Meet the breed: Mastiff

May 23, 2014 at 4:14 p.m. ET

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We're here to help you meet the breed that's right for you. If you're looking for a gentle four-legged giant to add to your pack, find out everything you need to know about the Mastiff.


  • Easy grooming
  • Pleasant temperament
  • Guard dog abilities



Among the largest and most-impressive breeds in the world, Mastiffs have other breeds beat in the size department. Other breeds may be taller and bigger, but in sheer mass, the Mastiff is as big as it gets. Very protective by nature, this breed has guard-dog instincts to protect, although its massive build is often intimidating enough to deter even the boldest trespasser. Easygoing and laid-back, Mastiffs make good family pets and love social atmospheres.

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Breed standards

  • AKC group: Working
  • UKC group: Guardian dog
  • Average lifespan: 8 - 12 years
  • Average size: 120 - 230 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Short, sleek, close
  • Coloration: Silver fawn, dark fawn, brindle and apricot
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Massive and powerful body frame and head. Black face mask and wrinkled forehead.
  • Possible alterations: None

Is this breed right for you?

With big dogs come big responsibilities. Mastiff owners must be financially prepared to take on the equally massive bills required to raise this extra-large breed. Neat freaks may want to steer clear of this breed as their huge paws track in dirt by the mounds, and they are known to slobber excessively. Due to its large size, you can bet this breed has an appetite, meaning more yard cleanup than for an average dog. If your life motto is "bigger is better," you can't go wrong with a Mastiff. Loving, sweet and instinctively protective, this breed makes a great family pet and guard dog. Just be very aware of this huge breed around small children. Room to roam is ideal for a gentle giant like the Mastiff; however, this pup tends to adapt well to a smaller household with proper exercise.

mastiff breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

With a gentle heart and a calm disposition, Mastiffs are simply happy just being with their human families. A very loyal breed, their main purpose is to protect their caretakers, but if given the chance, Mastiffs will take a short break from standing guard for cuddles and snuggles. A moderately athletic breed, the large pooch will gladly join you on daily walks and playtime at the park.

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