Are Mastiffs Good Family Dogs Or Pets?
10 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Whether your children are still in diapers or they’re heading off to middle school, you want a family dog or pet that’ll get along well with each member of the family. That means a dog that’s affectionate, easy to care for, and understands the rules of the house.

So, are Mastiffs good family dogs or pets? Yes! Mastiffs are “gentle giants” and can build positive relationships with other dogs, young children, adults, and even cats. They’re really easy to train and don’t require all that much daily exercise. Though they drool, shed, and are predisposed to some health conditions, they are good family dogs and excellent pets.

We’ve all heard horror stories of dogs snapping and becoming violent with other dogs, adults, and children. Let’s first go over just how affectionate Mastiffs are and why this makes them a great breed for young families. Read More Below...

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mastiff with pretty little girl

Are Mastiffs Affectionate?

Mastiffs are very affectionate dogs! They tend to be very loyal and friendly toward their own pack, which includes you and the rest of your family. Yet, they also seem to be very open about accepting new members into their family, so they’re great with strangers as well.

Though Mastiffs can weigh well over 100 pounds and look intimidating, they have a relatively calm temperament. They absolutely adore spending the day inside with their family, lounging around the home, and even cuddling with their favorite human on the couch while watching TV.

Are Mastiffs Good With Babies And Toddlers?

Mastiffs are great with children and actually seem to prefer women and children over men. But, when you’re considering babies and toddlers, you really need to take into consideration the size differences between a Mastiff and a young child.

Though it’s very rare for a Mastiff to intentionally hurt a young child, it’s incredibly easy for a 130-pound Mastiff to accidentally knock a toddler over while trying to play. So, it’s best that you keep a close eye on both as they interact with one another.

Training Your Child To Respect Them...

Most issues that arise between dogs and children are actually the fault of the child. That’s why it’s extremely important that you teach your children how to play and interact with a dog properly, especially when you’re considering a huge dog like a Mastiff.

Here are some things to remember about dogs and children.

  • All dogs can be violent. Even if your dog is extremely well trained, the slightest trigger can cause him to snap out of fear. The best way to avoid these types of accidents is to avoid triggering fear in your Mastiff.
  • Don’t push their buttons. Children love to pull and push things, but even the most easy-going dogs grow tired of it eventually. So, remind your children not to pull a dog’s ears or tail or push them around to wrestle. Also, dogs don’t like it when you get in their faces, as it can come off as intimidating.
  • Allow your dog his own space. You close the bedroom door at night to keep your Mastiff out, but your Mastiff never seems to have his own space. Remind your children that dogs need space to and to keep their distance when he’s eating or resting.
  • Get your child involved. Both your Mastiff and your toddler have a lot of pent up energy. So, it would be a good idea to get the two to play together in a safer way. You might want to go out to the backyard and throw a ball around or just play hide and seek.

Mastiffs have some of the strongest bites of any breed, but it’s very rare that they bite anything other than their favorite chew toy. As long as you teach your child how to play properly and not bother your Mastiff, there should be nothing but a pleasant relationship between the two.

Are Mastiffs Good With Cats And Other Dogs?

Most Mastiffs are generally friendly with other dogs. But, it all depends on your Mastiff’s temperament and how much interaction he’s had with dogs growing up. Some Mastiffs see another dog and simply want to play while others see another and get territorial.

The relationship between Mastiffs and cats is hit or miss, but that’s mostly a result of your cat’s tolerance to dogs. Some Mastiffs and cats are best friends and share water bowls and take naps together. Others torment each other and relentlessly chase the other around the house.

Socializing Your Mastiff

To avoid potentially violent confrontations between your Mastiff and other dogs or cats, you need to properly socialize him starting when he’s a puppy. Most professional trainers would recommend starting as soon as your Mastiff is two months old.

Here’s what you can do to help your Mastiff socialize best.

  • Work on positive reinforcement, so praising your Mastiff when he does something good with verbal praise, a treat, and a pet.
  • Start small and only spend about 15 minutes a day training your Mastiff, as you don’t want to overwhelm him.
  • Go to puppy classes to learn how to train your Mastiff properly.
  • Get your Mastiff used to interacting with other adults, children, dogs, and cats.

Mastiffs are not naturally aggressive toward other dogs and cats, but they might be afraid of what they don’t know. So, do your best to allow your Mastiff as much interaction with other dogs and cats as he gets older.

This helpful article on our site offers great ideas on how to socialize your Mastiff.

