Spanish Mastiff: Tips, Care and Characteristics

Name: Spanish Mastiff, Leonese Mastiff, Extremadura Mastiff
Origin: Spain
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Color: White, black, brindle
Coat: Short, smooth, bushy
Size: Giant
Height: 70-80 cm
Weight: 50-90 kg
Temperament: Balanced, calm, affectionate, loving
Needs: Regular brushing, cleaning of ears, plenty of space
Skills: Watchdog, protector of livestock, faithful companion
Perfect for: Families with children, people looking for a loyal and protective dog, homeowners with outdoor space

General characteristics of the Spanish Mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff is a large-sized dog with a majestic presence that distinguishes it from other breeds. Its imposing appearance and balanced temperament make this canine a popular choice among those seeking a reliable companion. The Spanish Mastiff is known for its solid musculature and loose skin that forms folds on its body, giving it a distinctive appearance.

Discover its history and origin

The Spanish Mastiff is a breed of dog that has been associated with Spain for more than 1000 years, it is believed that its arrival in this country was motivated by the passage of civilizations such as the Romans and Phoenicians.

However, until the year 1237, when the Mesta (organization of cattle breeders of Castilla y León) was founded, there is no official record of the presence of the Spanish Mastiff in the Iberian Peninsula. Since then, and given its physical form, this breed of dog was used for livestock activities on rural farms, which it also guarded.

It is important to highlight his role as a transhumant shepherd throughout Spain through the “cañadas reales” that cross from north to south, where he guided the cattle and defended them from predators such as wolves.

Subsequently, the Spanish Mastiff moved into the homes of Spanish families where it continues to act as a guardian, in addition to being an excellent companion animal.

Types of Spanish Mastiff

The different varieties of the Spanish Mastiff revolve around the range of colors of its coat.

These are the different colors that the coat of the Spanish Mastiff can have:

  • White Spanish Mastiff: It is one of the most striking colors of the breed, giving it a bright appearance to its physique.
  • Black Spanish Mastiff: This dark shade gives the breed an even more imposing appearance.
  • Spanish brindle Mastiff: This color pattern can bring together yellow and reddish tones with dark spots.

Spanish mastiff puppy stage

From an early age, the baby Spanish Mastiff is characterized by being very affectionate with his adoptive family, whom he will shower with endless displays of affection. For that same reason he does not like to spend too much time without being in contact with his family.

Another of the main traits of this dog breed is its tranquility, a character that begins to manifest itself once it is an adult. Until then, the baby Spanish Mastiff stands out for being playful and somewhat unruly. In fact, for this type of cases it is beneficial to offer them a series of activities that stimulate both their sense of smell and their intellect.

However, the Spanish Mastiff puppy needs to be well trained to know the rules of the house and also to control his strength.

Character of the Spanish Mastiff

One of the most notable characteristics of this breed is their calm and gentle nature. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are extremely loyal and loving dogs, especially with their families.

The Spanish Mastiff is protective by nature, which makes them excellent home guardians. Their protective instinct towards their family is one of the reasons why they are so popular in many parts of the world.

In order to have a healthy relationship with other people and pets, it is important that the Spanish Mastiff is properly socialized. We must remember that this breed of dog can be somewhat stubborn and difficult to motivate, so educating it will be essential to avoid certain behaviors.

For the training of the Spanish Mastiff, which should also be positive, you can resort to his gluttony, offering him rewards every time he obeys the orders given to him. Of course, you should always try to make sure that his diet is balanced, since he tends to put on weight.

Another factor to take into account for its education is to know how to enhance the abilities of the Spanish Mastiff as a working dog. In this way, and through different training techniques, it is possible to develop the abilities of the Spanish Working Mastiff to perform herding or guarding functions, among others.

What is the best food?

Feeding is an essential part of caring for a Spanish Mastiff and, as with other breeds, should be adapted to the stage of life it is in. After all, its nutritional needs as a puppy, adult and senior are different.

Given their size and rapid growth, it is important to provide them with an adequate diet that meets their nutritional needs. Spanish Mastiffs require a diet rich in high-quality protein to promote muscle and bone development. It is also important to control their caloric intake to avoid overweight, which can put pressure on their joints.


The health of your Spanish Mastiff is a priority, and it is important to be aware of possible medical conditions that can affect this breed.

  • Despite its robustness, the Spanish Mastiff can be affected by different diseases such as hip dysplasia, which causes mobility problems. For this, in addition to the administration of chondroprotectors that strengthen their joints, it is necessary to visit the veterinarian to monitor the evolution of the condition itself.
  • Along with this condition we must mention obesity, to which this breed of dog is prone given its aforementioned gluttony. If they gain weight drastically, the Spanish Mastiff’s hip dysplasia can also worsen. That is why both a balanced diet and a good exercise routine that combats sedentary lifestyles are so beneficial to prevent or treat this disease.
  • Another health problem that the Spanish Mastiff can suffer from is entropion, which occurs when the edge of the eyelid folds inwards towards the eyeball, causing irritation and damage to the cornea. In the worst cases, the animal may find it difficult to open the affected eye and may even lose its vision.
  • Last but not least, it is necessary to dedicate time and attention to the Spanish Mastiff, taking into account that it is a docile and complacent breed. Thus, if it does not receive enough affection, it can develop psychological disorders such as depression.

Essential care

The Spanish Mastiff is not a breed of dog that requires a lot of basic care. Attention should only be paid to the following aspects:

  • Its coat requires brushing twice a week to reduce shedding, as well as to keep it free of parasites. Likewise, one bath a month will be enough to keep the Spanish Mastiff clean.
  • Another aspect to take into account for their care is the cleaning of the ears, which, being hanging, require supervision to avoid possible infections.
  • Despite their size, these dogs need daily exercise to stay fit and healthy. Regular walks and playtime are essential.
  • Exposing him to various situations and people from an early age will help him become a well-socialized dog.
  • Schedule regular veterinary visits to make sure your Spanish Mastiff is up to date on vaccinations and health checks.

Adopting a Spanish Mastiff

After meeting this impressive dog whose robust physical appearance has nothing to do with his sweet character, it is normal that you consider adopting a Spanish Mastiff.

However, it is important to remember that this is a breed of dog that must receive a good education to control its strength and that, in addition, it requires space to develop comfortably.

The Spanish Mastiff is a loyal and protective companion, ideal for families with children and owners looking for security in their home. Before making the decision to adopt one, consider its needs and make sure you can provide it with proper care.

With the right commitment, this majestic dog will become a loyal friend for life!

Frequently asked questions about the breed

Are Spanish Mastiffs good guard dogs?

Yes, Spanish Mastiffs have an innate protective instinct and are excellent watchdogs. Their presence alone is often enough to deter intruders.

How much exercise does this breed need?

These dogs need daily exercise, but they are not extremely active dogs. A couple of walks a day and time to play in the yard is usually sufficient.

Are these dogs easy to train?

Spanish Mastiffs are intelligent but can be somewhat stubborn. Socialization and training from an early age are key to having a well-behaved dog.

What is the difference between the Leonese mastiff and the Extremadura mastiff?

The main difference lies in their place of origin and some physical characteristics. The Leonese Mastiff comes from Leon and has a thicker coat, while the Extremadura Mastiff comes from Extremadura and has a shorter coat.

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