A-z - Animals


Mastiffs as pets:

general health
energy level
chewing tendency
family and kid friendly

separation anxiety
preferred temperature
average climate
exercise needs
be friendly with other dogs
Thoroughbred Cost of Ownership
$1800 to $2500
pack of dogs
male weight
-230 lbs
female weight
-170 lbs

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Mastiffs are known for their large size, friendliness, loyalty, and affection.

Mastiffs come in a variety of breeds, including bull, English, Italian, Neapolitan, French, and Tibetan. While the individual breeds vary slightly in color and appearance, they all have the same docile temperament that makes them ideal family dogs.

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Tibetan mastiff
The Tibetan Mastiff has a thick coat with a "lion's mane" around its majestic head.

© Kat_marinina/Shutterstock.com

The Tibetan Mastiff is the most prominent among its cousins. It has a heavy coat with hair on its head that looks similar to a lion's mane. It requires a more extensive grooming program than other mastiffs.

The history of the mastiff breed dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt. They were owned by many noble families as early as 55 BC. Because of their courage and intimidating appearance, they are used as watchdogs.

Mastiffs are part of the working dog group. They are smart, sensitive, and gentle. A family looking for a big, sweet family member may find that the Mastiff is the perfect fit!

Mastiff Health and Recreation

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While there are many breeds of mastiffs, their origins can all be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Rome. Caesar is said to describe a mastiff in his account of the invasion of Britain in 55 BC

In ancient Rome, mastiffs were bred as guard dogs and fighting dogs, often taking on bears, bulls, lions, tigers and human gladiators. Their bravery combined with brute strength and pomp made them a favorite of the Romans. Breeders around the world have developed breeds based on regional needs and preferences – but they all display the same noble strength, great size and family-friendly attitude.

Bullmastiff standing in front of bushes
The Bull Mastiff is a cross between the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog.


Types of Tibetan Mastiff

  • Bull Mastiff : A cross between the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog, the Bull Mastiff was bred in the 1800s to be the ultimate guard dog. Bulls are not as large as other mastiffs, but can still weigh up to 130 pounds. With intelligent dark eyes and the classic mastiff broad head, this dog treats his family like no other mastiff.
  • English Mastiff: Also known as the Mastiff, this massive canine is strong and courageous, yet sweet and dignified. Despite their size, their huge broad heads, furrowed brows, and masked muzzles convey a benign expression.
  • Italian Mastiff: Also known as the Cane Corso, the origins of this massive mastiff can be traced back to ancient Rome, where it was known as the bouncer dog. These dogs are very intimidating, with short, stiff coats, huge heads, and rolling muscles. In Roman times, these dogs were used as war dogs, fearlessly charging toward enemy lines with flaming oil-filled barrels on their backs.
  • Neopolitan Mastiff: The massive Neopolitan Mastiff has been protecting homes from invaders since ancient Roman times. The wrinkled behemoth is friendly with his loved ones but wary of strangers. Its huge, wrinkled head looks like it melted in the sun! Neopolitans come in black, mahogany, teal and blue.
  • French Mastiff: Also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff, the Bordeaux is a powerful, muscular dog capable of pulling carts, carrying heavy loads, and guarding sheep. They are fawn in color and have a large bulldog-like head with a prominent jaw.
  • Tibetan Mastiff: Considered one of the best guard dogs, these majestic giants are vigilant, majestic, and intimidating. Sweet and mellow with their family, Tibetan Mastiffs are territorial and somewhat aloof with strangers. These noble canines have V-shaped ears and expressive brown eyes.
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Neapolitan Mastiffs are a noble breed, they are very loving to their owners and can appear intimidating to strangers.


