun and varied.

    english mastiff


    Mastiffs are lazy and tend to lay back. It means they do not expend a great deal of energy. But still, they consume a lot of food. They are big dogs with big appetites. Mastiffs love meat so a healthy diet for them can be the chicken wings, legs back, and beef knuckle bones. Fruits and vegetables are good for your Mastiff only when you serve in moderation. After all, the dogs are not vegetarians. Besides these, you can serve many other foods to your Mastiff after consulting a vet. For example, Vitamin C is great to boost the immune system so add it to your Mastiff’s diet.

    Grooming the English Mastiff dog

    Mastiffs have a low maintenance coat that does not require much grooming.  Brush Mastiff’s coat at least once or twice a week. They have a wrinkled face which means bacteria can hide in crevices, so use baby wipes to clean their wrinkles and then towel dry them. They are naturally clean breed so do not require much extra attention. However, you should bath them infrequently. Use a large clipper to trim your Mastiff’s nails. It is good to brush your Mastiff’s teeth daily. If not possible then brush them at least two or three times a week.

    Living environment

    English Mastiffs are not that active, so they will do well in a small apartment as long as they have sufficient exercise.

    Health Concerns of English Mastiff

    Mastiffs suffer from all problems common to giant breeds. Average life expectancy of this breed is seven years. However, the Mastiffs who have been appropriately cared for often live to 10 years or more. Here are a few health problems that can arise in your giant dog:

    Hip dysplasia: Canine Hip Dysplasia is a condition that begins in dogs as they grew, and results in a loose fit of the hip joint. It can lead to arthritis and joint degeneration. Genetics, rapid weight gain, and growth through excessive nutritional intake complicate the development of CHD.

    Arthritis: It is more often associated with senior dogs but can occur in any sized dog. Stiffness, pain, difficulty in exercise or moving and limping is the symptom of arthritis.

    Dilated cardiomyopathy: It is a heart disease commonly seen in giant breed dogs. In Dilated cardiomyopathy heart becomes weak so cannot pump enough blood to the body. Common symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include difficulty breathing, weakness, intolerant and coughing.

    Mastiffs are also prone to PRA, vaginal hyperplasia, ectropion, gastric torsion, PPM, and elbow dysplasia.

    Buying an “English Mastiff” puppy:

    Your entire family has agreed that Mastiff is the breed for you then it is the time to start looking for the puppy but before that take a look at the guidelines given below:

    english mastiff
    • Do your research.
    • Go to some breed shows and talk to the breeders.
    • Study breeder’s dogs for temperament, health, and movement, etc.
    • Ask questions to the breeder about how to safeguard Mastiff pup.
    • Check the skin of the dog for the sign of rash or flea infestation.
    • Ask about the medical history of the particular puppy you have chosen.


    Do Mastiffs Dig Much?

    Yes, they do like to dig.

    How Are Mastiffs With Other Animals?

    Usually, they are friendly but aloof towards other animals and dogs.

    What is the average Mastiff puppy price?

    The average price of Mastiff Puppy is $1200 to $1500.

    Also, read about the Pug

    Picture Credits: Pixabay.com, Shawn Wiseman/Flickr