The Spanish Mastiff is recognized as the heaviest livestock guardian dog and the biggest Spanish native breed. They don’t typically make any noise, but they have a very deep, almost intimidating bark when they do.
Here you will find information about the Spanish Mastiff from its history, appearance, basic care, and much more.
Spanish Mastiff History
Spanish Mastiffs are believed to be the descendants of Greek canines brought into Spain by Phoenician and Greek traders in 1000 BC. Similar dogs were favored for their strength and were often used in battles.
Spanish conquistadors utilized this Mastiff when fighting the Native Americans. These war dogs developed a powerful reputation among Native Americans because of their ferocity.
The Spanish Mastiff was shown frequently in dog shows throughout the early 20th century; however, a standard was not set until 1946. Records gathered by the Spanish Shepherd’s Association describe how this powerful canine has been used as an effective wolf hunter since the 1400s.
The Spanish Mastiff is a rustic canine with a stocky build. This dog is lengthy and large, with a powerful profile and enormous chest. The body is rectangular, consisting of a strong bone structure. The head is massive and well-proportioned.
A deep muzzle, full lips, and dewlap on the neck give away this breed’s mastiff heritage. They possess double dewclaws on each hind foot, much like the Great Pyrenees.
The Spanish Mastiff’s fur includes a dense under layer and the straight top layer, which produces a wooly texture. Loose skin covers the body while longer fur grows along the tail and spine area. The eyes are generally relaxed and small, giving the Spanish Mastiff a carefree expression.
Spanish Mastiff Coat
The Spanish Mastiff has a natural short to medium-length coat. This is a double coat that was designed to keep the breed warm as well as protect itself from the elements in the mountain regions.
This is not an allergy-friendly dog breed meaning it will shed quite a lot. If you are an allergy sufferer then I am sorry to tell you that this likely won’t be the dog breed for you. Expect more shedding to happen during the shedding seasons of spring and fall. Below you will find a variety of colors that the Spanish Mastiff comes in.
What Colors Do They Come In?
Spanish Mastiff puppies can be found in:
Coloration can be broken or spotted. However, white should not be dominant in the pattern. Instead, they typically have a black nose with brown eyes. This is the most natural look, and you don’t really see any Spanish Mastiffs looking different.
The Temperament of the Spanish Mastiff
Spanish Mastiff puppies will become protective adult canines. This breed displays traits typical of livestock guarding dogs. They are loyal and will defend you with their lives if necessary. A strong bond between dog and owner can be formed with proper interactions and training.
The Spanish Mastiff loves its human owner and prefers to spend time with their family. Consistent, firm leadership is required to keep this independently-minded pet on its best behavior. The Spanish Mastiff will often appear lazy; however, this is not the case. The dog is always alert and mindful of its surroundings.
Height & Weight
Good Spanish Mastiff breeders will produce canines that stand between 28 and 35 inches (72 and 88 cm).
The males weigh between 185 and 220 pounds (90 and 100 kg) on average but can grow to 265 pounds (120 kg). Females usually weigh between 145 and 170 pounds (52 and 77 kg).
Health Problems of the Spanish Mastiff
Spanish Mastiffs are prone to certain health conditions; some are heart conditions, Entropion, and hip dysplasia.
Heart Conditions – The most common is cardiac disease, and this will cause the heart to enlarge, making it not function as properly as it should.
Entropion – This is actually a serious condition in which your dog’s eyelids do not correctly form and fold inwards. When they roll inward, they can cause irritation on the eye, making it red and causing ulcers.
Hip Dysplasia – This is so common in a lot of different dog breeds. Hip dysplasia affects the hips of the dog, and it means that the hip and the socket do not correctly align together. This can be painful for your dog.
Growing Pains/Joint Pain – Growing pains (pano-ostiosis) is also common in puppies as they develop. This happens when your puppy grows too fast.
Bloat -The breed should also be fed multiple smaller meals each day because they can suffer from bloat. Bloat is the twisting of your dog’s stomach, and if it twists, it can make your dog die in extreme cases.
Life Expectancy of a Spanish Mastiff
The average Spanish Mastiff will live for 10 to 11 years, with some living for up to 14 years. Remember to give your dog the required amount of exercise and food each day. This will set your dog up for a healthy life. If you are ever concerned, consult your vet to make sure your dog is healthy.
Families should not adopt Spanish Mastiff puppies with tight living spaces. This dog gets big and is a frequent drooler and snorer. The breed also needs ample exercise and strong leadership, making life in limited spaces difficult.
They need a house with a big yard, and they are typically seen out in the country being used as a farming livestock guard dog. Country homes with wide-open spaces are ideal, and homes with a generous fenced-in yard.
This breed is excellent with children, but when it comes to other dogs, they can be territorial and sometimes even show aggression towards other dogs and cats.
If you have other dogs, you should think twice about getting this dog as a friend for your dog. The Mastiff is very territorial and doesn’t do well with other dogs. Of course, you can curb this by raising your Spanish Mastiff to get along with other dogs from puppy age.
