Canis lupus

Last updated: August 15, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Michal Ninger/

Courageous, calm and affectionate!

Mastiff Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Mastiff Conservation Status

Mastiff Locations

Mastiff Locations

Mastiff Facts

Fun Fact
Courageous, calm and affectionate!
Common Name
Courageous, calm and affectionate!

Mastiff Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
12 years
86kg (190lbs)

Mastiff as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1800 to $2,500
Dog group
Male weight
-230 lbs
Female weight
-170 lbs

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The mastiff is known for its large size, friendliness, loyalty, and affectionate nature.

There are several breeds including the Bull, English, Italian, Neapolitan, French, and Tibetan mastiffs. Though the color and appearance of the various breeds differ a little, they all share the same gentle temperament making this an ideal family dog.

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The Tibetan mastiff stands out the most from its cousins. It has a heavy coat with hair around its head that looks similar to a lion’s mane. It needs a more extensive grooming routine than other mastiffs.

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The mastiff breed dates all the way back to ancient Rome and Egypt. Back in 55BC, they were owned by many people in noble families. They were used as guard dogs because of their courage and intimidating appearance.

Mastiffs are part of the working group of dogs. They are smart, sensitive, and gentle. A family looking for a large, sweet addition to their household may find a mastiff to be the perfect fit!

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Mastiff

An effective guard dog
The loyal nature of this breed is just one of the qualities that make it an excellent guard dog. This dog is wary of strangers and protective of its family.
Lots of drooling
These dogs are known to drool a lot which can be messy and inconvenient at times.
Affectionate and calm
Mastiffs are affectionate with their family members. They maintain a calm attitude even while loud family activities are happening all around them.
Difficult to transport
Due to its size, they would be difficult to fit into a small car and it is too heavy to be carried in a crate.
Low-maintenance grooming
A mastiff has a short-haired coat making it relatively easy to groom at home.
The initial cost for a purebred mastiff is high. Also, this dog needs a particular type and amount of food making the food bills a little steep for some families.
Portrait of a Mastiff Dog in outdoors.


Mastiff Size and Weight

A mastiff is a large dog with a double coat of short hair. The average height of a male is 31 inches while a female measures 28 inches tall at the shoulder. A male can weigh up to 230lbs while a fully grown female weighs up to 170lbs. At 9 weeks old, a puppy weighs around 30lbs. They are fully grown at 3 years old.

Health and Entertainment for your Mastiff

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The record for the heaviest of this breed was an English mastiff that weighed 343lbs!

Height31 inches28 inches

Mastiff Common Health Issues

One common health issue of these dogs is hip dysplasia. When a dog has this condition, its thigh bone doesn’t fit into the hip joint in the proper way. This can lead to arthritis and mobility issues. Another common health issue is elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is an inherited condition and occurs when the bones and cartilage in the dog’s elbow joint don’t fit together properly.

Mastiffs are vulnerable to several eye issues. One of them is called progressive retinal atrophy. This condition occurs when the photoreceptor cells in the dog’s eyes start to deteriorate. It can lead to partial or full vision loss.

The most common health issues of these dogs include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Mastiff Temperament and Behavior

These dogs have an affectionate, friendly personality. This is what makes them good family dogs. They fit in best with families who have older children. At times, this dog’s behavior can be described as that of a couch potato. They’d like nothing more than to sit on the couch next to their owner. However, these dogs need regular exercise such as a walk in the woods, a game of chase in the backyard, or fetching a ball to stay in good health.

One of the most notable traits of this breed is its sensitive nature. They have a talent for reading the facial expressions of their owners. They are people pleasers! This makes obedience training a relatively easy process. But, keep in mind, when an owner speaks with a harsh tone, this dog’s feelings will be hurt. It’s best for an owner to use treats and words of praise with a mastiff during obedience training.

How to Take Care of a Mastiff

As with any breed of dog, this dog needs a certain type of care to maintain good health. For instance, feeding this pet a balanced diet throughout its life can help to prevent the common health issues mentioned above. Furthermore, puppy and adult mastiffs both need the proper amount of exercise each day to stay in shape.

The Best Dog Food for Mastiffs

Not surprisingly, a puppy requires a different diet than an adult dog. Look at the specific ingredients in the feeding routines of puppies and adult dogs. Because of this dog’s immense size, it’s even more crucial to provide adequate nutrition throughout each life stage that’s tailored to the dog’s size and health profile.

