Fluffy English Mastiff: Can Mastiffs Have Long Hair?

Can English Mastiffs have fluffy hair and long hair? Yes, they can. They can! Breeders see the long hair as a defect and will breed the dog out of their breeding lines if the pup has the gene. They are sometimes mistaken for the Caucasian Mastiff the Russian Bear Dog ..

There are some mixed thoughts on how the fluffy gene came to be, but from what I found doing some research is that the long hair is thought to be brought in from when the breed may have had some Saint Bernard brought into the breed to save it from extinction in the early 1900s.

*Fluffy Mastiffs may look larger because of their fluff but they are the same size as all EMs in terms of traits and size. If you are interested, we can tell you some of the story about our Fluffy Mastiff.

Fluffy English Mastiff

Finding Our Fluffy

We had been looking for Mastiffs for some time before we purchased Freyja our American Mastiff Puppy HTML1. We brought Freyja home, and we knew that we wanted to give her a friend. We found her about six months old, and began looking for a rescue animal to join our family.

I was browsing Facebook when an intriguing-looking Mastiff appeared in my feed from the local Mastiff Rescue in Arizona. We decided to check him out to see how he would react to Freyja, our American Mastiff and Bailey, Bailey, our Chocolate Labrador Retriever.

We were rescued by the rescuers and brought into a room where we could meet our fluffy friend. He was still around nine months old when he arrived. His hair was longer than it is now, at 2 years of age. He got along extremely well with both our old lab (she was 11 years old at the time) and his new best friend, our AM puppy.

We spoke with the Rescue Volunteer, and we agreed to foster him. After 3 days, we decided that he would be staying with us forever so we took him home. We had to be a bit crazy with 4 dogs and 3 kids but eventually we found our way and he was back. There are many questions we get about him so we decided to answer some of them since there is a lot misinformation out there about them.

He is not a Leonberger or a Tibetan Mastiff

Uhtred is often mistaken for a Leonberger whenever we take him to Petsmart, or out for a walk. Leonbergers, another large breed of dog are very similar to Uhtred. However, their fur is thicker and longer. When comparing the breed to the Lab ., our Fluffy looks almost like the Golden Retriever equivalent.

A local groomer has him labeled as Tibetan Mastiff in the breed system. They bill us for the grooming and that’s all they could find. He is not a Tibetan Mastiff and the dogs are far furrier than Fluffy.

How did he get long hair?

As mentioned prior, many breeders think that it’s when there was some Saint Bernard introduced into the breed when the English Mastiffs were all but going extinct back in the early 1900s. There has also been some research done that indicates that it could have come through completely normal means, and just be a complete genetic variation where there’s long hair instead of short.

One thing is certain: breeders breed them out. There are many posts on Facebook and forums that demonstrate how much people love fluffy dogs, but they are not usually bred. These pups won’t be bred after they’re born. They will not be bred with another Fluffy Mastiff if they have long hair.

The Fluffy gene does not exist in breeders. They only appear if they haven’t DNA tested the dog and removed it from their line. There are many types of fluffy hair, from silky and long to full-blown major fluffball HTML1.

If you are interested in the genetics behind it, there’s a good chart right here that will walk you through the genetics.

Does he Shed?

Yep.

Yep. We keep his hair on the stairs, in our kitchen and in our bedroom because of its sheer volume. We joke that we bring him everywhere we go, regardless of whether or not we want.

We have a Golden Retriever family and he doesn’t shed as much as they do. He’s just bigger and has more hair, so it’s likely he sheds about the same amount as two full-grown Goldens, seeing as he weighs about as much as two of them combined (he’s about 155 pounds). If you have a fluffy pet, make sure to groom them regularly and take care of their hair. A deshedder can help with keeping fur under control.

Does he take a long time to get married?

He takes longer to groom because he has twice as many hairs. He does need to be brushed quite often. To keep it from getting too much, we make it a point of brushing his hair every day or every other day. There is always a lot of hair in his crate.

We do use an oatmeal shampoo for him as he has sensitive skin. Both he and our American Mastiff respond well to the shampoo. If we don’t do it regularly, he can get matted hair behind the ears. We had to trim the hair from his ears after rescuing him.

Keep in mind that he is just a hairier version a normal English Mastiff. Therefore, a giant breed will take him longer to bathe.

Is his Fur Soft?

We get this question quite often because some people are afraid to touch the fur of a Mastiff and discover for themselves. A Mastiff owner is not for everyone. Even though we don’t see it, he is quite large for his size. Although he is only two years old, he still has some puppy instincts. However, he is a total lover and will always be a friend to anyone who gives him attention. I think his fur is even softer than our AM.

We use a special shampoo/conditioner to keep his fur soft, but his fur is naturally soft and our children love to cuddle with him on the floor or his bed.

Where can I get one?

It is a good idea to send out feelers to all breeders and let them know what you are looking. It’s possible that any breeder could find a Fluffy if they have Mastiffs from their line who are carriers of the long haired gene. It’s also a possibility you just get a Mastiff mix if you adopt from a rescue – there’s really no way to know unless you are adopting a pup with papers. They are very rare because they have been bred out of the gene.

It is a good idea to put out notices to all the breeders and let them know what you are looking for. Although they are rare, there is a good chance that one will come along if you place your name on a waitinglist with many breeders. Because we were looking for a fluffy companion to our AM, we were lucky enough to find one.

Are you sure he’s an English Mastiff?”

Yep! In fact, we had him take a dog DNA test from Embark because we were curious if he was a carrier of any other type of breed. The results are available below. If you’re interested in our experience with Embark we can confirm that we were very satisfied with the results. The Embark test confirmed he is 100% Mastiff and also gave a health screening.

The health screening can help identify potential health problems. Mastiffs are well-known for hip dysplasia and elbow, but he wasn’t a carrier of either. Our AM already tore her ACL (thank you for pet insurance). We were also told that the defect was degenerative, meaning it is genetic and could happen to her other leg. We are confident that things could happen. However, we are glad to know that he is a purebred English Mastiff and has good genes so he should live a long life.

Would you recommend a fluffy?

It’s up to you. Our fluff is our best friend. But we also love him for his personality. When he was available to adopt, it definitely got us in touch with the rescue. When we first saw the possibility of a fluff, we wanted one. We were looking at several large and giant breeds at the time, including the Bernese Mountain Dog or even a Bernese Mountain Dog Mix.

The fluff was what got us in the door. But ultimately, our Uhtred won over us with his bright personality and ability to stay in any room that you enter. He’s a wonderful dog and we love him. We recommend that you choose a dog based on their breed and how they interact with your family. However, if you need a fluffy dog, the Mastiff is our favorite dog breed. Make sure you can afford a giant dog breed because we can tell you that they eat a lot and dog food for Mastiffs can get expensive!

Final Thoughts

Yes, Mastiffs have long hair. They are also known as “fluffies”, or “floofs”. We’ve also heard people call them “long coats”. When it comes to our fluffy boy, we love and would adopt him no matter how long his hair was. The English Mastiff is a wonderful breed that will fit the needs of your family. Be prepared to spend more on a larger dog than you would for a smaller one. Mastiffs require bigger beds and eat upwards of 6-8 cups of Mastiff-friendly dry kibble each day.

We will love the long hair, slobber and sparkling personality of our fluffy for as long as he is with us. The Embark DNA test is a great way to find out if your boy is a rescue fluff. It’s worth it, no matter if your dog is a Mastiff or any other “question mark” dog breed.

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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