Breed Family: Mastiff
Country of Origin: Spain
Size: Large, height 72-88cm, weight 90-100kg, females slightly less
Also Known as: Mastín Español
Lifespan: 10-11 years
Care Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: Medium
General information and Appearance
Massive, strong and muscular, the Spanish Mastiff is a towering beast of a dog. This dog was heavy and built for guarding livestock, and often fighting large animals to protect that livestock. They are both long and tall, though the length is slightly greater than the height. Their chests are massive, wide and powerful. The head is also quite large with a long muzzle and a characteristic dewlap on the neck.
This dog has triangle-shaped drooping ears on the sides of its wide head. The eyes also appear drooping as well. The skin is not tight to the body and this dog has many folds of wrinkled skin. The dog gives a very heavy appearance overall, with a low-set tail and incredibly large hindquarters.
Dogs of this breed have a dense coat of short hairs. The layer underneath is fuzzy and very thick. This dog can be yellow, red, black, grey, red-brown or spotted. There can be white markings on this dog, although white is never the dominant colour.
These dogs are powerful, but gentle. They are noble and may come across as aloof because of their air of dignity. They are fiercely loyal, although not overly enthusiastic in their showing of affection. They are intelligent and can learn quickly with the proper trainer.
With large dogs like this, it is very important to begin training and socialisation very early. These dogs must learn to behave around other dogs, as well as people. Bad habits like jumping, nipping or aggression can be very harmful when this dog reaches maturity. A dog of this size is very difficult to control, so bad habits must be broken prior to having a poorly behaved, full grown dog. A strong alpha leader needs to be assertive and strong, and also consistent. Intelligent dogs will sometimes ignore commands if not delivered properly. As such, this dog is not recommended for first-time dog owners.
These dogs like to be close to their families at all times. They are also prone to bark quite a bit at any potential threats and their bark is nothing if not loud. They will fiercely defend their families. A well-trained Spanish Mastiff can live with other animals and children as well, but it is important to supervise children to make sure the dog does not accidentally cause harm because of its bulk.
This breed is susceptible to many of the diseases common among very large breeds. Hip and elbow dysplasia can affect these dogs. Entropion, a condition which causes inverted eyelids, is seen in this breed. These dogs can also suffer from bloat. Fortunately, bloat can be prevented in dogs. Bloat occurs when the dog gulps in too much air while eating. The way to prevent this is to feed the dog smaller meals throughout the day, rather than one large meal in which the dog inhales the food.
Grooming and Care
The hairs of the coat are thick but short. Regular brushing will keep the coat clean and remove any dead hairs. This breed does shed and a regular brushing can reduce the amount of hair about the house. These dogs can also have build-up in the ears, so ear cleaning is recommended.
Suitability as Pet In Australia
These dogs are simply massive and as such, they need a home with enough space for them. An apartment or flat will not be suitable for a dog of this size. While these dogs do need exercise, they do not need to move quickly. This breed would not make a good jogging companion. They do, however, enjoy plodding along on very long walks.
This dog can live in varying temperatures, from very hot to very cold. They can spend time outdoors but as they are loyal, they like to keep close to their families. These dogs can also tend to cause a mess around the house. They shed heavily twice a year and also tend to drool quite a bit.
These dogs can live in families, but each family member must be trained in pack mentality. A large dog that is difficult to control can be very dangerous. This dog must be trained with consistency and a firm leader from a very early age. Traits like aggression and over-exuberant greeting must be addressed and changed. Once trained, this docile, gentle animal is a loving family member.
Spanish Mastiff Organisations in Australia
Association of All Mastiff Breeds of Victoria
Spanish Mastiff Organisations in the UK
Spanish Mastiff Club of Italy
Spanish Mastiff Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Spanish Mastiff
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