Are English Mastiffs Suitable For You?

Our Experience With the Mastiff

Our experience with the Mastiff (commonly referred to as the Old English or English Mastiff) breed has been happy mastiffextraordinary. We talk about our experience thus far here and also share some links that we feel offer much learning about the magnificent Mastiff. The Mastiff is even more than we read about before we brought Monty, our first, home. My husband and I have both had dogs in our lives since childhood. I grew up with a German Shepherd and him with a Golden Retriever. We both have had, separately and together, Labradors in adulthood. Of course, there are the little lap puppies too…and we love them all. The Mastiff, however, is above all the best breed of dog that we have been blessed to have in our lives. They are loving, loyal, gentle, easy inside the house, obedient and protective with the utmost of discretion and intelligence. They are by far the most incredible companions.

I have never had many large dogs lay down around me on the floor and just play gently with me and each other. Sometimes I feel like I get a bit lost in their world. One of the best feelings for me is that I have seen our Mastiffs’ love and devotion for us grow as they have. It is an almost indescribable feeling to know that an animal is bonding with me after taking the time to get to know and trust me. It truly is a different experience than raising that wiggly little Labrador puppy. I know all animals are wonderful and surely other breeds of dogs possess similar traits, but I am definitely biased when it comes to the Mastiff and their loyalty!

However…

bullmastiff with training collarMastiffs Are Not For Everyone

Those five words should not be taken lightly. With that said, they could be for more than some realize. I often hear people say “I love them, but my yard or home is not large enough?” Mastiffs grow to be strong and powerful dogs. They are very sensitive and most are easily trained and disciplined by a conscientious individual. One would probably think that you need a huge yard or home to have a Mastiff in your life – this is not the case unless YOU need a lot of space, and if so, the loving Mastiff might not be for you as they are cuddlers. I often tell people that a Mastiff could live in the middle of New York City in an apartment if he/she was given the appropriate amount of attention and exercise. They are happy to curl up on the couch or at your feet and just lay around with you, in fact, I have found this is one of the times when they are their happiest.

A Mastiff can do their share of damage left bored and unattended, so you will need to have an area prepared for your Mastiff that is safe for both your Mastiff and your yard/house when he/she is left unattended. Most of the time they will sleep, but … not always. Most Mastiffs do really well with crate training – although crates will need to be BIG ;-). All of ours have crate trained wonderfully. They love walks but do not need to chase the ball for hours on end, this is not to downplay how much they usually do love to chase a ball, once they’ve popped it and get a good grip around it ;-). If you like to jog or run very long distances or hunt with your dog, the Mastiff is probably not the dog for you. If you work and/or are going on a regular basis for a long day your Mastiff will benefit from a playmate (another Mastiff or even a Chihuahua ;-).

bored mastiffWe all thrive in happy and balanced environments, Mastiffs are the same way. Any potential new pet coming to your home should be researched and much time and care should be put into making a decision about what type of pet is right for your lifestyle AND is your lifestyle right for the pet. Raising a puppy is tiring and requires complete commitment so that the puppy grows into a well balanced and happy adult. Mastiff puppies grow fast and require conscientious, well-informed caretakers. You should be prepared to do research on the Mastiff tendencies, temperament, health and overall needs. As well, you should do research on the type of approach you feel comfortable using in training your Mastiff – starting the day he/she comes home to you. Also research on the type/look of Mastiff that you’d like to have in your life.

Finding a Breeder

Even though there is an official Mastiff standard, breeders produce many different looking Mastiffs to choose from. Breeder research should be done as well as pedigree research (a quality breeder will help you understand what it means to research or understand a pedigree). I feel it is also important to find a breeder that, if you choose, will have a continuing relationship with you and that you can always call or email with any questions as your Mastiff grows and changes or just does something cute. I personally would like to keep track of the puppies we produce; their growth, health, temperaments, etc. Please keep in mind that what is written here is our own personal experience with the Mastiff and you should venture to do your own research as well before making a decision to bring a Mastiff into your home.

2 mastiff puppiesPlease take your time when doing your research, even though puppies can be so cute and the desire to have one so strong, taking your time is as important as the decision to bring a new pet into your home is. Beware of mass producing breeders sometimes called “puppy mills” as well as advertisements on the internet that are not from a reputable breeder. If you are not sure how to tell the difference, please give us a call or drop an email and we will be happy to elaborate. The newspaper is a place where you might find cheaper prices but you will run a higher risk of receiving a Mastiff of lesser quality than going to a reputable breeder who has no need to advertise in the newspaper, provides guarantees and has a developed a line of well-tested stock.

Take time to find a quality Mastiff from a known and respected breeder, be that breeder into Mastiffs for 20 years or less than five, they can both be a great place to find a quality Mastiff if you’ve done your homework. Visit Mastiff breeders if you can and surely visit some shows to see Mastiffs in person. Last, a relationship with a breeder is very important. Make sure you are asked a lot of questions, it means the breeder cares about their puppies’ placement and make sure you do the same. Ask the same questions of several breeders to see if you find consistency in answers and if not why. Good luck, it’s a wonderful journey! And by all means, we do hope to hear from you one day whether it is to answer questions, give references or answering an inquiry about a breeding we have planned.

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