English Mastiff: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Mastiff or English Mastiff dog breed, its enormous size and weight stand out. It is one of the largest dogs on the planet. Despite its imposing appearance, it is a pet with a calm, noble and very affectionate character. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Mastiff breed .


Character of the Mastiff breed

The character of the mastiff dog, also called the English Mastiff or Old English Mastiff, shows great confidence and self – assurance. Its guardian instinct is very exacerbated, it is linked to its genetic inheritance, so it does not need to be trained for it.

Its behaviour is a combination of nobility and courage, it is a calm, serene and very affectionate animal with its owners, but at the same time an excellent guardian, always brave , alert and protective. Willing to corner any intruder who threatens its family.

Majestic dog, very powerful, strong, massive and imposing. Because of its personality and on its own initiative, it defends its family and its territory to the last consequences. When it perceives the presence of a stranger, it follows them and corners or immobilizes them with the powerful force of its body.

But, at the same time, as we have mentioned, it has the personality of a calm animal, little barking, affectionate and patient, especially with children , and it also likes to please its owner, so its training is not difficult.

This dog has such a calm temperament that it even has a certain inclination to be lazy or to lie down all day, presiding over its surroundings with its majestic and superb figure.

Even so, it is advisable for its owner to educate it with a firm hand and patience, trying to promote good socialization when it is still a puppy, to avoid accentuating its suspicion towards strangers.

As it is a very large dog, it is not the most suitable pet to live in an apartment, although it does not require large spaces on which to dominate with its imposing presence and where it can run and exercise.

In fact, its large size is the biggest “drawback” of this breed, apart from the fact that, if it lives indoors, it may end up impregnating everything with its drool.

But for everything else it makes an excellent, calm, patient and affectionate companion dog, who can be fully entrusted with the care of both the house and all its components.

  • Energy: medium level. It is a calm animal, rather idle, that loves to lie down, but you have to force it to exercise to keep it in shape.
  • Temperament: noble, calm, serene and affectionate, it is a faithful and courageous guardian.
  • Adaptability: it is quiet and little noisy, so it can live indoors, but prefers wide spaces.
  • Sociability: very affectionate with all members of its family, does not usually pose many problems with other animals. It is suspicious of strangers.
  • Health: suffers from the typical diseases of large breeds.
  • Longevity: live about 10 years.
  • Utility: versatile. Former fighting dog, today it is an excellent watchdog and companion dog.
  • Use: defence, guard and company.

Mastiff Characteristics

Regarding the general appearance and appearance of the mastiff, it should be noted that it is a very large animal, it is imposing and majestic, but with a harmonious and balanced figure. In general, it is wide, very robust and solid.

And although it is not a dog that breaks the height records, the specimens of this breed are the ones that present a greater weight of all the members of their species.

As for its body, it is a very large, heavy, corpulent and very solid dog, with solid and wide bones, very powerful. The trunk is robust, wide and long, with a large and very muscular perimeter. The general figure of the animal is imposing, respectful and intimidating.

Its head is large, rather square, solid and strong, as well as solid, very wide and compact. It has a marked stop and a short, square muzzle, with a large nose and quite pendulous lips.

The eyes are rather small, dark and are not arranged very close to each other. They are framed by a black shadow that rises from the muzzle.

This dog has flat and thin ears. They are shaped like a “V” and hang close to the cheeks of the animal. Regardless of the color of the coat, the ears are always black.

The feet of the English Mastiff are large, rounded and have very curved toes, which makes them stand tall. They are found under broad, robust and very strong limbs.

The tail is wide at birth, gradually tapers towards the end, reaching at least to the hocks. When at rest the dog carries it straight and low.

As for the coat, the entire body is covered with a very short, dense coat of hair that is close to the skin. On the back and neck it is a little thicker, but on the rest it is very fine in texture.

