|Group:||Utility (Group 6)|
|Club:||Mastiff Club Of Victoria Inc|
Background The Mastiff (often called English Mastiff) can truly claim an ancient heritage. Mastiff type dogs have existed since the human race began recording history, thousands of years ago. Mastiffs have been used for various purposes, but primarily as guardians of people and their property. Today they are bred as a superb companion and family dog.
Mastiff/Bullmastiff Confusion More than 100 years ago game keepers required a dog with the loyalty, strength and guarding capability of the Mastiff but greater speed and agility so the Bullmastiff was developed from the Mastiff. Today Bullmastiffs are a separate breed. Overall the Mastiff is larger, heavier and longer in body than the Bullmastiff.
Average Lifespan When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. Like most large breeds of dog, Mastiffs are not particularly long lived. Their average lifespan is approximately 8-10 years.
Breed Personality/Characteristics/Temperament Mastiffs are loving, gentle and extremely loyal dogs. Provided they have been properly introduced, they are usually very good with children, but, as with any breed of dog, there should always be adult supervision. Mastiffs are sensitive and crave approval and affection. They love nothing better than to be with their owners and for this reason are particularly suitable and rewarding as house dogs. While not suitable as commercial guard dogs, Mastiffs will let you know when strangers are about. Their deep bark and massive appearance is usually enough to deter any unwelcome visitors. Mastiffs love to please their owners but they are not a breed that will respond quickly or instantly obey without question.
Compatibility with other pets By nature Mastiffs are usually very compatible with other pets, especially if they have been raised together.
Care Requirements Mastiffs are a low maintenance breed. Their short coats require only a weekly brushing and a monthly bath. They do shed hair and many slobber a great deal. For exercise, most Mastiffs love to lie about watching you exercise. However, they do need and enjoy a daily half hour walk, regardless of how big or small their property is. They do not cope well with warm weather so walking should be done in the cool early morning or late evening. Mastiffs need very large amounts of food while they are young and growing but less as they mature. A fully mature Mastiff may not eat much more than an adult German Shepherd Dog. Fresh, cool water in a large chew- and tip-proof container must always be available.
Please Take Note Mastiffs are generally healthy dogs and responsible breeders take every care to ensure the long term health of the puppy you buy. However, as with most dogs, problems can occur. Large breeds grow rapidly and they can be affected by bone disorders. Mastiffs can suffer eye problems and some have a tendency to be susceptible to bloat. If you are considering a Mastiff, discuss the breed with as many breeders as possible and with your vet. The general running costs of a Mastiff are much higher than smaller breeds. This is a big consideration e.g. a course of antibiotics for a small dog may be $25, for a Mastiff $100.
In Conclusion Mastiffs make fantastic pets as they adore their family circle. However, they are a giant breed and have great strength. If left unattended even a fit, active adult person will have difficulty maintaining control of a Mastiff outside the home. If you decide on a Mastiff puppy be prepared to attend at least weekly training classes for the first year or so plus regular ongoing socialisation with people and other dogs. This will ensure that you have a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult Mastiff that is a pleasure to all. Mastiffs are not a breed that suits everyone, but now that you know a little about the Mastiff and have decided this is the dog for you or you want more information, make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs.