There are stories about Mastiffs letting intruders in the house, wagging their tails being all friendly but when came time to leave, it was another story. They will let you in, but there is no way they will let you out. Owners came home finding intruders pinned to the ground covered in drool, but not hurt. They do their job with their size and brains, not with aggression.
WELCOME TO A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALL GAME.
Our beloved Molosser. Dogs of courage, strength, grandeur and dignity. A characteristic way of thinking and behaving is what makes them unique. Each of the Molosser breeds are different and have different and unique characters. Unlike any other dog you have ever owned, their undying Loyalty is their life's purpose. The loyalty defines every cell in their body and every moment in their life. They live to die for you.
Valued as protectors and guardians for ages, they were bred for what they could do and not for what they looked like. It is only in the 19th century that they were bred for their beauty points. Their gentleness has been written about for centuries. These dogs have served man in so many ways that they deserve the utmost respect. Mastiffs belonged to noble families where they were guardians of castles, vineyards and estates.
After WW2, legend says there were only two Dogue de Bordeaux left in France. From those 2 dogs, is today's genetic DDB lineage.
The loyalty, devotion and undying protective instinct is still present in today's Mastiffs. Curious and determined, they like to think for themselves. They are capable of fearless protection but also capable of bottomless affection. A Mastiff will never be what he is born to be if kept apart from the family. In his home, he is King and brings protection, loyalty and love with equal parts of courage, laziness and a tad of stubborness.This is a very powerful breed, if not the most of all breeds of dogs, with a primitive mindset that will react by instinct in times of instability and danger, once they analyze the situation wisely.
Regardless of how gentle they can be, Mastiffs should be socialized extensively in puppyhood to avoid overprotectiveness on his part. To build their social skills, they must be exposed to different social situations at a young age.
The distinctive qualities and traits of each Mastiff are very different. They are colored like rainbows and we can find similar traits in breeds, they are all very special. One thing is for sure, they seek guidance and leadership, a calm grounded human so they can feel connected. They need that connection. When I am asked what the temperament of this breed is, I am forced to avoid speaking in generalities as each is so unique in their greatness. The correct attitude is gentle and quiet. They should be calm in the house but alert at all times. They easily understand and follow the household rules although they are independant thinkers. They will respect the boundaries and follow you like a bodyguard, never leaving your sight, so get used to your mastiff following you to the toilet and having a constant shadow. They are very sensitive and have quite the ego.
Sensitive beings they are. Mastiffs have an undying sense of love but are also very sensitive to moods and energy. Mastiffs will adapt to your environment but it doesn't mean they are truly happy. Mostly laid back , lazy and making you walk over them is the way they are. They thrive on stability, peace, quietness and routine. They are extremely smart and understand more than they want us to know. A Mastiff will fear unstable households, unpredictable personnalities and even a sudden change of mood or a tone of voice. Avoid the crazy squeeky voices and screaming. This becomes a bite risk. They learn you, they learn your habits, your behaviors,.... everything, they sense your whole being. If something is slightly off, or not the same, they know. The are also disturbed by changes in the home, even small ones. Routine is what they truly need. Change is really not their thing. Mastiffs are the best lie detectors in the world, if you are fake, they know. A loving hand, a confident but rewarding leader is what they need. This builds their confidence to become focused well balanced dogs. A 200 pound Mastiff can come tiptoeing behind you and you won't even know he is there. While you are dreaming and snoring ... did I mention they snore? He is on duty and alert. He was born for this. The Ultimate Protector.
Now...the slobber thing. Who in the world started that rumour?
So they drool a bit, here and there, mostly when they drink. So let's love our Mastiffs with the drool, stop whining about your clean skirt and pull out The Slobber Towel. Most Mastiffs actually don't drool, at all. When they drink water a trail follows, I admit. But if you want clean floors, get a goldfish.
The folds and wrinkles...the more wrinkles, the better. Buy some baby wipes, you will need them. The wrinkles and ears need to be cleaned often and verified daily. Just a baby wipe with ear cleaning solution and voila ! Moisture equals yeast equals bacteria growth equals infection. Their coats are short and they require very little grooming. A good brushing session will help strengthen the bond with your Mastiff. They love it. You need to keep an eye on their coat and skin, they are prone to skin infections.
Oh and some Mastiffs love to swim. They truly require moderate exercise, sometimes stopping in the middle of a walk thinking: are we done now?...bring me back home. But as any dog, their whole life is seen through their nose, so make sure they use it. Bring them on walks using different paths. Truly, their only fault lies in the short life expectancy, few make it to be 10 years old. Bone cancer is very common in the breed so a good diet during their lifetime is important. However, they make sure to make every moment of their short life magical. In my experience, there is a natural undeniable bond between a female human and a male mastiff, and likewise, a male human with a female mastiff. Choose wisely. And avoid getting siblings !
The secret: never ever ever do something to lose the Mastiffs respect and undying love he has for you. They devoted their whole life to being loyal to you. Never break that bond. Always speak, train and love your Mastiff with a gentle heart. They live for you, they become a part of your soul. Dogs have a gift, they live in the moment. They sense your health, your state of mind, your moods and your attitude in seconds. Let them be what they are: your loyal protector. If you own a Mastiff, you will have the best dog of your life, a love you will be forever changed by. Since my first mastiff named Stella, I was never the same.
They are led by true instinct, they are quite aware of their strenght, size and power.
Hardwired DNA. It's ancient genetics.
They were always big.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has the largest head and biggest mouth in the dog world. Just makes for better kissing.
A cool fact about Neapolitan Mastiffs is that they are very tolerant of pain due to the breed's early fighting background and the fact the skin is loose and is not attached to the body . This trait would protect the vital organs from damage.
Mastiffs do in some cases exhibit same sex aggression Fights seem horrific, but truly, most of the time, its just a small disagreement they need to work out.
They also have long memories which is quite inconvenient for us humans. Never get heavy handed or use the 'Alpha -Pack- Leader'' techniques. You will get much more from them using a spirit of collaboration. Trying to use dominance techniques with a Mastiff is useless. If you hurt him physically or mentally, you will damage him, truly hurt his feelings and he may in fact start resenting you. Trust is a precious tool when working with a Mastiff, do not ever break that bond. Try to force a Mastiff to do something he doesn't want: he will stop walking, drop like a boulder, triple his weight and ignore you completely. Now you have a 200 pound marshmallow that won't move. Good luck with that. Speaking of big, the biggest mastiff was named Zorba ( 1981-1992) held the world record at 343 lbs.
The protective nature of their hearts makes for them to never wander far from you. They stay close off leash, just in case they might miss something. Always looking back to see where you are, this makes me smile every time. They do not look for the most comfortable place, they only look to be beside you.