your Mastiff: A few things to consider
you're thinking of getting a Mastiff? There are a few
things you should be aware of before doing so. First of
all, an English Mastiff is a giant dog. Most people experience
such a giant as a combination of shocking, scary, ugly,
beautiful and impressing. There IS a big difference between
having a Labrador or a German Shepherd, and a Mastiff.
A grown male often weighs about 200 lbs. / 90 kilos. It
is not unusual for a male to weigh even more. About 220
lbs. / 100 kilos isn't all that rare. The size varies
quite a bit within the breed, though. If your Mastiff
ends up weighing "just" 155 lbs. / 70 kilos,
most people will still talk about your friend as if he
was an average sized pony.
why talk about his size at all? Well, no one has ever
bought a Mastiff without being impressed or attracted
to the breeds size and massiveness. It is also a fact
that large dogs eat more than small dogs. This means more
money for dog food. Large dogs also need space. Large
dogs need to be trained, unless you want to live with
the feeling of having no control when you walk the monster.
When you don't dare to walk your Mastiff until after everyone
else in the neighborhood has fallen asleep, you can be
sure of you something went wrong on the way. Are you strong
enough, or rather experienced enough, to train a fast
growing giant pup? What about your car? How do you plan
bringing the dog with you? Do you have the room for him
are several things to consider when you're looking for
a new dog, most of them apply whether you want to buy
a puppy or a rescue dog. You can get some more input about
this by reading the puppy-page at MASTIFF-WEB. You should
also take the survey "Is the Mastiff the right breed
for you" at MASTIFF-WEB, in order to get an idea
of whether getting a pup is a good decision or not. GOOD
for a puppy already? If you are, please don't rush things.
Even though Mastiffs are pretty rare, you don't want to
take the first one you find without doing some real investigation
first. This might sound unnecessary, but as a matter of
fact, it's something you won't ever regret doing. All
over the world, you will find people calling themselves
breeders, but what they really are, is someone who thought
it would be nice to earn an extra buck or two. So they
let their Mastiff bitch give birth to several litters
without much thought about whether she is fit to being
bred at all. The minimum requirement for a bitch that
is being used for breeding, is that she is a show champion
in her home country. This means that judges has agreed
that she is a quality Mastiff, and that she is a typical
Mastiff in both temper and body. The father should also
be a champion.
on where you live, and what quality you're looking for,
the prices vary quite a lot. The average price in the
US for a quality Mastiff puppy with good parents is between
$750-$1200. In Europe/England prices are between £500-£800.
The rest of Europe is normally at the same price level.
Prices are normally high if the parents have proved to
be of breeding quality by achieving good results in dog
shows etc. A documented good health also makes the prices
rise, and health is something that is worth paying some
extra money for. If you don't care much about health or
type (which you should...), you can always get a pup from
a backyard breeder. Just remember that by doing so, you
are partly responsible in bringing the quality of this
rare and vulnerable breed down. This is not what you want
to do. If you don't have the extra money, start saving
now. You might discover that those extra $300 weren't
that hard to raise after all. You should keep in mind
that you're paying for a very special living creature,
that will stay by your side the next 8-10 years. It's
is a breeder really? No one becomes a breeder just because
their Mastiff bitch gets puppies. If you let your Mastiff
become a father or mother without knowing much about the
dog's health or type, you are not bettering the breed.
Actually the chances are big you are doing the opposite.
Not everyone is aware of this, and we should never judge
a family that has let their Mastiff become a parent. The
puppies may grow up to become great family dogs, and every
now and then there might also be a champion dog from such
litters. Nevertheless, this will unfortunately not be
the case with most of them. Once you've dealt with Mastiffs
or other rare dog breeds over a certain period of time,
you should be aware of that only a few bad litters can
harm a country's Mastiffs. There are simply not enough
Mastiffs to maintain a high standard if we are not being
breeder can not become a good breeder until he/she has
many years of experience. You can be a breeder if you
have only one bitch, and you can be a breeder if you have
20 Mastiffs. No matter the number of dogs, the breeder
carefully plans what male dog is the right one for a certain
bitch, giving a lot of thought about what particular qualities
can be past on to the next generation. The good breeder
considers the state of health of both the male and the
bitch to be very important, and is always cautious using
a dog that is mentally unstable, aggressive or especially
nervous/afraid. There should be certifications from a
veterinary showing that both parents are free from the
most common deceases, and that they are generally healthy.
If a strange male is being "hired", the owner
of the male will get paid for his dog's services. It's
common to receive as much money as the breeder will get
for one of the puppies.
the puppies are born, the breeder takes good care of them.
This means quality food once they're able to eat, staying
with the mother and the puppies more or less 24 hours
a day the first 2-3 weeks, giving them the common shots
before they're sold at the age of 8 weeks. In addition,
a responsible breeder will not let you get the puppy until
it's at least 7 weeks old. The mother has some important
dog-things to teach her children before they're moving
into the human world for good.
about contracts? It's usual that a breeder registers the
puppies in a Kennel Club, i.e. the AKC in the US or another
reputable dog club. The vaccine- and registration papers
should be given to you when you get the pup. You may have
to wait a few weeks to get the registration papers, though.
