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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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….