The Mastiff is one of the ancient dog breeds available to this day and is also known as the Old English Mastiff. They were fiercely ferocious in the old days and came to be used as Roman war dogs.
On the contrary, they are now reliable giants willing go the extra mile for you. When this mammoth of a dog is by your side, no physical threat can reach you without a sound deal with him.
However, his colossal size is a deterrent against petting him at will. You have to make special arrangements regarding his living space, drool management and all other requirements.
Good nature is the core of a Mastiff personality. Code of honor determines his actions. Occasionally, he loves to be in the middle of an event only in a respectable manner. Do not be too serious though. There is a tremendous sense of humor lying underneath that veil of a true gentleman.
But his funny side rarely gets exposed out of a family environment. This dog cares for his family especially kids will enjoy the best side of the Mastiff.
Threat detection and annihilation is an expertise of this dog breed. They do not like anybody making a move against you.
Aggression handling is much more important when it comes to the Mastiff. A well trained dog will corner the menacing factor but will stop short of physical assault. The Mastiff is known for its exceptional guard dog qualities. He will warn you of an incoming stranger with a terrifying bark. He must maintain his territorial sovereignty over anything else.
In a physical action, he is up for the test. But if there is no obvious necessity, he would prefer sitting out the time. So, hugs size does not essentially amount to a ton of exercise.
Measure Mastiff smartness:
The Mastiff promises working intelligence. This is not a very witty breed who is going to show some wonders out of nowhere. The Mastiff can be traced at the 72nd position in the dog intelligence list prepared by Professor Stanley Coren.
But they are not dumb either. He can cope up with your methods and techniques depending on your perseverance. This dog may show outstanding stubbornness.
But your Mastiff will also like to see you pleased and this is the only window you have to make the best use of. He has some innate tendencies which are guarding your periphery, keeping it close with the family members and watching over the children.
So, you can basically raise them for such a job. Training them is kind of a test of your patience. Short sessions can bear better fruits. This dog is mostly a protection dog around the world and his average intelligence means little to a Mastiff lover.
What & how to feed:
Puppies undergo rocketing growth and need proper nutritional supplies. You can place 5-8 cups of high quality dog food in front of the dog. Serve this amount in two meals when he reaches adulthood. But puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day.
However, food requirement is a dynamic issue and there will be a difference in amount from dog to dog. It relies on age, sex, activities, health and so many other aspects. You can determine the amount of food the dog demands as you continue living with him.
The Mastiff does not make any difference between homemade or commercial products as long as they fulfill his energy necessities.
However, you have to feed him large breed food. You must not free feed the dog. This dog continues growing up for 3 consecutive years from its birth. Full growth demands sufficient quantity of food. You must not go ahead with calcium supplement unless your veterinarian advice so.
It will create phosphorus/calcium ratio imbalance which is going to impact his bone structure. Protein and fat ingredients should be the foundation of dog food. At least, 18-20 percent of protein in each meal will provide him with ample energy. Beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy items and lamb are excellent sources of proteins. Barley and oats will give him some plant proteins.
Carrot, broccoli, green pepper and apples satisfy his vegetable requirements which must not exceed 1-2% of his the total meal.
On the other hand, flaxseed oil. Safflower oil and fish oil are going to supply the dog with necessary fat. Tapioca, sweet potatoes, brown rice, fruits and vegetables serve him with carbohydrates and fibers. A commercial item has to be free of preservatives, dyes and flavors for the betterment of his health.
Clean water is a vital requirement of the dog. Extravagant use of treats is responsible for overweight. You have to be careful in this regard.
Escape a few health issues:
Mastiffs are not known for too many disease afflictions. They are usually a healthy dog breed. But you can always exercise some precaution before buying a puppy.
A few medical clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) will steer clear the dog of a list of major physical conditions. However, your dog may naturally remain out of the periphery of these listed diseases.