Are Mastiffs Inside Or Outside Dogs?

First off, no dog should be an outside dog! Outside dogs tend to be harder to train, as they don’t interact with humans as often or receive the praise they desperately need. So, it wouldn’t be unlikely to see a greater number of behavioral issues in strictly outside dogs.

Being left unattended outside leaves dogs at risk for health concerns too. Even though your Mastiff is up-to-date on his vaccinations, he could always be bitten by a rabid animal, attacked by a coyote, or drink contaminated water on your property.

Learn more about why Mastiffs are not good outside dogs

Mastiffs & the Environment

For the most part, Mastiffs can tolerate most changes in the weather. Though, they do seem to fare better in cooler weather rather than warmer weather. That’s because they have thick double coats that protect them from the environment.

But, given the sheer size of Mastiffs and how easily they can overheat when it’s hot and humid, they’re more prone to developing heatstroke. This is a condition where the dog’s body temperature remains too high. Symptoms include….

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased panting
  • Inability to stand or walk
  • Loss of consciousness

So, your Mastiff would be better off spending longer periods of time outside in cooler weather rather than warmer weather. However, he probably just wants to spend some time in your temperature-regulated house cuddling with you and spending time with the family.

Keep your Mastiff indoors when possible!


Pro-tip: Does your Mastiff have issues with anxiety, destructive chewing, aggressiveness, jumping up, barking or fearfulness?

Brain Training For Dogs is an excellent online training course that
addresses these behavioral issues as well as dog training basics.

Are Mastiffs Easy To Train?

Mastiffs are usually great when it comes to training. As long as you’re pursuing a positive training approach (i.e. No yelling, hitting, or screaming), your Mastiff should be pretty receptive to new skills and rules. Your Mastiff is actually dying to impress you and earn your approval!

The best way to train your Mastiff is by starting young, preferably when your Mastiff is about two months old. During this time, you should be potty training him, teaching him the rules of the home, and properly socializing him with other people and animals. 

Are Mastiffs Expensive To Maintain?

You’ll realize just how expensive Mastiffs are the first time you visit a breeder. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending well over $1,000 to take your very own Mastiff puppy home. Though, you might only be spending a few hundred if you choose to adopt!

Given the fact that Mastiffs are considered large breed dogs, their size puts them at greater risk for developing certain health conditions. In the long run, you really need to consider the cost to diagnose and treat these conditions if they do happen to arise.

The Most Common Expenses

There are several health conditions found commonly in Mastiffs that can rack up vet bills pretty quickly. Here are three of the more common ones!

  • Hip dysplasia. This one can cost you up to $6,000 to fully treat. It’s really common in large dogs and occurs when the ball and socket connection in the hip doesn’t glide as smoothly. When it begins to grind instead, the joint deteriorates.
  • Elbow dysplasia. This one can cost you up to $4,000 to fully treat. Plus, somewhere around 80% of dogs with elbow dysplasia will have it in both elbows. This condition is similar to hip dysplasia but impacts the front legs instead.
  • Bloat. This is the most expensive one at up to $7,000 to fully treat. This condition involves an enlarged abdomen as a result of it filling up with too much air or food. It can cause severe pain, vomiting, and restlessness.

Add these potential costs to your regular vet checkups, flea/tick/heartworm treatments, and joint supplements and you’re looking at a pretty high price tag. The best thing you can do is work on prevention, so giving your dog joint supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin would be a good start.

Also there’s food expenses. Needless to say, big dogs have big appetites!
Learn here what you can expect to spend yearly on food for your pal.

Pro-tip: Ever try lifting a Mastiff? Their weight can hurt not only your back but their joints when they hop down from cars, sofas or even your bed. To protect your back and theirs check out the best Mastiff ramps on Amazon.com now.


Do Mastiffs Need A Lot Of Exercise?

All dogs, including Mastiffs, need exercise. Yet, the Mastiff doesn’t need nearly as much as, say, a Golden Retriever. You should be able to easily get away with giving your mastiff a few 30-minute walks per day without causing too much fatigue or restlessness. You don’t want to over exercise/exert your dog because of the weight strains this puts on their joints.

Mastiffs actually love to play and run around, though they won’t be the best to bring on a run with you. The best thing you can do is find your Mastiff some durable chew toys, a few tennis balls, and even a rope to play tug of war and see what he likes best. Just keep an eye out for excess drooling or extreme fatigue, as Mastiffs tend to overheat pretty easily when they play. 

