Breed of the Week: English Mastiff (Video)


Well, I promised you guys that I would try to do a small dog and then a big dog, but what can I tell you. I break my promises. I did a Tibetan Mastiff last week for the “breed of the week” and this week I’m doing the English. This is because a) this is my blog and I can do what I want, and b) a friend of mine just lost her English Mastiff, so this one is for Artie.

About Artie

I usually start off the “breed of the week” with information about the breed in general, but this time, I want to tell you about Artie.

My friend Wendy adopted Artie five years ago. She came upon him pretty much by accident, just being curious about the breed, and one of the first things she found when Googling “English Mastiff” was a Kijiji ad saying “This is my dog. If you can give him a home, you can have him.”

My friend was curious and emailed the advertiser. You wouldn’t believe what she got back – “I’m having a baby and can’t keep this dog.” Wendy fired back with “Why the hell can’t you have a baby and a dog?” The advertiser said “He hates kids and I think I might need to have him put to sleep.”

Wendy wrote back, “I hate kids too. I’ll take him.” And so began the love story of the late 20th century. Wendy took the dog. Artie bonded to her immediately, and she made sure he was never around kids.

Artie died last week. He was 11 years old, very, very old for an English Mastiff. Wendy is heartbroken, and she asked me, “Ash, when you do your ‘Breed of the Week,’ do you suppose you could talk about English Mastiffs?

Yes, Wendy, I can. And I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Artie was a very good dog.

The English Mastiff

The English Mastiff is a very old breed. It’s estimated that they are actually 5,000 years old, bred from war dogs, and very different from the household pets that they are today.The English Mastiff comes from the working group of dogs, and typically stands at least two feet at the shoulder – sometimes nearer three feet. He is typically calm and dignified, quiet and good with children.

One thing that people often do not like about the English Mastiff is his propensity to drool – and fart.  Of course if you don’t mind the stench, and you don’t mind wiping up drool, the English Mastiff can be an amazingly good dog. Let’s not get started on the snoring, though.


Of course the big thing about the English Mastiff is the size – if you live in small quarters, the English Mastiff might present a problem.Usually, though, his size is outweighed by the love that he will give to you and your family.


English Mastiffs are typically lazy, but you should still try to exercise them. Otherwise, there is a chance that your Mastiff will become bored and might end up being destructive.

English Mastiff's Exercise


Most large-breed dogs live to about 9 years. The English Mastiff is an exception, often living to 11 or even longer. Some English Mastiffs have lived to 18 or even older. So, if you’re thinking that you chose a large breed, thinking that it won’t live all that long, you might want to re-think when it comes to the English Mastiff.

They are Doofuses

One thing you need to know about English Mastiffs is that they are very clumsy. Usually, though, once they reach adulthood, they will overcome the clumsiness and become good dogs. They will learn manners and become very self-assured. At that point, they will become good watch dogs.


The English Mastiff is typically a mixture of good nature, grandeur and docility. He will always display dignity and will never be vicious. Typically, an English Mastiff will be aloof with strangers, but not aggressive. If you mess with his person, though, you had better watch out, because the best case scenario is that if you should not be in his home, he will corner you until the police arrive. He will not for one minute tolerate you trying to harm his person.

The other thing about English Mastiffs is that they don’t like conflict among family members – so if you want to fight with your husband or wife, you can expect your English Mastiff to jump into the fray and let you know in no uncertain terms that he’s not going to tolerate that kind of behavior.


As is the case with most dogs, English Mastiff temperament is based on heritage, socialization and training. If you have an English Mastiff puppy that is playful and curious and loves being handled, then you will not likely have a problem. Keep in mind, though, that temperament has a lot to do with other things – so don’t choose that little puppy that’s cowering in the corner. Also, make sure that the breeder will allow you to see the parents. Sometimes, you won’t be able to see the male, because he might be on another site, but you should always be able to see the mother.

If you can’t see the mother, then run, don’t walk, to another breeder – something is wrong.

The Final Word

Any time you are considering buying a puppy, make sure that you can see the mother. If you can’t, this is a bad breeding .Go elsewhere. This is true of English Mastiffs and all other breeds.