Species group: Unrecognized and Rare Breed dogs
Other name(s): Mastin Espanol
The national dog of Spain, this enormous breed was originally developed as a livestock guardian, a role that demanded a large dog capable of deterring predators like wolves and human thieves after the valuable Merino sheep. The Spanish Mastiff's large size and its mistrust of strangers-- or, often, anything out of the ordinary-- means that they can be wonderful family guardians in a rural setting but nervous or even dangerous in a crowded urban environment. This breed is best reserved for highly experienced owners who know how to socialize powerful guardian breeds.
Although considered rare outside Spain, they are now being recorded in the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service-- a first step toward recognition of the breed in the US.
Appearance / health:
Spanish Mastiffs are the largest of the livestock guardian dogs. They are big strong well-muscled dog with a rectangular profile. They have a massive head with a deep muzzle, strong jaws, full lips, and characteristic mastiff dewlap on the neck. Eyes are small and sport a mellow, carefree expression. Ears are long and pendent. Tail is fringed and carried low.
The Spanish Mastiff is a heavy shedder. It sheds heavily twice a year. Dogs kept indoors may shed heavily throughout the year. Regular brushing or combing is sufficient to stimulate coat growth and remove dead hair. Standard care is needed for eyes, ears, pads, and nails.
An hour's walk twice a day is sufficient to keep them in fine shape. Over exercise must be avoided during the growth phase.
Spanish Mastiffs may suffer from hip dysplasia (a hereditary disease that eventually causes lameness and arthritis of joints), heart problems and entropion (inversion of eyelids). Pano-osteosis (growing pains) is common among growing puppies. Birth may be difficult in some and may require a cesarean. A common ailment found in this breed is bloating.
Behavior / temperament:
Spanish Mastiffs are quite independent by nature as they were bred to guard the livestock without any human support. They are territorial and do not brook any unwelcome guest in its territory. It may also be stubborn sometimes and may refuse to obey commands. It typically keeps an intruder at bay by barking or growling. It may attack if the intruder does not back off. Owners can expect drooling, slobbering, and snoring loudly.
Spanish Mastiffs are intelligent and quick learners. They get bored fast and so repetition may be avoided during training them. Training needs to be firm, consistent, and patient.
They bark at every new sight and noise they come across. They need to be exposed to different sights and noises from an early age to prevent them from turning into excessive barkers, which could be a nuisance in an urban setting.
dominant position, minimum living space
I have had dogs for almost 22 years (Spanish mastiff, German shepherd and a German shorthaired pointer) and a cat for 15 (mixed breed). Although my dogs used to chase cats, when mine arrived home they welcomed her and even protected her from other dogs.
Of course, to have this kind of big dogs an outdoor space is required. When they have space to run and play they are amazing dogs, very sweet, playful and kind with kids. I would never recommend having a medium-big size dog at home. The lack of space makes them nervous and I would say, also sad.
Before adopting or buying a mastiff, even if you have outdoor space, you should know that, like any other animal, they need a minimum living space. What I mean is: if you have 2 mastiff and you want to breed, the mother will not take care of the offspring..
From evacsanta Sep 13 2014 1:23AM
The best and safest way to reduce joint strain
A dog takes thousands of steps a day, so for every every pound it is that times thousands of strain per day on the joints. It's huge what this will do for your dog, and there are no negative side effects to managed weight loss. In my experience using metabolic diets is the best way to get the job done. Consult your veterinarian, just cutting calories using regular food often doesn't work..
From Jennifer Peters DVM DABVP canine and feline 30 days ago
Simba, a terrible choice
When I was a teenager my dad decided we needed a large-breed dog to guard our piece of land, so when we received a call from a friend saying he knew someone who was giving away a Spanish mastiff, we were excited. However, the dog was no pup anymore; it was already 7 months old and had a bit of a temper. The thing is that, although the age was a bit of a put-off, my dad wanted a dog which would scare people, so he thought her temper was a good thing, so we took her in and she was more than happy to change the small flat she lived in for a large piece of land where she could run freely. I was happy too, to be honest.
The first problem came after a few of months of adopting her, when she started to fight our old female boxer for the dominant position. At first we thought that it was a normal thing, but after a few fights, we were really concerned, as the injuries kept getting worse. The problem was that Simba, the Spanish mastiff, did not learn from her defeats, and she was actually defeated every single time. Therefore, she would keep provoking the old boxer into another fight. My dad had to take a rash decision and we started locking them in turns; Simba would be out during the day, and Canela (the boxer) during the night. While it did solve the fighting problem, it made Canela miserable and us too, as we couldn't enjoy both our dogs at the same time. After years of this, we finally had to look for another house for Simba, which was an awfully sad time for all of us.
As for positive things about this Spanish mastiff, I'd say she was very affectionate with the family and never, ever, growled at any of us. Obviously, given her size, she did prevent strangers from breaking into our piece of land. Also, and I'll never forget this, when giving her a treat she would be terribly gentle grabbing it from our hands. I found this really amusing, given the huge size of this dog.
On the other hand, if you've read the beginning of this review, you already know that she was terribly stubborn and would get physical in order to become the dominant female. This took a real toll on the old boxer, and it made our lives a lot more difficult. So if you're thinking of adopting a dog like this one, please think ahead about the ones you already have; if they are small breeds, there shouldn't be a problem, as a Spanish mastiff would not feel threatened. But if it's a large breed you already own, I would definitely not go for this type of dog..
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