In this article, we separate this group of dogs into the distinct breeds inside it and reveal the specifics about which ones are more appropriate for families who have kids and the kinds that are the most loving.
20 Distinct Mastiff Varieties
Some see mastiffs as being a single dog breed. However, there are more than twenty distinct specific breeds inside the mastiff group of dogs. Whenever most folks consider mastiffs, they likely envision a huge, lumbering dog or perhaps a type of guard dog. While that’s usually a fact, there are a lot of distinct variations between these breeds. You are losing out on a few excellent characteristics if you restrict yourself to this generality.
Here is some info on these distinct breeds that should help you become more familiar with the mastiffs and decide what may be your top choice.
1. American Mastiff
The American Mastiff is a huge dog! Bred in the United States as a cross between the Turkish and English Mastiffs, and standing at the height of 36 inches and reaching 200 pounds, this dog has a mellow temperament and a huge heart. The American Mastiff is renowned for being gentle and patient with children and forming a strong family bond.
While this Mastiff is a non-aggressive breed, if it feels that its family or children are being threatened, the American Mastiff can become overly protective.
Perhaps the main difference between this Mastiff and other Mastiffs is that there’s a lot less drool, which of course, is a good thing! In fact, the lack of froth is one reason why this mastiff breed is becoming so popular with families. Coming in different colors like apricot, brindle, or fawn, the American Mastiff often has white markings on its nose, chin, chest, or feet.
This giant breed is an average shedder and will require moderate grooming. The life expectancy of the American Mastiff is between 10 and 12 years.
2. Boerboel (AKA South African Mastiff)
The Boerboel is a muscular, large, intimidating dog. Originally used on South African farms for protection against attacks by wild animals like lions and hyenas, this Mastiff is a loving, calm, and family-friendly dog that’s incredibly gentle with the children in its family.
While Boerboel is protective and territorial, it’s a devoted and extremely faithful companion to its humans.
These dogs require obedience training from an early age and need a lot of exercise. These are intelligent dogs that require very little maintenance. However, they are prone to pulling and chewing on things.
The Boerboel weighs between 110 and 200 lbs. Many of these giant dogs weigh more than 200 lbs. when fully grown. While the males are around 24 to 28 inches in height, the females are slightly shorter at 22 to 25 inches.
Anyone who has experience training and socializing these giant watchdog breeds will learn to love the South African Mastiff because they will quickly become your loyal and protective friend.
3 . Bullmastiff
Bullmastiffs are a blend of bulldog and Mastiff. The breed is a calm, mellow companion devoted to its people and will guard them with its life. Even with this laid-back attitude and the fact they don’t get angry quickly, these dogs will fearlessly protect their families if threatened. Bullmastiffs, just like their name implies, are quite stubborn dogs, which means it could be tough to get them to do something they don’t want to do.
A male Bullmastiff will not tolerate other boy dogs. Generally, a bullmastiff can be aggressive with dogs they don’t know. However, despite being very stubborn, they are usually OK with kids if they grow up with kids. Like several other mastiffs, first-time owners or those with no experience should not own these dogs.
Although they need to be exercised every day, they have moderate needs. All you have to provide is a short walk or a little playtime. They also don’t need much in coat upkeep since they have dense and short fur. This mastiff type is terrific at guarding since they are strong, alert, and have a lot of endurance.
More info about the Bullmastiff Breed
4. Bully Kutta (AKA Pakistani Mastiff)
Also known as Bully Kutta or Sindhi Mastiff, this dog’s origin is a bit of a mystery. We know that it dates back to at least the 16th century and originated from Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab regions.
Some believe that the English Mastiffs were brought by soldiers when Great Britain invaded India in the 1700s, bred with Indian Mastiffs, resulting in the Bully Kutta. Others believe that this fearsome and giant dog is a direct descendant of the ancient Alaunt. Now extinct, the Alaunts were a territorial dog breed that traveled with the nomadic Allen tribe in what’s now known as Iran. As protectors of the tribe, the dogs were bred to fight large animals like bears and wild boar.
Today, the Pakistan Mastiff has become popular as a fighting dog in illegal dogfighting.
Interestingly, in this instance, the word’ bully’ is the Anglicized translation of the word Bholi – a Punjabi word that means ‘heavily wrinkled.’ The term ‘Kutta” means ‘dog.’
5. Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff)
Cane Corsos are a powerful, agile kind of dog that has a lot of stamina. These dogs usually are pretty relaxed and peaceful in their own home and love to please their people. They’re quite smart, and since they are so eager to please their people, they are also easy to train.
A Cane Corso can be a fantastic watchdog. This mastiff type is protective but gentle. They prefer to stay near their people and so are not likely to wander away from home.
Not thought of as a fighting pup, Cane Corsos will defend their people and their possessions if they need to. This kind of dog has to be socialized at a young age and needs an experienced owner. It is highly recommended to put them through obedience training. This should be done with all kinds of mastiffs. Whether you know it or you don’t, these pups are fine living inside an apartment if you give them enough exercise.
6. Caucasian Mastiff
The Caucasian Ovcharka or Russian Bear Dog, the Caucasian Mastiff is a healthy, loyal, and courageous mountain dog who originated from the Caucasus mountain range between Asia and Europe.
With a thick coat, this ancient Molosser dog is a cross between the Tibetan Mastiff and another larger breed and is around 2,000 years old. Originally bred to guard its mountain herd or flock from bears, wolves, and thieves, the Caucasian Mastiff also protected his human master. This massive dog is extremely territorial and would never back down from a fight, even against wolves or bears.
Their independent and stubborn nature results in these Mastiffs being challenging to train. Because of their natural distrust of other animals and strangers, they can have aggressive tendencies if not kept in check by an experienced owner or trainer.
Definitely not the right choice for novice owners, and while they are low-energy dogs, their huge size makes them unsuitable for homes with small children and apartment living. However, with socializing and the right training, the Caucasian Mastiff will reward patient, experienced, and consistent trainers with their love and affection.
So even though the Caucasian Mastiff was bred for military personnel requiring protection in Eastern Europe, today we see them finding their way into the homes of families who love and appreciate large, protective dogs.
While not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, this breed is slowly making its way to recognizable status.
7. Dogo Argentino – Argentinian Mastiff
Generally called a Dogo Argentino, these mastiffs are loyal guardians of their people and belongings. Dogo Argentinos love to play. Plus, they are good with kids. This breed is quite smart, as well as consistently simple to train.
Argentinian Mastiffs are mighty pups. If you are inexperienced or weak, you don’t want to pick this kind of Mastiff. These dogs definitely require guidance from someone who is both consistent as well as confident.
If you raise them with other kinds of pets, this mastiff type may be OK around different types of animals. Still, they don’t get along with dogs they don’t know, particularly if their owner is not experienced or is timid and cannot give them the leadership they require.
See more: Read all about the Dogo Argentino.
8. Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff)
French Mastiffs are also called the Dogue de Bordeaux. They are not as large as the English version. These dogs are peaceful, loyal, and patient with their people. Bordeaux tend to be antagonistic regarding strangers and appear fearless, so they are fantastic guard dogs if you train them properly and do appropriate socialization.
They need to be socialized from a young age, and if so, they usually do OK around other kinds of animals but must be supervised. These dogs are drooly, as are a lot of mastiff breeds, plus they also snore. Looks aside, these Bordeaux are typically very gentle with the children in their family unit. As with the other types of mastiffs, only experienced dog owners should have them.
9. English Mastiff
An incredibly mellow breed, English Mastiffs are carefree and very gentle. They can be very loyal members of the family as well as a terrific house dog. They are entirely devoted regardless of their negligible manifestation of emotions. Like most dogs, you need to provide exercise every day. While they can handle cool or warm weather OK, they don’t do very well if it gets really hot.
English Mastiffs tend to be drooly, but you don’t have to do much regarding coat upkeep. These kinds of mastiffs tend to be lengthier than their height. Plus, they are quite strong and have a lot of endurance.
An English Mastiff, being one of the original mastiff dog breeds, is often just referred to as a Mastiff.
10. Fila Brasileiro – Brazilian Mastiff
Called Fila Brasileiros, Brazilian mastiffs are a blend of bloodhound and Mastiff, which means you end up with a large dog who’s also got tons of wrinkles. Brazilian mastiffs are totally dedicated to their master, and once they bond with them, they will quickly act to protect their people.
If part of their bonded family, these dogs will be very gentle with small kids and let themselves get poked or prodded. Plus, they usually are fine around their family’s additional pets.
