Mastiffs are very large dogs and can be categorized into breeds such as the Bullmastiff, English mastiff dog, and Neopolitan Mastiff. Most dog owners know that large to giant breed dogs don’t live as long as their smaller counterparts. In other words, the larger the dog, the shorter the life expectancy.
Although it’s a very sad but true fact, there are ways dog parents can add some time to their dogs’ life expectancy. How? We’ll find out below.
What is a Mastiff Breed
Let’s talk about the Mastiff breed, which is almost synonymous with giant breed dogs. A famous Mastiff breed is the English Mastiff. The Mastiffs are a family of powerful big dogs that were typically used as guard dogs in the past.
These dogs were, sadly, also used in blood sports, and for hunting. What breeds are considered to be Mastiffs? According to the AKC, they are:
- English Mastiff
- Neopolitan Mastiff
- Tibetan Mastiff
*You will find that the list varies by source, but as the AKC is renowned for its expertise, we decided to include the list on their site.
The Mastiff Life Span
As we have said before, larger dog breeds, such as the Mastiffs, have a shorter lifespan in general. Let’s take the English Mastiff for example, which only has an average life expectancy of 6 to 10 years. It really does sound short, but we have some good news. The oldest Mastiff recorded managed to live for 15 glorious years. There is hope yet! How you take care of your Mastiff will make all the difference in how long he gets to be your best friend.
Why do mastiffs have a short life span?
A 6-10 (and sometimes 12) years on this earth seems much too short, even for large breeds, so why do Mastiffs have such a short lifespan? It’s very unfortunate that these gentle giants are predisposed to a myriad of health problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, which is common in larger breeds, bloat, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular issues, and arthritis to name a few.
It is unfortunate that this is the case, but it is the truth with many large breed dogs. There is a chance your English mastiff or Tibetan mastiff could develop the issues we outlined above or others, or maybe it is lucky enough to bypass most. Whatever the case, the important thing is to give them the best care you can give.
What Factors Affect the Life Span of a Mastiff?
We know, this is just an average age for an animal. Health effects are influenced in large measure by many factors. Mastiff owners are required to know how long their puppy will last. Factors impacting Mastiffs’life are the following.
The average lifespan of large to giant breeds is just an estimate, and we are aware that there are plenty of fur babies that outlive the statistics (thankfully), and you could be one of the outliers by paying attention to the following factors that affect the life of the Mastiff dog breed family.
Breeding and genetics
There is really not much you can do about a dog’s genetics but rely on the breeder’s ethical and strategic breeding. Many breeders try their best to focus on healthy dogs and to only breed those to produce healthy pups.
Although you cannot genetically modify your pup, you can pick one that is healthy and less prone to certain health issues. That does not mean that unhealthy dogs don’t deserve love, because they definitely do, but healthy dogs will most likely have a longer life expectancy.
Diet and nutrition
Here is where you can have more of an active influence over your dog’s health. Let’s take the English Mastiff for example. It is a large dog breed, much larger than many other breeds, which is why they need large breed nutrition. There are recipes out there formulated to meet these needs and to help your dog grow (but not too fast) into healthy adults.
Watching what you feed your Mastiffs will have a profound impact on how long they live. Understanding a Mastiff puppy and what it needs to thrive will help you pick a suitable dog food. Corn, wheat, and soy should generally be avoided and early prevention of hip dysplasia with omega 3, glucosamine, and chondroitin supplements can make all the difference.
The right diet for every dog will vary, so keep your pup’s unique needs in mind, and don’t hesitate to consult your vet or a licensed vet nutritionist for advice.
Physical and mental activity
Large breeds need a lot of exercises, but not too much. You don’t want to put too much strain on large dog breeds physically because it could worsen arthritis. Make sure your dog is physically up to it, but some form of exercise daily is needed. A slow stroll around the block is still better than nothing.
Aside from physical stimulation, your dog will also need mental exercise. Mental exercise comes in the form of training, puzzle toys, socialization, and exploration, as well as treat-stuffed toys. Whatever can get your dog racking his brain on how to solve an issue, perform a task, or get to know something foreign constitutes mental stimulation.
Love and care
Have you heard that babies who do not get love and cuddles from their parents can die? Well, the consequences may not be as severe in dogs, but it is still damaging. If you do not show your pooch love and care, they won’t thrive, they won’t be as healthy and won’t grow as strong. You will be surprised by the difference the bond they share with their humans can make.