Mastiff puppy food: The goal of quality puppy food is to promote a slow rate of growth. It’s important for a puppy’s joints, bones, muscles, and tendons to gain strength gradually. This can prevent health problems like hip and elbow dysplasia brought on by a puppy gaining too much weight too quickly. Protein is the main ingredient in quality mastiff puppy food. It builds muscle and contributes to the health of a puppy’s skin and coat. It also provides energy to a puppy without adding needless weight. Calcium is important for the proper growth of bones and teeth. DHA is another ingredient important for brain development and continued eye health. DHA is an ingredient that can work to prevent progressive retinal atrophy.

Mastiff adult dog food: Protein is an important ingredient in an adult’s food as well. This nutrient gives the dog energy and continues to build strong bones and muscles in an effort to prevent hip and elbow dysplasia. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids contribute to an adult dog’s healthy coat and skin. Antioxidants in the food support the dog’s immune system.

The A-Z Animals choice of the best dog food for Mastiffs is VICTOR Realtree - MAX-5 PRO, Dry Dog Food.

This premium dog food made with beef, fish, and duck provides 30% protein and 20% fat for optimum health and lean muscle. The real meat adds natural glucosamine and chondroitin, essential for cartilage and joints strong enough to support your Mastiff for many years. There’s also taurine to enhance heart and eye health.

VICTOR Realtree Max-5 PRO dog food is available on amazon.

VICTOR Super Premium Dog Food – Realtree MAX-5 PRO Dry Dog Food – 30% Protein, Gluten Free for Active Adult Dogs, 5lb
  • ACTIVE, HIGH ENERGY DOG FOOD: This super premium dry kibble is an ideal dog food for highly active and sporting dogs.
  • 30% PROTEIN DRY FOOD: Delivers an ideal 30% protein and 20% fat, and features a trio of proteins, including beef, fish and duck meals.
  • HIP & JOINT HEALTH: Formulated with added glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health for adult dogs.
  • PROPRIETARY VPRO BLEND: Every VICTOR dog kibble formula begins with our exclusive mix of supplements, vitamins and minerals that have been designed to help maximize the genetic potential of every dog, regardless of breed, age, or activity level.
  • MADE IN THE USA: We proudly produce every bag of VICTOR kibble in our own Texas-based facility and do not waver in our commitment to high-quality nutrition; a majority of ingredients come from ranches, farms and other trusted suppliers who are within a day’s drive of our East Texas plant.

Mastiff Maintenance and Grooming

How much does a mastiff shed? The English, Neapolitan, and Bullmastiff are all moderate shedders. The Tibetan mastiff sheds very little while its cousin the French mastiff is a heavy shedder. These dogs shed more during the change of seasons. These dogs have a double coat of short hair. The daily grooming routine of this breed of dog is relatively easy. A soft brush with boar’s hair bristles is excellent for removing loose or dead hair from this dog’s coat.

A grooming glove is another effective tool especially when it comes to removing loose hair from the dog’s legs and wrinkly face. A grooming glove offers more control while working around the dog’s ears, nose, and eyes. It’s best to brush the dog starting at the head and ending at its tail. This helps an owner brush the hair in its natural direction.

An owner should be on the lookout for skin conditions including patches of dry skin, bald spots, and itchy areas. These can be caused by food or skin allergies or even using a shampoo with ingredients that irritate the dog’s skin.

Mastiff Training

All mastiffs including the Bull, English, French, Italian, Neapolitan, and Tibetan share a sensitive nature. They are relatively easy to train but need an owner to be firm without using harsh words. An owner who uses a harsh tone is not likely to have success in training a mastiff. Words of praise and treats go a long way to effectively conveying obedience lessons to a mastiff. A Great Dane is another large dog with a sensitive nature. It’s relatively easy to train as well when an owner uses words of praise and rewards.

Mastiff Exercise

Though these dogs are not high energy dogs, they need daily exercise to control their weight and avoid developing bone, joint, and muscle health issues. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise per day is a good amount for a mastiff. An ideal exercise routine is a slow walk through the woods or the neighborhood. An owner should avoid jogging with a mastiff because these dogs can become overheated in a short time.

Though these dogs aren’t overly active, it’s not a good choice for apartment life. Its large size would not be suitable for a small living space. This breed needs a backyard where it can stretch its legs and get some fresh air for part of the day.

Mastiff Puppies

A mastiff puppy should never be overfed. When a mastiff puppy grows and gains weight too quickly, it puts them at risk for developing health issues. Their bones, muscles, and joints need time to develop so they can fully support their large adult body.

