|ROYAL OAKS MASTIFFS
PUPPY REARING PHILOSOPHY
By Catherine Dougherty
Important Statistics on Health Testing of Mastiffs As Reported by the
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Please Print, Read and Keep for Reference
In height and weight, adult Mastiffs are enormous dogs. Their head is usually
at the height of an adult’s hip. In weight, an adult Mastiff will generally weigh
more than many of their owners. On average, males will be taller and heavier
than females but there are exceptions. A Mastiff puppy is adorable, but it will
grow into the most powerful dog on the planet.
How To Raise A Wonderful Mastiff
*How you treat your puppy is paramount. The greatest influence on the
outcome of a Mastiff's temperament is the treatment, training and
experiences it receives during the first six months. We send out well-
adjusted, friendly and socialized puppies. It is the buyers job to use common
sense rules (guidelines below) to continue raising the puppy into a well-
adjusted adult Mastiff.
*Dog experts agree that it is during the period from six to sixteen weeks that
a dog is most capable of learning. Train your puppy carefully.
*An adult Mastiff should be gentle, loving and loyal with their greatest
pleasure being hanging with its human family. Mastiffs are extremely
sensitive and their feelings are easily hurt making them simple to discipline
with a change in your tonal quality. With this in mind, your puppy should be
raised with gentle, loving and positive responses from you. In spite of the
fact an 8 week old Mastiff appears to be bigger, sturdier, and more able to
stand stress than smaller breeds, this is not true. Since they mature very
slowly you must realize you have at first a foolish child, later a goofy
teenager and finally a dignified and mature adult.
*Kindness, consistency and patience are needed to train a Mastiff and allow
for development of the wonderful Mastiff personality. Please use training
methods stressing positive reinforcement. Praise (verses negativity) is the
training mechanism best suited to the Mastiff’s temperament. For every
correction, give your puppy 10 compliments.
*Corporal punishment or confinement for typical puppy behavior is not only
unnecessary but cruel and will hamper development of a gentle nature.
*IMPORTANT: Do not wrestle, roughhouse, or romp with your puppy. Not only
is it hard on its bones, but it will encourage behavior that will be a
unacceptable when the puppy is fully grown and the size of a linebacker. If
you want to romp, get a Lab.
What and how you teach your puppy now will mirror the adult he will
become. No one wants a wild, jumpy, aggressive Mastiff! Cuddle your puppy!
*Socialization: You should try and get out and about with your puppy as
soon as possible so that it can start to learn to interact with other people and
animals. An outing several times a week is recommended until your puppy is
15 weeks, when it may be increased.
*Growth: It is generally agreed that Mastiffs do not mature physically until
they are between three and four years of age. You will notice a tremendous
physical growth rate over the first 12 months. In that time most Mastiffs will
grow close to their ultimate adult height. Over the next year to 18 months
they will start to fill out, their heads will widen and they will take on the solid
appearance of an adult dog.
*Training: You can start gently teaching your dog what you expect of it from
the time you take it home. The aim of training is to help shape your Mastiff’s
behavior to allow it to develop as a good companion while not suppressing
its natural personality. An adult, not a child, should be responsible for
training, including house training.
You can also teach your puppy a tremendous amount about what is expected
of it in your home. You will want to teach him to sit and stop at minimum for
his own protection as well as others. At the same time, bear in mind that a
puppy must be given the chance to behave like a puppy and you should not
try to totally control its behavior.
*Other Animals: Being naturally loving and gentle dogs who love
companionship, Mastiffs get on well with other animals. There are Mastiffs
who live harmoniously with all manner of other animals including cats, ducks,
chickens, and horses. As with children however, the Mastiff and the other
animal need to be properly introduced and supervised, preferably while the
Mastiff is still a puppy.
*Feeding: Because Mastiffs grow so much, they need large quantities of food
while they are growing and particularly during the first 12 months. As Mastiffs
grow so rapidly especially during the first year or so, your puppy must
receive the necessary amounts of nutrients during those months to avoid
serious problems. At the same time, your puppy can also develop serious
problems if it is overfed or over supplemented. It is best to have a puppy who
is underweight for the first year than overweight as the additional weight will
add stress to rapidly growing bones. A low protein diet is recommended for
the first year.
*Water and Worming: All Mastiffs drink a huge amount of water each day and
they can become distressed very quickly, even in relatively mild weather, if
water is not available. You must always ensure that there is fresh water
available for your Mastiff at all times. Regular worming is a 'must' particularly
if your dog has access to standing water in a creek or lake. I worm my adult
Mastiff’s in the summer every month with a gentle wormer.
*Exercise: All Mastiffs spend quite a large proportion of the day asleep and,
because they are doing so much growing, Mastiff puppies sleep even more
than adult dogs. With your puppy you can expect that it will go through a
short period of activity and then, quite suddenly, fall asleep for a couple of
hours. It needs plenty of sleep to grow properly so make sure it is able to
sleep when it needs to.
Being a heavy breed, a Mastiff’s bones, muscles and ligaments are subjected
to tremendous forces. It is therefore extremely important that you don’t over
exercise your Mastiff puppy. Your puppy will get sufficient exercise around
your home and going on outings for socialization. You should not be
expecting your Mastiff puppy to accompany you jogging or going on long
walks. Even on a gentle walk, always watch the puppy for signs that it is
slowing down or tiring and don’t keep pressing on further with a puppy that is
tired. It is a standard Mastiff owner’s joke that Mastiffs prefer to watch you
exercise rather than joining in themselves.
ENJOY YOUR MASTIFF!!!
As Reported By the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
Mastiff buyers often hear of horror stories about genetic illness and
conditions which seem to plague the Mastiff breed. The OFA has recorded
statistics on the numbers of Mastiffs affected by various genetic diseases.
The following statistics are informative for those who are considering a
1. Thyroid Disease: Of the 1,067 Mastiffs tested 84.1% were normal.
2. Cardiac Disease: Of the 1,588 Mastiffs tested 98.1 were normal.
3. Patellar Luxation: Of the 1,594 Mastiffs tested 99.8 were normal.
4.Elbow Dysplasia: Of the 4,531 Mastiffs tested 84.4 were normal.
5.Hip Dysplasia: Of the 9,191 Mastiffs tested 1.9% were excellent and 19.5
were diagnosed dysplastic.
Meaning that 79.1, although not perfect, still did not have debilitating
According to the above statistics, clearly the major concern for Mastiff
owners is Hip Dysplasia. Many leading veterinarians believe if there are no
carriers of hip dysplasia in a dog's lineage, then it will not contract the
disease. However if there are genetic carriers, then it may inherit the disease
from the parent(s). If the parents are carriers, it will most assuredly be a
carrier of the disease even if it does not develop it; future generations of
offspring have a chance of being born with it. Even though factors such a
stress and environment must be taken into consideration, we can greatly
reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia through selective breeding.
At Royal Oaks, we have carefully selected breeding lines that do not have hip
dysplasia. None of our Mastiffs or their offspring have ever developed the