Let’s take a closer look at the physical characteristics of the Mastiff dog breed and its breed standard:

Mastiff breed standard

  • General appearance: large and heavy, it has a robust body, solid, strong and with good muscles, but harmonious and well proportioned. It commands respect.
  • Size: giant.
  • Height at the withers: between 75 and 82 cm for males and between 66 and 73 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 75 and 82 kg for males and between 68 and 74 kg for females.
  • Origin: United Kingdom.
  • Body: long, robust and solid, it is wide and heavy.
  • Head: large and robust, it is very broad, muscular and powerful.
  • Skull: broad between the ears, with a smooth forehead, but friendly when the dog is alert or attentive. The eyebrows are slightly raised and an ascending furrow arises from the middle of the eyes through the center of the forehead that extends to the middle of the skull.
  • Muzzle: short, wide and straight, it is truncated at the tip, thus its appearance is square, since it forms a right angle with the nose. The front part of the muzzle is wide and wide from the upper edge to the lower jaw, and to this effect the appearance of the lips, which are quite pendulous, contributes. The perimeter of the muzzle is important, and the total length represents one third of the length of the head.
  • Nose: seen from the front, it is wide and the nostrils are wide open, while seen from the side it is flat, neither pointed nor retracted.
  • Eyes: small and well separated, they are dark hazel in color. The conjunctival membrane is usually not visible.
  • Ears: implanted in the upper part of the skull and rather to the sides, they are set quite far apart from each other, so that the upper profile of the head is prolonged and looks wider than it is, giving it an appearance more square to the whole. They are small, fine to the touch and when the dog is at rest they fall, hanging flat close to the cheeks.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is well marked, but not too abrupt.
  • Jaws: the bite is usually scissor-like, but some specimens bite in a pincer or have a slight prognathism. The dog has healthy, powerful and well separated canines, and the lower jaw is wide to its extreme. When you close your mouth, your lower incisors are not visible.
  • Neck: With a slightly arched profile, the neck is of medium length and very muscular.
  • Chest: broad, very broad, deep and well descended in the region of the sternum, it has very curved and rounded ribs. It also has false ribs, which are long and well developed towards the back of the thorax. On the belly, the flanks are very lowered, thereby increasing the impression of robustness and a cylindrical appearance.
  • Back: it is characterized by being broad and muscular. Females have a flat and wide dorsal area, but in males it appears slightly domed.
  • Forelimbs: straight, strong and well separated, have solid and strong bones. Shoulders: They are slightly sloping and are endowed with powerful muscles. The forearms and upper arms are also slightly oblique, powerful and straight, with good poise. The elbows are well aligned with the axis of the body.
  • Hind limbs: they are very broad and muscular. Its legs are well developed. The hocks are angled and quite wide, they are always presented with good poise, both at rest and in movement.
  • Feet: large and round, with very arched toes and black nails.
  • Tail: set high, hangs straight at rest and reaches to the hocks or perhaps a little lower. On alert or when going into action, the peno usually raises the tail in a slight curve, but keeping the tip straight and without exceeding the height of the back.
  • Color:  the specimens of this breed have  a tawny coat , sometimes with an  apricot, silver or dark brindle tone . In all cases the muzzle, the ears and the nose are black, and the eyes are surrounded by a black shadow that extends upwards to the region between the orbits.
  • Hair: short, fine and tight, it is a little thicker and harder on the neck and back. It is tawny in color, and has a black muzzle, ears and nose. The eyes are surrounded by a black spot that extends upward.
  • Movement : this dog has a powerful and powerful advance, with easy extension of the limbs.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 264. GROUP 2 – Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossian, and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs. Section 2 – Molossian.

Mastiff puppies

If you are reading this article with information about the Mastiff, it may be because you are considering adopting a dog or buying a puppy. In that case, there are a series of aspects that it is highly recommended that you know before deciding.

If you decide to adopt an English Mastiff, it is best to have certain tests and analyses carried out on their elbows, hips, eyes, DNA and thyroid. In this way you will be able to know if you have or are prone to suffering from any disease and be able to act accordingly.

We recommend that you visit several specialized centers and dog shelters. We are fully convinced that you will find the ideal mastiff dog for you and that it is waiting to be adopted by a family.

