History Of The Mastiff
Raising A Mastiff Puppy
This information is being offered as an educational tool, and is not meant to discourage
puppy buyers from seeking out a Mastiff as a family pet. But as a reputable breeder, I feel it is my responsibility to make
sure that a potential buyer knows for sure what owning a Mastiff entails.
Is a Mastiff the Right
Dog For Me?
So you're interested in a Mastiff. Owning a Mastiff can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship
with years of happiness, but it can also be the beginning of an overwhelming responsibility, which you may not be prepared
for. Of all the dogs we have owned before, Mastiffs are the most affectionate, loving and loyal canine companions we have
ever had. They truly are gentle giants.
They are BIG! Really BIG! They are the largest of the dog breeds and can
range in size from 26 inches to 36 inches at the shoulder and they weigh anywhere from 130 pounds to 250+ pounds. When they
are growing puppies, they eat a lot and, for some time, will put on up to a pound a day. However, once they are over their
major growing stage, they will eat between 6-8 cups of high quality food per day.
Although they are large and can
be stubborn at times, they are very sensitive dogs and a stern voice is all you need for discipline. Striking or hitting as
a form of discipline can be very destructive to a Mastiff's behavior.
There are several questions you must ask
yourself to determine if you are ready to become a Mastiff owner. You must answer honestly to make sure you, your family,
and your Mastiff have the future you all expect and deserve.
Why Do I Want a Mastiff?
Mastiffs are wonderful companions, but they must be just that, a companion. They are not dogs to be left outside, chained
to a doghouse or to be left alone in a fenced yard. They need lots of human interaction to be properly socialized, trained
and owned. They need to be part of your family. If you don't have the time or the dedication to properly include a Mastiff
into your lifestyle, then a Mastiff is not the dog for you. Many behavioral problems can occur when a Mastiff is not a member
of the family and is left to the backyard with only occasional human contact. Mastiffs will come up with ways to occupy
their time if they are forgotten, and with heads the size of a five gallon bucket, they can be very destructive chewers.
Because of their laidback demeanor, Mastiffs make wonderful house dogs. However, Mastiffs do slobber, some more than
others, and all will slobber after they eat or drink. Are you prepared to wash your walls, ceilings, etc. after the slobber
flies when they shake their heads? Slobber rags must always be handy in strategic locations throughout the house.
Mastiffs will snore. Boy, do they snore. Sometimes you think a train is going through the house. Are you a light sleeper
or one that needs constant quiet to sleep? If so, consider another breed. They will want to keep you warm at night on the
bed of course. If not on the bed, then they will want to sleep in the same room. They can be amazingly agile at 2:00 am as
they try to sneek into your bed.
Mastiffs are NOT guard dogs. They will protect their family more along the lines
of a watch dog rather than a guard dog. If your intent is to have an aggressive guard dog then you must think about another
breed. They will often bark and let strange visitors know they are not accepted, but once you accept the guest, chances
are they will too. That being said, Mastiffs are naturally protective of their family and usually respond by positioning themselves
between their family and the proceived threat. They will usually just display a very convincing bark and posture, but
if pushed, will react with neccessay force. Their mere presence and bark usually will scare the bravest of burglars.
Mastiffs can be territorial dogs. They will protect their yard, house, car and
family from people or unknown dogs. They want it to be known that this is their yard. They are dogs that can be very good
with other dogs and cats, as long as they have had good experiences with them. If you have an adult male dog already, you
might want to consider a female Mastiff and vice a versa. This is not to say that two males cannot get along, but males especially
have a tendency to want to dominate each other.
Mastiffs are wonderful with children. They are very gentle and
quite tolerant of ear and tail pulls, sitting on their backs (not a good idea), and they adore licking kid's faces. They are
naturally protective of children, but please make sure that you supervise and train your children to respect and treat the
dog well. The swinging tail of a Mastiff can knock a small child over. If you have very small children who are just learning
to walk, you may want to wait a bit until they are older to get a Mastiff. However, many families with small children have
successfully incorporated a Mastiff puppy into thier family. Children generally learn quickly to stay away from the swinging
tail, but be aware that Mastiff puppies grow very quickly and by six months may be a 100 lbs or more and better than two feet
tall at the shoulder. Appropriate adult supervision is the key to a successful relationship.
Can I Really
Afford To Keep a Mastiff?
An adult Mastiff can go through 50-80 pounds of dry dog food a month, which
can be $30 to $80 or more for high quality chow. On average, our Mastiffs each eat about 60 lbs of high quality kibble a month,
which we also suppliment with cooked chicken, venison, or a quality can food. We have not noticed a discernable difference
of food consumption between or males and females.
A Mastiff, due to its size, will cost you more money at the Vet's
office also. For example, antibiotics for a toy poodle might only cost $10, but since most dosages are based on weight, a
week's supply of antibiotics for your Mastiff can cost upwards of $50 to $100. Heartworm medicine will cost more; shots can
sometimes be more costly, etc. You can expect to spend approximately $200 to $500 per year at the Vet's office, depending
on the age and medical condition of your Mastiff.
Do I Have Time To Spend Training, Exercising and Grooming
At a minimum, Mastiffs need basic obedience training. It is mandatory for the safety
of you and your Mastiff. You do not want to be pulled down the street (possibly into oncoming traffic) by your 200 pound male,
who is chasing a cat, rabbit or other critter. The obedience training must be the positive reinforcement type. Mastiffs respond
well to love, praise and especially treats. They do not accept negativity-based training.
Exercising a Mastiff
is not as difficult as exercising one of the various sporting breeds who seem to have endless energy. A Mastiff is happy to
go on two walks a day for about 20 - 30 minutes each. Some love to hike or swim, but jogging companions they are not! They
will not jog and should not be asked to, because it can be very difficult on their joints. Remember Mastiffs are like some
of us... a couch is their idea of the perfect place to spend a day, but exercise is important to keep them fit and help them
Grooming a Mastiff is very easy with a shedding blade or comb one to two times a week. Cutting their
nails is important and should be done regularly. It should be started early in life as wrestling with a large dog is very
interesting! Teeth cleaning should also be done regularly.
No matter what, a Mastiff wants to be with you. They
thrive on sharing your life, and will follow you from room to room as you do your work. As you do things, they will follow
and hope that you will spend more than a moment in each room. After all, it takes a lot of effort to keep getting up after
they've been lying down! They are devoted to their owners and want to have contact with them frequently. Some want to touch
you all the time to reassure themselves you are still there.
Will a Mastiff Fit Into My Lifestyle and My
Mastiffs want to be with you. They love their masters and are very devoted to them. Do you own a
big car or van so your Mastiff can go for rides with you to the park, the store, the vet, etc?
A small house is
suitable as long as the Mastiff goes for walks and plays outside. The yard should be fenced and the Mastiff should have obedience
training on the basics: come, sit, stay, down, etc. They should also walk on a leash without dragging you down the street.
You must like big, wet slobbery kisses, because they love to give them. They love to sneak onto the couch when
you are napping and snuggling is a favorite pastime. They love to be in contact with you, whether it be sitting on your feet,
resting their head on your lap, or giving you a paw to say Hi!
Owning a Mastiff is a major responsibility, and
due to their size and their need to be a major part of your family, they are not the breed for everyone. However, if you determine
a mastiff is right for you, they will reward you a million times over with their love.