The Modern Mastiff
Mastiffs are frequently confused with Bullmastiffs, and some of the other large group of Molosser breeds that are incorrectly labeled as “Mastiffs” ie Neapolitans, Dogue de Bordeaux, Cane Corso, Fila, Dogo, to name just a few... for that reason many of you will have heard the term English Mastiff. This term is used purely to distinguish our breed from the others. The correct term is Mastiff. However, many people do find it hard to distinguish the Mastiff from a Bullmastiff, even judges and stewards! Also adding to the confusion the latest trend of labeling any large Xbreed with a squareish muzzle as a mastiff cross does nothing to help our efforts to educate people about our wonderful gentle giants.
Regrettably, this is not only because of the comparative rarity of the Mastiff, but because of the fact that many Mastiffs are not true to type. This is partly due to the cross breeding that occurred to save the breed from extinction but also due to indiscriminate breeding.
The Mastiff is a slow maturing dog, taking up to 3 – 4 years to fully develop its magnificent head. This is why we do not breed our bitches until their third season or two years of age.
The average weight of a mature male Mastiff is approx 95kg, females are smaller and lighter but are still very big dogs averaging approx 80kg.
The Mastiff does not wander and knows the boundaries of his ‘kingdom’ whether paddock, farm or back garden. Mastiffs do not usually bark unless there is a reason for it. They are devoted to their family whom they will guard with more determination than ferocity. Their sheer size is usually a suitable deterrent.
Mastiffs are people dogs, they do not do well if left alone for long periods of time. If there is no one home during the day and they are to be left without company, for more than a few hours at a time then please get a different type of dog... They thrive in a family home or if someone works from home, they love to be with you as much as possible and will follow you where ever you go. Even known to wait beside the shower or outside the toilet door.
They don’t need a huge amount of exercise, they are happy to do as much as you want to... A mastiff will be as content snuggled up on the couch with you, as it would be walking miles on a rainy weekend afternoon.
Health of the Mastiff compares favourably with other giant breeds. Four conditions known to appear are : hip & elbow dysplasia, osteochrondosis, bloat and cruciate ligament rupture. Bloat is a problem that every giant breed owner should be familiar with. Research is still being carried out to determine the cause of this life threatening condition. Cruciate ligament rupture speaks for itself. It is the ligament that crosses the knee. Once again any breeder will discuss these matters with you. Pet insurance is recommended, vets bills like mastiffs can be large!