Mastiffs are wonderful companions. They are not dogs to be left outside chained to a doghouse or to be left alone in a fenced yard. They desperately need lots of human companionship to be properly socialized, trained, and “owned”. If your house is too small for a 150-230 lb. dog, then a Mastiff is not the dog for you. We have found that behavioral problems occur when a Mastiff is not a member of the family but is relegated to the backyard with only occasional human contact.
Mastiffs slobber, some more than others, but all do after they eat or drink. Are you prepared to wash your walls, ceilings, etc. after the slobber flies when they shake their heads? Slobber rags must always be handy in strategic locations all over the house. They always seem to drink when you are ready to walk out the door for work.
Mastiffs will snore and sometimes you think a train is going through the house. Are you a light sleeper or one that needs constant quiet to sleep? If so, consider another breed. They will want to keep you warm at night on the bed of course. If not on the bed, then they will want to sleep in the same room. They can be amazingly agile at 2:00 am!
Mastiffs are NOT guard dogs. They will protect their family more along the lines of a watch dog than guard dog. If your intent is to have a dog that is a guard dog then you must think about another breed. They will often bark and let intruders know they are not accepted. Once you accept the guest, chances are good that they will too. Their mere presence and bark will scare the bravest of burglars.
Mastiffs are wonderful dogs with children. They are very gentle and quite tolerant of ear and tail pulls, sitting on their backs (not a good idea), and they adore licking kid’s faces. They will protect their children. Of course, please make sure that you supervise and train your children to respect and treat the dog well. In rescue, we will not place a dog with a family with small children unless the dog has been raised with them in the previous home. The swinging tail of a Mastiff can knock a small child over. If you have very small children who are just learning to walk, you may want to wait until they are older before getting a Mastiff whether it’s a puppy or a rescue dog.
Mastiffs can be territorial dogs. They will protect their yard, house, car and family from people or dogs. They want it to be known that this is their yard. They are dogs that can be very good with other dogs and with cats as long as they have had good experiences with them. If you have an adult male dog already and you are getting a rescue, you might want to consider a female Mastiff and vice a versa. This is not to say that two males cannot get along but males especially have a tendency to want to dominate each other if they have been recently neutered.