by Ken Alden
So how rare is a Mastiff? And are they a good choice when picking a breed to have as a pet? They are overall a calm, lovable, larger-than-life breed that works well with adults and kids alike, and they don’t require too much attention or activity to be completely satisfied. But when it comes to choosing a Mastiff, you might be surprised to know that there are a lot of different types to choose from.
How rare is a Mastiff? English Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs aren't considered rare at all, but there are several Mastiff breeds that are much more so. These include:
1. Andronicus Mastiff
2. Tibetan Mastiff
3. Neapolitan Mastiff
4. French Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux)
5. Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso)
If one judges rarity by popularity figuring that the more popular the breed the more (or less) you'll see of them, then the AKC Most Popular Dog Breeds list (2018) has the Mastiff breed ranked at #29 far below the ever popular Retrievers, German Shepherds and Bulldogs. Read More Below...
Sub-breeds of Mastiffs like those on our list above don't even show up on the AKCs list showing the most popular 192 breeds except for the Neapolitan Mastiff which ranks at #102.
Curious about one of these hidden, lesser-known Mastiff breeds? We don’t blame you! That is why we are going to dive into the world of Mastiffs and explain these uncommon or rare Mastiff breeds. There are five main ones altogether, each with their own similarities and differences when it comes to appearance and temperaments.
Let's look at those Mastiffs that are more scarce than others
The Andronicus Mastiff is perhaps one of the most mysterious Mastiff breeds in the world. This is because the breeder, Cary Mejia of California, has declined to state which breeds came together to form this type of Mastiff. There is speculation, though, that it’s a combination of the English and Neapolitan Mastiff, Great Dane, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Bulldog.
The overall appearance of an Andronicus Mastiff will vary greatly from dog to dog. Since there are so many different dog breeds involved in his genetic makeup, some dogs may take on a Bulldog appearance while others still maintain their Mastiff looks. However, all of the Andronicus Mastiffs are known for their power and strong jaws.
The Andronicus Mastiff holds up to the breed in terms of size. Males are typically anywhere from 100 to 140 pounds, while the females may be a bit smaller capping out at 100 pounds. Even with their great size, the Andronicus Mastiff is known for being very sweet, respectful and devoted to their owner, not headstrong, and a great fit for children.
The Tibetan Mastiff (see picture at the top of this page) is likely a breed of Mastiff you have heard before, but not one you will see very often. However, the second you see a Tibetan Mastiff, you will never forget what they look like as this breed has a very distinct appearance that’s both cute and quirky at the same.
As far as looks are concerned, this enormous Mastiff is typically around 25 inches tall and tends to be even longer than they are tall. Being bred to guard their families since 1100 B.C., the Tibetan Mastiff has an extremely muscular body and a broad head. His tail curves up his back while his thick coat is heavily feathered throughout.
As far as temperament is concerned, the Tibetan Mastiff tends to be a bit more strong-willed than the more common types of Mastiffs. They are extremely protective of their owners, family, and property and will be reserved with strangers. While this breed may be one of the more intelligent ones, they may struggle to be in a family environment without proper training.
The Neapolitan Mastiff might strike fear into you at first glance due to his extremely intimidating appearance. This is why they were first used by the Romans in war. However, in this day and age, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a true sweetheart that’s found in many homes across the world.
When it comes to the Neapolitan Mastiff, his looks are probably the biggest thing that sets him apart from other Mastiffs. He has a very large head with a unique face that is draped in long, large wrinkles giving him a saggy appearance. His massive body is also covered in wrinkles and loose skin with a short and rather dense coat.
This extra-large Mastiff breed can range anywhere from 24 to 31 inches tall. The males will usually weigh around 150 pounds, with females weighing slightly less at 110 pounds.
While this Mastiff might be a bit frightening to look initially, he’s actually known to be one of the more relaxed and sweet breeds. He is a steady and calm dog, but he knows when to be protective and aggressive. This loyal and devoted dog is a great option for families due to his overall temperament.
Compared to other types of Mastiff breeds, the French Mastiff has a bit more typical Mastiff appearance. The dog was originally bred to do a number of activities including hunting, guarding, and herding flocks. For these reasons, he can be a bit more energetic than other breeds but that doesn’t skimp on being calm, vigilant, and affectionate.
The French Mastiff may appear more basic, but he has his own set of appearance markers to set him apart from the crowd. This breed is known for his large head with a short muzzle. His skin overall is somewhat loose, which is noticeable most at his wrinkled forehead. He’s known to be shorter than common Mastiffs, with the males capping out at 110 pounds and the females likely only reaching 99 pounds.
This type of Mastiff is wonderful for family environments. They are very loving and affectionate, while still remaining vigilant and watchful. The Dogue de Bordeaux isn’t afraid of much, but he won’t be aggressive unless he absolutely needs to be. His calm and caring attitude makes him a perfect fit for children.
Last but not least, there is the Italian Mastiff. They were originally bred to be a guard dog and are said to be one of the most intelligent and agile Mastiffs out of all other types of Mastiff breeds. He is also known for his smaller, leaner appearance and body shape, which allowed him to protect the farm and livestock he was trained for.
The Italian Mastiff is smaller than regular Mastiffs and will only be medium to large-sized. He has a strong jaw, a large heard, and ears that drop. The muscular Cane Corso is athletic and agile and can be anywhere from 26 to 27 inches tall. His weight is directly proportional to his length and height.
The main benefit of Cane Corso is that he has a high intelligence rate and can be trained very easily. This makes him an excellent choice for all types of settings, whether he’s used for protecting livestock or simply guarding the home. Aside from being intelligent and trainable, the Italian Mastiff is protective and incredibly affectionate, especially with kids.
How Rare Is A Mastiff Conclusion...
The Mastiff is a wonderful dog, whether you’re introducing a common Mastiff breed to the family or seeking out one of these rarer types of Mastiffs. At the end of the day, you can rest assured that you are getting a dog that has a unique appearance and is overly affectionate, very calm and relaxed, yet still able to protect the family when he is needed.
About the Author...
Ken Alden, a dedicated Mastiff owner for over eight
years, is acclaimed for his expertise in care, grooming, and training. Read more About Me and my dog Shadow.