It all starts with a family discussion on the types and choices of mastiff breeds that are available to you, by considering various photos, reading blogs, books and reviews, and eventually speaking to the breeders, adoption centers or sellers, as the case may be.
Once you have been smitten away by a mastiff, it is hard to go back on anything else or even drop the idea. So you move on to the next step – looking for the pup. You should never rush this step, despite the excitement and eagerness to get one straight away. The trick is to speak to as many breeders as you possibly could and attend their shows or actual visitations. This will provide you with an opportunity to educate yourself and your family regarding the dog’s temperament, pedigree, health concerns, cleanliness, traits and features.
Be persistent with your meetings and make sure you get as many appointments as you possibly could to see the pup physically. You will learn a lot about him when you meet him a few times, and that will help you immensely in making a decision.
A genuine and concerned breeder who cares about the prolonged safety and health of the mastiffs (and particularly their pup), will ask you a lot of personal questions related to your family, circumstances in general and your history of pets etc.
When the pups are born and start residing in the litter box, it is time to go and visit the breeder, and see how the pups are doing. You will need to go at least twice to eventually make up your mind after observing as much as possible. That is even more so when you have paid for or reserved one, and are just waiting for the weaning period to get over and done with.
The first and foremost aspect that you need to observe is whether the pup is affable and outgoing. You do not want to be stuck with a shy and reserved pet which is no fun. This may work for some, but for most it doesn’t. Also check the pup physically for any limitations, rashes or infestations and point it to the attention of the breeder. You will also need to request for various documentation which we will talk in a dedicated section below.
How much do Mastiff Puppies Cost?
The cost of a mastiff pup depends on where you live, the quality or breed you are after, and where you are buying it from.
A good quality mastiff which is in sound health and condition and has a good pedigree will range anywhere between $750-$1200 in the USA, around £500 – £800 in England, and generally the same range in rest of the Europe.
If parents of the puppy are dog show winners, which will be reflective of excellent breed and pedigree, then you can expect to pay higher sums, as you are getting a special canine that will be your companion for good 8-10 years.
Let us look at some of the key considerations or options that you need to bear in mind before you make the all important decision of bringing a mastiff pup home.
Find Reputable Dog Breeders
As mentioned earlier, and it cannot be emphasized enough, get in touch with as many reputed breeders as you possible could, so you can get a variety of breeds and options to choose from. Try to shortlist these breeders as you continue to gather information and options that they present to you.
Beware of the so called breeders who are solely interested in mass producing pups and only concerned with selling them to potential buyers at any cost. You can use good judgment and lots of questions when assessing the breeders, which will give you a good idea of a concerned and professional breeder, who you should be eyeing to stick to. They will be patient and knowledgeable, and will satisfy your concerns fully, as they themselves have been in that situation before and have also dealt with similar genuine customers before.
A good breeder is well-informed and takes a lot of care and caution whilst breeding, ensuring the long term health and breeding style of specific type(s) of mastiffs.
An experienced breeder will be able to give you a lot of insight on the traits and temperament of a particular pup, and whether they can make good family dogs. They may even be able to spot a champion amongst a lot of pups, if you are interested in paying for one!
The mastiffs are a selective and exclusive breed and the breeders need to ensure that they are doing everything right and in the best interest of the breed, rather than simply making it a money making exercise.
You are looking for someone who has done this day in day out for several years, and is well read on the mastiff breed. There is a lot of planning involved in mating and knowing exactly what male dog is appropriate for a certain type of bitch – always bearing in mind the specific qualities or traits that will be passed on to the next generation. Some other important factors that he will consider is the health condition of the mating canines, mental stability, aggression, or anxiety – relying on veterinarian certificates on diseases and good health before mating them.
One of the most important questions that you need to clarify and check with the breeder is whether he has the proper documentation for the specific puppy you are negotiating. At minimum, you should expect the breeder to provide to you with certain important documents that will signify the quality of the pup, his general health condition, formal registration with a club, and any specific diet that he should get. All these need to be provided at the time of or prior to the purchase of the pup:
- Kennel Club Registration Certificate;
- Worming Certificate;
- Diet Sheet.
The papers are meant to be records for your pup and provide you with the satisfaction that you have got exactly what you paid for. A good breeder will maintain and insist on providing these records, before getting paid. There is a reason that these pets get registered with clubs and the certificates with appropriate logos certify the facts that the breeder is representing to you about a specific pup, particularly in respect of its pedigree.
