Photo by fotosuabe

Mastiff - Breed Profile:

Origin: England
Brindle, fawn or apricot with a black mask
Extra large
Type of Owner:
Exercise: Moderate
Trainability: A bit difficult to train
Combativeness: Not generally dog aggressive
Dominance: Low
Noise: Not a barker

Physical characteristics

The Mastiff, also known as the (Old) English Mastiff, is an extra large powerful dog with an impressive appearance. This is one of the world's heaviest breeds. The body is very massive, muscular and heavy-boned. The head is massive and square with a short muzzle. A black mask around the eyes and nose is always present. The medium size eyes are brown; they are set wide apart, never too prominent. The V-shaped ears are small in proportion to the skull and rounded at the tip. The teeth should meet in a scissors or slightly undershot bite. The tail is set high and tapers to the tip. The gait is full of power and strength.
Adult Mastiffs weigh 170 to 200 pounds. Their height is over 30 inches for males and over 27 inches for females.


Today's Mastiff is a gentle giant. The Mastiff loves being around people and is known to bond closely with its family. Needs lots of human companionship every day. Loves to please. Calm, steady, and docile, this dog is great with children if raised with them. They are not, however, recommended for toddlers (because of his great size). Good with other pets only when raised with them from puppyhood. Dominance varies widely in the breed depending on the lineage. Some Mastiffs are peaceful with other animals, while the others are dominant (even combative) with dogs of the same sex. To ensure a stable, well-balanced temperament, Mastiffs need earlier and more frequent socialization than many other breeds, and it should continue throughout their life. Being very large and heavy, Mastiffs must be obedience trained at an early age while their size is still manageable. An unruly adult Mastiff can cause real damage to the house, people, and other animals. This breed has very strong protection instincts, which makes them perfect guard dogs. Tends to be very possessive. To stay fit, Mastiffs need daily walks and exercise (whether the dog wants it or not).

Coat and grooming

Mastiffs come in brindle, fawn or apricot colours. The muzzle, ears, and nose are very dark. A small patch of white on the chest is permitted.
Photo by Joshin Yamada

The outer coat is straight, coarse, and moderately short. The undercoat is dense and close lying. Breed standards allow no "fringe" on the belly, tail, or hind legs. No signs of waviness should be present. Little grooming is necessary.


The Mastiff is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, Cystinuria (a kidney disease), eye problems, cancer, and epilepsy. Tends to drool, wheeze, and snore (louder than other snoring dogs). Gains weight easily, so take a good care of the dog's diet and do not overfeed.
The lifespan is relatively short - under 10 years.

Other interesting facts

Bred in England, Mastiffs were used as a watchdog for more than two thousand years. The dogs' tasks were to keep wolves and other dangerous predators under control and to protect the home.
Because of the dog's size and need for space, Mastiffs are better suited for country or suburban life.