The Pitbull Mastiff is a tough-looking, massive dog that is perfect for families that require the protection of a true-blue guard dog while retaining the gentle and biddable nature of its purebred parents. While it may be gentle, make no mistake, this is one designer dog breed that is not for sissies or those who are relatively new to pet parenting. In the hands of a novice dog owner, it can use its stubbornness to turn your world upside down. But in the hands of a responsible pet parent, it’s the quintessential gentle giant among the ever-growing community of hybrid dogs.
History of the Pitbull Mastiff Mix
Man has always been fascinated with the chance to tinker with Mother Nature’s creations. And while the Pitbull Mastiff is definitely not the first product to come out of man’s insatiable appetite for creation, it is definitely a designer dog like no other.
When designer dog breeders think of making a cross between two different purebreds, they always have a goal in mind. In most cases, the addition of one purebred to another is primarily intended to temper the identified flaw in the other breed. For example, the Golden Retriever is such a beautiful breed, but its tendency to shed can be quite problematic to potential dog owners who happen to be allergic to pet dander. As such, the Golden was mated to a Poodle to create a dog that has the physical characteristics of the Golden Retriever while also benefiting from the low-shedding potential of the Poodle.
In the case of the Pitbull Mastiff, we can only guess what its original creator was thinking. It could be to lessen the drooling potential of the Mastiff or to reduce the aggressive tendencies of the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), although the Mastiff is historically a guard and fighting dog. No one knows, unfortunately, the real reason why the Pit Mastiff was created since most of the resources we’ve unearthed only spoke of the origins of the hybrid as being a cross between an APBT and a Mastiff.
We can also only surmise that the hybrid was created through artificial insemination. Think about it. The Mastiff is one of the world’s largest and heaviest breeds. It can weigh up to 250 pounds, about 145 to 170 pounds heavier than the American Pit Bull Terrier. It is substantially taller, too, coming in at a minimum height of 27 inches. The APBT maxes out at 19 inches.
Physically, it is improbable that these two purebreds could mate the natural way. Even if one picks the smallest female Mastiff and the largest male APBT, it would still be quite improbable. It is possible, why not? But, given the rather shorter legs of the APBT, it will be difficult.
If our guess is correct, then there will be some folks who might not want a Pit Mastiff for the sole reason that it is a product of tampering with the natural mating process. However, it still makes for a really good dog especially if one is looking for a guard dog that is biddable and gentle, too.
Who are the Parents?
We may not be able to give you a very definitive history of the Pit Mastiff, but we sure can give you a quick view of who its parents are.
American Pit Bull Terrier
The mere mention of the word “pitbull” is enough to send people into panic mode. They have this notion that the breed is the most ferocious, most aggressive on the planet. Whenever there is news of a person having been attacked by a dog, people will automatically say it is the American Pit Bull Terrier even though they did not witness the incident. Maligned, maltreated, and misunderstood, one can truly feel sorry for the APBT.
It is true that the APBT was specifically bred for fighting bulls and bears in an arena where spectators could wager on their blood. But this has long been banned both in the UK where the breed originated and from the US where it eventually got its APBT name. Unfortunately, there are still breeders and dog owners who grow APBTs with only one intention – to be the most aggressive dog there is. And even if they don’t have such intention, they are simply not adhering to the right training and socialization methods to make this breed as lovable as a Teddy Bear.
You see, the APBT is an intelligent dog and all it ever wants is the acceptance of its owner and other people as to just how wonderful a family companion this dog is. They are people-oriented and can be quite friendly to cats and other dogs, too. If there is one thing people don’t know about the APBT it’s that underneath this macho, tough guy, bad boy image is a real soft heart for children. You got that right. The APBT, for all the machismo painted of its character, is more than a loving mother to the children of its human family.
It is, thus, not surprising that many APBTs today are being trained for other ‘non-traditional’ roles such as those in hospice care settings, autism clinics, and hospitals as therapy dogs. They’re also found in the military, the police, and other organizations that can make full use of the APBT’s heightened alertness, intelligence, obedience, confidence, loyalty, and devotion to its master.
Like the APBT, the Mastiff was bred for the sole purpose of fighting bears, lions, tigers, and even famed gladiators of ancient Rome. It’s one of the most ancient dogs on the planet, having traced its origins from the Pugnaces Britannaie and the Alaunt, both of which are now extinct. Unlike the APBT, however, the Mastiff was able to quickly shed its fearsome reputation. Through thousands of years, the Mastiff has grown into one of the few giant dog breeds that are known for its loving and gentle nature. If you’re looking for what could perhaps be the epitome of the gentle giant, you’ll never have to look any further than the Mastiff.
With its massive, masked head attached to a muscular and enormous body, its size alone is enough to scare anyone who does not have an idea of the kind of dog this is. It’s the kind of guard dog that doesn’t even need to bark to keep intruders and troublemakers out as its formidable size is already a huge deterrent.
Like the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Mastiff is peaceful at heart. However, when its family is threatened or it senses that they are in danger, the Mastiff will never hesitate to step in. After all, it has fought ferocious lions and tigers in gladiator-style arenas in ancient times.
Despite its size, the Mastiff is one huge Teddy Bear. If given the chance, it will lie down at the foot of your bed or snuggle up close to you right on the couch. It has this incessant need to make sure that its family is safe and secure so it will go from room to room, peeking inside just to check if everything is okay. Its affection for its family is never questioned, its loyalty undying, and its devotion overflowing. The good thing is that the Mastiff will never demand attention, not frequently anyway. It is enough that it sees you and your family.
Like the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, the Mastiff has a surprisingly soft mouth. It has this gentleness to its every movement that you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s a lame dog. But while it has a soft mouth, it also drools heavily.