If the pup gets one of the common but feared problems
like HD when he grows up, you should have a guarantee
that you will get some of the money back, or that you
will get another puppy for free if you have to put your
Mastiff to sleep as a result of the decease. One clever
thing to do, is to check out what kind of promises other
breeders give to the buyers. Go to the link-page at MASTIFF-WEB
and read some of the breeder's policy on this before you
buy anything. You might think that buying a living thing
shouldn't be that much about money and rights, but believe
you me, if you get any problems, you will be glad you
spent the necessary time to get these things sorted out.
possible, make sure you meet both the mother and the father
of the puppies. The mother is the most important one,
since she is the one raising them those first very important
weeks of their lives. How does the mother respond to you
when you meet her the first time. Is she nervous? Calm?
Excited? Shy? Aggressive? Happy? Will she let you pet
her without any problems? Will she let you touch her puppies
without any problems. Look at the mother as if she was
your future Mastiff. You can be pretty sure of that her
babies will inherit a lot of her personality. She
is the most important teacher the pups will ever have.
The father is more important then you might think, even
if he may not ever meet his offspring. His genes are past
on to all of the puppies. Some will become a lot like
him, while others will not. You can think of him also
as your potential future Mastiff. Keep that thought in
the back of your head when you meet him.
should be aware of how the parents move when they're walking
(or even better, running). This often tells a lot more
about their general health than a piece of paper from
some vet. Most health problems are invisible, though,
so you should definitely ask to see some health-certifications
signed by a veterinary. This is a very large topic, which
I will not discuss on this page. There are lots of information
about dogs and health on the Internet. The problems you
find with Mastiffs, are often found with other giant breeds
the breeder should show you the registration papers, papers
from the vet, and the pedigrees of both of the parents.
If you don't know what you're looking for, ask the breeder
about it. You can also ask someone in the local dog club,
a knowledgeable neighbor, or you can call a kennel club.
If you have access to a library, you can find loads of
info about most of your questions. The time before you
get your new pup, is the best time to read and study.
Your curiosity will never be greater!
are charmed by the apparently absent-minded puppy personality.
Normally this is not a problem, but it could be a bad
sign if the pup seems unaffected by most of what you do
to get it's attention. This could be a very stabile
and mentally harmonic pup, that simply won't bother with
things that are not interesting enough. On the other hand
it might be a dog that will develop problems communicating
and socializing with people and other creatures in general.
It might also be a sign of lack of social intelligence.
If you feel this might be the case, do not choose this
pup. You will be much better off with a more outgoing
certain amount of dominance might be exactly what a dog
needs to live a happy and harmonic life. The problem first
arises as the dominance grows to aggressiveness. Males
should be able to stand up for themselves, and so should
the bitches. You are better of avoiding the bossy puppy
of the litter if you're not an experienced dog owner.
If you get the feeling that this pup is harassing with
the others, this is a certain sign of strong dominance.
A very dominant grown up male Mastiff might cause you
problems bigger then you are able to handle when meeting
other male dogs.
happens when you meet the puppies for the first time?
Take a good look at which of the puppies seem a bit scared,
and on the other hand; which seem quite happy about your
visit. If a certain pup walks straight up to you and greets
you with a lick in the face etc., you can be pretty sure
this is a pup with a good portion of self esteem. This
is a good sign, and a behavior you should look for in
your future pup. Just remember that too much of everything
isn't necessarily a good thing. Any desirable behavior
has it's upper limit before it becomes a disturbing factor
rather than something positive. What happens the second
time you visit the puppies? Does the same puppy greet
you just like the last time? What about the others that
didn't greet you? Do they recognize you, and greet you
this time? It would be a plus for those that do so.
pup might be the opposite of the social one. Most of us
seem to think of shyness as something innocent and sweet.
The "innocent pup" is therefor the one that
does NOT greet you, and that does NOT play a lot with
the other puppies. The innocent pup often watches the
others from a distance, which might make him look a bit
wise or thoughtful. Don't let this behavior fool you!
Do NOT choose this pup. The chances he will develop serious
social problems with both people and other dogs are quite
big! Don't let that "motherly" feeling decide
which puppy is the best for you. You can fix some of these
problems with social training and a variation of dog classes,
but you will most likely never ever have the harmonic,
social Mastiff you have been dreaming of. Do not choose
the innocent pup!
you're looking for a puppy, finding a so called "Rescue
Mastiff" is not the easiest thing to do. If you are
willing to get a grown up Mastiff, though, a rescue Mastiff
might be a good alternative. Many of these dogs
might come from homes where the owners for some reason
couldn't take care of them anymore. You can get a fantastic
Mastiff by contacting a rescue organization. The mere
size of this breed might be the only reason that the owner
gave up his friend. Things like divorces, deaths, obedience-
or social problems, illness and change of occupation are
also regular reasons why Mastiffs and other dogs are sold
or given away for free as rescue dogs.
If you choose this solution, make sure you learn as much
as possible about the dog's past before you bring him
with you. Such information can help you avoid a lot of
problems, and answer a lot of questions that might never
would have been answered unless you were told about the
Mastiff's good and bad experiences throughout his life.
HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS?
Try sending a message to the "English Mastiff
Message-board" here at MASTIFF-WEB. The other visitors
might have experiences dealing with the same things that
you are wondering about!
LUCK WITH YOUR FUTURE MASTIFF!