7 Mastiff Breeds: How To Choose The Right One For You

If you're looking to get a new dog, mastiffs are a great choice: these dogs are loving, gentle whilst being very impressive in size and strength. However, if you do want a mastiff, you'll have to decide which of the mastiff breeds is right for you. This exercise entails considering various factors in your life to think about.

For example, how big is your living space, home or apartment? Will you have the time to properly train and care for a dog? Are there little ones running about in your home? Will this be the first dog you've ever had, or have you owned dogs in the past? Are you willing to deal with drooling mastiff jaws, or shed hair all over the house? Are there parks or other places to walk your dog near your home? Is your living space simple and minimalist or cluttered and full of objects?

In this article, we'll consider the benefits and disadvantages of various breeds of mastiffs. In doing so, we'll say which mastiffs are best-suited to which living situations, so that you can make an informed decision and decide which breed of Mastiff is most compatible with your needs, and the needs of your family.

1) French Mastiff

French Mastiff

The French Mastiff is also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux. The Dogues are somewhat smaller-more specifically, shorter, with a lower overall height-than other breeds of Mastiff, and their coats range from dark red to light brown. Their faces look flattened (even by the standards of other mastiffs), and they're noted for their wrinkled skin and short muzzle, which altogether makes them look like a bigger version of a pug. They have a natural protector's instinct-making them great for being guard dogs for a home or residence-and are affectionate and non-confrontational.

Perfect for: couples or small families looking for an affectionate new friend


2) German Mastiff / Great Dane

The first thing you should know about German Mastiffs is that they're big, even for mastiffs. The second thing you should note is that they aren't always fully aware of their bigger frames and the problems they might cause. As a result, they present a risk of knocking things down when ambling about the house. Fortunately, however, not only does this not pose too much of a problem - you can simply change the position of the items in your home, so that they don't get in the way of your companion. German Mastiffs also present another advantage in that they are quiet dogs. They will bark, but only if they are caught off guard or they feel that their safety is threatened. More than this, German Mastiffs are caring and loving, many a therapy and service dog has been a German Mastiff, and they are reliable, good with children and of pleasant disposition. 

Perfect for: families looking for a dog that will grow up with their family

3) Pyrenean Mastiff

These Spanish-bred dogs are named for the Pyrenees, the mountains that block off the Iberian Peninsula, in Spain, from the other regions and countries of Western Europe. It was in the Aragonese section of the mountains that they were bred for their original purpose: that of protecting livestock animals from the regular threat of wolf attacks. They have long, rich coats, usually white in color, and which might also have a number of dark spots and streaks. They are more on the timid side, which makes them a good choice for families with children.

They are quite smart, but-like many other breeds of mastiff-they will act badly if they are not socialized properly. They are also somewhat oriented toward the collective, in the sense that a Pyrenean Mastiff will consider those humans and animals, to which they are close, as part of their packs. They need exercise very frequently to stay in shape, and, as independent-minded dogs, they can be quite stubborn in some situations.

Perfect for: energetic, active families that are always on the move

4) English Mastiff

English Mastiffs are a good choice for those who favor long, lazy days with not much to do. These dogs tend to be a bit lazy, so they don't require as much maintenance as other mastiffs. English Mastiffs are perfect for families: they are loyal, loving, and care for everyone in the household, including children. Easy-going and sweet, they are not as well-suited to being guard dogs as other mastiff breeds can be, but they make up for it with their laid back nature.

The short coat of the English Mastiff is relatively easy to maintain. If you choose to adopt an English Mastiff, you won't find hair absolutely everywhere in your living space (though you might find some), as can be the case with other breeds of mastiff. That being said, an English Mastiff is still at risk of overheating, on account of its bigger body frame, so take this into account when you're deciding which breed of dog you ought to get.

Perfect for: families with children looking for a loving, easygoing dog

5) Bullmastiff

This mastiff, interestingly enough, is a mixed breed: they are the result of breeding English Mastiffs with bulldogs. As a result, while they share many physical features with the English Mastiff, they also have the temperament of the bulldog, which is stubborn, obtuse, and less likely to listen to you. For this reason, if you're considering getting a bullmastiff for your next pet, know that you'll have to put serious time and effort into training them properly. As well, bullmastiffs are an example of a mastiff breed that, if not socialized properly and early on, when they're still young, might display aggression towards other dogs, as well as humans they haven't met yet. This is another reason why bullmastiffs are preferable for those who have more time to devote to training them and taking care of them. Nevertheless, they are relatively quiet dogs- it's their strength that really keeps intruders away, not their temperament-and, if trained properly, they get along well with people.

Despite the downsides, the fiery temperament and territorial instincts of the Bullmastiff ensures that these dogs make great guard dogs. After all, they were first bred to protect English game reserves from the activities of poachers. Do note, however, that-because of the reasons we've already mentioned- they're not recommended for first-time dog owners.

Perfect for: those who have the time and devotion to properly train a guard dog

6) Italian (Neapolitan) Mastiff

As you might imagine, the origins of the Italian Mastiff can be traced to Italy, and more specifically from the region of Naples (Napoli). Descended from Roman war dogs, they were initially used to guard the estates of the rich. This is not surprising when you consider that they tend to have a watchful, loyal nature. These dogs are more wrinkled than other breeds of mastiff, and they have a short, broad muzzle. Their fur comes in any number of colors, including blue, dark red, brindle, and black.

Like German Mastiffs, Italian Mastiffs are very large, even for a mastiff breed. As well, training them is difficult, since they require, from their masters, a certain level of calmness, assertion, dominance and control, so that they are trained properly and do what is expected of them. As such, they are not ideal for those owning dogs for the first time. These mastiffs require a lot of training and socialization, starting when they are young. Despite this, Italian Mastiffs don't require an exorbitant amount of care and maintenance: they are gentle and sweet, caring greatly for the members of their household. They need space to move around and stretch out in, but they don't need an exceptional amount of exercise. They do drool, a lot, and that the drooling is even more pronounced on account for their especially wrinkly skin. As a matter of fact, Hugo, the Italian mastiff who portrayed Hagrid's dog Fang in the first three Harry Potter movies-drools so much that he even drooled into the mouth of morning, show host Fern Britton during one particularly memorable episode.

Perfect for: current dog owners looking for a new challenge

7) Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs are huge, highly intelligent mastiffs with very heavy coats, because, of course, their origins lie in the snowy mountains of China's Tibet region. More reserved than other breeds of mastiffs, they tend to be more on the introverted side, and do not give their affection away easily. Once they are familiar with a person or a family, they are loving, devoted and protective-but they are aloof are unresponsive toward those they haven't yet been acquainted with.

Training a Tibetan Mastiff is long and time-consuming, and it requires a lot of patience. In fact, these mastiffs are famous for not coming to an owner who calls their name-even though they already know perfectly well what their name is. They also need to have a regular source of entertainment; they have a tendency of being destructive when bored. They also require a lot of maintenance for their long, water-resistant coats, which need to be brushed several times a week. On the bright side, these coats ensure that they are warm in cold environments, and can even remain comfortable and hydrated in drier climates.

Perfect for: those with a lot of time on their hands

The Mastiff Breeds: Difficult Choices Ahead

Well, there you have it: some of the most popular mastiff breeds in the world. Do your homework and research before you get a dog, so that you know exactly what you're in for, and exactly how you'll be able to take care of your new pal. If you do, you won't have any regrets; and you'll definitely know how best to deal with your favorite mastiff companion. Best of luck in your search!Enter your text here...


About the Author Joycey

All my life I've been in love with one big friendly dopey Mastiff family member after another. No other breed has given me so much pleasure. I care about them as much if not more than most of the people I've ever known and now it's a dream to be able to research and write up everything my team and I have learned and are continuing to learn. Hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy writing :)

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