In the case of wanting to buy a puppy, it is very important that you do it in a specialized and professional kennel. Don’t be tempted by an excessively “cheap” English Mastiff price. Sometimes it is a bad decision.

In the same way, you should be aware that the puppies of this breed need vitamin and mineral supplements during growth for their proper development. This complements their diet, based on the highest quality dry feed.

Calm and almost lazy in nature, in order for the Mastiff to stay healthy and in good physical condition it is important to force it to do some activity, such as long walks and, from time to time, some exercise session in freedom.

Likewise, it is very important to start your education and socialization from an early age. In this way it will know the rules of the house and will not get nervous before unfamiliar situations.


Education and training of the English Mastiff

Regarding how to train an English Mastiff, you should know that it is not a very suitable breed for those who are weak or insecure. Since this canine pet needs a confident owner.

The owner must teach them to act like a well-trained dog and has to give them long walks so that it can expend its energy. In addition, the animal must be a participant in family life, being one more, and feeling that it is respected and loved.

As it is a very large pet, it likes to live both in the garden and indoors. Similarly, surprisingly enough, it is a dog who loves obstacle courses.

This well-behaved dog is ideal for living with children, as it is patient and tender. The smallest of the house will have it as if it were a huge stuffed animal.

Training an English Mastiff is not complex, but you must be aware that it is essential to be firm and constant in your orders and indications of behaviour.

It is very important to use positive reinforcement with this breed of dog. That is, reward and praise when it does something right, instead of yelling at them or being rude when it does something wrong. Rigorous training methods have proven useless.

If you see that it is about to do something that it should not, avoid saying a “NO” in a firm tone, but without yelling. For example, if it was trying to chew on a piece of furniture, say “no” and bring one of its toys closer to them so it can chew on it and play with it.

In short, the perfect owner for a mastiff is one who has an iron or firm demeanor, but is capable of being both loving and fair to the animal.


Mastiff feeding

Regarding how to feed an English Mastiff or Mastiff, it is very important that it is provided with a diet of sufficient quality to satisfy the necessary energy of its enormous body and great weight.

As anecdotal data, this pet was able to eat almost 1 kilogram of red meat per day without problem, apart from cereals and vegetables. Something that also happens with the Newfoundland dog.

But the best diet for this breed is dry feed. You also need to always have water available, as it can easily dehydrate.

Fortunately, for a few years, the main manufacturers and brands of dog food have on the market a wide range of products specialized in giant breeds like this one.

It can be bought in specialized pet stores or conveniently online. You should also be aware that the economic cost for the nutrition of this dog is high.


English Mastiff health and diseases

The mastiff is a dog whose life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years of age. But for this you must eat a proper diet. practice sport on a regular basis, and respect the typical diseases of the breed.

The exorbitant weight and size of the English Mastiff sometimes works against its health. The most serious and common ailments are:

  1. Gastric torsion.
  2. Hip dysplasia.
  3. Elbow dysplasia.
  4. Obesity.
  5. Ostosarcoma (bone cancer).

It is also prone to mild ocular dysfunctions such as ectropion or entropion. These diseases can cause inflammation, infection and injury to the corneas.

It is essential that you take your canine pet to the vet at least 2 times a year so that this professional can adequately monitor its health. In addition to following the schedule of vaccinations and internal and external deworming .


Specific care of the Mastiff breed

This heavy pet does not require excessive care. Its maintenance is very simple since it has short and clean hair. Therefore, the mastiff should be brushed once a week with a suitable brush .

As for how often an English Mastiff must bathe : it must be bathed every 6 or 8 weeks and a suitable shampoo will be used .

Although if the dog has become very dirty, it can promptly be washed before. After bathing it, it is very important to properly dry the ears and ears to prevent it from suffering from canine otitis. Regular cleaning of the eyes and ears is also suitable.

As for its hygiene, you should know that it is an animal with a tendency to smell a lot like “dog”. If sometimes a small dog does it, one of almost 100 kg you can imagine.

It is also prone to having a lot of drool, so for proper hygiene of the dog and your home, it is convenient that you clean it frequently.


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