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Mastiff - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Large and heavy, the Mastiff is a muscular powerhouse of a dog. The head is square, heavy, and sports a short muzzle. They wear a black mask around the eyes and nose, and the ears are also dark in color. The eyes are set wide apart, are medium-sized, dark in color, with a kindly but always alert expression. The ears are V-shaped, small in proportion to the dog's massive head, and round at the tips. The muzzle is truncated and the teeth should preferably meet in a scissors bite, but a slight underbite is permissible. The tail is set high and tapers to the tip. Mastiffs wear short coats of fawn, brindle or apricot and the skin hangs loosely in wrinkles around the head and neck.

Size and Weight

Male Mastiffs should stand a minimum of 30 inches at the shoulder and females should stand a minimum of 27.5 inches. One of the heaviest breeds, males generally tip the scales between 160 and 230 pounds, with females weighing in slightly less; between 140 and 190 pounds Mastiffs are rectangular in proportion, they are longer than they are tall, and the height of the dog should come from the body depth as opposed to the length of the leg.

Coat and Color

The Mastiff sports a short, straight outer coat and short, dense undercoat. The coat comes in fawn, apricot, or brindle. Brindle Mastiffs have a fawn or apricot background color with dark stripes. The muzzle, nose, ears, and eye rims are dark – the darker the better. Some dogs may have a small patch of white on the chest.

Grooming Needs

Though their hair is short, Mastiffs shed year-round, with heavy shedding in the spring and fall. Weekly brushing with a hound mitt can keep flyaway hair under control. Mastiffs only need to be bathed as needed, but they do need to have their wrinkles cleaned daily in order to prevent bacterial infections. The most essential part of cleaning the wrinkles is to dry them thoroughly. The flews (the part of the upper lip that hangs) also need to be cleaned after meals.

Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

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