What Does the Spanish Mastiff Look Like?
The Spanish Mastiff is a large, imposing dog. They can weigh anywhere from 140 to 200 pounds and stand 26-35 inches tall at the shoulder.
Their coat is short and dense, and comes in a variety of colors including black, fawn, brindle, red, wolf gray, and yellow. They have a large head with floppy ears, and their tail is naturally long. Their eyes are dark and almond-shaped, with pronounced eyebrows giving them a look of a benevolent elder.
This is a dog that was built for the outdoors. They have a double coat that protects them from the elements, and their large size means they can take on anything that comes their way.
What Is the Spanish Mastiff’s Temperament Like?
Spanish Mastiffs are calm dogs that make great guardians. They’re loyal and will do anything to protect their family, but they need a firm owner who can be the alpha in the relationship. They’re not aggressive by nature, but if they feel their family is threatened, they will not hesitate to put themselves between the danger and the ones they love.
Will a Spanish Mastiff Get Along with Everyone?
These dogs are gentle with children and will happily play with them, but they can be suspicious of strangers and too territorial to get along with other dogs. With early socialization and training, they can learn to accept new people or pets into their home, but it may be hard work.
How Easily Trained Are They?
The Spanish Mastiff is a smart dog, but they can be stubborn and independent. They need an owner who is firm and consistent in their training. Otherwise, they’ll learn to do as they please and might get unbearable or even threatening with their large size.
These dogs respond best to positive reinforcement methods like food rewards or praise. Harsh punishments will only make them more resistant to training, so avoid using them if possible.
How Much Exercise Do They Require?
Despite their large size, Spanish Mastiffs are actually quite lazy. They’ll need a daily walk to stay in shape, but they’re just as happy lying around the house all day. However, if you live in an apartment, this isn’t the breed for you. They need a lot of space to move around and will become restless if cooped up for too long.
Are They Loud?
Spanish Mastiffs aren’t loud dogs, but they will bark when someone comes to the door or if they sense something is wrong. Their bark is deep and intimidating, and usually enough to ward off any intruders!
The Health and Lifespan of a Spanish Mastiff
Most Spanish Mastiffs are generally healthy and live 10-12 years in good condition. However, because they’re large dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues stemming from their size. Watch out for:
- bloat (GDV) – a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists and fills with gas;
- knee or hip dysplasia – a malformation of the hip or knee joint that can cause pain and lameness;
- panosteitis – an inflammation of the long bones in the legs, sometimes called ‘growing pains;’
- entropion – a condition where the eyelid rolls inward and eyelashes irritate the cornea.
Regular vet checkups, a healthy diet and adequate exercise are the three ingredients in the recipe for a long and healthy life. Joint diseases are more common in overweight dogs, so watch your pet’s waistline and reduce their calorie intake if necessary.
To reduce the risk of bloat, you could feed your dog in 2-3 smaller meals and always set the bowl on the ground. A preventive surgery can also be done together with spaying or neutering the puppy.
How to Groom and Care for a Spanish Mastiff?
The Spanish Mastiff is a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. Their double coat repels dirt and only needs to be brushed once or twice a week. However, they do shed seasonally, so you’ll need to up the brushing during those times.
Their nails will also need to be trimmed once or twice per month. Their floppy ears are prone to getting infected, so you’ll need to check them daily for debris and clean as needed. Besides, these dogs tend to drool in their sleep, so keep a towel nearby.
Breeders and Pricing of Spanish Mastiff Puppies
The Spanish Mastiff is not a common breed, so finding a reputable breeder can be difficult. Be prepared to pay around $1000-2000 for a puppy, depending on their parentage and show potential.
Look for breeders who are members of the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Avoid any that can’t provide health clearances for the parents. A good breeder will be happy to answer all your questions and show you around their facilities.
The History of the Spanish Mastiff Dog Breed
The Spanish Mastiff is an ancient breed with a long history of guarding sheep and other livestock. They were probably brought to Spain by the Phoenicians around 2,000 years ago and have been used as guard dogs ever since.
In the Middle Ages, these dogs were often used in bullfights and bear-baiting events. However, they fell out of favor when these activities were outlawed. The Spanish Mastiff nearly became extinct after the Spanish Civil War, but a few dedicated breeders managed to save the breed.
Today, they’re still used as guard dogs on farms and ranches, but they’ve also become popular family pets. Their gentle nature and loyalty make them great companions, despite their large size.
Is the Spanish Mastiff the Right Dog for You?
A Spanish Mastiff is a great choice for someone looking for a loyal, protective family dog. They’re gentle and loving with their loved ones, but they need firm training to prevent them from becoming too independent. These dogs are best suited for homes with plenty of space for them to roam. They’re not a good choice for city-dwellers or those with small homes.
Fun Facts about Spanish Mastiffs
Looking for some lesser-known facts about the Spanish Mastiff? Here are a couple to get you started.
- In medieval times, they had a job of defending sheep from attack by wolves while the flocks were crossing from the north to the south. They wore chunky metal necklaces with skewers for protection.
- The official variety of the breed needs to adhere to aesthetic standards, but there are still primitive Spanish Mastiffs around that may not conform, and they serve their original job of guarding sheep. These are known as the Traditional Spanish Mastiff, the Working Spanish Mastiff, Wolf Dog, and Leonese Mastiff.
- A dog of this breed can be seen in the 1656 painting Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez.
Do You Still Want a Dog of This Breed?
The Spanish Mastiff is a giant, protective dog that is worth the effort to train. They’re territorial, and you need to socialize them to get along with other dogs, but they’re otherwise low-maintenance. If you’re looking for a calm and devoted companion, the Spanish Mastiff may be the right dog for you.
Have you ever met a Spanish Mastiff? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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