There are many variations of the Mastiff breed, and they all have different characteristics. The ones we will talk about here are some of the more common ones you will see.
English Mastiff: This type of mastiff is distinguishable by it’s massive size, limited color availability and large head. Typically this breed is fawn with a black mask, but you can also get it in a brindle.
This dog is known for its size, males can be 150-220lbs and females 120-200lbs. Knowing this, some key things a new owner should know about is the temperament and their health.
Health, first thing to remember is that this is a very big dog, as such will have specific demands for exercise and diet. A mastiff also grows very quickly, so it’s very imprtant that the food you choose to buy set them up for success. Because this dog can average growth at about 5lbs a week, it is suggested not to have the dog do excessive running in order to protect their growth plates for the first two years. So yes, they will still be growing up until about 2 years of age. Regular exercise is very important it will help keep their weight in check and also assist with some temperament issues. Something else to keep in mind, because they are so big and heavy they do need a soft surface to sleep on or they can get calluses and inflammation in their joints. Trust me, if you let your pup on the couch as a baby, the couch will become his hangout spot when he’s an adult. The average life span of this breed is about 7 years, however it is not uncommon for them to live up to 10-11. Hip problems and gastric problems are common with a mastiff, most breeders do testing for hip dysplasia, but it is still something to be aware of. And to assist with the gatric issues it is recommend that they don’t have excessive exercise before and after a meal, and that they have 2-3 meals a day rather then one large feeding.
Temperament, yes they are large dogs, but they are also lazy. This mastiff can be a condo dog as long as you have a big comfy couch and you are willing to give them a good walk before and after work, it will help them from getting bored. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t want 180lb mastiff to be bored. Mastiffs are a lovable giant, they will protect the home and their master but will also allow the family kid to play and be silly with them. According to the AKC they are a combination of grandeur and good nature along with courage and docility… although I have mentioned before that with proper exercise they can live in a condo, the AKC does suggest because of their size and need for space they are best suited for country and suburban life.
Bordeaux Mastiff: This is the french mastiff, in history they have had many different jobs, from pulling carts to protecting flock, now you typically see them as part of the family.
The bordeaux size comes more from their width and muscles rather then height. The appearance of this mastiff is suppose to be natural, the tails are not to be docked, the ears left the way they are, you are even to leave their dewclaws.
The AKC gives a min weight for female to be 99lbs and the min male weight to be 120lbs, there is not maximum registered. In proportion to it’s body the Bordeaux is said to have the largest head in the canine world, I don’t know if that is completely true, but I have met a few of these dogs in my life, and they have head pretty big heads.
Health, the life expectancy of a breed is something people are usually very interested in, unfortunately I was unable to find consistent findings. Some results were 5-6 where others say 7-12. Because of the shape of the Bordeaux’s head, breathing problems are common, and so are issues with the way their eye lids develop. In the case of the eye lid issues, some can be left as is with minimal irritation, others may require surgery as it may become painful for the dog. Hip dysplasia is another health condition that effects many of these dogs. It is very important to monitor the growth of the Bordeaux.
Temperament, The Bordeaux is known to be a clam gentlemen but also very stubborn when he wants to be. I would honestly say that this trait is pretty dominant in all varieties of the breed. One thing to keep in mind about this breed is that they will grow quickly, so it is crucial that training starts from day one. There is nothing worse then 120lb dog telling you what to do. Experienced handles of this breed suggest that mastiffs be introduced to at least 100 different people within his first year. This will give you major head way on the necessary socializing. Not socializing this breed at an early age can and will develop into stronger territorial tendencies and potential aggression to other pets and people.
A Bordeaux that has been handles properly from a pup will grow to respect his owner and will be a great family member. He will be happy to lie around the house and cuddle. Some play time or a good walk is all he needs to get rid of access energy. He is also very tolerant and gentle with children. A mastiff raised to respect his owners is a wonderful pet. He is a part of the family and as such will protect them home if he feels he needs too.
Cane Corso Mastiff: The Cane Corso is the Italian Mastiff. I chose to depict him with natural ears as this is becoming more popular. Typically the Cane Corso would have his ears cropped short and his tail docked. More and more you are beginning to see breeders and pet owners getting away form those practices.
Health, Not a lot of people talk about the food when they mention health. Because like all large breeds hips are a major concern as my Cane Corso puppy has grown up he has been on protein and glucosamine high diet. The food he is on is a mix of Orijen and Acana. I find that I don’t need to feed him as much for him to be full and get the nutrition he needs.
Bourbon (thats his name) doesn’t need as much exercise as you might think. He is happy with a 20-30min walk when i get home from work, or a good game of fetch in the backyard before we all retire for bed. He really is the biggest suck in the whole world and wants to cuddle all the time. Most of the time he is my shadow following me around, I find that as long as he has a job, or is apart of things in the family he is super happy… He does not like to be left out!…
Temperament, Socializing this mastiff from the moment your bring him home os so very important. A Cane Corso is not a dog for a novice owner. This dog required experienced handlers as he is head strong and stubborn, he can also be reactive and show signs of aggression to strangers when he has not been socialized properly. All of that said, I have a Cane Corso, he is stubborn, and has been since a baby, he challenges my authority every time he think he might get away with something. He had a bad experience as a baby during his socialization which has given me some issues, however we have stayed consistent on the training and he has made major improvements.
This Mastiff is typically 100lbs for the female and about 120lbs for the males. I say typically because my 18 month old is 150lbs and still growing. My best advise for someone wanting a Cane Corso is patients and consistency. Mastiff’s are stupid smart, and they will play you if they think you are weak minded. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. A routine has honestly made life so much easier with him. We get up pretty much at the same time every day, he eats his two meals a day around the same time, we keep to the same routine every morning before I go to work. There is a lot in between that changes from day to day, however this routine gives him stability. The stability has made training a lot easier…
A side note about grooming, all of these dogs will shed a lot, daily cleaning of the floors to rid it of hair is usual if you want to keep it maintained. Also, it is so so important to introduce them to bathing when they are puppies, you do not want to have to tell a full grown male to get in the tub if it is something he is not used top… it just wont happen… An example from Bourbon, I make bath time a consistent thing when he was a puppy, he got treats, and cuddles, he grew up to love bath time. As an adult and 150lbs, he has not problem jumping into the tub if I tell him its bath time, he stands there and lets me scrub him, he sits on the towel after so I can dry him off. All because as a puppy it was a very positive things and something we did regularly.