3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Mastiff

advantage! shortcoming!
Effective Guard DogThe loyal nature of this breed is just one of the qualities that make it an excellent guard dog. This dog is wary of strangers and protective of its family. Drooling profusely <br>These dogs have been known to drool profusely, which can sometimes be messy and inconvenient.
Affectionate and calm <br>Mastiffs are affectionate with their families. They maintain a calm demeanor even with loud family events happening around them. Difficult to transport <br>Due to their size, they are difficult to fit into small cars and are too heavy to pack in crates.
Low Maintenance Grooming <br>The Mastiff has a short coat, making it relatively easy to maintain at home. Expensive <br>The initial cost of a purebred mastiff is high. Also, this dog requires a specific type and amount of food, making food bills a bit high for some families.
Portrait of a mastiff dog outdoors.
The Heaviest Mastiff Ever Made Weighs 343 Pounds!


size and weight

The mastiff is a large dog with a double coat. The average height for men is 31 inches, while the height at the shoulders for women is 28 inches. Males can weigh up to 230 pounds, while adult females can weigh up to 170 pounds. At 9 weeks of age, a puppy weighs about 30 pounds. They are fully grown at 3 years old.

The heaviest record for the breed is held by an English Mastiff weighing 343 pounds!

male female
high 31 inches 28 inches
weight 230 lbs 170 lbs

common health problems

A common health problem in these dogs is hip dysplasia. When a dog has this condition, its thighbone doesn't go the right way into the hip joint. This can lead to arthritis and reduced mobility. Another common health problem is elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is a genetic disorder that occurs when the bone and cartilage in a dog's elbow joint don't fit together properly.

Mastiffs are susceptible to a variety of eye problems. One of them is called progressive retinal atrophy. This condition occurs when the photoreceptor cells in a dog's eyes begin to degenerate. It can cause partial or total vision loss.

The most common health problems with these dogs include:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • progressive retinal atrophy
Heaviest Dog: English Mastiff
Mastiffs are known to make good family dogs with affectionate, friendly personalities.

© iStock.com/forisana

Temperament and Behavior

These dogs have affectionate, friendly personalities. This is what makes them good family dogs. They are best for families with older children. At times, this dog's behavior can be described as that of a couch potato. They just want to sit on the couch next to their owner. However, these dogs need regular exercise, such as walking in the woods, playing a game of chase in the backyard, or fetching a ball to stay healthy.

One of the breed's most notable characteristics is its sensitive nature. They have the gift of reading the facial expressions of their owners. They are crowd pleasers! This makes obedience training a relatively easy process. However, keep in mind that this dog's feelings will be hurt when the owner speaks in a harsh tone. During obedience training, it is best for the owner to use treats and compliments for the mastiff.

How to Care for a Mastiff

As with any breed of dog, this dog needs some type of care to stay healthy. For example, providing this pet with a balanced diet throughout its life can help prevent the common health problems mentioned above. Additionally, both puppies and adult Mastiffs need a moderate amount of daily exercise to stay in shape.

best dog food for mastiffs

Not surprisingly, puppies require a different diet than adult dogs. Look at the specific ingredients in feeding routines for puppies and adults. Due to the size of this dog, it is even more important to provide adequate nutrition throughout its life stages according to its size and health.

Puppy Food: The goal of a quality puppy food is to promote slow growth rates. It is important to gradually strengthen your puppy's joints, bones, muscles and tendons. This prevents health problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia in puppies caused by rapid weight gain. The main ingredient of a high-quality mastiff puppy food is protein. It builds muscle and contributes to the health of your pup's skin and coat. It also provides energy for puppies without adding unnecessary weight. Calcium is important for the normal growth of bones and teeth. DHA is another ingredient that is important for brain development and continued eye health. DHA is an ingredient that can prevent progressive retinal atrophy.

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Two dogs eat lettuce at a table with a checkered tablecloth
Mastiffs need a lot of protein and omega fatty acids in their diet. They will not be happy if there is cabbage.

©David Charles Cottam/Shutterstock.com

Adult Dog Food: Protein is also an important ingredient in adult food. This nutrient provides energy for dogs and continues to build strong bones and muscles to prevent hip and elbow dysplasia. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids contribute to a healthy coat and skin for adult dogs. Antioxidants in food support your dog's immune system.

AZ Animals ' selection of the best dog food for mastiffs is VICTOR Realtree – MAX-5 PRO, Dry Dog Food.

This premium dog food made with beef, fish and duck provides 30% protein and 20% fat for optimal health and lean muscle. Real meat has added natural glucosamine and chondroitin, essential for cartilage and joints, enough to support your mastiff for years. There's also taurine to boost heart and eye health.

VICTOR Realtree Max-5 PRO Dog Food is available on Amazon.

