Are English Mastiffs Good Family Dogs? Personality Traits and FAQs

Without a doubt, going for the English Mastiff will make your family’s life better. He possesses great qualities such as being affectionate, loyal, and gentle despite his intimidating physique. There is a reason why people dub him as a gentle giant and why American households go for this breed. He is patient and even-tempered despite his rough history as a war dog!

If you are eyeing this breed, make sure you have what it takes to accommodate a lifestyle that suits him. That means giving him a bigger couch, a massive crate, and a huge supply of dog food. He’ll take a lot of space in your home, but the best places in the world would be in your lap and arms. 

The English Mastiff doesn’t need a grandiose way of living. Just as long as he receives everything that he needs, he’ll be the best family dog you’ll never regret bringing home. Now, let’s unravel all the qualities and perks of owning the great English Mastiff. 

The English Mastiff as a Family Addition

It is worth noting first that the English Mastiff is not for everyone nor is it something you can simply bring home to your family without thoroughly weighing the pros and cons of owning him. You can only bring out the best in this giant if he sees you fit to be his owner.

English Mastiffs tend to be stubborn and can be sensitive as well. They would need someone whom he will perceive as the alpha without the possibility of receiving harsh punishments. Handling this Mastiff is far from managing a tiny dog. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate yourself first before purchasing or adopting a Mastiff puppy.

Generally, the English Mastiff is best suited for experienced owners. This dynamic will motivate the dog to show his best traits when he’s around your kids, other dogs, other animals, or strangers.

The English Mastiff Around Your Kids

Photo from: good.boy.odie (IG)

Letting your kids grow up with your pet dog sounds great in developing a strong bond. However, since the English Mastiff’s weight can reach more than 230 pounds, he won’t be the right dog to leave your toddlers with. You can opt to bring home an English Mastiff once your children are already older. By doing so, the chance of mishaps or accidents is low. 

The English Mastiff is naturally protective. If he gets to form a genuine relationship with your kids, he’ll consider them as his pups. He is very tolerant if your children would want to play with him. Just make sure your kids have learned how to gently handle this dog by not pulling him by the tail or hitting him on the face. Supervision is vital in every interaction. 

Although the Mastiff can be stoical, there is still a possibility that he will de-domesticate. He can snap at anyone if he wants to and the chance of this happening will be higher if he has acquired a genetically bad temperament from his parents.

Nevertheless, if the Mastiff came from a reputable breeder, this circumstance will be less likely to happen. Rather, this dog will simply enjoy the company of your energetic offspring!

The English Mastiff Around Other Dogs

With proper socialization, the English Mastiff tends to get along very well with other dogs. It is still necessary that you observe your dog’s behavior considering that every Mastiff is an individual. They have unique personalities every owner should be aware of. 

Same-sex aggression remains to be a common thing for canines. It is when a male dog becomes intolerant of the presence of another male dog or a female Mastiff gets irked by another female Mastiff in the house. If both dogs from the two genders are dominant, the result would be a brutal clash just so either one of them can prove who is higher in social ranking.

Although this situation is probable, a great number of English Mastiffs are recognized to be easy-going and good-natured. They’d rather get along with your other dog pets simply because they enjoy playing with their mates as well as to avoid displeasing their owners. You can find many families owning several English Mastiffs with other dog breeds, so that alone can prove that this canine can live with other dogs.

The English Mastiff Around Other Animals

If you have cats or you’re planning to get one along with an English Mastiff puppy, chances are that they will end up becoming friends. Again, early socialization and familiarization work wonders. Moreover, it is usually the personality of each pet that will determine the outcome.

If your cat grows up to be loving and tolerant toward your dog and your Mastiff feels the same, they will become an inseparable pair. If the dog is nice to the cat while the cat freaks out and hisses at him, it could be a mutually bumpy ride, especially if the dog develops a bad impression of the cat if he gets traumatized by a quick scratch or bites from the feline.

On the other hand, if the cat is approachable while your dog’s predatory instinct is insurmountable, your cat’s life will eventually be in danger. This is why it needs to be emphasized that an owner should ensure a mutually safe environment for all his pets by aiding them in forming unbreakable and meaningful bonds with each other.

The English Mastiff Around Other People

When the English Mastiff puppy gets exposed early on different faces by bringing him in the park or letting him join socialization classes, the territorial instinct of this dog will not be on its worst level. Rather, he will end up being cautious and distant around visitors. 

Others will show friendliness if they feel that the guests are not a threat. It would be unfortunate, however, if an intruder ends up breaking into a house with a guarding English Mastiff. Once his suspicion level arises, a vicious attack may sooner or later occur.

Family Concern: English Mastiff Aggression

Commonly, the number one concern of parents or couples who are planning to get an English Mastiff is dog aggression. Knowing that he was bred to fight, it is undeniable that the English Mastiff can attack someone. Although this is the case, remember that this dog was further developed mainly in temperament to become a mellow dog breed.

Aggression is not exclusive to this breed and, despite being equipped with all the sharp nails and dangerous teeth, the English Mastiff is ideally far from being a violent dog compared to other dogs. If ever hostility shows, there are various triggers and reasons which prompted him to act the way he does. You can learn more about the English Mastiff aggression here.

Can an English Mastiff Be Easily Trained as a House Pet?

Yes! He can be easily trained if you know how to deal with him the Mastiff way. You have to be firm, patient, and creative when handling this gentle beast.

Bringing home a new pet is indeed a responsibility and everyone in the family should take part in the success of each training’s bits and pieces. When there is dedication, a healthier and more loving environment is created for everyone. Imagine an undisciplined dog who pees anywhere he wants. Things will eventually cause tension between and among family members.

The drills your puppy should learn must start from basic to complex. Also, start the routine if he’s 8 to 10 weeks old. Some of the recommended essential types of training are:

  • Crate training
  • Basic commands
  • Obedience training
  • Socialization

My Family Loves To Exercise… Can the English Mastiff Keep Up?

The kind of exercise your English Mastiff is excellent at is walking. Unfortunately, if your family loves to do rigorous activities such as hiking and running and you are in search of an exercise buddy, the English Mastiff wouldn’t be a good choice.

His heavy build refrains him from doing exhausting tasks that may damage his joints. This dog is highly prone to elbow and hip dysplasia so moderate exercise is all that he needs. 

Is It Expensive to Own an English Mastiff?

It can be. It is an understatement to describe this English dog as ginormous. In food alone, expect to allocate a budget of $1,200 to $1,600 per year. This estimation will vary upon the quality of dog food you’ll purchase. Take note that the English Mastiff’s growth spurts quickly in just 12 to 24 months compared to smaller breeds. That tells you that you should never try to save money by adding cheaply-made dog meals to your cart.

During his puppy years, 350 grams of food divided into 4 meals would suffice. However, once he’s reaching his full size, the quantity can blow up to 1.2 kilograms each day.

Not only that but your Mastiff would also need regular vet checkups. If he’s still a youngster, he would be required to complete his shots and other health tests. It is always a good idea to go for trusted sources in buying a pup. When they mature, they have lower chances of developing diseases and conditions a dog would normally get due to unsanitary environments such as being raised in a puppy mill.

Nonetheless, you still have to be prepared about what may happen to your dog’s well-being. Knowing that he gets to live a range of 6 to 10 years on average, every family should invest well in the English Mastiff’s health, diet, and lifestyle. 

Is the English Mastiff Capable of Protecting Your Family?

Definitely! This dog can reach more than 27.5 inches in height and can weigh up to 230 pounds. His broad head, mysterious black mask, and muscular build are enough to scare off thieves. 

It might surprise you but in a general sense, the English Mastiff is not a guard dog. Guard dogs will bite someone at first sight, while it will take a lot more before the English Mastiff resorts to brutality. For an instance, if he is faced by a home invader, he will most likely pin a person on the ground or in the corner. However, if things come down to worse, the English Mastiff will end up doing more than just reconciling the situation. 

This dog breed has unparalleled intelligence. He can assess every situation to the best of his abilities. If it is strongly ingrained that he has a family to protect, this dog will not hesitate to put himself in the front and accost the challenger. 

My Final Thoughts

Families who are contemplating getting a large dog should consider the English Mastiff. He is a protector and a loyal companion who will dearly love you and your kids. Having him around adds up another guarantee that you and your loved ones are safe. 

Despite his menacing looks, you’ll end up witnessing a very sweet dog who will follow you anywhere inside the house. Wouldn’t it also be adorable to peek in your living room and find him playing with your older kids? And, by the end of the day, when all of his energy was spent, this massive canine will search for warmth. He will forget about his size and lay on you as if he’s a lap dog.

It’s fascinating to know how this dog, who was once a warrior, can have deep feelings toward humans whom he chose and choose him back. He brings a huge positive difference which you’ll also get to experience once you bring home one. Be wary though, for several families ended up getting addicted to this breed and decided to have more English Mastiffs!