Mastiff is an enormously large size breed, which is considered to be very ancient, and it has been used to develop many other breeds. Mastiffs have historically been guard dogs, hunting dogs, war dogs, and also for blood sports, fighting each other animals such as bears, lions, and bulls.
Mastiffs seem to be fierce and dominating because of their huge size, but they have very loving docility. They are loving companions for the pet owners who can afford its enormous size and can bear its drool here and there.
In today’s article, we will discuss the average life expectancy of the Mastiff breed, their common health problems, factors that affect their lifespan, and how you can extend their life expectancy.
How Long Do Mastiffs Live?
Mastiff as a giant dog breed lives a relatively short life than many other breeds due to their huge size. Large dogs tend to grow faster and age quicker and therefore live shorter. Such a giant dog breed also tend to have unique health problems relative to their size.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average lifespan of Mastiffs or English Mastiffs is around 6 to 10 years. However, there are multiple variations for the Mastiff breed and they are different in sizes as well as lifespans.
The life expectancy of these sub-breeds are as follows:
- Mastiff or English Mastiff: 6 to 10 years
- Bullmastiff: 8 to 10 years
- Neapolitan Mastiff: 8 to 10 years
- Tibetan Mastiff: 12 to 15 years
- Spanish Mastiff: 10 to 12 years
- American Mastiff: 10 to 12 years
There are a number of factors that can affect the lifespan of a Mastiff. With proper care and regular veterinary visits, they can live longer than their average lifespan.
Next, we will discuss some of the common health problems that may reduce the quality of life and life expectancy of Mastiffs and you should be beware of it.
Common Health Problems of Mastiffs
There is no comparison when it comes to the size of a Mastiff. But this huge enormous size comes with plenty of health concerns or problems, which as an owner, you should be aware of to extend their life expectancy.
It is crucial to spot these diseases at an early stage. Early diagnosis and treatment help to improve their life expectancy and increase the treatment success rate.
Some of the common health problems of Mastiffs are as follows;
- Hip Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
Hip dysplasia is a frequently common health concern for nearly every breed. In hip dysplasia, the balls and the sockets between the hind legs don’t fit with each other. It can appear as early as five months in the pup, but it can happen at any stage of your Mastiff.
Having difficulty in walking, showing pain, and lameness in one or both rear legs are common symptoms of dip dysplasia, but you may notice some other sign of discomfort in your Mastiff.
Dogs having hip dysplasia are not allowed to be bred. So, that is the reason you should ask your breeder about the proof of parent breeds free from this disease.
Although it is a common inherited disorder, it can be treated with corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories. In severe cases, an injection can be injected, and surgery can be done as necessary.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a disease concerned with the eyes of your Mastiff. Dogs have an outstanding ability to see in the dim light, and this fantastic capability comes from the rod cells located in the retina of an eye. The rod cells enable them to see in dim lights.
Due to this disease, the rods cells try to destroy themselves slowly, which leads to complete blindness of one or both eyes.
The primary symptoms are night blindness and low vision in the dim lights. It is painless, and unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease. Dogs having PRA will become blind gradually, but they get enough time to adjust themselves with the blindness.
Seizures are the disorder that is responsible for epilepsy and trauma. Seizures referred to the brain malfunctioning and change of behavior initiated because of electrical disturbance in the brain of your massive Mastiff, which leads to either epilepsy or trauma.
There are two types of Epilepsy; Primary Epilepsy and Secondary Epilepsy.
Primary Epilepsy or Idiopathic Epilepsy: Epilepsy, which is inherited from the parent breeds, is called primary epilepsy or idiopathic epilepsy in which your Mastiff will face sudden, uncontrolled, and repeated seizures.
Secondary Epilepsy: Epilepsy, which is not inherited by parent breeds, but is caused by the toxins or infections, is known as secondary epilepsy while a dog will face a similar condition of seizures as primary epilepsy.
It is a kidney disorder that is inherited by the parent breeds. In cystinuria, the amino acid cystine is not filtered by the kidney, and as a result, cystine went through the urine.
Due to the reabsorption of the cystine in the kidney tubule, small stones are formed, which causes urinary inflammation and blockages.
Dogs having cystinuria faced symptoms such as frequent urination, bloody urine, recurrent urinary tract infection, and painful urination. It is seen more often in males, and treatment includes drugs, which helps in preventing the formation of kidney stones.
The DNA test is also available to determine whether your Mastiff has a genetic predisposition of having it or not.
Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
Gastric torsion is also known as Gastric dilation and volvulus syndrome (GDV). It is a condition in which the stomach of your Mastiff rotates or twist and dilates around its short axis, which leads the dog in shock.
It also involves bloating when the stomach of a dog filled up with fluids and gases. The stomach expands itself, which applies pressure on the vital organs.
The common symptoms include restlessness, drool, rapid heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, try to vomit, and nothing comes up. If your Mastiff is showing these symptoms, consult with your vet immediately.
Mastiffs are also prone to different types of cancers, but the most common cancer, which is seen in Mastiffs is Osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that shows symptoms such as lameness in the affected dog. Swelling in a particular area like jaw, skull, and ribs is the first sign of a tumor.
