Tips For Raising A Mastiff
Helpful Do's And Don'ts From Puppy To Senior

by Ken Alden

We've got some great tips for raising a Mastiff now that you've just brought one home! It’s exciting to welcome a new member to your family, but you need to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into! That’s why it’s best to be prepared for every stage of your Mastiff’s life from puppy-hood to senior-hood.

Tips For Raising A Mastiff...

  • If you have a puppy, feed them a combination of wet and dry food for the first few months of their life. 
  • Train your Mastiff to use the bathroom outside and walk on a leash. You can also train them not to bark if you wish. 
  • Scold them when they nip or bite. 
  • Continuously remind them that you are the master of the house. 
  • Transition to senior food when they get older. 

On day one, you and your family are probably full of excitement and ready to spend hours on end playing with your new puppy! But, there’s plenty you need to do as your puppy grows to set the stage for the rest of his life. Read More Below...

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 now.

Tips for raising a Mastiff

Raising A Mastiff Puppy

When your mastiff is born, he weighs only a few pounds and is as cuddly and small as any other puppy. By the time he reaches a few months old, he’ll already be about 20 pounds and ready to run around and play with his brand new family.

As he gets used to being a part of your family, he’ll begin to understand the hierarchy in your household. He’ll learn who he’s supposed to listen to and be extremely receptive to learning new skills. This is the perfect time to teach him how to walk on a leash and remind him that it’s not okay to nip or bite his friends!

Feeding Your Mastiff Puppy

The most important way to guarantee that your mastiff grows up to be big and strong is to feed him puppy food through the first 18 to 24 months of his life. Exactly when you transition to adulthood depends on what your veterinarian suggests.

When your mastiff eats puppy food, he’ll be getting all the nutrients he needs to help him develop into a big dog and prevent diseases that are common in mastiffs.

As your mastiff gets older, you’ll have to feed him much more food in order to satisfy his ever-growing hunger. The best way to feed him is through several meals throughout the day, not free-feeding. tips for raising a mastiff

The actual type of food that you’re feeding your new mastiff is extremely important. You should feed him both wet and dry food for at least the first few months of his life. You can then transition to only dry food as he approaches adolescence if you please. 

You need to make sure that you’re feeding him food designed specifically for large breeds like mastiffs. These recipes are formulated for the health needs of these specific breeds and this is the best way to ensure proper health as he grows.

Learn More About Feeding Your Mastiff From Our Helpful Articles...
Mastiff Puppy Feeding Guide And Schedule...This article goes into greater detail about feeding amounts and scheduling.
Best Mastiff Dog Food...Here we review and recommend the best wet or dry food for your Mastiff from puppyhood to seniorhood.

Training Your Mastiff Puppy

Training a mastiff can be very similar to training any other breed of dog. The biggest difference is his size, and you need to make every effort to remind him of such.

With large breed dogs, they often don’t recognize their own strength and play a little rough with other dogs and young kids. This might be okay with adults, but you need to teach him that this type of behavior is not appropriate. 

When he gets older, he might end up tackling young kids and smaller dogs without even meaning to do so.

As a puppy, this is the best time to teach your mastiff how to walk on a leash and potty train him. You also might want to place additional emphasis on teaching him not to bite or nip when he’s playing, as this behavior can continue and intensify as he gets older.

Remember to praise your mastiff at every step in the training process. The more he’s rewarded for the good things he does, the more likely he’ll continue to do them without you even asking. 

Learn More About Training Your Mastiff With Our Helpful Article...
Mastiff Training Tips...This breed is easy to train, and these tips can help

tips for raising a mastiff 

Do And Don't Tips...

Puppyhood is perhaps the most important part of any dog’s life. This is the perfect time to set the stage in terms of acceptable behavior and learning how the household is run. Here are some recommendations for things you should and shouldn’t do when you’re raising a mastiff puppy.


  • Make sure to remind him he shouldn’t be nipping or biting, even if he does so innocently while playing.
  • Feed him puppy food to help fuel his development.
  • Be consistent in training, even when he seems to have the hang of it.


