Mastiff dogs are an ancient breed that was most used to be guard dogs. This breed was highly popular with nobility as hunting companions and treasured by commoners as a protector of both family and livestock. Mastiffs were also used in the arenas as gladiators, participating in combat with bears, dogs and bulls. By the close of World War II, these dogs were almost extinct. They were spared through United States and Canada imports.


Mastiff dogs are rather slow moving and tend to be lazy. Take them for daily walks on their leash or let them have play time in a securely fenced yard to keep them fit and happy. They do well in apartment living as long as they get enough attention and exercise.


Mastiff dogs require only a minimum of grooming. Brush them occasionally using a firm bristle brush. Dry shampoo or bathe only when needed. Health concerns with this breed are bloating, hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA, ectropion, gastric torsion, and cardiomyopathy. They also tend to drool and snore.


The Mastiff is a muscular, powerful, massive dog and one of the heaviest breeds. Male Mastiffs can grow to well over 200 pounds. Their demeanor is dominant and imposing. Mastiffs are a fearless breed as well as being quite brave and alert. They're often called the Gentle Giant and are a blend of grandeur and dignity.


Mastiffs have double coats. Their top coat is coarse, straight and short. The under coat fits close to their body and is dense. Their coat colors are fawn, brindle or apricot with a black nose, ears and muzzle. These are average shedders.


Mastiff dogs are intelligent, dependable, and watchful. They're very loyal and devoted to their family. This is a breed that must have human companionship and affection. They shouldn't be left alone for long stretches of time. Mastiffs do best in homes that have older well-behaved children. They don't like other household pets unless they've been raised together. These are naturally protective dogs and are intensely possessive of their home and family. The Mastiff dog must have an experienced owner.


It's crucial that Mastiffs have socialization and obedience very early in life. They also must have a dominant handler but won't respond to heavy handed techniques. Although Mastiffs are eager to please, they can still be hard to train. Training must be conducted with patience, firmness, respect, consistency, and fairness. They're ideal as guard dogs, police dogs, military dogs, and search and rescue dogs. They also excel at weight pulling.