The American Mastiff was developed by breeding an English Mastiff with the Anatolian Shepherd. Luckily this giant dog is not aggressive and most often is pretty laid back, with a stubborn streak. While they may be kind and gentle, with hearts of gold, this may not be the breed for you if you’re a first-time dog owner.
American Mastiff History
The American Mastiff was developed in the late 1980s in Ohio by breeding an English Mastiff and an Anatolian Shepherd. The American Kennel Club, and many Mastiff enthusiasts, do not recognize the breed as a purebred.
There is a class of dog called mastiffs as well as a breed called Mastiff. Since the Mastiff is English in origin, to avoid confusion many call the breed the English Mastiff. There is evidence of mastiffs from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and Tibet. Julius Caesar is said to have brought back British mastiffs after invading Britain in 55 B.C. and had them battle wild beasts and gladiators in the area.
The English Mastiff as we know it today, gained popularity in medieval England where they were used as big-game hunters, guard dogs, and war dogs. By the end of WWII only 14 remained in the entire country. It was lucky that there were purebreds in the United States that were of good stock, and they were sent back to revive the breed.
American Mastiff Characteristics
The American Mastiff is an extra-large dog that can grow to be 36 inches tall and weighing in at 200 pounds, which is still smaller than their English relatives. Their muzzles are also smaller and have less wrinkles than the English version, but the same jowly expression.
Their coats are fawn, brown, or brindle with a medium length and density to their hair. One of the biggest differences in characteristics is that they have a drier mouth. This means that they do not drool as much as their parent breeds do.
American Mastiff Temperament/Personality
The American Mastiff is a docile breed, unless its family and home are under threat. They are brave and unwavering when it comes to protecting their families. These giants are only intimidating to those who do not know the true nature of them. American Mastiffs don’t like to be along and can even become clingy to their people. They are kind and gentle and seem to have all the patience in the world when it comes to children and can get along with other dogs and pets.
American Mastiffs are not known for their lady-like etiquette, and it can sometimes take a while to getting used to the flatulence, snoring, shedding and some slobber.
Caring for American Mastiff
Surprisingly, for a dog the size of an American Mastiff, there isn’t a lot of maintenance and care required, above regular maintenance that is needed for all breeds. However, due to their size, any maintenance is bound to take longer.
American Mastiff Nutrition
American Mastiffs should be fed at least 4 cups of high-quality kibble, split into two meals daily. Look for kibble with high protein and adjust the food amount if you notice your dog getting too heavy as this breed tend to gain weight.
American Mastiff Grooming
There’s a little bit of grooming that goes along with an American Mastiff, but I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. They rarely need bathing, generally, a wipe down with a wet cloth will be enough. They do require their mouths to be wiped after eating and drinking to prevent drool, as well as reducing moisture and the chances of getting a bacterial infection.
They only need brushing about once a week, though you may want to add a brushing session during their heavy shedding phase. Brushing is one activity that will take longer due to their size, thankfully it’s an activity that they enjoy and it’s a great bonding time for the two of you.
American Mastiff Activity Levels
American Mastiffs can be lazy dogs however, they do need some exercise. It is recommended that you take them out for a walk at least two times a day. They will not need the mileage, or vigorous exercise, that some larger, more energetic breeds need.
In addition to physical activity, American Mastiffs require regular mental stimulation as well, otherwise they can become nervous and destructive.
American Mastiff Maintenance
Once a week check your American Mastiff’s ears for moisture and any dirt or debris and clean them. Regular oral care and nail trimming should be a part of their regular maintenance as well.
American Mastiff Health
The biggest concern for American Mastiffs is joint dysplasia. You can help reduce the chances of this ocurring by limiting their exercise time and intensity when they are puppies, as well as eliminating as much as possible the amount of running and jumping they do.
They have also been known to occasionally have skin problems, foreleg lameness, eye problems, and hyperthyroidism.
Breeds Similar to American Mastiff
- English Mastiff
- Anatolian Shepherd
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Spanish Mastiff
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Pyrenean Mastiff