English Mastiff Dog Breed Traits & Facts

The Mastiff is one large dog. He is handsome, sweet, gentle, and big. He is not suitable for many families because of his size. Before you decide to take him on, you need to measure him.

Experienced breeders will tell you that the breed’s size is not the only thing you need to manage. These dogs can be stubborn and territorial. If your dog is a large breed, this can cause problems. How do you handle it when it’s snowing outside and your 200-pound dog refuses to come inside? These are the questions you need to ask before you welcome a dog into your home.

Before you welcome a Mastiff into your home, it is important to be familiar with everything about them. This includes their size, living needs, training requirements, and food intake. If they are well trained, these big and loving dogs can make great family pets. Let’s take an in-depth look at what you can expect from your English Mastiff.

English Mastiff Dog


The English Mastiff is a dog breed that comes from England. He is an ancient dog breed that originates from 55 B.C. This is because Julias Caesar, the Roman conqueror, wrote a note about them in his journal. He was astonished at the power and size of this breed when he invaded Great Britain. They were taken back to Rome by him, where they were fought against lions and other beasts as well as human gladiators.

He was first seen in focus in Medieval England. He was used by rich landowners as an estate guard and for hunting large-game. He was also the war dog of choice in the 15th century battle between the English and the French. They were very expensive to keep so they were only available to the most wealthy.

Fast forward to the 19th century, and the Mastiff breed was nearly fought to death because of the cruel dogfighting bloodsport in England. They managed to recover their numbers. But come the 20th century, the breed almost became extinct, and just 14 of them were left. The American English Mastiff was popular, thankfully. American breeders also exported their fine specimens back to their homeland and restored the breed. Phew!

He was much larger back in those days, but he has become smaller over the years and is less fierce. It is difficult to believe how large he was. He’s no longer in combat, and instead can be found enjoying the sunshine in the yard, or cuddling up on the couch with his favourite people. He is consistently found in the top 30 dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club. We think he would be very popular if he wasn’t so large.


The English Mastiff a calm, laid-back canine. Many people think he is so relaxed that they don’t even care about the world. They’re right. This breed will sleep with you all day, and would skip exercise if you allowed him to. This breed snores a lot. This breed snores louder than most people.

Mastiffs enjoy being silly with their family. Be careful, his uncoordinated body will cause chaos and his thick tail can send things flying. He is very clumsy as a teenager, especially during puppyhood. They take a while to learn how to use their bodies.

He is very calm inside the house and saves the fun for outside. This charming doggy is a gentle giant. He is very sensitive. He is not a fan of family disputes and will comfort anyone who is having a hard day.

He will protect his family from intruders and others who threaten his family. While he is reserved around strangers , he is polite enough to let his master speak. Regular visitors will receive special care. This courageous canine will form strong bonds with the children. They need him to protect them more than anyone.

Don’t let him get too protective. He needs to understand that he is not the boss. He is a stubborn dog and needs firm but fair guidance. You’ll soon realize how stubborn Mastiffs can be when they’re around. You should look for a Mastiff that is fully trained and obedient.

Size & Appearance

Make no mistake, this is a giant dog breed, which is any breed that weighs more than 100 pounds at maturity. Typically, he weighs between 120 and 230 pounds, see our English Mastiff growth chart. Females measure a minimum of 27 1/2 inches, and males measure a minimum of 30 inches. He is the largest dog breed. A Mastiff named Zorba was the heaviest dog to walk this planet, and he weighed in at a whopping 343 pounds. Your dog may not be able to reach this weight but he might. Keep that in mind!

This giant dog is chubby. According to his breed standard, he looks massive from all angles. He is strong, muscular, and powerful enough to pull heavy-laden carts. He is also a bit overweight and can be very rolly. Many Mastiffs are overweight due to their slow metabolism and love for napping. His big head is supported by a sturdy neck and a thick chest.

His long tail packs a punch when it swings side to side. His droopy jawline is accentuated by his long, drop-down V-shaped ears. His medium-sized, dark eyes look kind and alert. His droopy jowls give him a sweet appearance. His jowls, often wrinkled and rolly faces give him a queasy look. He is also highlighted by his eyebrow wrinkles.

Coat & Colors

Most mastiffs have a short double-coated .. His outer coat is mediumly short and straight with a coarse texture. His underlayer, which is dense and short, sits close to him. The layers help keep him warm in winter and protected him from the sun in summer. The long-haired or fluffy Mastiff are much more common than the short-coated. Although they are not permitted in the show ring these fluffy puppies are still very beautiful and charming.

