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Mastiff Breed Types -Which One Is Yours?

Here We Have Listed 13 Mastiff Breed Types And General Information Only, If you own one of these breeds or are considering purchasing one we recommend you research fully before deciding what breed is suitable for you!! and your household.

 

 

1:Bordeaux Mastiff / French Mastiff  / Dogue de Bordeaux

 

Dogue de Bordeauxs are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Three’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having visible conditions or conformational issues that can cause pain, discomfort or health issues due to exaggerations. This means that these breeds of dog have been bred over many years to look a certain way but that these changes to the way they look have started to cause them health problems.

Dogue de Bordeauxs are a member of the ‘Working’ breed group. Working breed dogs were bred to become guard and search and rescue dogs. Breeds in this group are specialists in their work.

Dogue de Bordeauxs are devoted, affectionate and playful. They’ll need early socialisation and training to ensure they get along with dogs and other household pets, and they can be quite stubborn, so training can sometimes be a challenge. To find out more about socialisation and training using reward-based techniques, take a look at our dog behaviour page.

A weekly brush is usually enough to keep the coat in good condition, but their facial wrinkles and eyes should be bathed daily.

 

Breed-related health problems:

Although some of these health problems are manageable, it’s been identified that it’s in the best interests of the dog to try and selectively breed to decrease the characteristics which cause the health problems. Some of the characteristics and associated health problems you’ll want to know more about in relation to Dogue de Bordeauxs include:

  • Joint disorders – such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia – occur when joints don’t develop correctly and cause degenerative joint disease bone and joint problems can be managed but there are schemes to screen your dog and see how likely it is that they will suffer from these joint problems.
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) – occurs in large, deep chested breeds such as Dogue de Bordeaux. The stomach fills with gas (bloat) and can twist around on itself. This most commonly occurs after they have eaten. If your dog shows any signs of bloating, vomiting unproductively (trying to be sick but nothing being produced) or if you are worried they could be bloated you should speak to your vet straight away – this condition requires urgent veterinary attention.
  • Hypothyroidism – is generally caused by an auto immune thyroiditis causing low circulating levels of thyroid hormone. Dogue de Bordeaux can be more prone to this condition but it can normally be managed with medication.
  • Eyelid problems – such as entropion and ectropion  – occur in Dogue de Bordeaux due to excessive skin over the face and eyes. This skin causes the eyelids to droop either downwards, or in towards the eye, where the skin rubs and irritates the eye, causing problems.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy  – is a degeneration of the muscles of the heart meaning the heart wall becomes thinner and less effective at pumping blood around the body. The onset can be sudden so if your Dogue de Bordeaux shows any signs of respiratory distress or exercise intolerance you should contact your vet.
  • Skin infections – Dogue de Bordeauxs have lots of extra skin, especially over their faces, which folds over and when bacteria builds up in the folds it causes skin fold pyodema.

For more information about these and other health problems you can speak to your vet or visit the kennel club or the Northern DDB Club.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

They’ll need up to an hour of exercise per day, but don’t tolerate heat well so this should always be considered when taking for walks in the summer months. During this time, we’d recommend early morning or late evening walks – before 8am or after 5pm is best.

 

2: South African Mastiff / Boerboel

At first glance, you might think the large, intimidating Boerboel would make an excellent guard dog, and you’d be correct, but this breed is equally known for being loving, calm, and family-friendly, especially towards human children. These gigantic protectors were bred to help farmers in South Africa defend their homesteads from hyenas, lions, and all manner of deadly wildlife while also providing invaluable companionship. The Boerboel, pronounced “boo-r-bull,” gets its name from Dutch/Afrikaans words that roughly translate to “farmer’s dog.” It is also known as the South African Mastiff, South African Boerboel, Borbull, or Bole. Although Boerboels are generally docile, easy to groom, and have few health problems, don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re an easy breed to handle for first time owners. These dogs are confident, territorial, and prone to pulling and chewing. They need an assertive, experienced owner with plenty of space for a massive dog that needs to exercise. If you’re interested in adopting a Boerboel, make sure you and your home are ready for the challenge. If you are, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal, protective friend for life.

Boerboels' physical strength is only matched by the strength of their devotion to their homes and families. The Boerboel breed is descended from dogs brought by Dutch settlers to South Africa who defended the homestead from hyenas, lions, leopards, and other dangerous wildlife. Today, they are prized as watchdogs, guardians, and competitors in canine competitions, as well as highly protective family companions that adore kids. They can, however, be quite territorial, and without proper training and socialization, they can exhibit aggressive tendencies to strangers and other dogs. Boerboels require plenty of mental and physical exercise. Being surprisingly agile for their size and very intelligent, their need for stimulation of both mind and body is high. Leaving them alone for too long can result in boredom and anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior. They need a home that can accommodate their size and exercise needs and a trainer who is patient and confident. In the right home, they can be an invaluable watchdog and affectionate pet for the whole family.

The name "Boerboel" comes Afrikaans/Dutch words for farmer ("boer") and dog ("boel"), and indeed they were farmers' dogs when they were bred by Dutch settlers in South Africa starting in the 1600s. They were needed to defend the homestead and hunt dangerous wildlife such as hyenas, baboons, leopards, and other big cats. Eurpoean settlers brought large, strong dogs with them to South Africa, which bred with indigenous domestic dogs and a variety of other breeds over the course of several centuries. Bulldogs and Mastiffs were also brought by the English and crossbred with Boerboels, and the Da Beers diamond mining company imported Bull Mastiffs to guard their mines, which also bred with Boerboels to make them what they are today. It is uncertain exactly which breeds make up the Boerboel's ancestry, but only the strongest dogs were able to survive the hot weather and encounters with wildlife, which contributed to the Boerboel's tenacity and strength. During the 1800s, colonists began to protest British rule of South Africa and moved inland. As a consequence, their dogs were scattered and often taken in by isolated communities, where they became necessary for hunting, herding, guarding, and protection from dangerous people. After the World Wars, South Africa became more urbanized, and Boerboels started to be crossbred with other dogs without regard for breed purity. In the 1980s, however, a group of breed enthusiasts sought to begin breeding pure Boerboels again. Due to their efforts, the Boeboel gained popularity in South Africa and started to be exported around the world. The breed, however, is still fairly rare outside of South Africa.

Size

 

Boerboels are large dogs with males averaging 24 to 28 inches in height at the shoulder, while females tend to be between 22 and 25 inches in height. Boerboels usually weigh between 110 and 200 pounds, though some can be larger or smaller.

Personality

Boerboels are playful, intelligent, and eager to please. They are happiest when given a job to do, whether it's tough farm work, guard dog duty, or preparing for a competition where they can show off their agility and strength. This breed loves human family members, even children, though they are quite overprotective at times. The same instincts that make them good watchdogs and protectors can also make them fiercely territorial and aggressive if they aren't trained or socialized properly. When having guests over, it is important for a family member to introduce them to the resident Boerboel so the dog doesn't feel threatened. Usually Boerboels are welcoming of guests that they've met and trust, though they may still be on their guard. When it comes to training, Boerboels tend to be dominant and require an assertive trainer who will use positive reinforcement and set boundaries without being harsh. This is not a dog for first time owners. Patient, consistent training should be accompanied by early socialization to prevent aggression, and Boerboels should get plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as they can get bored and anxious, which will lead to destructive behavior. Long walks, vigorous play sessions, and challenging devices like puzzle feeders can all help them get the activity they need. Being a large dog breed with moderate exercise demands, Boerboels require space, so an apartment is not their ideal environment. They do best in a home with a backyard and a high, durable fence that will give them plenty of space to safely run around. While these dogs are not for novices, they will reward the right owners by being adoring family companions that will defend their homes and humans at all costs.

Health

The Boerboel is generally considered to be a healthy breed with few known hereditary conditions. There are, however, a few ailments that they are predisposed to and may develop over the course of their lives. They may suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, heart disease, conditions that affect the eyelids, vaginal hyperplasia, and bloat. Rarely, they may also suffer from juvenile epilepsy. If you see signs of any of these conditions in your Boerboel, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.

Care

The Boerboel's main need when it comes to care is to be mentally and physically stimulated through exercise and play. Beyond that, regular care is fairly simple. Their nails should be trimmed about once every two weeks, and their teeth should be brushed regularly as recommended by a veterinarian. Boerboels' ears should be checked for debris and wax buildup weekly and cleaned as needed to avoid infection or infestation by pests.

Diet -Feeding 

A Boerboel like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your African Mastiff and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.

Coat Color And Grooming

Boerboel have short, straight overcoats that are smooth and shiny, which cover their soft, dense undercoats. They can be shades of red, fawn, brown, brindle, or black. Some have spots of white on their coat, especially around the neck, face, and paws, though it is considered a fault if more than 30 percent of the coat is white. Many Boerboels have dark markings around their eyes, mouths, and noses, and some have dark patches around their paws. The coat sheds an average amount and doesn't require much care. Weekly brushing and monthly baths should help catch the shedding fur and keep the coat healthy.

Children And Other Pets

Boerboels love their human families and are especially known for being protectors of their children. That said, they are large, playful dogs and may knock over a child by accident if things get out of hand. Children should be trained on how to interact with animals to avoid incident, as well. No poking and prodding, no matter how trained and docile a Boerboel may be. As with any dog, play time should be supervised. The Boerboel's natural protective instinct may also be an issue when children have playmates over, as the Boerboel may interpret play as aggression and defend its family. That said, this is a breed that is known for absolutely adoring the human children within the family, and you couldn't ask for a better kid protector than a gigantic, agile Boerboel. When it comes to other dogs, Boerboels do well with animals that they have been raised with and live in the same household, but they can be quite territorial and standoffish with unfamiliar dogs. They can also become competitive and aggressive with other Boerboels of the same sex. Early socialization can help keep the breed's confrontational instincts in check, but they may be best suited to a home where they are the only dog. 

 

3: English Mastiff

Mastiffs are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Three’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having visible conditions or conformational issues that can cause pain, discomfort or health issues due to exaggerations. This means that these breeds of dog have been bred over many years to look a certain way but that these changes to the way they look have started to cause them health problems.

Mastiffs are a member of the ‘Working’ breed group. Working breed dogs were bred to become guard and search and rescue dogs. Breeds in this group are specialists in their work.

Mastiffs are gentle giants – calm, good-natured dogs that tend to get on well with everyone. As with all breeds, early socialisation is important to ensure they grow up into confident, sociable dogs. They need grooming just once a week, but their facial wrinkles will need daily cleaning.

Breed-related health problems:

Although some of these health problems are manageable, it’s been identified that it’s in the best interests of the dog to try and selectively breed to decrease the characteristics which cause the health problems.

Some of the characteristics and associated health problems you’ll want to know more about in relation to Mastiffs include:

  • Eyelid problems – such as entropion and ectropion – occur in Mastiffs due to excessive skin over the face and eyes. This skin causes the eyelids to droop either downwards, or in towards the eye, where the skin rubs and irritates the eye, causing problems.
  • Cherry eye – eversion of the nictitating membrane or ‘third eyelid’ generally occurs in younger dogs and can be surgically corrected.
  • Gastric torsion or Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) – occurs in large, deep chested breeds such as Mastiffs. The stomach fills with gas (bloat) and can twist around on itself. This most commonly occurs after they have eaten. If your dog shows any signs of bloating, vomiting unproductively (trying to be sick but nothing being produced) or if you are worried they could be bloated you should speak to your vet straight away – this condition requires urgent veterinary attention.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy – is a degeneration of the muscles of the heart meaning the heart wall becomes thinner and less effective at pumping blood around the body. The onset can be sudden so if your Mastiff shows any signs of respiratory distress or exercise intolerance you should contact your vet.
  • Wobbler Syndrome – cervical spondylomyopathy is a deformity or instability of the bones in the neck which results in the compression of the spinal cord and weakness of the hind legs
  • Back Problems  – Mastiffs can suffer from back problems such as  which can cause back pain and paralysis.
  • Degenerative disc disease – is generally caused by an auto immune thyroiditis causing low circulating levels of thyroid hormone. Mastiffs can be more prone to this condition but it can generally be managed with medication.
  • Eye disease – there is a health screen for progressive retinal atrophy – a gradual loss of vision – for Mastiffs that you should speak to your vet about
  • Epilepsy – Mastiffs can be more prone to seizures due to epilepsy and it can be harder to control epilepsy with medication in Mastiffs. Speak to your vet if your Mastiff has a seizure of any kind.
  • Cancer – Mastiffs can be more prone to some forms of cancer including bone tumours (Osteosarcoma).
  • Joint disorders – such aselbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia - occur when joints don’t develop correctly and cause degenerative Joint disease. Bone and joint problems can be managed but there are schemes to screen your dog and see how likely it is that they will suffer from these joint problems.
  • Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma.
  • Panosteitis – a painful, inflammatory bone disease.

For more information about these health problems you can speak to your vet or visit the Kennel Club, The Old English Mastiff Club or The Mastiff Association.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise

As adult dogs, Mastiffs need around an hour of exercise daily, but shouldn’t be over-exercised as puppies when their bones and joints are still developing. Training will require patience, but can be achieved using reward-based techniques. For more information on training your dog, take a look at our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

Diet -Feeding 

Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your English Mastiff and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones. 

 

4: Italian Mastiff / Cane Corso

The Cane Corso (Corso for short) is a serious dog breed for a person who is serious about having a dog as a companion and who can provide him with the firm and loving guidance he needs to become a great dog. He is a family-only dog. Don’t expect him to buddy up with everyone he meets: He has no interest in people or other animals outside his family, but those within the family will have his undivided loyalty and protection. Give this dog a job. He’s unwilling to just lie around all day and will find his own “work” to do if you don’t provide it: usually running the fence and barking at passersby, digging holes to China, or chewing up your furniture. If you have a farm or ranch, he will help you with the livestock; otherwise, get him involved in a dog sport such as agility, dock diving, nose work obedience or tracking. 

 

Highlights

The Corso’s short coat comes in black, light, and dark shades of gray; light and dark shades of fawn; and red. Any of these colors may have a brindle pattern: irregular streaks of light and dark color.

Solid fawn and red Corsos may have a black or gray mask.
The Corso’s ears may be cropped or uncropped.The Corso is a working dog who needs lots of mental and physical stimulation.Corsos are not demonstrative, but they enjoy “talking” to their people with “woo woo woo” sounds, snorts, and other verbalizations.The Corso is not a good “first dog.” He requires plenty of socializationtraining, and exercise to be a good companion.

 

History

 
The Corso is one of many Mastiff  type dogs. This one was developed in Italy and is said to descend from Roman war dogs. He is more lightly built than his cousin, the Neapolitan Mastiff   and was bred to hunt game, guard property, and be an all-around farm hand. Their work included rounding up pigs or cattle and helping to drive them to market. The word “cane,” of course, is Latin for dog and derives from the word “canis.” The word “corso” may come from “cohors,” meaning bodyguard, or from “corsus,” an old Italian word meaning sturdy or robust. The breed declined as farming became more mechanized and came near to extinction, but starting in the 1970s dog fanciers worked to rebuild the Corso. The Society Amatori Cane Corso   was formed in 1983, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the breed in 1996. A man named Michael Sottile imported the first litter of Corsos to the United States in 1988, followed by a second litter in 1989. The International Cane Corso was formed in 1993. Eventually, the breed club sought recognition from the American Kennel Club ,which was granted in 2010. The breed is now governed by the Cane Corso Association of America
  • The Corso’s history describes him as having a “vigorous temperament, ready to meet any challenge.” That type of temperament can be a double-edged sword. With a confident, consistent owner who provides good leadership and prevents the dog from roaming, the Corso can be an excellent family dog who is never inappropriately aggressive, but in the wrong hands he can become aggressive and be a danger to the public. In July, two Corsos were in the newsafter they attacked and killed a jogger. The ideal Corso is docile and affectionate toward his family, including children. To get him to that point requires socialization and training from an early age. This dog will not do well in a home with anyone who is afraid of or dislikes dogs or is unable to manage a large dog. The Corso is highly intelligent. Combine that with his bossy nature, and it’s easy to see how he could come to dominate the household without firm leadership and boundaries. He will test you to see how far he can go. It’s important to let him know from the start what the rules are and to ensure that all family members understand the rules as well. Institute a “nothing in life is free” policy by requiring him to perform a command such as “Sit” or “Down” before rewarding him with a meal, treats, or a toy. Firm leadership does not mean hitting the dog — ever. That not only sends the wrong message but can also be dangerous with a large, powerful dog. The sensitive Corso understands tone of voice and responds well to praise and rewards when he has done something you like as well as to firm, rapid corrections and consistent enforcement of rules when you don’t like what he’s doing. Being calm, quiet, and self-assured will get you a lot farther with this dog than angry bluster. Consistency will allow him to relax and know you are in charge. Help the young Corso develop confidence by letting him spend time alone. This can be outdoors in a confined area such as a yard or kennel or in his crate while you are busy around the house and can’t supervise. Being alone for varying periods teaches him he’s all right on his own and you always come back. Like every dog, the Corso needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — ideally before he is four months old. Socialization helps to ensure your Corso puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog, unafraid of strangers, children, other animals, or being left alone when necessary. Without a lot of experience of the world, he can easily become fearful or aggressive. The more you socialize him, the better able he will be to determine what’s normal behavior and what actions require him to respond in a protective way. According to the Italian breed standard, the Corso should be indifferent when approached and should only react when a real threat is present. The Corso is a working breed and is required to function under high levels of stress. A Corso who cannot maintain its dictated temperament under stressful situations is one with incorrect temperament for the breed.
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  • Health

  • Corsos are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Corsos will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. The Corso can be prone to hip dysplasia; eyelid abnormalities such as entropion, ectropion, and cherry eye; demodectic mange (which can be heritable); and gastric torsion, also known as bloat. Expect breeders to have up-to-date health clearances certifying that a puppy’s parents are free of eye disease and hip dysplasia. Clearances should be in the form of an eye exam by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist with the results registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and an OFA or Pennhip evaluation of the hips. You can confirm health clearances by checking the website of the Canine Health Information Center. You should also ask if any of the breeder’s dogs have ever suffered bloat or mange.
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  • Care

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  • This working breed needs plenty of physical activity to stay in shape. Plan on taking him for a brisk walk or jog of at least a mile, morning and evening, every day. If you like to bicycle, get an attachment that will allow him to run alongside you. Go easy on puppies. Their musculoskeletal system isn’t fully developed until they are about 18 months old, so while they need more walks to help burn off their puppy energy, those walks should be shorter and slower. For mental stimulation, provide this dog with a job. Good employment for a Corso includes herding livestock (your own or a trainer’s), learning tricks, practicing obedience skills, or being involved in a dog sport. Spend at least 20 minutes a day on these types of activities. It’s okay to break it up: for instance, 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Never allow a Corso to run loose. A solid, secure fence is a must. An electronic fence will not prevent him from leaving your property if he chooses to, and it won’t protect your neighbor’s dog or cat if he wanders into your yard. Finally, be prepared for the amount of care and large bills that can go along with owning a large dog. There’s more poop to scoop, and essentials such as spay/neuter surgery are more expensive for big dogs than for small ones. If your Corso needs surgery for any other reason, the cost of anesthesia will be high because he needs more of it than a small dog, as well as larger amounts of pain medication after surgery. Finally, there are the costs of training class, entry fees for dog sports, and pet-sitting or boarding when you are away from home. Take all of these expenses into consideration before acquiring a Corso because you will be facing them for 10 to 12 years
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    Diet -Feeding

    Recommended daily amount: If you are feeding a high-quality dry food, your Corso will probably eat 4 to 5 cups a day. Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl. Keep your Corso in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard.

