temperament and behavior
dogs | Animals
hundred years ago the Mastiff was a great warrior. He fought
the battles man put him in, and he fought them well. Those
days are long gone, and no one seems to be happier about
that than the Mastiff himself.
English Mastiff is now a completely retired fighter, dedicated
to watching over his family and friends. With his great
sense of patience and affection, he must be said to be the
best example of "man's best friend". In this article
you will learn what the English Mastiff's temper is like,
and get some ideas about what you need to consider if you
have, or are planning to get, one of these giant dogs.
English Mastiff is normally great with children. He seems
to understand that they are "puppies", and treats
them gently. He is both patient and protective, and despite
of his size and weight, he can be trusted to look after
even small children. If the dog isn't used to children at
all, he is able to learn how to deal with them even if he's
fully grown. The ideal situation is of course to bring up
the puppy with the "human puppies". Some dogs
don't have the same respect for children as they have for
adults. The Mastiff would never harm a child, but the most
dominant males may try to inform the youngster that he doesn't
want to be treated like dead meat. This doesn't mean that
he'll hurt the child. It's more likely that he'll grab the
child's arm or hand gently, to say "don't do that!".
hear the expression "child friendly" about dogs.
The most important thing to decide how any dog will act
towards children, is whether the child is "dog friendly"
or not. As a dog owner, you must teach your child to treat
your Mastiff with respect. Most Mastiffs treat kids with
an angel's touch, but how much can you ask for? There has
to be a limit, even for a dog like the English Mastiff.
Kids can be terrible with animals, it's up to you to see
to that your child is "dog friendly".
Mastiff couldn't handle being with other dogs, you would
never want to have one! It would be totally impossible to
control a 200 lbs. aggressive male, believe you me! All
there is to say about this, is that you have no reason to
worry at all! The English Mastiff is a very peaceful and
tolerant breed. Even if another dog attacks, the Mastiff
often turns his back to the opponent. He will NOT fight
unless he has to. Self defense is the only reason for an
average Mastiff to use his strength. I'm not saying you
won't ever find aggressive Mastiffs, but this is how the
"normal" representative of the breed acts. Many
Mastiffs love to be with smaller breeds.
say they are not aware of their impressive size, and that
they feel comfortable playing with small dogs because of
that. The chances are bigger that many Mastiffs almost never
meet other dogs as big as themselves, and therefore they
find such big dogs just as scary as smaller dogs often do.
Mirrors does not exist in a dog's world. They experience
their own strength by playing (and fighting...) with other
dogs. If a dog seldom gets the opportunity to play, he won't
be able to be aware of his might. On the other hand, this
might be an advantage with a powerful breed like the English
Mastiff! I can't think of any good reasons why I should
want my Mastiff to find out that he's stronger than any
other dog in the city. No reason at all!
probably have noticed, the Mastiff is a peaceful and very
calm dog. Because of this he is fully capable of living
peacefully with other animals as well. He is not a hunter,
and will under normal circumstances not harm other animals
unless they represent a threat, or because he has to defend
himself or his family. This is not the entire truth, though.
Mastiffs ARE dogs, and what could be more exiting than chasing
cats? Rabbits and similar animals also need to move their
feet with a Mastiff around! Some Mastiffs love this kind
of activities, while others don't bother about cats at all!
now some more good news: The Mastiff's calm temper makes
it rather easy to teach him not to chase cats! If he's allowed
to chase them, no one can blame him for doing so. What you
have to do, is to teach him that cats are a "do not
touch" thing. Put on the leash, and go to a place with
lots of cats. When he sees them, tell him "Do not touch!",
"Stay!", "No!", or whatever command
you find the best.
a few days with this kind of training, you will find out
whether your Mastiff is ready for the big test: Will he
stay if you unleash him? You'll find out soon enough! Say
the command, and cross your fingers. If he stays, put the
leash back on, and give him lots and lots of praise! If
he chases the cat, follow him, and tell him what a bad dog
he's been when you catch him! (Tell him in a calm, persistent
and convincing way. Make him feel ashamed about it!)
EVER use any kind of physical punishment - such a behavior
is totally unnecessary with a Mastiff! (and with any other
dog, for that matter!). There is absolutely no problem raising
a dog on a farm with lots of animals. He will most likely
be a great companion for both you and the creatures living
books state that Mastiffs are suspicious with strangers.
This is to a certain extent true, but do not misinterpret
those kind of statements! Some Mastiffs are very friendly
with everyone, some are more of the "elective"
kind, while others do not like to meet strangers at all.
Kind of a human behavior, in other words! With most Mastiffs,
meeting strangers is no problem at all.
English Mastiff is not aggressive towards any living creature.
If you've let him guard your house and garden while growing
up, he will continue to do so the rest of his life, because
he thinks that's his job. But - a Mastiff will under normal
circumstances never bite or harm anyone. He will keep them
on a safe distance, and if they come to close, he might
grab one of their arms just tight enough to convince the
intruder that this is as far as he gets.
should never train a Mastiff to attack people. If you do
so, you must take the full responsibility if your friend
hurts someone. A large and heavy dog like this will easily
beat any man if he gets angry, and you must never teach
him anything that has to do with aggression! Don't even
think about it! Please!
the dog seems to have problems understanding that a stranger
can be a friend of yours. If he doesn't know him, the stranger
can't be part of the group. Despite of this, he is fully
capable of getting used to your new relationships. When
a strange person has visited your house a few times, he
will accept that his owner has given him permission to enter
the house. It's really not a problem at all, at least not
more than with any other dog breed. When your Mastiff becomes
familiar with the new person, he will think of him as a
friend, too, and treat him likewise.
now some more great news! The English Mastiff is the perfect
family dog! If you have read the rest of this article, you
already know what a great family dog this breed might be.
The giant size isn't a problem either, since his behavior
is so relaxed and calm. You will probably need a rather
big car, though... It's not a good solution to put a Mastiff
in the backseat if you have other passengers!
fact that this breed is great with kids and peaceful with
other dogs and animals in general, makes him very easy to
deal with. Patience is an important quality when you're
looking for a family dog, and the Mastiff is most definitely
a patient breed! He also is very loyal, and loves to spend
time with his family more than anything else.
is another important keyword. You do not need to take your
Mastiff for a two hour walk every day to keep him happy.
He's normally satisfied with less than an hour. But - keep
in mind that a social breed like the Mastiff needs to spend
far more time with you than the one hour walk. He wants
to be where you are. He wants to sleep with his head on
your foot. He wants to play an important part of your life.
can make these wishes come true, you will have a happy companion
that will do all he can to show him how much he loves you.
If you can handle his drooling, snoring, and the size, you
probably can't make a better choice for a family dog. That's
all there is to say!