Victor Super Premium Dog Food – Realtree MAX-5 PRO Dry Dog Food – 30% Protein, Gluten Free for Active Adult Dogs, 5 lbs

  • ACTIVE, HIGH ENERGY DOG FOOD: This ultra-premium dry food is the ideal dog food for highly active and athletic dogs.
  • 30% Protein Dry Food: Provides an ideal 30% protein and 20% fat with three types of protein including beef, fish and duck meal.
  • Hip & Joint Health: Formulated with added Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help support joint health in adult dogs.
  • PROPRIETARY VPRO BLEND: Every VICTOR dog food formula starts with our exclusive blend of supplements, vitamins and minerals designed to help maximize every dog's genetic potential, regardless of breed, age or activity How is the level.
  • MADE IN THE USA: We proudly produce every bag of VICTOR Kibble at our Texas facility with an unwavering commitment to providing quality nutrition; most ingredients come from ranches, farms, and other trusted suppliers , these suppliers are only a day's drive from our East Texas facility.

Maintenance and Grooming

How much does a mastiff shed? The English, Neapolitan, and Bullmastiff are all moderate shedders. The Tibetan Mastiff sheds very little, while its cousin, the French Mastiff, sheds a lot. These dogs shed more during the change of seasons. Mastiffs have a double layer of short coats. The daily grooming routine for this dog is relatively easy. A soft brush with boar hair is great for removing loose or dead hair from this dog's coat.

Grooming gloves are another effective tool, especially when removing loose hair from dog legs and wrinkled faces. Grooming gloves provide more control when working around a dog's ears, nose and eyes. It is best to brush from the dog's head to the tail. This helps the owner to comb the hair in the natural direction.

Owners should pay attention to skin conditions, including dry skin, bald spots, and itchy areas. These can be caused by food or skin allergies or even using shampoos with ingredients that irritate your dog's skin.

Strongest Dog Breed For Biting - Cane Corso
The Italian Mastiff does not shed or require as much grooming as his Tibetan cousin.


mastiff training

All Mastiffs including Bull, English, French, Italian, Neapolitan and Tibetan have sensitive natures. They are relatively easy to train, but require a firm refrain from foul language. An owner who uses a harsh tone is less likely to be successful in training a mastiff. Words of praise and hospitality go a long way in effectively conveying obedience lessons to a mastiff. The Great Dane is another large dog with a sensitive nature. Training is also relatively easy when the owner uses words of praise and reward.


While these dogs are not high energy dogs, they need daily exercise to manage their weight and avoid bone, joint, and muscular health problems. 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise is enough for a mastiff. An ideal form of exercise is a slow walk in the woods or nearby areas. Owners should avoid jogging with Mastiffs, as these dogs can become overheated in a short period of time.

Although these dogs are less active, it is not a good choice for apartment living. Its large size is not suitable for small living spaces. This breed needs a backyard where it can stretch its legs and get some fresh air for part of the day.


Mastiff puppies should never be overfed. When a mastiff puppy grows and gains weight too quickly, it puts them at risk for developing health problems. It takes time for their bones, muscles and joints to develop to fully support their large adult bodies.

These puppies need daily exercise just like adult dogs. Twenty minutes of daily walking can help puppies burn fat.

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British mastiff puppy a few months old with a ball on the grass
Families with young children should get a Mastiff puppy so they can grow up together.

©Jerry Shulman/Shutterstock.com

Child and mastiff get along well

These dogs are great family dogs and get along well with children in the house. These are affectionate, gentle dogs. However, for families with young children, getting a Mastiff is a great idea. This way, the Mastiff has the opportunity to learn how to interact with small children and get used to their behavior.

dogs similar to mastiffs

Some breeds that are similar to the Mastiff include the Great Dane, Boxer and Irish Wolfhound.

  • Great Dane – Both the Great Dane and the Mastiff are large dogs. They are sensitive and friendly. However, the Great Dane is more energetic than the Mastiff.
  • Boxers – Boxers and Mastiffs do well with children and, thanks to their short-haired coats, have an easy grooming routine. Boxers tend to be more playful than mastiffs.
  • Irish Wolfhound – The Irish Wolfhound has the same sweet nature as the Mastiff. Both dogs dislike being alone and suffer from separation anxiety. The Irish wolfhound is inferior to the mastiff as a guard dog.
Dogue De Bordeaux Standing in a Field
French mastiffs like the one pictured above starred in the movie "Turner & Hodge."