These documents should be in your hand (or mail box) before you conclude the sale, and you cannot expect or accept an excuse of delaying these or sending these ‘to your mail box in due course’.
Some other documents that are helpful and often provided with sale of a pup include vaccination records, health certificate from a vet and a certificate or receipt of sale.
Adoptions – Risks and Benefits of Mastiff Adoption
A rescued mastiff pup is not an easy one to find, but that is not the case with a grown up mastiff, and that may very well be an option, if you cannot afford to buy one, or are generally more inclined to adopt one rather than purchase. If that is what you want, then you would be well-advised to contact a rescue organization closest to you, and request for availability.
A lot of people give them up for a variety of reasons – death, divorce, social problems, illness, change of jobs, relocation, or even due to their massive size and routines becoming difficult for the owner to manage.
If that is your preferred method of getting a mastiff, then do as much research and fact-checking regarding the dog’s past as you possibly can. This will help you make an informed decision, based on your personal circumstances and requirements.
Risk of Mastiff Adoption
There are obvious risks associated with adopting a mastiff. You will have no clue on its background, how he was raised and any health concerns or scares he may have or could have going forward. It is mostly a game of assumptions and guesses, and hoping things would go well for you both.
The mastiffs may also be abandoned by their owners and picked up by shelters, in which instance, they may be malnourished, untrained, poorly socialized and neglected. These would leave a lot of physical and psychological scars on the poor dog. They may or may not recover from these and you are only left with remorse and pity for the poor canine.
For these reasons, adoption from a foster or rescue operation is generally a better option as compared to a general shelter.
There will not be much in terms of documentation for either a foster or rescue dog or a sheltered dog. You will also not be able to establish genetic health or pedigree of this dog.
Benefits of Mastiff Adoption
The cost is the biggest advantage. It will be negligible (as compared to purchasing one) or even cost you nothing in certain instances, if you are taking it from an individual who cannot keep him for whatever reason.
There will be a donation required if the dog is being adopted from a rescue operation or a small fee if it is coming from a shelter, which is reflective of their basic cost spent on the dog. In all cases, these amounts will be comparatively much less than buying a purebred mastiff from a breeder.
It is an act of kindness above all and makes you feel great about yourself. You have practically given a mastiff a second chance at life, by bringing him home. In return, he is supposed to give you and your family company, security, love and a lot of attention.
Pet Stores – Good or Bad?
It is not the best of ideas to buy your pet pup from a pet store, primarily due to the fact that they (directly or indirectly) support consistent devaluation and degrading standards of mastiff breed. They will not consider them anything more than merchandise, and often will not be able to appreciate or confirm that the pups were not reproduced based on unethical breeding standards.
At times, these pet stores will purchase the pups from “puppy-farms” or “puppy-mills” that do not care much about purebred bloodlines and the overall well being of the bitch. This results in pets with no or questioned pedigree. These stores will also not be able to give you accurate and up to date information on the health of the puppies, and the quality will be found lacking. This will eventually lead to huge vet bills for you which you never anticipated.
A Few Things to Consider
You should also check for the following when getting a pup:
- any inclusions such as carrier bag, treats, or supplies for pup
- warranties on health or any other assertion from breeder
- vaccinations, show potential, and their location
Annual Cost of Owning a Mastiff
Mastiffs are high-maintenance, and that is for sure. There are high recurring expenses that you need to be aware of and let us look at them in detail.
Mastiffs have big appetites given their massive sizes. A simple and cheapest 7 oz dog food topper can cost you as low as $2, whereas a high-quality grain free dry food bag of 24 lbs will cost you around $65.
If you do not have the time or energy to do obedience training for your pup, then you should expect to get it done externally, which will cost you around $225 for a 4 hour session. If you require, there are also packages relating to board and train starting at $975.
Mastiffs require routine bathing. Good quality shampoos will cost you around $6-10. You may also need to buy solutions and wipes to clean their eyes, and ears regularly, and a tooth brush for their dental cleaning. You will certainly need to consider buying a de-shedding brush, glove or a machine (furminator is a common one) for brushing him twice a week at least.
Grooming services will cost you around $40 for bathing, $10 for nail clipping and $5 for teeth brushing.
Mastiffs are notorious for their health problems give their size and weight, and need to limit their exercises. These may require occasional boosters and vaccinations, blood tests, swab and microscopic examination, de-worming and so forth.