• Spanish Mastiff Dog
  • Spanish Mastiffs
  • Spanish Mastiffs in the UK
  • Spanish Mastiff Puppies
  • Spanish Mastiff
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Height: 72 - 88cm M | 72 - 88cm F
Weight: 90 - 120kg M | 52 - 77kg F
Life Expectancy: 10 - 11 Years

Thinking of buying or adopting a Spanish Mastiff?


Introduction

The Spanish Mastiff or Mastín Español is an ancient herding breed that is native to Spain. He descended from the Molosser-type breed of dogs, much like most Mastiff dogs. For thousands of years, shepherds used him to guard over flocks of sheep from deadly predators.

Spanish Mastiffs are loyal and protective family dogs. They love hanging around and playing with children. Training them can be difficult as they are independent and stubborn. Thus, they need experienced owners who know how to handle them.

The Spanish Mastiff breed sheds heavily and needs regular weekly grooming. His exercise needs are moderate as he is not a highly energetic dog. The lifespan of this large herding breed is around 10–11 years.


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History

An ancient dog breed that has existed for around 2,000 years, the Spanish Mastiff was first known in writings from the Iberian Peninsula. It is believed that the Greeks and Phoenicians brought this giant dog breed before the Roman invasion. The Spanish Mastiff is also known as Mastín Español.

Whilst large parts of this dog breed's origins are unclear; some speculate that he was a descendant of ancient Molosser-type dogs. Moreover, the Spanish Mastiff is said to have contributed to the creation of other Mastiff dog breeds. These include the Asian Shepherd, Saint Bernard, and Dogo Argentino.

The Spanish Mastiff was primarily developed to be a fearless and bold livestock guardian dog. He protected sheep from wolves and other predators, including bears and lynxes. In the 10th century, the Spanish Mastiff dog breed's popularity gradually grew. The dog breed skyrocketed in the 12th century as a new breed of sheep called Merino was created.

According to the Spanish Shepherd's Association records, this herding breed became the lead guard dog during the migration of 3.5 million sheep in 1526. These large dogs travel with shepherds and their flocks from the south of Spain to its mountainous slopes in the north every year.

For every 100 sheep, at least one Spanish Mastiff was guarding them. Their white coat allows them to blend nicely with the flock. At the same time, it distinguishes them from the predators.

Spain's fondness for this large breed can be seen in various literary works and arts found within the country. One of most renowned is the painting of Diego Velázquez called Las Meninas made in 1656.

It depicted a brown Spanish Mastiff type of dog relaxing while together with his family, composed of adults and children. The Las Meninas painting can be found in Museo del Prado in Madrid today.

In the early 20th century, the Spanish Mastiff was often shown in various dog shows. However, it was not until 1946 that the dog breed's standard was established. Major kennel clubs do not yet recognise this large breed.

However, he is acknowledged by the American Kennel Club within their Foundation Stock Service. It is a step to getting the Spanish Mastiff accepted as an official breed.

In the present day, Spanish Mastiffs continue to become famous herding dogs and guard dogs in Spain. They were even titled as the country's national dog breed. There are over 24,000 Spanish Mastiff dogs found in Spain.

Most of them can be found in the province of Leon located in northwestern Spain. This place is now dubbed as the Spanish Mastiff capital.

Although this large breed is greatly favoured in his native land, not much of him is heard outside Spain. Thus, he is a very rare breed in other countries. Today, the Spanish Mastiff also excels in tracking, hunting, and police and military work.


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Appearance and Grooming

The Spanish Mastiff breed is a massive-sized working dog. Among all native Spanish dog breeds, he is the largest. This giant breed is also the heaviest livestock guardian dog.

In general, he measures around 72–88 centimetres (28–35 inches) in height. A male Spanish Mastiff weighs approximately 90–100 kilos (185–220 pounds), whilst a female Spanish Mastiff weighs 52–77 kilos (145–170 pounds). Some male Spanish Mastiffs can be as heavy as 120 kilos (265 pounds). Female Spanish Mastiffs are typically 15% shorter and lighter compared to males.

Mastiff breeds usually have a big litter size that can consist of up to 10 puppies. It is believed that this applies to the Spanish Mastiff. Large breeds are known to be naturally slow to mature. It would take Spanish Mastiff puppies a maximum of 3 years to become adult Spanish Mastiffs.

The Spanish Mastiff breed has a well-muscled and sturdy body with a wide chest. His neck has a distinctive dewlap of skin. He has a huge head with small, brown almond-shaped eyes. He has small ears that loosely land at the side of his head. His jaws are powerful, and his lips sag down.

The Spanish Mastiff has loose skin that folds in several wrinkles. However, he is less wrinkly compared to other Mastiffs. His short coat is dense and straight. It grows slightly longer over his back and tail.

This dog breed has several coat colors, including black, brindle, yellow, grey, red, and black. The most common coloration, however, is fawn.

The Spanish Mastiff breed has a double coat that sheds lightly throughout the year. But heavy shedding also occurs twice annually, and he blows his coat during spring. Dog owners who want to add this large dog into their home should be ready to regularly cleaning their house from fur.

Twice a week of brushing is recommended to help manage the Spanish Mastiff's shedding. Slick brush, grooming rake, and pin brush are ideal choices that can effectively get rid of excess fur. As this large breed tends to quickly become stinky, bathing should be done once a month.

The Spanish Mastiff has long floppy ears that make him highly prone to ear infections. Thus, weekly cleaning is necessary to prevent wax and debris build-up. Clip his nails monthly to keep them from becoming overgrown.