Are Mastiffs Good Guard Dogs?

Mastiffs could be good guard dogs, in a sense, but they’re more territorial if anything. You need to consider the average temperament of a Mastiff. It’s very likely that a Mastiff will bark and growl when an intruder approaches, but it’ll take a lot of provoking to get your Mastiff to bite.

But, think about the first time you saw Mastiff approaching you. Weighing up to 200 pounds and having an intense bark, the average person would be frightened by just the look of your Mastiff. Your Mastiff likely won’t attack an intruder, but he can scare and alert you of one…it’s best to think of them as more of a watch dog than a guard dog.

Do Mastiffs Shed A Lot?

If you’re allergic to dogs or just want a dog that doesn’t shed too much, you might want to look elsewhere. Mastiffs have double coats, which means that they have a soft coat underneath and a thick coat on top. This is to help keep them warm in the winter and cool and the summer.

The issue with double coats is that they cause an insane amount of shedding. You’ll likely find yourself brushing your Mastiff at least once a day, vacuuming the couch and the furniture every few days, and lint rolling your clothing to remove hair.

Caring For Your Mastiff’s Coat

All dogs with double coats go through what’s called a “blowing” period twice a year. This is when the undercoat begins to fall out and the hair comes out in patches and clumps. It usually happens once during the spring and once during the fall, when the shedding will be the worst.

Here’s what you can do to care for your Mastiff’s coat year-round.

  • Don’t shave your Mastiff’s coat. This usually causes the coat to grow back awkwardly and doesn’t do all that much to keep your Mastiff cool in the winter. No matter how desperate you are to stop the shedding, this isn’t the way to do it.
  • Brush your Mastiff frequently. The best thing you can do is stay up-to-date on brushing. Try to brush your Mastiff’s coat at least once a day, though every few days should be enough. During the blowing period, the more brushing and bathing you do, the less hair you’ll find all over the house.

There’s nothing you can really do about how much your Mastiff sheds, but there are some things you can do about how much hair finds its way onto your furniture and carpet. So, work on staying up-to-date with grooming, especially during the spring and fall.

Want some helpful tips on how to control the inevitable Mastiff shedding? This article can help.

Do Mastiffs Drool A Lot?

Mastiffs drool a ton! Mastiffs drool when they’re hungry, when they’re drinking water, when they’re eating, when they’re exercising, and during basically every other activity during the day. But, it’s not because Mastiffs produce more drool.

It’s more about the physical size of the Mastiff and the makeup of their lips. Since their lips are so loose, they’re unable to hold the excess saliva in, which causes it to fall out in the form of drool. So, be ready to clean up a ton of drool when you’re a Mastiff owner.

What to Do About the Drooling

So, there’s nothing you can do about your Mastiff’s lips and their ability to hold drool back. But, there are some things you can do to control the drool and clean up after it once it does happen. Here’s what you can do to address the drool issue.

  • Get a drool bib. Just like a bib for a baby, this is strapped around your Mastiff’s neck. They’re designed to soak up any drool that drips out of your Mastiff’s mouth and keeps it from finding its way onto your floor or furniture.
  • Get a rug or a mat. When your Mastiff knows that dinner is on its way, he’ll begin to drool. He’ll also drool a lot when he’s lapping up water from his water bowl. So, putting a rug or mat beneath his food and water bowl can collect excess drool and keep the kitchen clean.
  • Avoid heat. A lot of the reason that your Mastiff is drooling is that it’s his body’s attempt to cool him down. Do your best to limit the amount of time he spends in hot and humid weather to prevent excess drooling.

Even though it’s guaranteed your Mastiff will drool, you’ll eventually get used to it. It’s even better if you know how to clean it up, so you don’t have to accidentally step in a pile lying around the house.

More Helpful Articles On This Site To Help Clobber The Slobber...
Do Mastiffs Drool A Lot? Some Mastiffs drool more, some less, learn why
Mastiff Drool Control....Here's some great ways to reduce it.

Conclusion...

Though Mastiffs tend to be a little intimidating when it comes to their physical size, they’re actually some of the best family dogs out there. They’re very easy to care for and they make a great addition to any family, so long as you’re willing to put in the time to train them. Just remember that Mastiffs also…. 

  • Drool a lot because of their loose lips and slight intolerance to heat and humidity
  • Blow their coats twice a year (so be ready for some intense shedding)
  • Aren’t aggressive enough to make decent guard dogs
  • Are predisposed to expensive health conditions and they eat A LOT!

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