©StBrecht at German Wikipedia / public domain – License


The Mastiff is a popular and memorable dog that has been featured in several movies over the years. It's also a favorite breed of some celebrities.

  • Tom Hanks with a French mastiff in the 1989 film Turner & Hooch
  • Actor Vin Diesel owns a mastiff
  • In honor of his wrestling career, Dwayne Johnson has a mastiff named The Rock

Some popular names for mastiffs include:

  • Hercules
  • Rocky
  • Mathilde
  • luna
  • playboy
  • Juno
  • locust

Last Updated on 2023-04-12 / Affiliate Links / Image via Amazon Product Advertising API

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about the author

Lisa Pace

After a career providing opportunities for local communities to experience and create art, I enjoy having time to write about two of my favorite things – nature and animals. I spend half my life outside, usually with my husband and adorable 14 year old puppy. We enjoyed walking around the lake and taking photos of the animals we encountered including: otters, osprey, Canada geese, ducks and nesting bald eagles. I also enjoy reading, discovering books to add to my library, collecting and playing vinyl records, and listening to my son's music.

Mastiff FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a mastiff?

The mastiff is a large, friendly dog that is a member of the working group. There are several breeds including French, Italian, Neapolitan, Tibetan and Bullmastiff.

How much does it cost to own a mastiff?

The initial cost of a mastiff ranges from $1,800 to $2,500. Tibetan mastiffs are more expensive because they are rarer. Veterinary bills for a mastiff range from $300 to $500 per year. It depends on the general health of the dog.

Food costs range from $200 to $500 per month, depending on the brand the owner chooses.

Are Mastiffs Good Family Dogs?

Yes, these are good family dogs that are well-adapted.

How much does a mastiff weigh?

Male mastiffs can weigh up to 230 pounds and female mastiffs can weigh up to 170 pounds.

Are Mastiffs Aggressive?

No, these dogs are affectionate and short-tempered.

Which breed of mastiff is the largest?

The English Mastiff is the largest breed.

Are mastiffs good for kids?

Yes, especially when they are brought into the family as puppies.

How long do mastiffs live?

Mastiffs have a lifespan of 6 to 10 years.

Are Mastiffs Herbivores, Carnivores, or Omnivores?

Mastiffs are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

To which kingdom do mastiffs belong?

Mastiffs belong to the animal kingdom.

What category is the Mastiff?

Mastiffs belong to the class mammals.

What door does the mastiff belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the phylum Chordate.

What family do mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the canine family.

What order do mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus is a mastiff?

Mastiffs belong to the genus Canis.

What type of mulch do Tibetan Mastiffs have?

Mastiffs are covered in fur.

What interesting facts about mastiffs?

Mastiffs are brave, calm, and affectionate!

What is the scientific name of the Mastiff?

The scientific name of the mastiff is Canis lupus.

How Do Tibetan Mastiffs Compare to Wolves?

Wolves are stronger carnivores than mastiffs, even though they are about the same size and weight. Read all about their differences here!

What's the Difference Between a Bullmastiff and an English Mastiff?

The most obvious difference between the two breeds is their size, with the English Mastiff being much larger than the Bull Mastiff.

You can read about all other differences here.

What's the Difference Between a Great Dane and a Mastiff?

The main differences between the Great Dane and the English Mastiff are their size, temperament, health and appearance. Their position on the huge spectrum is another reason worth mentioning. For example, the Great Dane is a tall and long dog, while the English Mastiff is broad.

What's the Difference Between a Mastiff and a Cane Dog?

The main differences between a Mastiff and a Cane Dog are personality, temperament, and of course size .

Cane Corso and Mastiff have unique personalities and temperaments. Although these two dogs look similar, their training needs are different. Potential owners of either breed will need to provide specialized obedience training for their dog, especially if they are inexperienced owners.

What's the main difference between a Mastiff and a Saint Bernard?

The main difference between a Mastiff and a Saint Bernard is size. Mastiffs can weigh up to 50 pounds more than St. Bernards. Other differences include appearance, longevity, grooming needs, and drooling levels.

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  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) Encyclopedia of World Animals
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