Know about Breed: French Mastiff
- Life expectancy: 5 - 8 years
- Origin: France
- Temperament: Devoted, Even Tempered, Vigilant, Loyal, Companionable, Courageous
- Height: Male: 60-67 cm, Female: 57-65 cm
- Colors: Fawn, Mahogany, Red
- Weight: Male: 54-65 kg, Female: 54-65 kg
- With his imposing size, sleek coat, and distinctive black-masked face, the Mastiff -- sometimes called the English Mastiff or Old English Mastiff -- is probably not the dog you think he is. Certainly, he's the largest of the dog breeds, not the tallest but the heaviest, routinely weighing in at more than 200 pounds.
- Mastiffs are known as "gentle giants," big dogs whose main weapons are their size, reputation, and instinctive understanding of what is and isn't a threat. A well-bred, well-socialized Mastiff will protect his human family as part of his nature, without any special training beyond simply making him a well-behaved member of the family.
- If you're physically up to the challenge of an extremely powerful dog who probably outweighs you, who is gentle and loving but has a definite stubborn streak (and that's not a euphemism for aggression; the Mastiff is typically more selectively deaf than defiant), and don't mind a certain amount of slobber, then the Mastiff maybe your ideal dog.
- If you want to leave him tied up in the backyard to protect your home or view him as a status symbol because of his size or image, then he's definitely not the dog for you. A Mastiff's protective nature won't assert itself on behalf of an arbitrary property line nor in defense of a few bricks and boards; it's his family he protects, and that means you need to make him part of yours. Leave him in the yard all the time, and all you'll get are some spectacular holes in the lawn and a bored, lonely, sad, and destructive dog whose potential is being completely ignored.
- When it comes to everyday considerations, the Mastiff is easy to live with. He'll certainly alert you if someone comes to the door, but he's mostly a quiet presence in the home. His short coat sheds, but brushing a couple of times a week will help keep it under control. And while he does slobber, he's not a world-class slobberer, and it can mostly be handled with a quick wipe after he's eaten or had a drink of water. Still, if you're totally against dog slobber, don't get a Mastiff.
- The calm and gentle Mastiff looks dignified at first glance, but beneath that noble expression lies a strong sense of humor just waiting to come out. He is affectionate with his family and always wants to be with them, but he doesn't constantly demand attention. It's enough for him to lie by their feet, lean against them, and follow them from room to room, always there to make sure everyone is safe. If given half a chance, your Mastiff will snuggle with you on the sofa, doing his best imitation of a lap dog.
- Mastiffs are gentle with children and other animals, wanting only to take care of them. They are famous for having a soft mouth, or the ability to carry things like kittens and squirrels without damaging them.
- Just because he's gentle doesn't mean the Mastiff isn't protective and territorial. He barks a big, deep, scary bark when strangers approach and doesn't let up his guard until he has been introduced to the person and assured that he or she is welcome. Mastiffs aren't attacked dogs, but they very effectively prevent intruders from entering the premises or, if they have gotten in, from leaving again until the proper authorities arrive.
- Mastiffs have moderate exercise needs. A sedate walk will satisfy them, but if you want to compete with them in obedience, rally, or weight-pulling, they're up for that, too.
- Mastiffs dislike change, so if you're planning to bring one into your life, make sure it's what you really want. A Mastiff will bond closely to you and grieve if you give him up to another home or a shelter.
- The perfect Mastiff doesn't come ready-made from the breeder. Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging, counter surfing, and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained, or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with during adolescence. In the case of the Mastiff, the teen years can start at nine months and continue until the dog is about two years old. Fortunately, Mastiffs are sensitive, smart, and want only to please. That gives you a head start in training them, especially if you start early.
- All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, dont walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
- The Mastiff can develop certain health problems. Here's a brief rundown on a few of the conditions you should know about.
- As might be predicted, given their large size, Mastiffs suffer from a number of joint and structural problems. It's important that young, growing Mastiffs be kept lean and not allowed to exercise too strenuously or eat too much, as this will lead to injuries and problems that can be crippling down the road. In fact, all Mastiffs need to be kept lean, as obesity increases the chances they'll develop certain structural problems and makes them more painful when they occur.
- One such structural problem is the genetic hip deformity known as hip dysplasia. The head of the thigh bone doesn't fit properly into the hip socket, and over time the cartilage and underlying bone suffer damage, leading to arthritis. Depending on the severity, surgery may be needed to help prevent a lifetime of pain and lameness. Elbow dysplasia is a similar condition affecting the elbows. Mastiffs are also prone to cruciate ligament injuries in their knees.
- It's impossible to confirm a diagnosis of hip or elbow dysplasia simply from examining a dog or watching him move. Nor can hip and elbow dysplasia be ruled out entirely just because the parents were free of the condition, although it reduces the risk.
- The Mastiff's short coat is easy to care for. Brush it with a rubber curry brush at least weekly -- daily, if you want. The brush removes dead hairs that would otherwise end up on your floor, furniture, and clothing.
- Mastiffs shed moderately too heavily. Some dogs shed heavily only during spring and fall shedding seasons, while others consistently shed throughout the year. The more you brush, the less hair you'll have flying around.
- To keep your Mastiff's facial wrinkles clean and infection-free, wipe them out as needed (either daily or weekly) using a damp cloth or a baby wipe. Then dry them thoroughly. Moisture left behind can create the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
- Bathe your Mastiff only when he's dirty. If you're lucky, that won't be very often. But if you want to bathe him every week, you can. Just use a gentle shampoo made for dogs.
- The rest is basic care. Trim his nails as needed, usually every week or two, and brush his teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE