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31 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Mastiffs: what are they?

  • Mastiffs are large and powerful and known for their imposing size and gentle nature.
  • Originating from ancient times, they were historically used as guard dogs, war dogs, and even in battles against other animals, such as lions.
  • These dogs have a massive build, with males typically standing between 70-76 cm in height and weighing between 68-113 kg.
  • Females are slightly smaller, measuring around 64-70 cm in height and weighing between 54-91 kg.
  • Mastiffs hold the record for being the heaviest dog breed in the world. The heaviest Mastiff on record weighed over 155 kg!
  • The average lifespan is between 8 and 10 years.
Mastiff  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Mastiffs like?

  • Mastiffs have a gentle and loving temperament.
  • They are known for their calm and patient nature, making them excellent family companions.
  • They are loyal and protective, often forming strong bonds with their families.
  • Mastiffs are typically good-natured and tolerant, but early socialisation is crucial to ensure they are well-adjusted around strangers and other animals.
  • They are generally docile and enjoy spending time with their loved ones, often seeking out affection and attention.
  • It's important to note that due to their size and protective instincts, Mastiffs may require proper training and socialisation to establish boundaries and prevent any potential behavioural issues.
Blue, the Mastiff

How much exercise do Mastiffs need?

  • Mastiffs have moderate exercise needs, but it's important to provide them with regular physical activity to keep them fit and healthy.
  • They require approximately 1 hour of exercise per day, which can be divided into multiple walks or play sessions.
  • It's important to note that Mastiffs are not overly energetic or demanding in terms of exercise.
  • They are generally content with moderate exercise and enjoy leisurely walks or gentle playtime.
  • However, it's essential to provide mental stimulation and enrichment activities to prevent boredom and keep their minds engaged.
  • Exercise needs for Mastiff puppies are different.
  • As large and rapidly growing puppies, they should not engage in excessive exercise or activities that could strain their developing joints and bones.
  • Short, controlled play sessions and gentle walks are suitable for puppies.
  • Consult with your vet for specific exercise guidelines based on your Mastiff puppy's age and growth stage.
  • Mastiffs reach their full exercise capability at around 18-24 months of age when their skeletal structure has matured.
  • Until then, it's important to be mindful of their growing bodies and avoid activities that could potentially cause injury.
Bruno, the Mastiff

Do Mastiffs need a lot of grooming?

  • Mastiffs have a short and dense coat that requires minimal grooming compared to breeds with longer hair.
  • Their coats are relatively easy to maintain and do not require frequent brushing.
  • However, regular grooming practices can still contribute to their overall cleanliness and health.
  • A weekly brushing session using a bristle brush or grooming mitt can help remove loose hair and keep their coat looking neat.
  • Pay attention to their facial wrinkles and clean them gently to prevent any buildup of dirt or moisture that could lead to skin issues.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Dez, the Mastiff

Are Mastiffs easy to train?

  • Mastiffs are generally intelligent and eager to please, which can make them relatively trainable.
  • However, their independent and sometimes stubborn nature can present challenges during training.
  • It's important to approach training with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Start training your Mastiff from an early age to establish good behaviours and manners.
  • Socialisation is crucial to expose them to various environments, people, and animals, helping them become well-rounded and confident dogs.
  • Mastiffs respond best to gentle and reward-based training methods.
  • Use treats, praise, and rewards to motivate and reinforce desired behaviours.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging, as Mastiffs may become bored with repetitive tasks.
  • Incorporate variety and mental stimulation into their training routine to keep them interested and focused.
  • While Mastiffs can be trained, it's essential to remember that they may have an independent streak and may not always be as responsive or quick to learn as some other breeds.
  • Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement will go a long way in successfully training your Mastiff.
Rupert, the Mastiff

What do Mastiffs eat?

  • A nutritious and balanced diet is crucial for the health and well-being of your Mastiff. Due to their large size, Mastiffs have specific dietary requirements to support their growth, muscle development, and overall health.
  • Choose a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for large breeds or specifically formulated for giant breeds.
  • Feeding your Mastiff twice a day is typically recommended to prevent overeating and to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Mastiff puppies have different dietary needs compared to adult Mastiffs.
  • They require a diet specifically formulated for puppies, ensuring they receive the appropriate nutrients for slow growth and development.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old when it can be reduced to twice daily.
  • Consult with your vet to determine the best feeding plan for your Mastiff puppy.
  • As your Mastiff transitions into adulthood, you may need to adjust their portion sizes based on their activity level and weight management.
  • Avoid overfeeding or excessive treats, as Mastiffs are prone to weight gain and obesity, which can lead to various health issues.

Are Mastiffs healthy?

Mastiffs are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Some common health concerns that can affect Mastiffs include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) - an inflammatory condition where cartilage detaches from the bone and can enter into the joint cavity and cause discomfort
  • Panosteitis - a painful, inflammatory condition of the long bones of the leg


  • Osteosarcoma - A malignant bone cancer that tends to start in the long bones of the legs


  • Cherry eye - this is when there is popping out of the third eyelid gland
  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy - over time the back of the eye becomes damaged which can reduce your dog’s vision, eventually leading to blindness


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger, which can lead to heart failure


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits
  • Wobbler Syndrome - a wobbly, uncoordinated gait, caused by spinal cord compression in the neck


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have any concerns about the health of your dog or want to discuss further if a Mastiff is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Mastiffs

BorrowMyDoggy has 514 Mastiffs members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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