Dental care should be given attention as well. Aim to brush his teeth every day. Know that this herding breed is a drooler, so always have a clean towel with you to wipe off his slobber.

Spanish Mastiffs' double coat helps them regulate their body heat. However, they cannot withstand extremely hot conditions with high humidity. Limit your dog's excursions outside during hot summer days and provide him plenty of freshwater. Keep him in a cool air-conditioned room to avoid the risk of overheating.


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Temperament and Intelligence

As a courageous and resolute herding breed, the Spanish Mastiff is a calm and gentle yet protective canine companion. He is very loyal towards his owner and is keen to defend them from harm. He makes a great watchdog and guarding dog.

The Spanish Mastiff is an intelligent breed, but he can be quite a handful to train. His stubbornness and selective deafness are common stumbling blocks during training. He will readily challenge the authority of a novice or meek handler.

For this reason, this highly independent herding breed is more suitable for experienced owners. They should be ready to take on the alpha role to keep the Spanish Mastiff in line.

Confident leadership and consistency are crucial components to successfully train this large breed as well. Never use cruel punishments and training methods. Use positive reinforcement instead to keep him motivated.

Are Spanish Mastiffs good family dogs?

Yes, Spanish Mastiffs are good family dogs as they get along well with both adults and children. That said, their massive size can cause unintentional accidents. Thus, always supervise your children's playtime with their canine playmates. Teach them how to handle the dog gently to avoid hurting him.

Are Spanish Mastiffs dangerous?

Spanish Mastiff dogs are not inherently dangerous. However, they may attack if an intruder refuses to back off. They are also observed to be aggressive towards other dogs.

Spanish Mastiff puppies undergo proper socialisation and training early to prevent them from becoming overprotective. This also helps them become more warm and welcoming dogs.

Do Mastiffs bark a lot?

All Mastiff breeds, including the Spanish Mastiff are not big barkers. However, these dogs will not keep their silence if they sense a threat lurking near their home. They have deep intimidating bark that is enough to deter the intruder and warn their owners.


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Nutrition and Feeding

Since the Spanish Mastiff is a large herding breed, his dog food should be specifically formulated for his size. Make sure that it has high protein content to aid his muscle development and adequately replenish his energy without packing pounds.

Spanish Mastiff puppies should have a puppy food formulated for large breeds. This prevents their body from developing quickly, which can put a strain on their bones and joints.

An adult Spanish Mastiff needs around 1,280–2,000 grams of dog food per day. Give him 4 cups of dog food every day to keep him satiated. Always monitor his food intake to avoid overfeeding, which can result in obesity. Freshwater must be available throughout the day to ensure that he is well-hydrated.


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Health and Exercise

Although the Spanish Mastiff is a herding breed, he has low-to-moderate activity levels. If you are looking for a canine jogging or hiking partner, this dog is not the best option.

Adult Spanish Mastiffs only need a minimum amount of exercise, specifically 45 minutes. However, Spanish Mastiff puppies require more time for exercise, approximately 1.5–2 hours a day.

Long daily walks and off-lead playtime in the back garden are enough to wear them out. Giving them tasks to work on, such as flock herding, keeps their bodies active and their mind sharp.

Just be warned that this large breed of dogs tends to be aggressive towards other dogs. So care should be taken when taking your dog for a walk outside.

How long do Spanish Mastiffs live?

The Spanish Mastiff breed is a large dog; thus he has a shorter lifespan compared with many smaller dog breeds. Spanish Mastiffs can live for about 10–11 years.

The most common health problems in Spanish Mastiffs are:

Dog Bloat

This is a fatal condition that causes the stomach to twist and bloat. To treat bloat, affected dogs need to undergo immediate surgery. This disease can be prevented by feeding your dog small meals. Avoid exercising him directly after eating as well.

Hip Dysplasia

This bone and joint problem affect a dog's hips, as its name implies. It can cause extreme pain and chronic lameness in Spanish Mastiffs. Curing hip dysplasia often requires medication and surgery.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is common in working Spanish Mastiff dogs. It can be caused by the eventual deterioration of the elbow joints and sockets, trauma, or genetic predisposition.

Spanish Mastiff Cost of Ownership


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Cost of Ownership

The price tag for Spanish Mastiff puppies is between £850 and £1300. As the breed is large in size, he will require more food. Thus, the annual food cost of your dog may reach approximately £650–£750.

Another expense that you should consider is for the puppy's necessary supplies, totaling around £200–£600. It will depend on your dog's size and the brand you choose.

Routine vet check-ups are essential in keeping your dog in tip-top shape. It will cost around £30–£60 per session. Other medical expenses that you will have to keep track of his annual boosters, worm treatment, and flea and tick prevention, which you may need to spend around £140–£240 annually.

Setting up pet insurance for your Spanish Mastiff puppy will cost you an average of ££23 a month. Note that it may change depending on your dog's age and your location.

Pet insurance for puppies tends to be more affordable than older dogs. Some regions in the UK, especially London, have more expensive pet insurance covers than other areas.


Spanish Mastiff Breed Highlights

  • Spanish Mastiff dog is massive in size but is a gentle and relaxed family guardian.
  • He is a heavy shedder that has high grooming needs.
  • This large herding breed is challenging to train for first-time dog owners.
  • The Spanish Mastiff is not a highly active dog and only requires minimal exercise.

Are you sure the Spanish Mastiff is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.

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Disclaimer:
The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.