Mastiff Breed Information and Buying advice

Mastiff

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Mastiff?

Quick Mastiff Facts

Average Size of Adult
Huge (5/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Sociability
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Exercise Requirements
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Good things don’t always need to come in small packages. The big - enormously big - English Mastiff is an ideal puppy choice that’s got a soft, loving heart. In fact, the world’s longest and heaviest recognised dog was an English Mastiff named Zorba. She weighed an impressive 143 kg when she was recognised by Guinness World Records in 1987.  Often simply called ‘Mastiffs’, English Mastiffs make excellent watchdogs that will protect families and property. This large breed has many excellent qualities, but there are also many things a prospective buyer should be aware of before purchasing an English Mastiff puppy as well.  

Why English Mastiffs are Great

Some highlights of English Mastiffs:
  1. Watchdog: this breed is a natural watchdog and will thus quickly alert owners to any suspicious activity.
  2. Guard dog: few breeds make as excellent a guard dog as the English Mastiff.
  3. Grooming: luckily, English Mastiffs, despite their size, don’t require much grooming or maintenance.
  4. Loyal: around owners and families, English Mastiffs are loving and loyal companions.
  5. Intelligence: this breed is highly intelligent and doesn’t require much effort to train.
 

Things to Consider when Looking at English Mastiffs for Sale

Some downsides to the English Mastiff:
  1. Drooling: this breed is known to drool profusely.
  2. Cost: due to their large size and seemingly endless hunger, English Mastiffs can be quite expensive to keep.
  3. First-time owners: this breed is not ideal for first-time owners.
  4. Shedding: English Mastiffs tend to shed quite a bit, especially throughout the year.
 

History of the English Mastiff

The origins of the mastiff are mysterious, but many believe that they were first imported to Europe from Asia in prehistoric times. One theory stipulates that the ancient Phoenicians, who were widely regarded as great explorers and traders of the Mediterranean and beyond, imported the ancestors of the English Mastiff to the British Isles sometime during the first millennium BC. This is plausible only insofar as that the rich tin mines of Cornwall were highly prized in the ancient world and thus trade with ancient civilisations may have resulted in foreign breeds entering the British Isles this far back in time. It is more well known that the English Mastiff is related to the pugnaces britanniae (“fight-ready dog of Britannia”), a breed that was likely used in combat by native British tribes during the time of Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain in 55 BC. Due to their large, imposing size, this breed would have likely struck fear into the hearts of the invading Romans. Since antiquity, this breed was widely used in Britain to protect livestock and property and was also known on the continent. Their numbers dwindled significantly during the time of the Second World War, however, leaving scarce few from which their numbers could recover. In fact, they recovered their numbers in the UK after being imported from America.  

Appearance

The English Mastiff can be recognised easily from its massive size. This breed is muscular, broad, and well-built with a short, rectangular head that is proportionately large when compared to its body. They resemble a Cane Corso in many regards, simply because it is believed that the Romans bred their own mastiffs with English Mastiffs and brought the subsequent breed back to Rome.  

How big is the English Mastiff?

English Mastiffs are large/giant-sized dogs. Males grow on average to 76-91 cm in height, whilst females can grow up to 70-91 cm high.  

How heavy is an English Mastiff?

Fully-grown adult male English Mastiffs weigh between 68-113 kg on average. Females weigh between 54-82 kg.  

What colour is the English Mastiff?

The most commonly accepted colours for English Mastiffs include:
  • Apricot;
  • Fawn;
  • Brindle.
Regardless of colour, English Mastiffs should have black muzzles, ears, and noses as well as black rims around their eyes. White patches on the body, chest, or feet should not be noticeably large.  

Temperament

Although big and powerful, English Mastiffs are docile and well-behaved. They are courageous and are not afraid of keeping their owners and property safe. This breed is a natural watchdog and also excels at performing guard dog duties. In a family setting, however, he is a loyal, loving, and playful companion, especially as a puppy.  

Do English Mastiffs make good guard dogs?

English Mastiffs are amongst the most ideal guard dogs simply due to their large, impressive size and courage. They also make excellent watchdogs. Better yet, English Mastiffs are naturally inclined to serve as watchdogs and therefore require little training in order to perform watchdog duties.  

Do English Mastiffs bark a lot?

This breed isn’t known to bark excessively, but they won’t hesitate to bark in order to alert owners or their families of any suspicious activity or to ward off intruders.  

Are English Mastiffs easy to train?

Generally, English Mastiffs are easy to train thanks to their superb intelligence and obedience. They can, however, show signs of dominance and therefore require a steady hand and a sense of authority.  

Are English Mastiffs playful?

As puppies, English Mastiffs are playful. As they grow older, they tend to become more serious and are always on duty to guard and protect the home.  

Are English Mastiffs good with children?

This breed gets along very well with children of all ages, but young children and toddlers should be supervised simply because this breed is so large and may accidentally harm young children.  

Are English Mastiffs good with other pets?

English Mastiffs tend to get along well with other pets, provided that they’ve been properly socialised. They may exert dominance over other dogs and they may chase cats or smaller pets, but they don’t tend to have a high prey drive. Regardless, ensure that your English Mastiff is supervised whilst playing in order to avoid the risk of accidents due to their sheer size and weight.  

Can I leave an English Mastiff alone?

As with most breeds, English Mastiffs don’t tolerate being left alone for too long. They can endure moderate amounts of isolation, but ensure that they’re given plenty of attention in order to foster a healthy and obedient companion.  

Do English Mastiffs like water?

Many English Mastiffs love to swim and won’t hesitate to jump in the water any chance they get. Don’t risk frightening or traumatising your puppy; allow him to gradually be introduced to the water. Always supervise your puppy whilst swimming since their short muzzles may create breathing difficulties.  

Health

How long do English Mastiffs live? 

Generally, English Mastiffs are expected to live anywhere from 10-12 years.  

How much exercise does an English Mastiff need?

This breed requires a good amount of physical exercise in order to remain stimulated. Spend an hour or more every day walking your English Mastiff and allow him time to roam supervised in the yard or garden.  

What are an English Mastiff’s common health issues?

English Mastiffs are prone to the following common health issues:
  • Hip dysplasia;
  • Gastric torsion;
  • Obesity;
  • Osteosarcoma;
  • Cystinuria;
  • Cardiomyopathy;
  • Allergies.
 

Care

How much space do I need for an English Mastiff? 

It is recommended that English Mastiffs live in a larger home, preferably in a rural environment with a garden in which they can play. It is possible to keep an English Mastiff in an apartment, but it is certainly not recommended due to their size.  

What should I feed my English Mastiff?

A fully-grown English Mastiff should be fed 8 to 10 cups of high-quality dog food every day, divided into three meals. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding. Avoid feeding your English Mastiff the above quantity in one sitting as this may encourage the onset of gastric torsion.  

How much grooming do English Mastiffs need?

This breed requires little in terms of grooming and maintenance. Weekly brushing can encourage the healthy growth of their short coats and remove dirt and dead hairs.  

Do English Mastiffs shed?

This breed sheds a moderate amount, but due to their massive size, even a little shedding can create an unsightly mess around the home. Clean regularly with a HEPA filter equipped vacuum cleaner in order to thoroughly remove dead hairs.  

Average Costs

How much does it cost to keep an English Mastiff?

As a rough guide in pricing:  Cost to buy: roughly £350-1,000 for a well-bred English Mastiff puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £150-210 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your English Mastiff puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder.  More specifically, here is some English Mastiff puppy buying advice:
  1. Many English Mastiffs are prone to a range of common health issues. Ensure that your prospective puppy is tested for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, thyroid problems, and DNA testing for progressive retinal atrophy. Do not purchase an English Mastiff puppy if you are not satisfied that he was bred according to the Kennel Club of Great Britain’s standards.
  2. Purchasing an English Mastiff should require plenty of preparation. This breed eats far more than most other breeds, requires more space than most other breeds, and therefore may not be an ideal choice for everyone. Only purchase an English Mastiff if you are able to provide it with the love and material sustenance required to keep him healthy and happy.
 

Other Reading, Adopting English Mastiff Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: The Old English Mastiff Club:  https://www.mastiffclub.com/  Bullmastiff Rescue and Adoption UK: https://bullmastiffrescueandadoption.co.uk/  Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/information/find/Mastiff.breed  UK Dog Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet

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