However, a little idea on your part can save both of you from a lot of troubles. As a really large dog breed, the Mastiff is susceptible to a long list of health conditions. von Willebrand’s disease is a deficiency of von Willebrand Factor (vWF) which is mandatory for blood clotting. You dog may suffer from unnecessary bleeding.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a genetic disease occurring in dogs. Deranged photoreceptor cells gradually deteriorates hi vision ultimately leading to blindness. Cystinuria attacks his kidney function and builds stone on the urinary tract. DNA test can reveal the susceptibility of a dog to this condition.
Hip dysplasia is especially concerning for such a giant dog. An X-ray test is enough to clear out the puppy. This issue can cause lameness, Arthritis and several other problems may ask for a surgery.
Then, there is Bloat of course. It is an eating disorder suddenly affecting his stomach. Instant medical attention might help the dog survive it. Do not let the dog exercise just before or after the meals. This practice usually invites Bloat.
Insightful care program:
The Mastiff has a short yet thick coat. But it is really easy to groom. A weekly brush will do the job. You may have to do a little bit more in two shedding seasons. You can use a toothed comb and a rubber curry brush in order to serve his coat.
This dog shed moderately. You must remove the dead hair while brushing him to bring down the amount of fallen hair in the house. Baths are not mandatory if you consider his outlook as clean.
Give him a fenced yard for free exercise. You should be careful so that a stranger or visitor does not provoke the dog into an altercation bringing forth a tragedy. Drooling is a serious issue and keeping a clean garment ready to swipe his mouth is a good choice.
Otherwise, marks of slobber will appear here and there. He should drink a lot of fresh and clean water. It keeps his metabolism strong and controls his overheating issue.
Moreover, brush his teeth at least 3 times a week. Take a closer look at his nails and cut it in due time. A yearly veterinarian visit for overall check-up can benefit his health. An idea on what dogs love will further assist you.
Proper exercise method:
The Mastiff is not looking forward to a ton of physical exercise. This dog easily heats up. So, running or jogging should not be obligatory, especially, in a summer day. Walks in the morning and evening are preferable for this dog breed.
Two 30 minutes walks are fine for the Mastiff. You have to take drinking water while going out to an exercise. Free play is better than a structured schedule.
The first 3 years are devoted to his physical growth and this is not a suitable period for excessive workouts.
Especially, you should take care so that he does not jump off an elevated area or run down the stairs in the first 18 months. This dog is notorious for injuries. Any mishandling can result in a wound. Your dog must exercise in order to prevent obesity.
It will further his mental stimulation and no athletic goal should be the target of his workouts. Do not take him to a distance from where you cannot carry him back.
Mastiff training cues:
Despite average IQ, the Mastiff can respond well to a training because of its pleasing tendency. But the session should be short and full of interesting events. He cannot continue with an undivided attention for long. Socialization should commence at the very beginning of adoption.
Wasting time, in this respect, will spell disaster in the long run. You have to introduce other humans and pets apart from family members to shape his personality. This large dog can have a better use of obedience training. You have to be strict about not letting him jump onto your lap.
Such a practice is going to be the greatest nuisance within a few months. Mastiffs are super chewers and you have to provide him some chewable toys so that he can meet the urges. Get him inside a crate for a few minutes to a few hours. It will be of tremendous help in imparting house training lessons.
The dog will also learn handling separation issues more skilfully. You can prepare him for guard dog training as well. Teach him that physical assault is never acceptable.
It has already been pointed out that this breed is acclaimed as the Old English Mastiff. The Roman conquerors saw this dog in England in as far back as 55 B.C. The Mastiff has been universally recognized as one of the most ancient breeds contributing to the creation of so many other dogs to this day.
Asia is considered to be the breeding place of the Molossers, the ancestors of the Mastiff. The Molossers brought forth famous dogs such as the Tibetan Mastiff, Rottweiler and so on. Many civilizations have recorded their interactions with the Mastiff type dogs.
But the modern lineage can be tracked to the middle age England. To be more specific, we may mention the year 1835 as the new dawn for this dog. Their development process started in this year. These latest dogs are a bit different in temperament than their fierce ancient or middle age ancestors.
The AKC accepted this breed in 1885. Today’s Mastiffs are much more docile and loved as a companion. They have captured the 29th position on the AKC breed popularity list.