    Coat Color And Grooming

    The Corso has a short, stiff coat with a light undercoat. It can be black, gray, red or fawn and may or may not have a brindle pattern. The coat sheds heavily twice a year, so have a good vacuum cleaner on hand to suck up the dust bunnies. If you plan to bathe your Corso on a regular basis, accustom him to the experience at an early age. Bathe him weekly as a young pup, teaching him the command “Bath,” so that he learns to expect and accept it. Give him plenty of praise and rewards to sweeten the deal.Brush your Cane Corso’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath. To prevent painful tears and other problems, trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you're not experienced at trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers. Check ears weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear. Begin accustoming your Corso to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult. As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

     

    Mixing With Children And Other Pets

     

     

    When he is properly raised, trained, and socialized, the Corso can be loving toward and protective of children. It’s important, however, that puppies and adult dogs not be given any opportunity to chase children and that kids avoid making high-pitched sounds in his presence. Running and squealing may cause the Corso to associate children with prey. Keep him confined when kids are running around outdoors and making lots of noise, especially if your children have friends over. The Corso may think it necessary to step in and protect “his” kids, and that is unlikely to end well. Games of fetch or — for young children — helping to hold the leash are good ways for children to interact with a Cane Corso puppy or adult. As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how loving, should ever be left unsupervised with a child. The Corso may get along with other dogs or cats if he is raised with them, but he will likely view strange animals as prey and do his best to kill them. It’s essential to be able to protect neighbors’ pets from him. This is another instance in which socialization is a must. Your Cane Corso should learn from an early age to remain calm in the presence of other dogs. If you do get a second dog, either another Cane Corso or a different breed, it is best to choose one of the opposite sex.

    5: Argentinian Mastiff / Dogo Argentino

    The Dogo Argentino is a Molosser-type breed developed in Argentina as a pack hunting dog.  Developed almost entirely by Antonio Nores Martinez and his brother Agustin, the Dogo Argentino was traditionally used to hunt boar and cougar, but has more recently found work as a personal protection animal and family companion.  Renowned for its tremendous courage and physical capabilities, the breed is also known for its massive size, powerful appearance, and solid white coat.  Although only recently introduced into the United States, the Dogo Argentino is quickly growing in popularity and has already earned a large number of fanciers.  The Dogo Argentino is also known as the Argentine Dogo, Argentine Mastiff, and the Dogo.

    he Dogo Argentino was the result of a carefully planned and executed breeding program conducted by Antonio Nores Martinez and his brother Agustin.  Because the pair kept excellent records and their family continues to breed Dogo Argentinos to this day, more is known about the development of this breed than almost any other.  The Dogo Argentino is considered to be a member of the Molosser family, also known as the Mastiffs, Dogues, and Alaunts.  Although each breed is different, the family is characterized by massive size, large heads and jaws, a brachycephalic (pushed-in) face, strong protective instincts, and a European or Near Eastern ancestry. 

    The history of the Dogo Argentino begins with the Fighting Dog of Cordoba, also known as the Cordoban Fighting Dog or Cordoban Bulldog.  When the Spanish conquered the New World, they made extensive use of war dogs to subdue the native populations.  Many of these dogs were Alanos, athletic Molosser-type dogs which are still found in Spain.  Alanos were not only used for war, but for personal protection, bullfights, hunting, and as catch dogs working with recalcitrant livestock.  At one point, Alanos and other Molossers were probably found throughout Argentina working in the nation’s massively important cattle industry.  During the 18th and 19th Centuries, the British population exploded to the point that the island could no longer provide enough food for its inhabitants.  At this point grain imports became very important to the British Empire, and Argentina with its large fertile plains became one of Britain’s primary sources.  British ships regularly docked at Argentine ports, and many of these vessels carried dogs.  After bull baiting and bear baiting were banned in the 1835, dog fighting became one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom.  British breeders crossed Bulldogs with Terriers to create a dog that combined the power, tenacity, size, and ferocity of the Bulldog with the speed, dog aggressiveness, determination, and athleticism of a Terrier.  Such crosses were known as Bull and Terriers, and eventually gave rise to the Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeds.  British sailors brought their Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers along on voyages for companionship and to fight them as sport. 

    In the mid to late 1800’s, Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers began to arrive in Argentina.  The Argentines were very impressed by the fighting prowess of these dogs, and were also quite entertained by their battles and the gambling that invariably accompanied it.  A number of Argentines acquired these dogs and began to stage their own battles. As a result Cordoba, Argentina’s second largest city after Buenos Aires, would go on to become a major dog fighting hub.  In an effort to improve upon the imported dogs Cordoban breeders began crossing the biggest and best fighting dogs to develop their own breed for the purpose; a breed which would become known as the Cordoban Fighting Dog.  The Cordoban Fighting Dog was primarily based on the Bull Terrier, but was heavily influenced by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and local Alanos as well.  Other breeds may also have gone into its development such as the Perro de Presa Canario, Fila Brasileiro, English Mastiff, English Bulldog, Boxer, and Bullenbeiser, but such records have been lost to history.  The Cordoban Fighting Dog became legendary as a fighter, extremely ferocious in the pit, and willing to fight to the death.  These dogs were so aggressive that it was almost impossible to get them to mate because they were so likely to fight.  Local hunters would also discover that the breeds size and aggressiveness would make it one of the only dogs capable of hunting wild boar.  The Cordoban Fighting Dog was not only smart enough to avoid being killed by a boar, but also strong and ferocious enough to hold onto it until it could be killed.  Unfortunately, Cordoban Fighting Dogs could only be used alone or sometimes in a male and female pair because the breed was far too aggressive to work with other dogs.

