Popular as the Gentle Giant, this wrinkle-faced dog is a real canine beauty. With a face similar to the English Mastiff and agility like a Kangal, the North American Mastiff is the real macho breed.
If you are planning to get a North American Mastiff puppy and looking for a detailed guide about the breed, keep reading this article. You’ll find all the necessary info about this dog including health, temperament, features, and grooming needs.
So, let’s explore this breed.
Intro and History
With a Large wrinkly face and a big bright smile, the North American Mastiff is a poster child for gentle giants. If you have ever seen this canine, you know just what we are talking about. If you haven’t, read more about this new kid on the block.
Mastiffs originally descended from warrior dogs. They served in wars and acted as guard dogs during the peace times, helping around with hunting when needed. The North American Mastiff was first developed in the 1980s by Fredericka Wagner- one of the owners of the Fly Wing Farms in Ohio. Fredricka had been a dog breeder, constantly trying different combinations. One day, she got the idea to crossbreed the Kangal Shepherd with the English Mastiff, and voilà- and the North American Mastiff was born. Inheriting the English Mastiff’s heavy-boned structure and the Kangal Shepherd’s height and agility the North American Mastiff was born a much stronger and healthier pup.
Today, the North American Mastiff is recognized by several clubs as a purebred, however, the American Kennel Club is not one of them. But fans remain optimistic that the AKC will come around too, for how much longer can they resist this Mastiff’s charms?
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The North American Mastiff is a giant dog, with several distinct features. Some of the most common features are as follows:
- It can grow as tall as 36 inches and weigh as much as 90kg owing to its heavy-boned structure and beefy body.
- Their faces are round and wrinkly, with wide drooling mouths and big brown sad eyes.
- Their ears are quite small compared to the rest of their face and sit erect on the top of their heads like small antennas
- They can be found in several colors such as brown, brindle, apricot, black, Merle, Cream and if you are lucky, even fawn. Some Mastiffs have double-shaded coats- like an old tie and dye shirt, spotty but beautiful.
- They have tall, lean bodies with very strong legs and cute curly tails.
What’s good and bad about them i.e., Pros and Cons
Like any dog or pet for that matter, there are several pros and cons of owning a North American Mastiff. Here are a few to help you decide whether this gentle giant is a good fit for you or not.
Pros of having a North American Mastiff
Incredibly Gentle – They are incredibly gentle dogs. They can act as a great guard dog and a cuddling buddy at the same time. They have a very protective and loyal personality and a very laid-back attitude. The best part of having one of these dogs is that they won’t bark excessively or act aggressively, making them easy housemates.
Easy Maintenance Dogs – They don’t have very complicated grooming needs and don’t need a lot of exercise or attention either. But it doesn’t mean that you get a North American Mastiff puppy and stop paying attention to it.
Not a Velcro Dog – A lot of dog breeds suffer from separation anxiety and cannot be left on their own for too long, however, the Mastiff is different and thrives with or without constant attention.
Low-Cost Dogs – Low on a budget? Fortunately, they are not too expensive either and you can get a puppy for as low as $1000.
Cons of Having a North American Mastiff
Heavy Drooling – They drool uncontrollably and are not ideal for those with allergies as their saliva may give such owners a tough time.
Heavy Shedding – Yet another negative trait for those with allergies. They shed a lot throughout the year and are not a good match for you if you are allergic to dog hair and dander.
Needs a Lot of Space – They are big and bulky so they need a lot of room and space so they would not be an ideal fit for a small apartment or a flat. Instead, a home with a backyard or bigger indoor space would be suitable for them.
Not Suitable for Homes with Kids – They are less than suitable if you have small kids because they are giant and can injure small children easily. Sometimes the Mastiffs mature very slowly and owing to their enormous size it’s hard to pick them up.
Temperament and Behavior
All in all, the American Mastiff is a lovely dog. The gentlest soul you will ever meet. Protective, loving and cool-headed. Despite its rather intimidating appearance, it is an absolute goofball who enjoys sulking around. While it is not a very active dog, it is fast at sensing danger and coming to its owner’s aid when needed. It is known for its courageous but quiet nature.
The Mastiff dogs are generally indifferent to other pets and do not mingle or play with them. However, they are known to be harmless and refrain from hurting anyone unless threatened.
By nature, they are strong-willed and even stubborn which makes it very hard to train them. Owners need to have unwavering patience to raise these pups.
The Mastiffs are total couch potatoes and do not enjoy running around. Therefore, owners must motivate and lure them with treats every now and then.
Apart from the fact that these dogs are very calm and gentle, they may give you a tough time while training them. The best practice is to train them with positive reinforcement and in short and frequent sessions instead of going for longer training sessions.
Start training your North American Mastiff puppy at the age of 8 weeks. Start with potty training, crate training, and basic commands such as fetch, stop, sit, etc.
As they are big dogs, it’s important to teach them not to bite from an early age. So, for this purpose, start socializing them as soon as they join your family, and if possible, join an obedience training that would help in making them ideal home pets.
Like all pets, North American Mastiffs have some common health concerns that owners must be aware of. To reduce the chances of unexpected illnesses, make it a routine to get your dog checked by the vet every six months. Also, make sure you vaccinate your puppy as per the schedule.
Given below are some of the common diseases this dog can get during its lifetime.
The North American Mastiffs have somewhat sensitive skin. This puts them at risk of various allergies, and they can easily develop inflammation and hives. In some extreme cases, they can also develop dermatitis which should be treated by a vet asap.
This breed is especially prone to bone cancer which is often detected too late. This is why pet owners should not ignore any changes in behavior or appetite and take their pups in for frequent checkups.
A cataract is a condition where a thin layer of fat covers the lens of the dog’s eyes, causing blurry vision. If proper treatment is not administered in time, it can lead to permanent blindness which is painless but the quality of life is disturbed.
Hip or joint dysplasia is a common illness in large-sized dogs. This condition leads to deformation of the joint due to constant wear and tear. In extreme cases, this can lead to complete restriction of your pet’s mobility. This painful condition should be treated as early as possible.
To make sure your pet is healthy and happy, dog owners are advised to look closely at any behavioral and diet changes in their pets and consult a vet if the changes persist.
The North American Mastiff is a low-maintenance pup. Bathe them once a month and brush them once a week and they are good to go. However, because of their size, brushing them is both a long and tedious task.
You will also have to clean your pup’s ears with a wet cloth and check for wax build-up or a foreign object in its ears. Also, remember to clip its nails frequently to avoid any accidents.
Last but not the least, you must take care of their oral hygiene. Remember to brush their teeth regularly to avoid cavities and food build-ups.
North American Mastiff Puppy Price and Yearly Maintenance Cost
You should expect to pay between $1000 and $2000 for a puppy, although you won’t find many breeders of this breed as it is not much popular.
In terms of maintenance, expect to spend around $1000 for the first year for vet visits, necessary pet supplies, food, and grooming. In the following years, $750 would be enough for these dogs as they are not much demanding.
If you are considering a calm but fearless dog, adopt a North American Mastiff. These dogs are adorable creatures to have around and will never make you feel lonely again. They are low-maintenance dogs that are not much demanding. Plus, you can leave them home alone for a relatively long time (in terms of hours, not days) as they are not prone to separation anxiety.
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