There is three color options which are considered to be breed standard. Fawn, brindle, and apricot. Brindle coats must have a fawn or apricot base color and be completely covered with dark stripes. His muzzle, nose, and ears should be dark in color – the blacker, the better according to his breed standard. Some Mastiffs may have a small white spot on their chest.

Exercise Requirements

The Mastiff needs around 45 minutes of exercise every day, no matter how much he tries to persuade you otherwise. He will convince you that he doesn’t need as much or as little on some days. You need to make sure he gets enough exercise each day in order to keep him healthy and fit. He will be excited to hear the phrase “doggy park”

He will not nap for long periods of time without stimulation. He will eventually get bored, just like all dogs. Bored dogs can be destructive. Interactive playtime, or chew toys , are great ways to keep your dog stimulated and entertained. You’re going to need some seriously large toys for this pup!

This lazy dog isn’t going up for long hours of mountain hiking. Exercising too often or too frequently will cause more harm to his large body than good. This breed is not suitable for a family that is very active and looking for a partner in exercise. He is the perfect choice for families with moderately active dogs who are looking for companionship on leisurely walks.

Living Conditions

English Mastiffs can live in an apartment. Although they prefer a spacious home, they can live in apartments due to their low energy levels and exercise requirements. However, they should never live on the first floor. You will need to train your dog well if you have stairs. This will ensure that they don’t get hurt or take a spill. As long as they are properly exercised, they will spend most of their life napping for 15 to 18 hours a day.

If he is well socialized as a puppy, he can live happily with other family pets. He loves children. However, his large size is better kept for older .children. His big tail and booty are not a good match for infants or frail elderly people. He does require a dog-owner who is familiar with dog ownership. A novice dog owner might find his stubborn and stubborn ways too difficult to handle.


His experienced owners must also be strong and able guide him. A family with an established hierarchy is better for this breed than one that is just wondering who is boss. Firm, but fair training is important along with persistence. He’ll come back for more if you let him go once.

With early training and the right direction, he is a teachable dog. He isn’t stupid, no matter how clumsy or dopey he may act. Many owners claim that he intentionally plays dumb to get away with things other dogs wouldn’t. He isn’t the most eager to please his master, compared to a German Shepherd per se. He can be motivated by food and treats.

The mighty Mastiff must be socialized at a young age. He will become a troublesome dog if he is not socialized early on. But at 230 potential pounds, it could be unbearable. Socialization involves exposing your dog to unfamiliar people, dogs, and animals. It will increase his confidence as an adult pup and teach him how to be polite with other dogs.

Due to his large size, it is a good idea leash-train him as a pup. If he’s not leash-trained, he’ll take you on a walk instead of the other way around. Research how to leash train him as a pup, and get started straight away. You must be strong and fit, regardless of how well-trained your dog is. We also recommend crate training, just make sure your crate is big enough.


Like all giant dog breeds, they have a much shorter lifespan than most other dog breeds. The Mastiff usually lives around 6 to 10 years. Regular low-impact exercise, good nutrition and purchasing from a reliable breeder are the best ways to prolong their lives. The Mastiff breed, like all purebred dogs is susceptible to certain health issues. These are the most common.

Gastric Torsion: Gastric torsion happens when a dog eats too quickly before or after exercise. This causes food to get stuck in the stomach. This is a serious condition and can affect deep-chested breeds of dogs. This can cause serious health problems.

Hip, elbow dysplasia: These conditions can affect large and massive dog breeds. Their bones have a high rate of growth which makes them more susceptible to growing unevenly. It can cause pain and disability in the elbow and hip joints.

Eye conditions:  This breed is susceptible to many eye problems. Entropion and progressiveretinopathy are the most common eye conditions. Cataracts can also be a problem in this breed. It is a common cause for blindness in older dogs.

Cardiac Conditions: Pulmonic Steenosis is the most common problem in this breed. It is caused when the heart and lungs are partially blocked. This means that the dog’s heart must work harder than normal. Schedule a veterinary appointment if he falls asleep during exercise or becomes tired after just a few minutes of activity.

CCL Tears:  Larger dogs can be more damaging to their joints and tendons. Dogs that have been bred without considering their health issues often give birth to puppies who are more susceptible to genetic health problems. CCL tears are also common with giant breeds who have been spayed or neutered too early.


The average English Mastiff will consume eight cups daily. Bearing in mind that his weight can range from 120 to 230 pounds, it is wholly dependent on his size. Follow the instructions on the packaging to avoid feeding him too much. Always feed your Mastiff a high-quality kibble and the best that your budget allows.