    The Dogo Argentino has a temperament that is generally similar to that of other Molossers, but this breed is somewhat softer tempered and more driven than many other family members. The Dogo Argentino is an extremely people-oriented breed.  This dog forms incredibly close attachments to all members of its family and craves to be in their presence at all times.  This can be a problem as more than a few breed members develop severe separation anxiety.  The Dogo Argentino is a breed that wants constant close personal contact, and many of them come to believe that they are lap dogs.  This is not the ideal breed for anyone who doesn’t want a one hundred plus pound dog constantly attempting to lie on top of or lean against them.  Although devoted and affectionate, this breed is often very dominant and challenging, making it a very poor choice for a novice dog owne

    Although there is a growing fear among fanciers that inexperienced breeders may eventually compromise the health of the Dogo Argentino, this breed remains in considerably better health than the vast majority of breeds of this size.  The Dogo Argentino suffers from fewer health problems than most giant breeds, and also from lower rates.  As a result, the breed has a life expectancy of between 10 or 12 years, considerably longer than many similar dogs. 

    Dogo Argentinos do suffer from very high rates of one serious problem, deafness.  Although it does not appear that any wide ranging health studies have been conducted, it is known that this is a very common problem in the breed.  The genes responsible for hearing and color are closely linked in dogs, and most white coated breeds suffer from high rates of deafness.  Solidly white animals with blue eyes are virtually always deaf, which is why dark eyes are so greatly preferred by breeders and in the show ring.  Congenital deafness in Dogo Argentinos may either be bilateral (deaf in both ears) or unilateral (deaf in one ear).  Unilaterally deaf animals should not be used for breeding but almost always make just as good pets or working animals.  Bilaterally deaf dogs are extremely difficult to handle along with being unpredictable, and most breeders have them humanely euthanized when their defect is discovered.  It is very important that anyone considering acquiring a Dogo Argentino puppy make sure that it has had its hearing tested.

     6: Japanese Mastiff / Tosa Inu

    The Tosa-Inu, also called the Japanese Mastiff, is a breed of fighting dog that was developed in Japan from the mid-nineteenth century. Outside Japan, the Tosa was crossbred with large and giant breeds, including the Great Dane and Mastiff, to produce very large individuals, while those bred in Japan remain truer to the original type, at around half the size. The breed is considered “dangerous” in many jurisdictions, and ownership in the UK and Ireland is strictly controlled and subject to license. In the right environment, with firm discipline and a confident owner, a Tosa can be a placid, easy-going giant. However, aggression toward other animals is a significant problem, and aggression toward strangers can also be an issue without adequate socialisation and training.

    The breed is not recommended for families with children or other pets, and ownership comes at a large cost, both financially and in terms of responsibility. Tosas need regular intense exercise to stave off boredom and frustration, and enjoy activities, such as cart-pulling, which provide more vigorous exercise than simply lead walking or running. Being a mastiff breed, the Tosa-Inu is known to be a heavy drooler, and its large bulk means that it is not an ideal indoor-only dog. The breed is generally very healthy, with a life expectancy of 10–12 years.

    Dog fighting has long been a popular pursuit in Japan, and it still is today, particularly in rural areas, where tournaments are often organised and supported by the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Dogs involved in these events must be fearless, aggressive, and powerful, and these traits may be seen in the Tosa-Inu, which is still the dog of choice for these fights. Participants are frequently seriously injured or killed, and animal rights groups are actively campaigning for the banning of this “sport”. The breed was developed from molosser dogs, which were large mastiffs used throughout Asia and Europe for centuries as warriors and guard dogs. The modern Japanese form of the breed was established around the mid-1800s.

    Dogs exported from Japan to Europe from this point in time were bred with a succession of larger breeds, from the Bulldog and Mastiff to the Great Dane, to produce a western variety of the breed that is significantly larger and more imposing than its Japanese parent stock. The breed has never attracted a large following outside of its homeland, where thousands of litters were being bred annually in the mid-twentieth century. Part of the reason for this is the potential for behavioural problems and attacks on animals and humans, which has led to the introduction of either bans or strict controls on Tosa ownership in many countries.

    In the UK, ownership or import of Tosa-Inus requires a legal exemption issued by a court, while in Ireland, the breed has been banned from public housing projects, and is considered dangerous. The Tosa is not officially recognised by either the UK or American Kennel Clubs, and the breed standard in general use is that issued by the Federation Cynologique Internationale.

    The Tosa is a massive dog that carries itself with dignity, in the manner of the Great Dane used in its development. It has a strong, broad skull with heavy temporal muscling, and a pronounced stop leading to a powerful, square muzzle. The jaws and teeth are very well developed, and it is important the breed has a perfect scissor bite with no hint of an overbite. The ears are quite small and thin, and hang close to the side of the face, where they are set high. The eyes are a dark brown in colour, are quite small, and usually convey a serene expression.

    Every part of the Tosa is heavily-muscled, and this is particularly pronounced in the neck, which has a broad muscular arch, and a dewlap of redundant skin, which is useful to the dog when fighting, so as to allow it to turn on its attacker even while being held. The high withers lead to a wide, straight back and loins, and even the base of the tail is massively muscled. The chest is moderately well sprung, and is deep, which causes the abdomen to be sharply tucked.

    The limbs are well angulated, which allows for athleticism and the maximum return on muscular effort. The breed has strong, heavy boning, and tight paws with well developed pads. The Tosa has a short coat of hard, coarse hair. 

    Exercise 

    Though happy to spend large amounts of time relaxing, Tosa-Inus do need a good deal of daily exercise. Between one and two hours should be allotted daily for walking or jogging, as well as providing access to a secure outdoor garden or yard. Ideally, Tosas should be given more vigorous exercise, for example, pulling a cart, or can be provided with a weighted doggy backpack while out walking. Such exercise aids will give the dog more satisfaction from its daily activities, and reduce the likelihood of aggressive or other undesirable behaviours.

    Grooming

    Because the breed’s coat is short and coarse, it does not generally require any special care. Weekly brushing will help to keep the skin and hair in good condition, and occasional bathing may be necessary to help remove any more tenacious dirt and to deodorise. Tosas shed a small amount year-round, and also drool quite a bit, though not as heavily as some other mastiffs. For these reasons, it requires more effort to maintain a Tosa’s home than to groom the dog himself, and keeping packs of baby wipes around the home is a useful way to manage the inevitable pools of slobber before they dry into furniture and carpets.

    Tosa-Inus have very strong nails, which are usually dark. Keeping these trimmed is important to prevent them growing into the pads. This requires a strong set of nail clippers, and the habit of nail trimming should be introduced to pups at a young age so it is not resented later in life. With dark nails, it is not possible to visualise the sensitive quick within, and so small, regular trims are preferable to taking larger chunks less frequently, when the risk of hitting this vascular structure increases.

    Diet -Feeding 

    Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your Tosa Inu  and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.

     

    7: Neapolitan Mastiff / Italian Mastiff

    Neapolitan Mastiffs are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Three’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having visible conditions or conformational issues that can cause pain, discomfort or health issues due to exaggerations. This means that these breeds of dog have been bred over many years to look a certain way but that these changes to the way they look have started to cause them health problems.

    Neapolitan Mastiffs are a member of the ‘Working’ breed group. Working breed dogs were bred to become guard and search and rescue dogs. Breeds in this group are specialists in their work.

    Neapolitan Mastiffs are loyal, devoted dogs that love family life. Grooming is minimal, and brushing once a week is generally all that’s needed to keep the coat in good condition. Their skin folds will need daily cleaning.

    Breed-related health problems:

    Although some of these health problems are manageable, it’s been identified that it’s in the best interests of the dog to try and selectively breed to decrease the characteristics which cause the health problems.

    Some of the characteristics and associated health problems you’ll want to know more about in relation to Neapolitan Mastiffs include:

    • Eyelid problems – such as entropion and ectropion – occur in Neapolitan Mastiffs due to excessive skin over the face and eyes. This skin causes the eyelids to droop either downwards, or in towards the eye, where the skin rubs and irritates the eye, causing problems.
    • Cherry eye – eversion of the nictitating membrane or ‘third eyelid’ generally occurs in younger dogs and can be surgically corrected.
    • Gastric torsion or Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) – occurs in large, deep chested breeds such as Neapolitan Mastiffs. The stomach fills with gas (bloat) and can twist around on itself. This most commonly occurs after they have eaten. If your dog shows any signs of bloating, vomiting unproductively (trying to be sick but nothing being produced) or if you are worried they could be bloated you should speak to your vet straight away – this condition requires urgent veterinary attention.
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy – is a degeneration of the muscles of the heart meaning the heart wall becomes thinner and less effective at pumping blood around the body. The onset can be sudden so if your Neapolitan Mastiff shows any signs of respiratory distress or exercise intolerance you should contact your vet.
    • Wobbler Syndrome – cervical spondylomyopathy is a deformity or instability of the bones in the neck which results in the compression of the spinal cord and weakness of the hind legs.
    • Back Problems – Neapolitan Mastiffs can suffer from back problems such as degenerative disc disease which can cause back pain and paralysis.
    • Hypothyroidism – is generally caused by an auto immune thyroiditis causing low circulating levels of thyroid hormone. Neapolitan Mastiffs can be more prone to this condition but it can generally be managed with medication.
    • Epilepsy – Neapolitan Mastiffs can be more prone to seizures due to epilepsy and it can be harder to control epilepsy with medication in Neapolitan Mastiffs. Speak to your vet if your Neapolitan Mastiff has a seizure of any kind.
    • Cancer – Neapolitan Mastiffs can be more prone to some forms of cancer including bone tumours (osteosarcomas).

    For more information about these health problems you can speak to your vet or visit the Kennel Club or The Neapolitan Mastiff Club.

    For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

    Exercise requirements:

    As adult dogs, Neapolitan Mastiffs need around an hour of exercise daily, but shouldn’t be over-exercised as puppies when their bones and joints are still developing. Training will require patience, but can be achieved using reward-based techniques. For more information on training your dog, take a look at our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other. 

    Diet -Feeding 

    Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your Neapolitan Mastiff  and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.

     

    8: Pakistani Mastiff / Bully Kutta

    Theories suggest that, during the British invasion, the British troops were brought to India with his Mastiff dogs in the 1700s.  This breed was introduced into Greece by Xerxes the First when he marched towards this country in 486-465 B.C. The origin of the Alangu Mastiff can be traced back to parts of Rajasthan, the Bhawalpur area of Punjab, and the desert area of Kutch.

    The actual origins of the Bully Kutta are actually fairly ambiguous. There have also been extensive disputes about the country of origin of this breed, with some claiming it to be India, while the others Pakistan. The breed was used mostly for hunting large game such as bears and wild boars during the Mughal Empire. Some experts believe that dogs were originally domesticated between 12,000 and 25,000 years ago.

    The Bully Kutta strain present in northern Pakistan is said to have been influenced by the Central Asian Mastiff, In modern times it has been used mainly as a guard dog and a home guard. It is also referred to as the Indian Alangu Mastiff. These dogs are known as the Indian Alangu Mastiff due to the fact that these dogs hail from southern India specifically from Tiruchi and Thanjavur districts.

     

    9: Tibetan Mastiff

    Tibetan Mastiffs are a member of the ‘Working’ breed group. Working breed dogs were bred to become guard and search and rescue dogs. Breeds in this group are specialists in their work.

    Tibetan Mastiffs are known to be quite independent and strong-willed. They are devoted and affectionate towards their owners, and because of this can be very protective. As with all breeds, early socialisation is very important to get them used to other pets, people and a variety of situations, meaning they’ll grow up into sociable, confident dogs – for more tips on how to socialise your Tibetan Mastiff, take a look at our dog behaviour page.

    Their thick coats need brushing several times a week, and often daily when shedding. Tibetan Mastiffs are very vocal, particularly at night.

    Breed-related health problems:

    Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Tibetan Mastiffs are prone to include:

    • Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
    • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds.

    For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

    You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

    Exercise requirements:

    As adult dogs, Tibetan Mastiffs need around an hour of exercise daily, but shouldn’t be over-exercised as puppies when their bones and joints are still developing. Training will require patience, but can be achieved using reward-based techniques.

    Diet -Feeding 

    Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your Tibetan Mastiffs and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.

     

    10: Korean Mastiff / Dosa Gae

    History and Origin of the Korean Mastiff 

    Little information is available on the Korean Mastiff’s history outside of its native home of Korea. From the little information that is known, it is evident the breed was probably created over 200 years ago. Aside from being called a Korean Mastiff, the breed is known by several other names including Dosa Gae, Mee-Kyun Dosa, and Dosa Inu.