  • Don’t ease up on the training process regardless of his progress.
  • Don’t let him mouth you when he’s trying to play, as it can lead to play-biting when he’s older. tips for raising a mastiff

Pro-tip: Mastiff anxiety, aggression, destructive chewing, jumping up, fearfulness, and other behaviors can be controlled with the right training program.

Here’s a great course that addresses these issues along with many other dog training basics: Check it out now!

Your Mastiff’s Adolescent Years

As your mastiff enters the adolescent years, he’ll be coming into his own and ready to take on the world by your side. Just like human teenagers, your mastiff might begin to resist the rules around the house and see what he can get away with! It’s your job to keep control of the house. 

You might notice that he’s doing some things you thought he grew out of over the first few months of his life, but don’t worry. As long as you continue to enforce the rules of the house and keep him in line, he’ll turn right back into that puppy you know he can be!

Slight Regressions

Just like regular teenagers, your mastiff might begin experimenting to see what he can get away with. That means behaviors you thought he got the hang of when he was a puppy might come and go as he pleases.

This is the ideal time to reinforce the behavioral standards you have for him. Failing to do so might make him think that he runs the home and controls how things will be.

Basically, don’t let anything get to his head. You need to focus on keeping him in line and reminding him who’s boss in your house! That would be you.

Do And Don't Tips...

Slacking on the training during the adolescent years can greatly affect the behaviors of your adult mastiff. You need to make sure that you stay on top of him and make sure he’s progressing as you would like him to be. Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do when your mastiff is an adolescent.


  • Enforce the rules of the house and remind your mastiff that you run the home.
  • Train him not to bark, as it can scare many people and dogs.
  • Keep him active and encourage him to let out all that pent-up energy!


  • Don’t let him control you and get away with whatever he feels like doing.
  • Don’t bring him back to the breeder. This behavior will subside if you put in the time and effort.

The Full Grown Adult Mastiff Years

When your mastiff officially becomes an adult, he’ll be much easier to handle and much more behaved than he was as an adolescent. As long as you continued to enforce the rules of the home, he should respect his masters and appreciate his surroundings.

When he’s an adult, he’ll be full-size and very intimidating to new friends and other dogs. You can understand how it might be frightening when a 200-pound dog lunges at you when he wants to play. This is where you should be reminding him of his giant size and how to play nicely. 

Transitioning to Adult Food

When your mastiff becomes an adult, you should be transitioning over to feeding him adult food. He’s no longer a puppy, no matter how hard it is for you to admit that.

At this point, there’s no need for your mastiff to be consuming a large number of calories and nutrients typically associated with puppy food. The amount of food he eats per day will also begin to stabilize. 

He should theoretically be done growing now, but he might have a little bit more left in him.

When you select an adult food for your mastiff, you need to make sure that you’re buying food designed for large breed dogs like mastiffs.

These specially-designed recipes include ingredients and nutrients that can provide your mastiff with the energy he needs while also protecting him from many of the common health conditions typical of large breed dogs.

At this point, you also don’t need to be feeding him wet food as well. If your mastiff really likes wet food, you can continue. Just make sure you’re not feeding him too much food overall, as obesity is a large concern.

The Perfect Dog

As your mastiff transitions to adulthood, he’ll begin to calm down significantly and become the dog you always knew he could be. You can bring him more places and expect him to act as a good boy would.

He’s as big as he’ll ever be and, if you trained him to be gentle while he was an adolescent, he should no longer be that intimidating to other dogs and young kids. He might still need an occasional reminder, but his behavior will be vastly different than it once was.

You still shouldn’t ease up on the training, as there’s always room for improvement. That’s especially the case if you start to bring him to the dog park or allow him to interact with more dogs and people.

If he breaks the rules, you need to consistently remind him that there are consequences for his behavior. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a boatload of trouble when he accidentally bites another dog or child while he’s trying to play.

Do And Don't Tips...