Filas ought to be thoroughly socialized, and that socialization should continue their whole lives. Then, they will not end up leery of strangers. They must also be taught that most things in life aren’t threats and have to have their confidence built via socialization. As with most types of mastiffs, these types of Mastiffs are not meant for an inexperienced dog owner.
11. Great Danes (German Mastiff)
German Mastiffs are most regularly called Great Danes. This kind of Mastiff is sociable and reliable and usually great with kids. Great Danes also typically do OK with other pets in the family; however, it is always good to monitor their interactions since they are so huge and tall.
Regular exercise every day will assist in keeping your Great Dane in shape. You can meet these needs via a play session in a fenced-in place or take them on a short walk. This mastiff breed isn’t suitable to live outside and ought to be kept indoors. A few of these pups do drool, but they don’t require much upkeep for their coat.
Great Danes may be the most famous of the mastiff dog breeds, but at the same time, one of the dogs nobody recognizes as being one of the types of mastiffs. Marmaduke is a fictional famous Great Dane.
12. Kangal – Turkish Mastiff
Also referred to as the Anatolian or Kangal Mastiff, this ancient breed originated in Turkey. The Turkish Mastiff is an independent and sensitive watchdog and an excellent working dog. These dogs work best in pairs guarding cattle and sheep against predators, and can effectively protect up to 150 animals. They can become very aggressive towards predators.
Because these Mastiffs have been bred to guard livestock, they’re not only gentle with sheep and other animals. They’re also gentle with small children. However, communication between your Turkish Mastiff and young children in the home should always be supervised, mostly because accidents can occur due to the large size and weight of this breed.
Turkish Mastiffs have light golden coats, with dark face masks and ears. Typically 30 to 32 inches at the shoulder, male Kangals can weigh up to 145 lbs. But don’t be fooled by their vast size, because these dogs are speedy and very agile. Renowned as one of the fastest of the Mastiff breeds, the Turkish Mastiff can reach speeds up to 30 mph.
This explains why these dog breeds require a lot of both physical and mental exercise, so only people who are willing to stay active and spend time outdoors cycling, hiking, jogging, or just playing with their pets should consider taking on this colossal breed.
Compared to the other types of mastiffs, the Kangal does require more grooming, so that is something you need to consider
When properly trained and socialized, the Turkish Mastiff is a quiet and calm dog, devoted to its family, who tolerates strangers well unless it feels threatened.
13. Korean Mastiff (AKA Dosa Mastiff)
The Dosa Mastiff or Dosa Gae, the Korean Mastiff, looks like a typical Mastiff dog. It has a large head and a heavily wrinkled body. With a silky, short, and shiny coat, their coloring can be chocolate, red, or mahogany.
This dog can be described as dignified, intelligent, good-natured, and loyal. When properly trained and socialized, the Korean Mastiff loves human companionship and will become a faithful and loyal companion to all household family members.
Like all other giant dog breeds, your Korean Mastiff should be supervised around small children, simply because their weight and size could injure a small child.
Male Korean Mastiffs weigh between 160 and 185 lbs. Females weigh between 145 and 165 lbs. Males are typically 25 ½ to 30 inches tall, while females are approximately 23 ½ 27 inches tall.
As a fast-growing dog, the Korean Mastiff puppy requires many playtimes; however, it will settle for moderate daily exercise once fully grown.
The life expectancy of this breed is between 7 and 12 years. They are moderate shedders and require very little grooming aside from weekly cleaning of their many skin folds and weekly brushing.
14. Neapolitan Mastiff (Also: Neopolitan)
Neapolitan Mastiffs are likely one of the types of mastiffs people recognize most with all the wrinkles they have. They were bred to be family guardians, so they’re incredibly loyal and wholly dedicated to their people – an extremely watchful. They’re quite leery of people they don’t know, as well as moderately tolerate your friends.
However, this mastiff breed will be loving to kids only if entirely socialized while a puppy. However, they still shouldn’t be owned by inexperienced people who’ve never had a dog before.
Although Neapolitans require a lot of room so they can stretch out, not much exercise is needed. Neapolitans adore going outside but don’t like sweltering weather. They drool a lot, and that can cause a big mess. Their looks by themselves often cause an intruder to run away. Even with this great size, they can react quite quickly if you provoke them.