    Sources say the breed was developed sometime during the 19th century from breeds such as the Tosa Inu, Dogue de Bordeaux, English Mastiffs, and quite possibly both the Bloodhound and Neapolitan Mastiff. In South Korea, the Korean Mastiff is the largest and heaviest dog available.

    Appearance

    The Korean Mastiff has a similar appearance to the Neapolitan Mastiff with the large amounts of wrinkles that they have. The dogs are rather large reaching heights of 24 to 30 inches at the shoulder, and weighing between 145 and 185 pounds. The dogs have a short, very shiny coat that comes in several colors. The coat colors include red, chocolate, and mahogany; a small white patch on the dog’s chest is permitted.

    Korean Mastiff Temperament and Personality

    The dog’s look should not fool you; although the Korean Mastiffs look intimidating, they are actually a very kind and docile breed. These dogs tend to bond closely with owners and want nothing more than human company. Early socialization is important with this breed, in order for the dog to be good with children and other pets. If socialization is done properly, you will get a good-natured dog that is both protective and gentle.

    Due to the large size of the breed, it is important for the dog to understand who the boss is. A Korean Mastiff that sees itself as pack leader will prevent you and your dog from developing a good relationship. Overall, this is a wonderful breed for families because these large dogs like to think they are lap dogs and will “lean” on their favorite people for support.

    Health of the Breed

    This breed, like many other purebreds, is prone to several health issues. Since the dogs are a larger breed, they are a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia. In addition, these dogs require a strict diet as to not get bloat. Much like the Chow Chow, the Korean Mastiff is prone to several genetic eye conditions such as entropion and cherry eye. Finally, the breed is heavily wrinkled which means that care should be given to the dog’s skin folds to avoid skin infections. The wrinkles can also leave other organs of the dog’s body vulnerable, so these dogs can become expensive to own.

    Exercise and Other Care Requirements

    The Korean Mastiff is a large breed of dog that grows very rapidly as a puppy; because of this, strict care should be taken when feeding and exercising the puppy. These dogs should be fed the correct amount of food each day (2 to 3 small meals), and should avoid strenuous exercise at too young of an age so the dog’s bones will properly form. These dogs have a moderate energy level, but they are inclined to be lazy. The best option is to give the dog enough space and time to run around freely on its own; this way the dog can decide when it is done.

    Diet -Feeding 

    Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your  Korean Mastiffs and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.

     

    11: German Mastiff / Great Dane

    The Great Dane is one of the best known dog breeds in the world, in addition to being one of the tallest.  Despite the breed’s name, it was developed in Germany, not Denmark.  Originally bred to hunt boar and wolves, the Great Dane is now much better known as a loving family companion.  Due to the breed’s massive size and often comical nature, the Great Dane regularly appears in film, television, and print.  There is perhaps no breed with as many names as the Great Dane, which is also known as the Danische Dogge, Danish Mastiff, Grand Danois, Dane, Deutsche Dogge, Dogge, German Mastiff, Doggen, German Dog, Dogue Allemand, Boarhound, Boarhund, German Boar Dog, German Boar Mastiff, Gentle Giant, Marmaduke Dog, Scooby Dog, and the Apollo of Dogs.

    The Great Dane was developed many centuries before written records were kept of dog breeding.  As a result, virtually nothing is known for sure about its ancestry.  Many have attempted to fill in this knowledge gap with speculation and wild guessing, but most of what his said has little to no basis in fact.  There are a number of theories with a solid basis in reality, and a few facts are indisputably clear.  The Great Dane was definitely developed in Germany at least several hundred, and perhaps several thousand, years ago.  The breed is almost certainly a member of the Molosser family, also known as the Mastiffs, Dogues, and Alaunts.  Although each breed is different, these breeds are characterized by large size, great power, brachycephalic (pushed-in) faces, a strong protective instinct, and a Western European ancestry.

    The Great Dane is perhaps the most visually impressive of all dog breeds with its immense size, athletic appearance, often beautiful coat, regal bearing, and gentle eyes.  This dog is often so finely chiseled that it has been nicknamed the Apollo of Dogs.  The Great Dane is one of the world’s tallest dog breeds.  Although its average height is slightly less than the average height of a few other breeds such as the Irish Wolfhound, the last several individual record holders for world’s tallest dog have all been Great Danes.  The average male Great Dane stands between 30 and 36 inches tall at the shoulder, but several have exceeded 40 inches.  The slightly smaller females typically stand between 28 and 34 inches tall at the shoulder. The weight of the Great Dane is tremendously influenced by the height, build, and condition of the individual dog, but generally ranges from 100 to 200 pounds (it is far from unheard of for this breed to top 300).  Despite its great size, the Great Dane is not an exceptionally heavily-built dog.  The ideal Great Dane should be the perfect balance between power and athleticism, and this breed has plenty of both.  Although now primarily a companion, the Great Dane should maintain the appearance of a working dog, and this breed is often incredibly muscular and fit.  The Great Dane is a generally squarely proportioned dog but may be slightly longer than it is tall.  The legs of this breed should be long and sturdily built, and are very comparable to small trees.  The tail of the Great Dane is of average length for a dog of this size, and should always be held straight down when the dog is at rest.

    The Great Dane is almost as famous for its gentle and affectionate temperament as its striking appearance.  Known as the Gentle Giant, the Great Dane is renowned as a family pet all across the world.  This breed forms extraordinarily strong attachments to its family, to whom it shows intense loyalty and devotion.  Great Danes want to be in the constant presence of their families, and this breed is known to suffer from severe separation anxiety.  This is the classic example of a big dog that thinks it’s a lap dog, which is undesirable for those who do not wish to be crushed by 200 pounds of bone and muscle.  When properly socialized, most adult Great Danes are very gentle and affectionate with children.  Great Dane puppies are usually not a good choice for a house with very young children as they are very likely to bowl them over in youthful exuberance.  Because of the size of this dog, careful supervision around children is always necessary. 

    Great Danes vary substantially in their reactions to strangers.  When properly socialized, most breed members will be very polite and accepting.  However, some lines are extremely eager to meet new people and see every stranger as a potential friend while others are very reserved and potentially even suspicious.  Human aggression is not a common problem among Great Danes, but when it occurs it is an extremely serious one due to the dog’s size and power.  This makes socialization and training extremely important.  Most (but certainly not all) Great Danes make alert watchdogs whose bark will make most potential intruders seriously reconsider.  The majority of Great Danes make very poor guard dogs as they are more likely to welcome an intruder than show one aggression, although some owners have successfully trained certain lines of Great Dane for protection.  Breed members do seem to be aware of when a loved one is in physical danger, and a Great Dane defending its family would be an extremely undesirable foe to have.

