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12/7/2023 6:26 PM



Is The English Mastiff The Right Breed For You?

So you're interested in a Mastiff.  Owning a Mastiff can be a very rewarding experience or it can be the beginning of overwhelming responsibility for which you may not be prepared.  Mastiffs are loving, slobbery, gentle giants.  They are the largest of the dog breeds and can range in size from 26 inches to 36 inches at the shoulder.  They weigh anywhere from 120 pounds to 225+ pounds.  Once they are over their major growing stage, they will eat between 6-8 cups of high quality food per day. For many rescue Mastiffs, a stern correction is enough, but some dogs require obedience training, and all rescue dogs would benefit from a training class to build confidence and strengthen the bond with their adopter.

Mastiffs are wonderful companions.  They are very sensitive dogs, and need lots of human companionship.  Contrary to what alot of people think, Mastiffs do not fair well in the elements. They are not dogs that can be left outside in extreme temperatures, nor are they dogs that do well living in your backyard or chained up.  If your house is too small for a 150-230 lb. dog, then a Mastiff is not the dog for you.  We have seen behavioral problems occur when a Mastiff is not properly socialized or is relegated to the backyard with only occasional human contact.

Mastiffs slobber, some more than others, but all do after they eat or drink.  Are you prepared to wash your walls after the slobber flies when they shake their heads?  Slobber rags are a must!  If you own a Mastiff, you must realize "spit happens!"

Some Mastiffs do snore, so if you are a light sleeper or one that needs constant quiet to sleep, you should consider another breed. 

Mastiffs are NOT guard dogs.  They will protect their family more along the lines of a watch dog than guard dog.  If your intent is to have a dog that is a guard dog then you must think about another breed.  They will often bark and let intruders know they are not accepted.  Once you accept the guest, chances are good that they will too.  Their mere presence and bark will scare the bravest of burglars.

Mastiffs are generally wonderful dogs with children as long as they are properly socialized as puppies.  They are very gentle and quite tolerant, and they adore licking kid's faces.  They will protect their children.  Of course, please make sure that you supervise and train your children to respect and treat the dog well.  In rescue, we will not place a dog with a family with small children unless the dog has been raised with them in the previous home.  The swinging tail of a Mastiff can knock a small child over. If you have very small children who are just learning to walk, you may want to wait until they are older before getting a Mastiff whether it's a puppy or a rescue dog.

Mastiffs can be territorial dogs.  They will protect their yard, house, car and family from people or dogs.  They want it known that this is their yard.  They are dogs that can be very good with other dogs and with cats as long as they have had good experiences with them.  If you have an adult male dog already and you are getting a rescue, you might want to consider a female Mastiff or vice a versa.  This is not to say that two males cannot get along, but males especially have a tendency to want to dominate each other if they have been recently neutered.

Mastiffs want to be with you.  They love their masters and are very devoted to them. 

As stated earlier, the Mastiff is a house dog.  A small house is suitable as long as the Mastiff goes for walks and plays outside.  The yard should be fenced and the Mastiff obedience trained through the basics: come, sit, stay, down, and he should walk on lead without dragging you down the street. 

Due to their size, Mastiff care is very expensive.  Everything costs more: food, vet bills, toys, vaccinations...everything. Please keep in mind the financial responsiblity that comes with bringing a Mastiff into your home.

Owning a Mastiff is a major responsibility but they will reward you a million times over with their love.  They are not the breed for everyone due to their size and their need to be a major part of your family.

Please remember that your rescue Mastiff has been traumatized by the changes that have occured in their life.  Mastiffs have a difficult time with change.  They are not ready to be the perfect pet you have read about in books.  Be understanding and help them through the rough spots.  Your efforts in doing this will be greatly rewarded.

The volunteers with GPMR are always there to answer any questions you may have regarding our marvelous breed.  We are here to assist you and the rescue Mastiff with the best possible fit and adjustment.
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