15. Perro de Presa Canario (AKA Canary Mastiff)
Also known as the Presa Canario or the Perro de Presa Canario, the Canary Mastiff originated in the Canary Islands. Its ancestors were used as protectors, and before the 14th century, they were used as food for the natives. Then, when English migrants arrived on the islands with their bull terriers and bulldogs in the 18th century, the dogs were bred with these new breeds to produce what we know today as the Presa Canario.
These dogs are large and powerful; they have a broad muzzle, deep and broad chest, slightly raised rump, cropped years, and a square head that’s almost as wide as it’s long. With a black face mask, the Canary Mastiff comes in fawn and various brindle colors, sometimes with white markings.
These are fearless, independent dogs that do not like strangers. They can be aggressive to humans and other animals and require proper socializing from a very early age. These dogs need to be exercised daily and enjoy being in homes with fenced yards so they can roam freely.
Like other Mastiff breeds, the Canary Mastiff is not a dog that’s recommended for inexperienced or first-time owners. It’s also suggested they not be added to a household with young children.
16. Pyrenean Mastiff
A Pyrenean Mastiff is wholly devoted to their people but doesn’t like people they don’t know whether animals or other people. With their people, the Pyrenees are peaceful, well-mannered, and calm. Even if you have kids, these dogs are sometimes stubborn and incredibly independent. Therefore timid owners should not get this breed. The Pyrenees also tend to wander, so you shouldn’t take their leash off unless the area is very secure. Plus, they do tend to bark a lot.
Pyrenean Mastiffs must get exercised every day if you want them to stay in shape. They like going on a hike; even if it’s cold. Hot weather doesn’t agree with them. You need to brush their coat at least once a week, and sometimes every day if they are in a shedding phase. They do tend to drool and are quite sloppy when they drink water.
17. Sarabi Mastiff (AKA Iranian Mastiff)
Also known as an Iranian Mastiff, Persian Mastiff, and Iranian Shepherd Dog, the Sarabi Mastiff is a huge, muscular dog with a powerful body. This breed is not for the inexperienced or novice dog owner with its broad head and strong neck.
While there’s a minimal history on the Sarabi Mastiff, we know that it originated in Iran, where it was used as a guard dog for livestock. It may have also been used in ancient times as a fighting dog against giant animals like lions.
This mastiff type typically comes in a solid black color or shades of brown with a black mask. There may also be some white on the chest. Their coats can be either short or medium.
The Sarabi Mastiff’s temperament is protective, loyal, alert, and loving towards its family. It’s especially alert to its surroundings and will warn its owner of someone’s presence close by. Unfamiliar people are not trusted and should be appropriately introduced by their owners. Their personality could be described as very brave, loving with family, and suspicious of strangers.
This is a very active dog breed that requires lots of physical exercises to ensure good health and contentment. Without exercise, they’ll become depressed and destructive. It’s not advised that other small animals be kept in the same house as your Sarabi Mastiff unless both are raised together from a young age.
Sarabi Mastiffs are very independent, which means they’re not easy to train. An experienced dog owner and trainer will be required to establish leadership over them as soon as possible.
If your Sarabi Mastiff and children are raised together from an early age, they should become great companions; however, these dogs don’t like strange children, so when others are around, your Mastiff should always be kept on a leash.
As one of the most powerful dogs globally, the Persian Sarabi Mastiff is a property and livestock guardian. With its big head, giant body, and terrifying bite force, this dog is surprisingly loyal to its owner while acting aloof with strangers.
This dog is a very efficient and effective livestock guard. When a wild beast approaches, this Mastiff will immediately go into alert mode – tail up, ears erect, and a loud bark to ensure everyone’s on alert. While this dog will typically avoid confrontation, it will stand its ground in an intimidating mode when approached by an intruder.
18. Spanish Mastiff
An exceptionally protective and territorial dog, Spanish Mastiffs are not as friendly as other mastiff breeds. But that makes them fantastic guard dogs. Of course, these dogs are not meant for those who have never owned a dog or don’t have other dogs’ experience. Spanish Mastiffs are entirely independent. While they aren’t very loving, the boy dogs tend to be somewhat more loving than girls.