It’s also important to remind you that dogs can get stressed out if they feel suffocated by too much attention. Remember Elmyra from Looney Toons? Yeah, don’t be like that. Give your dog space, and understand that sometimes he may not want to cuddle.
As responsible dog parents, it is our job to provide not only a loving environment but a safe one, one where our dogs can feel at home and secure. That means not leaving anything dangerous that they can get into out in the open, doggy proofing everything necessary, and providing them with the resources they need to develop.
Access to Proper Care
By access to proper care, we mean veterinary health care. Just like all other breeds, Mastiffs will need annual checkups just to make sure everything is okay, and when needed, you have the means to make sure your giant pooch gets access to the best care.
Mastiffs are not easy to care for – that’s for sure. First of all, they are giants and one of the largest dog breeds around. You definitely need big enough space for Tibetan, English Mastiffs, or whichever one you have your eye on to thrive. These dogs can also be territorial and protective, which is great until someone gets hurt. Be prepared to keep up with training if you have your eye on Mastiff dogs.
Although they typically have short coats, you still need to give them a good brush at least once a week. If your dog has a longer coat, then we’d suggest brushing daily. Mastiffs don’t do well in hot temperatures, especially the brachycephalic ones (ones with short snouts), so keep the temperature in your home a little cooler.
The rest of how to care for your Mastiff is similar to caring for any other dog breed, make sure to feed the right diet, provide enough exercise, supply the appropriate supplements, maintain regular teeth and ear cleaning, head to the vet for annual checkups and monitor them as usual.
We would also suggest giving your large dog a big and soft bed to take pressure off his joints at the end of the day.
Again, as we had mentioned, every dog’s nutritional need is different, even if they’re of the same breed. You can have two English mastiffs that have differing needs. In general, Mastiffs need a lot of food, we’re talking about 6 to 10 cups a day with a focus on muscle and organ meat.
Dogs need different nutrition profiles are varying stages in life. For example, puppies generally need more calories than adult or senior dogs since they are still developing. For large dogs, it’s very important to not overdo it at the puppy stage or they will grow too quickly. It’s also important to keep your pooch at an ideal weight. The heavier your dog is, the more likely he will get arthritis and dysplasia later in life.
Mastiffs tend to suffer from bloat, which can be avoided by spreading out the day’s amount into smaller portions. The best is to do 3 feedings a day so your dog won’t have too much trouble digesting. Also, make sure your Mastiff doesn’t eat too quickly or exercise too soon after each meal.
How can I increase my mastiff’s life expectancy?
A dog’s life expectancy is greatly enhanced if you give him the proper care, and the same goes for Mastiffs. Just pay attention to the criteria we listed above. Most importantly, get to know your dog. Your dog is unique, with his own special temperament, preferences, tendencies, and health problems. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for a specific breed. Understand your pooch and what he needs.
You can always get the best picture of your dog’s health by speaking to your vet. This is why it’s so important to find a veterinarian you can trust and not one that pushes unnecessary procedures on your dog. At the beginning of your dog’s life, it’s okay to shop around until you find a vet that you feel the most comfortable with.
Frequently Asked Questions
What health problems do Mastiffs have?
Mastiffs are prone to a slew of health issues including hip and elbow dysplasia, cardiovascular issues, bloat, hypothyroidism, and arthritis. Large dogs generally develop more health issues. The life expectancy of a Mastiff dog is only estimated to be around 6 to 10 years, but with veterinary advancements and proper care, your dog can exceed that average.
What is the longest living Mastiff?
The longest living Mastiff is one known as Kush, who lived to the ripe old age of 15! What a lucky dog and lucky owners! Kush lived in Australia, where we’re pretty sure she got the best care her owner could provide.
The owner, Phil, mentioned not feeding Kush processed foods and went instead for a diet of raw and fresh foods. He also didn’t feed Kush every day since dogs in the wild needed to learn to forage for food (which meant days without feeding at times). Phil also said that Kush had never been to the vet in all of 15 years. While this could be a testament to her health, we do believe that annual checkups just to keep on top of things are helpful.
How long do Mastiffs live? It’s unfortunate that the outlook isn’t very long. Even as far as large breed dogs are concerned, they have quite a short lifespan. We do believe that many dog owners will be happy to know that they have more control than they think over the life expectancy of their Mastiffs with good care, plenty of love, and a healthy diet.