These puppies need daily exercise just as adult dogs do. Twenty minutes of walking per day can help a puppy to burn fat.

English Mastiff puppy few months old in grass with ball

Mastiffs and Children

These dogs are good family dogs and do well with children in a home. These are affectionate, gentle dogs. However, it’s a good idea for a family with small children to get a mastiff puppy. That way, the mastiff has an opportunity to learn how to interact with small children and become accustomed to their behavior.

Dogs Similar to a Mastiff

Some breeds similar to the mastiff include the Great Dane, the Boxer, and the Irish Wolfhound.

  • Great Dane – Great Danes and mastiffs are both large dogs. They are both sensitive and friendly. However, Great Danes are a little more energetic than mastiffs.
  • Boxer – Boxers and mastiffs do well with children and have a simple grooming routine due to their short-haired coat. Boxers tend to be a little more playful than mastiffs.
  • Irish Wolfhound – Irish Wolfhounds are affectionate with a sweet nature like mastiffs. Both these dogs don’t like to be left alone and suffer separation anxiety. An Irish Wolfhound is not as good a guard dog like a mastiff.

Famous Mastiffs

The mastiff is a popular, memorable dog that’s been seen in a few movies over the years. It’s also a favorite breed of some celebrities.

  • Tom Hanks starred alongside a French mastiff in the 1989 movie Turner & Hooch
  • Actor Vin Diesel owns a mastiff
  • Dwayne Johnson owns a mastiff named The Rock in honor of his wrestling career

Some popular names for mastiffs include:

  • Hercules
  • Rocky
  • Matilde
  • Luna
  • Beau
  • Juneau
  • Koa

Last update on 2022-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mastiff FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a mastiff?

A mastiff is a large, friendly dog and is a member of the working group. There are several breeds including the French, Italian, Neapolitan, Tibetan, and Bullmastiffs.

How much does it cost to own a mastiff?

The initial cost of a mastiff runs from $1800 to $2,500. Tibetan mastiffs are more expensive because they are rarer. The vet costs for a mastiff range between $300 to $500 a year. This varies depending on the general health of the dog.

Food costs can range from $200 to $500 per month depending on what brand an owner chooses.

Is a mastiff a good family dog?

Yes, these are good family dogs that adapt to their environment.

How much does a mastiff weigh?

A male mastiff weighs up to 230lbs and a female weighs 170lbs.

Are mastiffs aggressive?

No, these dogs are affectionate and even-tempered.

Which breed of mastiff is the largest?

The English mastiff is the largest breed.

Is a mastiff good with kids?

Yes, especially if they are brought into a household as a puppy.

How long does a mastiff live?

The lifespan of a mastiff is 6 to 10 years.

Are Mastiffs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Mastiffs are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Mastiffs belong to?

Mastiffs belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do Mastiffs have?

Mastiffs are covered in Hair.

What is an interesting fact about Mastiffs?

Mastiffs are courageous, calm, and affectionate!

What is the scientific name for the Mastiff?

The scientific name for the Mastiff is Canis lupus.

How does a Tibetan Mastiff compare to a wolf?

Wolves are more powerful predators than Tibetan Mastiffs, though they are roughly the same size and weight. Read all about their differences here!

What are the differences between a Bullmastiff and an English Mastiff?

The most evident difference between the two breeds is their size, with the English Mastiff being far larger than the Bullmastiff.

You can read about all the other differences here.

What are the differences between a Great Dane and a Mastiff?

The major differences between the Great Dane and the English Mastiff are their size, temperament, health condition, and appearance. Their position on the gigantic spectrum is another reason to mention. For example, the Great Dane is a very tall and long dog, but the English Mastiff is very broad.

What are the differences between Mastiffs and Cane Corsos?

The key differences between the Mastiff and the Cane Corso are in terms of personality, temperament, and of course, size.

The Cane Corso and the Mastiff have unique personalities and temperaments. While these two dogs may look similar, they have dissimilar training needs. Prospective owners of either breed will need to provide specialized obedience training suited to their dog, especially in the case of the inexperienced owner.

What is the key difference between Mastiff and St Bernard?

The key difference between a Mastiff and a St. Bernard is size. Mastiffs can weigh up to 50 pounds more than St. Bernards. Other differences include appearance, lifespan, grooming needs, and drooling level.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  5. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. American Kennel Club, Available here:

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