Spanish Mastiffs tend to bark to the extent they are annoying. They manage to adapt despite what the climate is. However, they do better if it is dry. It would be best if you brushed their dense, short coats regularly. They need moderate exercise sessions.
Even with early socialization, the Spanish Mastiff may not be good with children. Particularly the females.
19. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiffs are quite territorial as well as independent. They will show devotion to their people but are wary of others. Like the majority of mastiff breeds, these dogs must be socialized beginning in puppyhood. They are usually OK with their owner’s kids; however, they may be aggressive with kids they don’t know visiting their home. However, they usually are OK with other animals and dogs.
While they are walking around outside, these dogs are usually a bit more calm and relaxed than inside. You usually only need to exercise them with one long walk a day. They do tend to destroy things if they get bored and are kept locked up.
Tibetan Mastiffs ought to get brushed a few times every week because they have long cat-type hair that needs a bit of extra care. Their coats are thick and resist water, so they stay contented even if the weather is cold and comfy or if the climate is warm and dry.
20. Tosa Inu (AKA Japanese Mastiff)
The Tosu Inu dogs are large, stately animals also commonly known as the Japanese Mastiff or even the Japanese Fighting Dog. While gentle with their humans, when feeling threatened, these dogs can become aggressive. Requiring very little maintenance, these large dogs have short coats that are usually fawn, red, or brindle.
Recently introduced to the United States, the Tosa Inu is still quite a rare breed of dog. It should be noted that it’s banned as an aggressive and dangerous breed in some countries.
Weighing anywhere between 80 and 135 lbs. in Japan, the Tosa Inu is often bred by non-Japanese breeders to reach a weight of between 130 and 200 lbs. and a height of 24 to 32 inches.
The Tosa Inu was initially used as a Japanese fighting dog and, because of the strict rules around dogfighting, they were trained to be quiet when fighting. The result is that these dogs have become very sensitive to their owner’s voice and commands.
If the Tosa Inu owner can establish themselves as the pack leader over their dog, the Mastiff’s aggression towards people, dogs, and other animals can be curbed. Once training is well-established, this dog will become a great family pet and be loving and gentle to all family members and other pets.
While the Tosa Inu can definitely become a faithful companion, an excellent watchdog, and a beautiful and powerful dog, These types of mastiffs are not recommended for people with no training or experience in raising big, and sometimes aggressive dogs.
Mastiffs – In Conclusion
If you choose to have a stronger dog than other dogs (that weigh more than the average human), you must be prepared to accept full responsibility for your dog’s training and behavior.
With any of the above Mastiff breeds, it’s imperative that you ensure your young dog visits as many places and meets as many people as possible. It’s the only way to develop a social animal and control its natural aggression and protective instincts. Obedience is vital if you aim to control your dog when fully grown because it will be stronger and more significant than you and everyone else.
All dogs from these Mastiff breeds are beautiful, impressive, and majestic canines, and with the right training and care, your Mastiff will become the most loving, loyal, and devoted pet you will ever own.
Mastiff Dog Breeds Characteristics
Mastiffs, typically speaking, are terrific companions as well as protectors. If you train and socialize them properly, they will be superb family members. While a few are gentler and more relaxed than other breeds, most mastiffs require an assertive owner.
Mastiffs are superb watchdogs. They will scrutinize, bark, appear quite fearsome, and are strong and powerful enough to back those actions up. Nevertheless, the majority are more peaceful instead of being aggressive. If appropriately socialized, these pups will safeguard their owners and their families; however, only if necessary.
Mastiffs are extremely intelligent, eager to please – sometimes stubborn – but when protecting family members or their home, they may appear aggressive. While their size automatically makes them look fierce, they actually have an excellent-natured temperament, as long as no one is threatening them or their family.
This breed of dog loves to be close to family and should not be regarded as an outdoor-only dog. If separated or isolated for an extended period, they can become anxious and engage in destructive behavior. Very easy to house train, Mastiffs do not bark a lot.
The Mastiff outweighs all other breeds and is considered the largest breed of dog in the world. In the 1989 Guinness Book of Records, a Mastiff named Sauber weighed in at 323 pounds!
Whether you are looking at a Cane Corso, an English Mastiff, a Tibetan Mastiff, or a Neapolitan Mastiff (all amazing types of Mastiff dogs), make sure you’re ready for the responsibility.