English Mastiff Dog Breed & Puppy Information

English Mastiff; Large, Gentle and Lovable Pet

The English Mastiff is a breed known as a large dog, it is massive and has a big mass. Despite this, it is a dog with a gentle and loving nature and perfect family pet. Over the centuries it has been refined to the modern dogs of known as mastiff-type dogs, or, as mastiffs.

This is a breed that is bred to guard, a protective breed, that does stand in a time of danger to defends its owners.

Key Breed Facts

  • Massive and large dog.
  • Weigh up to 250 pounds.
  • Height 30 inches.
  • Gentle and massive despite being heavy.
  • Loyal and great family companion.
  • Protective dog where they live.
  • Shortest living breed in life expectancy.

Breed Characteristics

  • massive body, broad skull and head of generally square appearance
  • height; male 30 inches female 27.5
  • Lifespan 6-10years.
  • Rarely barks.
  • Natural guard dog.
  • Have a short, low-maintenance coat that require minimum grooming.

Breed Highlights

  • Massive strength.
  • Descendants of the ancient Molosser and Alaunt dogs.
  • Protector of the family they live in.
  • Gentle and loving nature.
  • In late 1800 they were taken by Mayflower to the new world.
  • A breed with a short lifespan.
  • Need less exercise and special nutrient feeds.


Thought to have originated from the mountains of Asia in Tibet or northern India. These dogs were the original dogs of war and used as guard dogs in the 15th century by Phoenician traders who introduced them to the world.

The record shows them as royal and military guardians in both ancient Egypt and Rome.

Similar dogs have been seen in the Babylonian sculptures. They came from the Molloser which were giant dogs.  They go back thousands and thousands of years.

Eventually, they were refined a bit and the once which ended up as English mastiff was bred to specifically guard castles in England.

They wanted a friendly dog to people as well as a large breed that looked intimidating.

Although they looked aggressive due to their massive, and muscular frames but also were gentle and loving.

Massive, Gentle and Lovable Nature of English Mastiff

Massive, Gentle and Lovable Nature of English Mastiff

In world war 2 they almost went extinct because England didn’t have enough food to feed the giant dogs as it was going through a hard time. Moreover, they are many types of mastiff that have been bred to avoid them being extinct.

Some of the modern breeds that are related to the English mastiff, for instance, the Bulldog and the mastiff were bred to produce bullmastiff. We have also Italian mastiff, French mastiff, Brazilian mastiff, and Spanish mastiff.

Today English mastiff is gentler than its aggressive ancestors that were bred to guard. They come in three colours, Apricot fawn, and Brindle accepted by Kennel Club. The male mastiff has to be 30 inches at the shoulders while the female is 27 inches.

English mastiff is ranked 28 out of 194 in America Kennel club breed popularity. One of this breed, named Zorba from England once held the world record of being the largest dog in 1989 weighing 343 pounds.

On the other hand, they do not live for long, probably 8-10 years. The bigger they are the fewer years they live but some go up to 14 years.


The body of an English Mastiff is large with great depth and breadth. Its legs are wide apart especially between the forelegs due to the great depth and breath.

English Mastiff colours are apricot, fawn, and brindle, but sometimes with black on the muzzle, ears, and nose and around the eyes.

Colour coat of English Mastiff

Colour Coats of English Mastiff

Short dense coat which is easy to groom. You can brush after two or three days and during shedding a strong tooth comb will do to remove dead hair.

The eyes are small and dark hazel or brown in color.

Depending on whether it is a female or male English mastiff it can weigh from 130-240 pounds and have a height of 27-30 inches from the shoulders. Although some can be massive like one, Zorba who broke the record in 1989 was 343 pounds.


This bred was first bred as guard dogs. The guarding instinct makes them wary of strangers hence socialize them early. This makes them very protective of their owners and will give a sound when a stranger comes near.

Makes excellent family pets as they adore children, they like to be close to you wherever you are.