Now that you’re out of those dreadful teenage years, things are going to be much easier when it comes to raising your mastiff. However, there are still several things you need to make sure that you’re doing. Here’s a list of things you should and shouldn’t do when your dog is in this stage. tips for raising a mastiff


  • Transition him to adult food made for large breed dogs.
  • Focus on training him not to bark or bite given his new size.
  • Keep an eye on his behaviors and praise good actions.


  • Don’t let him lunge at people or dogs, especially since he’s so big now.
  • Don’t overfeed him, even when he tries to convince you that he’s starving!

Pro-tip: Mastiff's (and their owners) love dog crates…and for good reasons. Crates keep dogs from mischief while you're away, are perfect for house training, for traveling by car, and provide the dog a place to de-stress. Check out the best Mastiff crates on now.

Your Mastiff’s Senior Years

As your mastiff enters into his senior years, you might notice that he begins to slow down a bit. It might take him a little longer to get up from a nap and his walking and running will be slowed down significantly.

At this point, he also might begin to develop some of the health issues associated with larger framed dogs. That means issues with his joints and hips. When he’s in this stage, you should be doing everything you can to keep him comfortable and happy as much as possible!

Learn More About Caring For An Older Mastiff From Our Page Here...
Senior Mastiff Care...Here you'll learn all about what it takes to care for them as well as how to keep them comfortable.

Common Mastiff Health Issues

As your mastiff gets older, there’s only so much that you can do in terms of preventing the development of health issues. Despite feeding him healthy food his entire life and keeping him active, his genetics still might determine that he’ll develop one of the conditions common in mastiffs.

You should constantly be on the lookout for the telltale signs of these conditions. As he gets older, he might begin to slow down a bit and have pain in his bones and joints.

This is normal for any aging dog, but it’s especially painful for large frame dogs given the additional weight placed on their bones and joints.

In order to ease his pain, you should reduce the amount of intense exercise that he’s getting to keep him from getting injured. However, you shouldn’t keep him from exercising entirely, as this is extremely important in keeping him active and prolonging his lifespan. tips for raising a mastiff

Understand that your senior mastiff has limits to what he can do these days and you shouldn’t expect him to be able to do the same activities as he once did as a puppy or adolescent.

Transitioning to Senior Mastiff Food

Another food transition, but this one can be the most important in determining the health of your mastiff. Senior dog food is designed specifically to help your dog maintain his diet and keep his weight up.

You should try to select food that has ingredients that your dog loves. If you know that your dog loves chicken, try to get him a chicken-based food.

If his appetite seems to be extremely low, you might want to think about adding wet food to his diet. These foods tend to capture the attention of the noses of dogs and make them much more interested in eating.

As a large frame dog, you should make sure that the food that you’re getting your aging mastiff includes ingredients that can ease your dog’s joint and bone pain. There are plenty of options.

Do And Don't Tips...

It’s tough seeing your mastiff go through the aging process, but there’s plenty that you can do to give him a quality life, even near the end. Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do while your mastiff is in his senior years.


  • Keep a watchful eye on your mastiff and monitor signs and symptoms of common mastiff conditions
  • Transition him to food and supplements meant for senior dogs.
  • Take him to the vet when there’s any sign of health issues.


  • Don’t allow him to exercise as intensely or as often as he previously did.
  • Don’t forget to remind him how much you love him!

Tips For Raising A Mastiff...Final Thoughts

Owning a mastiff is such a rewarding experience. But, you need to make sure that you know what you’re in for. Each life stage of the mastiff’s life is very different from the next, so being prepared for everything can help out a lot. Here are some things to remember for each stage of your mastiff’s life.

  • Puppy: Focus on training him and teaching him the rules of the house.
  • Adolescent: Reinforce the behaviors you want to see and don’t be surprised if he regresses a little. 
  • Adult: Remind your mastiff of his size and train him to be extremely gentle, especially with small dogs and young kids.
  • Senior: Make sure your mastiff is comfortable and keep an eye on his health.

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How long will it take for your mastiff to become full grown? And how long might you expect your dog to live? This page of ours answers this question about each mastiff breed...find yours on this list

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About Author

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.

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