    Grooming 

    Great Danes have relatively low coat care requirements.  This dog does not need to be taken to professional groomers as a regular brushing will suffice.  However, this regular brushing can take quite a bit of time due to the size of the dog.  Great Danes are considered average shedders, but because of their size produce many times the amount of hair that smaller dogs will.  This breed can and will absolutely cover a home with dog hair.  Though this breed does not need too much maintenance, every individual task is very time consuming because of the dogs size.  It is absolutely imperative that owners begin regular maintenance procedures as early and as carefully as possible.  It is much easier to give a forty pound and interested puppy a bath than a scared 150 pound adult.

    Issues with health 

    The Great Dane is generally regarded as being in poor to very poor health.  This breed suffers from very high rates of a number of very serious health conditions, and has one of the shortest life expectancies of any breed.  The average life expectancy for a Great Dane is between 5 and 8 years, and it is extremely rare for a breed member to reach 10.  These health problems have been greatly exacerbated by irresponsible and commercial breeding practices.  Veterinarians and Great Dane breeders are currently working together to develop tests and breeding programs that will hopefully reduce or eliminate these problems, but their efforts are hampered by breeders who do not test their dogs. 

    Bloat is easily the greatest concern to all Great Dane owners.  Bloat is the leading killer of Great Danes, and is responsible for between 1/3 and ½ of all Great Dane deaths.  Great Danes are also easily the breed at greatest risk of bloat.  Bloat occurs when the stomach and other body organs twist around inside the chest cavity, sometimes multiple times.  This causes a multitude of severe problems, many of which are fatal.  Bloat is very commonly fatal without emergency surgery.  Perhaps the greatest danger of bloat is the speed at which it develops and kills.  A perfectly healthy Great Dane can be dead in a matter of hours.  Bloat is not entirely understood, but dogs with wide chests that do not firmly embrace the internal organs are at greatest risk.  Overeating followed by over exercising can cause bloat so it is recommended that owners prevent their Great Danes from exercising immediately after eating and also that they be fed three or four small meals a day rather than one or two large ones. 

    Great Danes are extremely expensive to keep, often many times what an average sized dog will.  Obviously, they need to eat a great deal more, but the specialty food the need is also typically more expensive.  Everything else they need is larger and therefore more expensive as well, such as crates, dog beds, toys, and treats.  They also require larger and therefore more costly amounts of medicine such as flea preventatives and anesthetics.  Because many breed members are in poor health, they also require frequent veterinary visits and costly procedures.  Families considering acquiring a Great Dane need to seriously think about whether they can actually afford one of these dogs.

    Diet -Feeding 

    The recommended diet for a Great Dane varies depending on age. For puppies less than 2 years a light lean diet is recommended. As your puppy may have quite a bit of energy you want to provide it with a healthy diet, yet at other times it will be lazy. This is due to the rapid rate of growth that danes undergo. Most large breed foods are too protein rich for danes and it is advised that you avoid these. Between 2 and 5 years a protein level of no more than 24 to 28 percent is recommended. As the modern great dane is not a high performance animal, but that of a regal lap dog, a high protein level may simply cause loose stool in your dane. Be sure that your food has a healthy range of pro-biotics for essential health and to prevent immune-deficiencies. The teeth should be maintained weekly with either raw natural bones, or regular tooth brushing. As with all dogs, ensure you always have clean, fresh and cool water available at all times.

     

    12: American Mastiff

    The American Mastiff is a large, powerful dog with a wide, heavy, rectangular-shaped head and a powerfully muscular build. The breed has a deep, rounded chest and well-sprung ribs. Their limbs are well-built, straight, and well-muscled, and their burly necks are thick and slightly arched. American Mastiffs have a long tail that reaches the hocks, and a pair of high set ears that are semi-round in shape. Their medium-sized muzzle is well-proportioned and features a black nose. American Mastiffs have teeth that close in a scissors bite and dark, amber-colored eyes. American Mastiff puppies are born darkly colored, and as they get older they become lighter. The breed’s coat can vary slightly in color, but is usually a light fawn that may or may not have some white markings.

    Temperament 

    American Mastiffs make excellent family pets as they are terrific with children and hopelessly devoted to their owners. They are dignified, mellow, calm, and quiet. While American Mastiffs are very protective, they are never aggressive. Rather, they make excellent watch dogs and only attack if their families (especially children) are in danger. American Mastiffs are social, wise, and gentle with people, and they are very patient with small children and other animals.

    Health Issues 

    Part of the reason the American Mastiff was bred was to deal with some of the health issues the English Mastiff has. Breeders argue they had success with that, English Mastiff breeders say they did not. Being a recent development it is hard to say who is correct as yet, more time is needed. Issues to be aware of that the English Mastiff faces includes skeletal growth abnormalities, bloat, arthritis, breathing problems, lameness, eye problems, joint dysplasia, heart problems, skin problems, hypothyroidism and bladder problems.

    Diet -Feeding 

    Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your American Mastiff and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.

     

    13: Bullmastiff

    The Bullmastiff isn’t quite as large as his close cousin the Mastiff. Still, standing as high as 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 100 and 130 pounds, this is still a whole lot of dog. After the first impression made by the Bullmastiff’s size, it is the large, broad head that conveys the breed’s essence: the dark eyes, high-set V-shaped ears, and broad, deep muzzle all combine to present the intelligence, alertness, and confidence that make the Bullmastiff a world-class protector and family companion. Coats come in fawn, red, or brindle.

    These are biddable and reliable creatures, but as with any large guarding dog, owners must begin training and socialization early, while the puppy is still small enough to control.

     

    Exercise

    As adult dogs, Mastiffs need around an hour of exercise daily, but shouldn’t be over-exercised as puppies when their bones and joints are still developing. Training will require patience, but can be achieved using reward-based techniques. For more information on training your dog, take a look at our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

    Diet -Feeding 

    Like most giant breeds diet should be formulated for a large to giant breed with moderate to high exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your Bull Mastiff and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements, suggested food diet consists of fruit, vegetables, raw chickens whole raw eggs as the shell's are high in natural calcium (never feed cooked!) and a high end kibble, also a joint aid supplement is recommended, not forgetting 10% bones.