They are protective, good-natured, calm, and affectionate dogs regardless of their massive weight and posture.

Intelligence / Trainability

When still young start early socialization and obedience training. These will make it easy for them to obey commands as they grow older. They are intelligent dogs that are quick learners and easy to please.

As you train them keep eye contact so as not to lose them, they get bored easily, especially if the training is repetitive. They are good at reading gestures and body language will be communicating with them.

Do not use a harsh voice when training them instead use positive reinforcement and rewards. To fully involve them make the training fun, short and respect them, this will make them feel loved and included.

They can do a lot of damage and scratching if not well trained. Start training early to prevent destructive behaviours. No one would like to have a large dog that doesn’t listen to command hence start the training as early when he is still a puppy. Teach simple commands, for instance, come, sit, leave, go, and stay.

 Children and Other Pets

Early socialization for An English mastiff puppy will help her behaviors and attitudes towards humans and other animals.

It is better to start early before they get to their massive size which makes it easy for you to train them.

If socialized well with proper leadership, mastiffs can easily get along well with dogs of other breeds

Introducing them to new people, children, other pets and places, because when they are large it can be threatening should they exhibit any aggression.

They are an excellent companion to children despite their massive appearance all you need to do is socialize them early while puppies. Supervise the first interactions and ensure the child is friendly and respectful.


There are a number of factors which can affect the lifespan of your English Mastiff especially health issues. These issues can reduce the life expectancy of your furry friend. You can promote a healthy lifestyle for your Mastiff by feeding him a quality diet developed to meet his specific needs as well as proper exercise.

Improper nutrition can accelerate these diseases, for instance, hip dysplasia.


In addition, too much or less exercise can lead to joint problems. This can affect the massive breeds due to heavyweight and sometimes lack of exercise. Ensure that your English mastiff is getting a proper diet and recommended exercise.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a skeletal disorder that affects a large breed like a mastiff. It is heredity disease and can be caused by improper diet, improper weight, type of exercise done and excessive growth rate.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

This is a disease that can affect the English mastiff when there is a decreased ability of the heart to generate pressure to pump blood through the vascular system affecting the cardiac muscles. It can mainly be brought about by poor diet, infection and genetic predisposition.

Skeletal disorder

Skeletal disorder can affect puppies with a poor diet. Feed food with appropriate calcium/phosphorous ratio as advised by the vet.

Avoid excessive exercise or over-exerting your Mastiff, especially when they’re under two years old since their skeletons are still developing.

Elbow dysplasia

This is the abnormal development of the elbow joint which causes pain to your dog. It happens when the cartilage surface of the joint has problems- a process called osteochondrosis or OCD. If not treated can lead to the development of arthritis.


This is a dog breed with already a heavy body mass and proper feeding without exercise can lead to obesity. Feed scheduled meals in proper proportions to avoid overfeeding. Obesity causes strain on the dog joints/hips and can lead to heart conditions. Seek advice from your vet on this to know what to feed this massive breed, the portion and what exercises to give for proper healthy growth.


This is a top killer of canine disorders, also known as gastric dilatation. Mostly affects deep-chested giant and large breeds. Once you notice that your dog is suffering from gas accumulation rush him to a vet immediately. This condition makes your dogs’ stomach turns or rotate on its axis and can cause death quickly.

Caring for an English mastiff.

Born as efficient guard dogs, they rarely bark but they have the nature to defend their family and territory. Also known as a gentle and loving family companion.

Before bringing her home you need to consider having all the dog supplies ready from the bed, collar, crate, toys, blanket, food, training needs, medical while considering her massive weight.

An English mastiff needs daily walks to release his physical and mental energy, do not over-exercise to avoid joint issues.

They need to be socialized early, introduce them to children and other pets, take them to dog shows and new places for them to get used to other people. You do not want a big dog who is shy, teach them to obey simple commands like sit, come, go and stay.

