The Mastiff was originally bred in England where the breed was popular as a watchdog for 2000 years. It is believed that Caesar was so impressed with the Mastiffs strength and fearlessness as they fought beside English soldiers in 55 B.C., that he brought a group of them to Rome and used them for the grisly “entertainment” as bull baiters and human gladiators.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 100+ pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000+
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Rescuers say the primary reason the Mastiff is surrendered is he will literally chew through the door to get to the other side of it. Other reasons include moving, a divorce, or a new baby on the way.



The coolest thing about owning Mastiffs is their unconditional love and excitement to greet you at the door, even if you only went outside to get the mail.

Mastiffs often go to hospitals, women’s crisis centers, and nursing homes, and bring smiles to people’s faces in reading programs where the dog lays down and children read to him.


You will want to teach your Mastiff not to jump because he’s so big and can easily knock people over. Also, jumping up is not good for a Mastiff’s joints. Mastiffs must be trained in obedience because they are so big. The Mastiff is known to spread slobber on the ceiling fan, walls, and ceilings and knock over things if left alone and bored.

You must also realize that everything from food to anesthesia for surgery will cost more for the Mastiff because he is a big dog.


A Mastiff will thrive on a natural raw meat and raw bones diet but will also eat kibble; just make sure that the first three ingredients are protein and not grains or fillers such as corn, wheat, whey, or soy. For treats, you can give the Mastiff baby carrots, green beans, vanilla wafers (which actually have better ingredients than a dog biscuit), and Cheerios. Food is $40 a bag, and the owner will go through at least $500 a year for food.


While there are people who take their Mastiff on a mile walk every day, Mastiffs are not hyper. Most of them are laid back and feel satisfied with a run in the backyard. Mastiffs generally sleep during the day and at night. They are gentle giants that don’t run around and chase squirrels. They’re actually mellow couch potatoes.

apollo 200dpi.jpgThere are some Mastiffs that compete in agility and enjoy training in dog shows.

 Possible Health Issues

There’s a long list of health issues encountered by the Mastiff, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, cardiac problems, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), thyroid problems, cancer, epilepsy, bloat, and wobblers.


Stairs are difficult for an older Mastiff, so the suburbs or the country is the best home, preferably in a one story house.


The Mastiff needs a good daily brushing. Periodically clean his ears and trim his toenails once a week.


The Mastiff needs a compassionate, firm hand and positive training. She wants to please her family so if you put your hands on your hips and look at her with displeasure, she’ll melt into the floor. Positive reinforcement is the best training method.


They love to eat.

Average Cost

The Mastiff is not a cheap dog and needs the heartworm preventative, Heartgard, which is a chewable tablet you can get from your vet. It costs $40 for a three month supply. Flea prevention is another $200 a year.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES                                                                                                   

Whole Dog Journal Magazine: www.wholedogjournalcom

Also, Pat Miller Certified Trainer is the author of the following books:

Positive Perspective: Love your Dog, Train Your Dog

Positive Perspective Two: Know Your Dog, Train Your Dog

Power of Positive Dog Training: Play with your  Dog

Do Over Dogs—Give your Dogs a Second Chance at a First Class Life

We want to thank Friends of Rescued Mastiffs (FORM) for help with this profile.

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