You should also feed your dog a kibble that is specifically designed for giant or large breed dogs. These kibbles provide the best nutrients for his large bodies. These kibbles have the right calcium and phosphorus balance to help him control his rapid bone development. Giant breed puppy food is a must because it can decrease his chances of developing skeletal problems such as joint dysplasia.

*Mastiffs require a lot of food. However, they will eat until the end. You need to control his food intake as his joints already have enough weight. Obesity can be a serious health risk. If he starts gaining weight, you should switch to a weight management diet. Get him moving.


The English Mastiff follows a relatively easy grooming regimen. To keep his short coat clean and tidy, he only requires a brush once a week. He sheds moderately during the year. To keep his shedding under control, you should brush him at least twice per week during the shedding season.

Bathe him once every 8 to 12 weeks. Do not shampoo him for longer than that as it could damage his natural oils. To get the best results, use a mild formula made with natural ingredients. The strong doggy smell is common in this breed. However, frequent brushing and recommended bathing can reduce it.

Other grooming routines like nail clipping and eye and ear cleaning are the same for all dogs. You should clip their nails as often as they require it. If they have been left on the ground, that is an indication they are not getting enough. A dental cleaning should occur once a week. Check over your dog’s body to identify any potential problems that may need veterinary attention.

Although his grooming routine is quite simple, we must point out one thing. You should not allow ‘Operation Welcome-A-Mastiff to continue if you don’t like drooly dog. Keep walking and turn around. Most mastiffs are drooly. However, those needing a tighter lip line can explore the American Mastiff instead. It’s a good idea to have tissue stations in the house, and to use regular dribble coatings.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

These gentle giants are very popular in America and there are often reputable breeders in all states. It is your job to distinguish the good from the poor breeders. Talk to Mastiff enthusiasts and get their recommendations. Alternatively, the AKC’s list of reputable English Mastiff breeders is a great place to start your search.

Reputable breeders will meet you to make sure you are suitable for a life of giant breeding. You won’t have to ask the same questions as here. You can meet the parents and puppies, as well as their environment. Make sure the environment is safe, clean, and warm. Breeders of high quality will offer health certificates and aftercare.

From a reputable breeder, the average price of a puppy starts at around $1,500. This price is for a giant breed pup. It is not just the price you pay at the beginning that you should consider. Other costs such as setting up a home for your dog, or paying the monthly fees associated with training them are also important. Plus ongoing food costs, medical care, giant dog beds, and we recommend dog insurance. Mastiffs are one of the most costly dog breeds, so it is important to make a financial commitment to their care. Before bringing your Mastiff home, use our guide to find the perfect name.

Rescues & Shelters

If you’re considering adopting a rescue dog rather than purchasing a puppy from a breeder directly, you’re in luck. Many of these gorgeous canines are surrendered to rescue shelters because of their size. You can find many online giant breed rescue centers that specialize in helping large dogs.

If you haven’t had any luck with your local shelters, there is a network of rescue shelters that specializes in English Mastiff rescue. The Mastiff Club of America lists several rescue centers region by region. And the Great Plains Mastiff Rescue is another great rescue website. If you are open to a mastiff mutt like a Mastador, you’ll have a much higher chance of success in adoption.

As Family Pets

  • Mastiffs are courageous dogs who will guard their families with their life.
  • They are generally quite suspicious of strangers.
  • Most dogs will warm up to regular friends and visitors.
  • Train out any territorial behavior, as this breed is known for it.
  • These gentle giants enjoy their time on the couch.
  • Expect a very strong dog, both physically and mentally.
  • Because of their size, they need strong and experienced owners.
  • He will happily coexist with other dogs and family pets if socialized properly.
  • While they spend most of their days napping, they will play with toys.
  • As heavy chewers, don’t expect your pup to engage in too many games of fetch.
  • Leverage moderate exercise throughout the day to discourage improper behavior.
  • Provided they are exercised properly, they can live in an apartment setting.
  • Mastiffs can be very vocal. They are very vocal and love to chat with strangers.
  • They are excellent family dogs and tolerate both ear and tail pulls.

Final Thoughts

The English Mastiff is a massive dog breed that needs plenty of space, food, company, and love. His family must be familiar with how to handle strong-willed dogs and be willing to work with him when necessary. As a first-time dog owner, this breed is not for the weak or inexperienced.

You’ll find no better breed if you are able to handle a large breed after reading all of the information. Our managing editor is a Mastiff rescuer, so you might think we are biased. The English Mastiff is an amazing breed that brings much to the home. We hope you enjoy the love and everything else! They have so much to offer.

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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