They are also prone to bloating so you have to feed them two small meals every day instead of serving them one large meal per day. In the case of gastric dilatation that can lead to turning or twisting of the stomach take her for a checkup immediately to the vet to avoid death.

They require minimum grooming making them easy to groom. You can use a firm brush to keep their short-haired coat free of tangles and removing dirt. Bathe when necessary as they are generally a clean breed.


These are indoor pets and are clean, always near their human owners and relaxed which require minimum grooming. Bathe them when necessary as they are clean generally, use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo to avoid skin irritation.

Check the dogs’ ears, eyes, muzzle, and the wrinkled folds of the face once a week and clean regularly to remove bacteria hiding in folds and prevent infections.

Trim the nails weekly with a strong nail clipper to avoid long nails that will make him uncomfortable while walking.

Strong Nail Clipper To Trim English Mastiff Nails

Strong Nail Clipper Used To Trim English Mastiff Nails

A clean dog is a sight to behold remember Mastiff drool a lot and you do not want saliva everywhere, keep a cloth near to wipe him when need be.

During spring/fall they shed a lot, you can brush them twice a week to remove the excess fur, dirt, and avoid fur matting with a brush or teething comb.

To avoid tartar and bad breath brush their teeth 3 times in a week with a good brush and toothpaste formulated for giant breeds.


This is a breed that requires less exercise making it great for apartment living. A walk daily for a mile or two is enough or a game in the yard or part will keep her physically and mentally fit. You can use a comfortable leash during walks.

Mastiff puppies can be very playful but do not over-exercise them or take them for a long walk. When they get tired or overheated you might be required to carry them home with their massive weight.

Over exercise, for developing puppies can lead to strains in their bones leading to joint injuries.


These massive dog breeds require special nutrition requirement and the food given should be able to consider these needs.

English mastiff grows very fast. For a puppy, 25-27% protein and 12-15% fat content is recommended. Highly recommended diet for English mastiff is a purely meat-based diet but should be given in ratio recommended by your vet.

Not only will, Proper portion feeding of protein safeguard your dog from hepatic failure but also renal. For a puppy 3 feeds is enough while an adult 2 will be enough for a day.

A lot of calcium can also lead to skeleton disorder and your furry friend might require supplementation to minimize chances of getting hip dysplasia.

For commercial feed check the bag to see if it is specially formulated for the giant breed and will meet your dog needs.

Maintain the food that the breeder used to give to the puppy and transition to another diet slowly to avoid upsetting his stomach.

Increase the size of the feed for your puppy as he grows, the amount shouldn’t be the same for a puppy to an adult mastiff.

Give enough water to help in their digestion and joint health. Get water and food bowl that are on the floor for easy access.

Average Cost to keep/care for an English Mastiff

You might be asking if it is expensive to take care of an English mastiff due to it being a large breed and classified as a working group. Does it mean more food, more groomers’ fee, more training fee, and more vet fees?

The cost will include food, grooming, training (obedience/early socialization classes), medical, registration, purchase price, and transport if being transported.

Some of these costs are recurring while you still have the dog under your care as she must eat, be healthy, groomed and trained regularly and daily sometimes.

This is a breed that can be expensive to maintain and you need to prepare emotionally and financially. For a registered Kennel club English Mastiff you will need £ 1,124 annually while a none registered one will be £655.

This price is not inclusive of the buying price.

Breed Specific Buying Advice

English mastiff needs a committed owner and you need to know how to manage their training difficulties, medical, feeding due to their massive appearance.

Make sure you consider all the expenses and potential costs before buying.

Additionally, get a reputable breeder who provides you with independently certified genetic health screenings for the dog’s parents.  This will help you in knowing how your pet will turn out by checking the records.

Not only will you be able to check and see that both are free from hereditary diseases and disorders, like hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, or retinal atrophy, but also be prepared if any health issue is passed on to your pet.

Remember an English Mastiff is a gentle and loving dog and if you decided to buy one, you will surely have a great companion.