Osteosarcoma is treated with the help of chemotherapy and with the amputation of the limbs usually. Mastiffs having this disorder treated with surgery (amputation) have an average survival period of 4 to 5 months.
However, some of them are able to live up to 2 years but most of them die within a year.
What Factors Affect the Lifespan of a Mastiff?
We know that lifespan is just a range that tells us how many years the breed lives on average. It can be affected by many factors including genetic factors and environmental factors.
As a Mastiff owner, you should be aware of the factors which can shorten or lengthen your pup’s life.
The factors that affect the lifespan of a Mastiff are as follows;
Size of the breed is one of the crucial factors which can help you determine the lifespan of your Mastiff. It is often asked which type of breed either purebred or designer breed can live longer.
Most of the people agreed on this consortium that small breeds live longer, whether it is purebred or a mixed breed due to several reasons. Small breeds age slower and they tend to develop age-related disorders later.
When it comes to the size, one thing is famous about Mastiff that there is no match in it. It is undoubtedly the world’s most giant breed. It’s the fact that the life expectancy of the dogs decreases with the increase in size.
Their huge size makes them live considerably shorter than smaller dog breeds such as Chihuahua and Pomeranian.
Same as any other breeds, how much care and love you give your Mastiffs is directly related to their life expectancy.
Mastiffs are naturally good-natured dogs, but they need proper care, especially when their bones don’t get mature enough. They are not a very good walk companion because of the enormous size.
This dog needs a large area to play and walk around. You should let them play at its own pace in the fenced yard. Keep all the hazardous chemicals or things away from it.
The more you care about the little things, the more it will be safer and protected, which can increase its overall lifespan.
When you decide to bring a Mastiff at home, you should make sure that the parent breeds were healthy and free from any disorder. You should ask your breeder about the clearance proof of its parent breeds.
DNA tests are also available for Mastiffs, which determine that your pup is inheriting a particular disorder or not.
You should also consult with your breeder and get information about the lifespan of your pup’s parents. You can help you determine its lifespan by looking at its family history.
Rapid aging is widespread in large size breeds. It is also one of the reasons behind the fact that large or giant size dogs live shorter than small or smaller size dogs.
Aging is a genetic behavior that reflects in the skin of the dogs when it goes older. The cells in the body also become older. Giant breed dogs like Mastiffs are considered senior citizens at 5 years of age.
Signs your Mastiff may be aging too fast:
- Weight Gain Issues: A scientific study showed than normal-weight dogs live about 1.8 years longer than overweight dogs on average. Being overweight and obese makes your Mastiff age faster.
- Dry Hair or Coat Issues: Mastiffs having unhealthy hair or coat can be a sign of health issues such as poor nutrition, endocrine disease, parasitic disease, and other health issues. All these conditions have a huge impact on a dog’s system. If left untreated, it can cause irreversible damage and contribute to faster aging and early mortality.
- Lameness: As your Mastiff gets older, he or she may start to struggle to get up or get a little slower on walks. Sometimes you may notice their unusual gait when walking and reduced ability to move around. Since there are so many different potential causes of lameness, it is better to visit a vet to identify the cause.
Ways to Improve the Life Expectancy of Mastiffs
We can improve the life expectancy of Mastiffs by practicing proper techniques and following some of the best ways.
Here are things you can do to extend their life expectancy:
- Proper health care
- Training & exercise
- Healthy and balanced diet
Provide Proper Health Care
Healthcare plays a vital role in the life expectancy of Mastiffs. To maintain the good health of your Mastiff, you should aware of all the common health problems which your good-natured Mastiff can be prone to and visit a vet immediately when noticing the symptoms.
Besides this, you should prevent your pup from doing long jumps and falling on the hard floors as giant breeds are more susceptible to bone and joint problems.
Training & Exercise
Mastiff’s pups are naturally curious and nosy, and they put their nose into everything. Crate and household training are highly recommended to prevent them from releasing their energy in desirable ways such as unnecessary jumping into everything which can potentially hurt them.
As discussed above, they are not very keen to exercise or walking, but it is recommended that you walk with your Mastiff 20 to 30 minutes every day.
They used to get tired and overheat quickly. Excessive running can damage its joints due to stress in them. Therefore, you should walk with them in cold weather such as during mornings and evenings so that they don’t get overheated due to high temperatures.
Healthy and Balanced Diet
An adult Mastiff dog will need about 20 calories per pound of their body weight. For example, a typical 150-pound Mastiff dog would need 3,000 calories a day.
It is recommended that you feed only high-quality dog food to your giant Mastiff. You can feed either raw food, dry food or a combination of both types. It should be given twice a day since they are prone to bloating when eating large meals.
Wash its bowl regularly or as needed as they leave a lot of backwash drool. Bloating happens because of eating a large meal and drinking plenty of water over it. To overcome this walk before or after a meal is recommended to enhance its lifespan.
My Final Thoughts
Mastiff is a giant breed of enormously huge size, which makes them scary and fierce for people. But they are very easy to train and good-natured dogs. Mastiff is one of the ancient breeds which was used as war dogs in ancient times.
Their life expectancy is generally from 6 to 15 years depending on the type of Mastiff. But if everything goes right, they can live up to more years.
There are many things you can do to make them stay longer with you such as providing better health care, a balanced diet, and regular exercise.