The Spanish Mastiff requires an average amount of exercise. Their physical requirements aren’t excessive but still must be met to keep the canine happy and manageable. This breed needs around 45 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Most people assume that this breed is considered “lazy.” However, when the Spanish Mastiff wants to, they can be very active and alert! These dogs are part of the working group and are known to watch over livestock or animals.
Long walks a couple of times a day are recommended. However, this dog is not a runner and is not recommended for anyone who wants a jogging companion.
The Spanish Mastiff is one of the bigger dog breeds we have ever talked about. They need a diet of high-protein food to give them energy. This dog breed needs four cups of dry and wet food mixed in a day.
Depending on the type of dog food you purchase (hopefully, a high-quality brand for working dogs) will factor in the price you pay. On average, you will spend between $2.50 and $3.00 a day on food.
This breed can experience bloat, so it is best to separate out the food in smaller portions throughout the day. A perfect food schedule for this dog would look like this:
- Breakfast portion
- Snack portion
- Lunch portion
- Dinner portion
Spanish Mastiff Grooming
The Spanish Mastiff requires regular brushing to remove shed hairs. Additionally, the Spanish Mastiff is in no way hypoallergenic friendly as they shed a good amount of their coat during the spring and summer months.
If you bathe your dog during the months that they are shedding heavily, it will help to get some of the hair out faster. Of course, ears and face should be kept clean and dry as well.
You will also want to trim the long hairs around the footpads because they can become tangled and knotted. Also, you may want to have drool rags around for this dog because they drool almost constantly.
Spanish Mastiff Training
It can be challenging when doing obedience training with this breed because the Spanish Mastiff likes to do what it pleases, and it is very intelligent. The Spanish Mastiff is a big canine that requires a strong leader. It is not a good choice for the first-time dog owner.
Start training when your dog is a puppy and begin with short sessions. When your dog is older, you can add more time to your training routine. Make sure you make the training fun for your dog and praise it correctly when it responds to the command.
Spanish Mastiff Puppies
When you start your search for Spanish Mastiff puppies, make sure you look for a reputable breeder. Breeders will be your best way to get a healthy Spanish Mastiff puppy. You can look into various breeders and ask all your essential questions until you determine the breeder you want to purchase from.
As you know, these dogs are very big and can grow to over 200 pounds. As a result, the puppies may take longer than two years to get full-grown.
Make sure you are feeding your puppy a high-quality large dog breed puppy food. Ask your veterinarian how long they need to eat that type of food before switching to adult dog food.
Spanish Mastiff Litter Size
A litter size of Spanish Mastiffs can be up to ten puppies! As you know, female Spanish Mastiffs are big, so they can hold a lot of puppies in a single litter. Keep in mind every dog is different, and yours may have a litter of less or more.
Famous Spanish Mastiffs
There is a very famous Spanish Mastiff known throughout Spain. The popular painting named Las Meninas features a Spanish Mastiff. This painting can be found in Madrid at the Museo Del Prado.
In this section, I like to give an overview of my article and key points that you can take away from it.
- The Spanish Mastiff is a very big dog breed weighing from 145 to 220 pounds.
- This dog is originally from Spain.
- Spanish Mastiffs are covered in wrinkles or folds. Their skin has that hang-down look even as a puppy.
- This is a protection dog and perfect for the guarding of livestock or even just your yard.
- There are some health conditions to be aware of when it comes to this dog breed.
- Even when the breed seems like it is lazy, it truly isn’t. So make sure you give your dog the proper amount of exercise each day.
- Feed your dog high-quality food that has been spaced out into multiple meals throughout the day to reduce the risk of bloat.
- This breed will shed, so if you need a hypoallergenic dog, this isn’t it.
- Always purchase your dog from a reputable breeder. A breeder that you can trust to deliver you a high-quality and healthy dog.
Here are some common questions potential dog owners have about the Spanish Mastiff dog breed.
Yes, the Spanish Mastiff can make a great family companion but keep in mind this breed can be stubborn and protective. This means when it comes in contact with new people, it can be a bit intimidating. However, if you train your dog when it is a puppy, you can curb some of that behavior.
Spanish Mastiffs can get quite aggressive to other dogs and cats. Keeping this as the only dog or slowly introducing your dog to other animals is important. Again, not all Spanish Mastiffs are like this; we just want you to be aware that this breed may have a tendency to be like this.
No, the Spanish Mastiff is not a dangerous dog breed. It can actually be very friendly and a wonderful family companion. However, the big size of the breed often scares and intimidates people, and the breed can be hostile to other dogs and animals.
The origin of the Spanish Mastiff is Spain, as this is where it gets its name from.
No common Spanish Mastiff mix breed is currently recognized.
Close Relatives of the Spanish Mastiff
There are a few breeds out there that are closely similar to the Spanish Mastiff, they are: