Raising a Mastiff: What You Should Expect


The English Mastiff, known simply as Mastiff, is a giant dog breed, like the St. Bernard, Scottish Deerhounds and the Great Dane. This dog is one of the most popular breeds in the United States and the whole world. Due to its enormous size, it’s not really recommended for newbie and first time dog owners, given that it requires a lot of attention and effort in raising it. That being said, there are a lot of things you should expect if you’re planning to raise one, which include:

A gentle temperament

gentle english mastiff

Source: Wikimedia-Yana Mishina and Denis Radkov

Due to its enormous size and frame, it is extremely important that your Mastiff is gentle and good around people. Having one that possesses an aggressive behavior could prove to be dangerous in the long run: you wouldn’t want a 250-pound beast to run after the mailman, right? That being said, most Mastiffs are actually very gentle and are good around kids and other pets, much like the St. Bernard.

It has to be trained and be used to be around other people, especially kids. Bear in mind that one that has not been around children that much will not automatically reliable with a child. They might not look at children the same way as humans. If you’ve got kids around, be sure to supervise their contact with each other.

Food and growth

As a puppy, Mastiffs need a lot of food and supplements in their first 12 months in order to support their overall growth. Bear in mind that they all grow at a rapid rate, although they only reach physical maturity at the age of three or four. Once they’ve matured, they will consume less food – practically the same as what a German Shepherd eats. Ask your veterinarian or breeder about the recommended type of dog food.

It is highly important to never, ever overfeed your Mastiff, especially if it’s still a puppy. Doing so will make it prone to obesity and hip dysplasia.

Health problems

One of the downsides of raising a Mastiff is it being prone to a number of major ailments. These include hip dysplasia, especially if growth, diet and exercise isn’t monitored, and the dreaded gastric torsion. Aside from which, minor complications include cystinuria, osteosarcoma, and as mentioned earlier, obesity.

Regular checkups are needed in order to ensure your Mastiff’s overall health and wellness. Regular exercise and stimulation are required for Mastiffs. Despite their size, they are actually pretty active. Short walks around the neighborhood and constant stimulation is enough to prevent obesity and destructive behavior. Remember though, never overexercise your Mastiff!

Slobber and excellent protection instincts

Due to their facial structure and dewlap, Mastiffs slobber, and they do so a lot. Having one means that you will have to wipe off their saliva on walls, furniture and on yourself. Make sure to always bring a towel to wipe it all off when you’re going for a walk!

That aside, this breed is highly regarded as an excellent guard dog. Although it rarely barks, it will not hesitate to corner, bite, and tackle an intruder.

A relatively short lifespan

Overall, we can say that the Mastiff is an excellent breed and an outstanding canine companion. However, if you love dogs so much and you hate having your heart broken, be prepared: Mastiffs have a very short lifespan, a quality common in large dogs. Usually, it ranges from seven to eight years, although there are cases wherein some fail to reach that age while others reach 10 and 12.

If you’re planning to get a Mastiff, be sure to take all of the above mentioned facts into consideration! Bear in mind that they are also vulnerable to certain types of poisons and nuances that also affect felines.

*Image Credit: Fotosuabe

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