Now that we got to know the Pit Mastiff’s parents a little deeper, let’s go into the facts about this designer dog, shall we?
- The Pitbull Mastiff is a massive designer dog, growing up to 29 inches and not shorter than 25.
- It can weigh about 100 to 140 pounds which is about the same as a female Great Dane or a female St. Bernard.
- It can live a minimum of 8 years and a maximum of 12 years.
- The Pitbull Mastiff’s coat can follow the color of its parent whose trait for coat color is more dominant. As such, this can be black, brown, white, red, blue, or brindle.
- The Pit Mastiff looks a lot like the American Bandogge except that the latter has a sleepier and more wrinkled face.
- This designer dog breed will never thrive in an apartment.
- They are kid-friendly, but their size is way too dangerous for small children.
- It needs tons of exercise.
- It’s never for the newbie.
Things You Should Know
For very obvious reasons, the Pit Mastiff is not for everyone. If you don’t believe us, why not take a look at the following requirements?
The Pitbull Mastiff has a very strong personality and will only respond to someone who has a similar personality. But we’re not talking about the aggressive type of personality here. This dog best responds to someone it considers as its Alpha or pack leader. If you’re a softy, it will never listen to you. It needs assurance that you are a much better leader than your dog.
While this designer dog is smart, its stubbornness can really get in the way to effective and successful training. Punish it, use harsh training methods and it will grow into a fearful dog that can manifest outwards as aggression. The Mastiff in this hybrid dog is also very sensitive to harsh words and actions. It will not budge if it thinks you’ve hurt its feelings. Do not train it and it will become a very destructive force in your home. What it needs is a person who can be firm yet gentle, patient, and persevering. You must show consistency in your training. It, thus, pays to have everyone in your family singing the same tune; otherwise, the dog will get confused and will never listen to anyone anymore.
This huge dog has a huge appetite. However, instead of feeding it 3 to 4 cups of high-quality dog food twice a day, it is best to feed it 3 or 4 times. This is to reduce the amount of food that it gets per meal so that bloat can be avoided. Observing more frequent yet smaller feeding portions can help prevent bloat since the dog will only be pushing minimal amount of air into its stomach.
Always choose food that is made of the highest possible quality of animal proteins. This offers more health benefits to this mammoth dog. We strongly recommend giving the Pit Mastiff raw food. Raw turkey necks, pork feet, lamb ribs, and even whole-prey animal foods like rabbit are excellent sources of protein and minerals. Add fresh carrots, de-cored apples, and other fruits and vegetables for their antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. If raw dog food is not your thing, then you can cook your dog’s own food. Just make sure that it is well-balanced and comes complete with all the nutrients for this mammoth canine’s needs.
For more guides on choosing the right dog food, you may wish to check out our reviews of the best dog food for pitbulls, dry dog food, organic dog food, grain free dog food, vegan dog treats and wet dog food.
This is a stocky, well-muscled hybrid of a dog. Can you imagine what will happen to those muscles if you don’t exercise them? They’ll shrink. Surely you don’t want a giant dog that looks emaciated. The Pit Mastiff will expect its owner to bring it out for a 45 to 60 minute walk every single day. If you don’t like walking, running or even jogging would work fine, too. However, if you have a Pit Mastiff that’s less than 2 years old, it is best to go slow with its exercise since its skeleton is not yet fully mature.
Playtime activities can be substituted for daily exercise. You should always be cautious when playing with this dog, however. Not that it is aggressive and a rough player, the Pit Mastiff’s size alone is enough to injure you or, worse, your kids. It is for this reason that the Pit Mastiff is never ideal for those who live in very small living areas such as condos and apartments. They need plenty of space to run about and flex their muscles.
The Pitbull Mastiff is an affectionate and loving pet, provided it is socialized as a puppy. It should also do well living along with other dogs and other pets like cats. Again, the key here is to socialize the Pit Mastiff puppy as early as possible. Introduce it to other dogs. Bring it to the dog park. Take a walk with other dog lovers in the park. Get a date for your Pit Mastiff. More importantly, invite your neighbors and friends into your home so the dog gets acclimatized to the idea that there are people in this world other than its family.
Speaking of family, the Pit Mastiff loves kids. Unfortunately, its massive size prevents it from truly enjoying the company of the little ones. Even Pit Mastiff puppies can be very heavy for small children. So if you have tots in your family, take our advice, get another dog.
This is the part that is quite easy with the Pit Mastiff that virtually anyone can do it. It’s not a heavy shedder and it doesn’t have a long, thick coat, too. Because of this, you could easily get away with once or twice weekly brushing of its coat. This is still needed, you know. It can help redistribute the oils on its skin while also facilitating better circulation. You can bathe the Pitbull Mastiff twice a year, cut its nails every month, clean its ears every week, and brush its teeth every 2-3 days.
Check out some of the best dog grooming guides that we’ve prepared: dog nail grinders, dog nail clippers and dog ear cleaners.
The Pitbull Mastiff suffers the same health conditions that large and giant dog breeds have. This can include hip dysplasia, kidney problems, skin problems, hypothyroidism, heart problems, cancer, and gastric dilatation volvulus or bloat. Make sure to visit the vet on a regular basis just so you can keep a head’s up on the health status of the Pit Mastiff.
This gentle giant is recommended for…
- People who have an extensive experience positively training and socializing either APBTs or Mastiffs
- Individuals who can devote time for the dog’s exercise, training, and socialization needs
- Those with the characteristics of a leader of the pack
- Families with fully grownup children, preferably older than 10 years old
Get another dog if…
- This is your first time getting or owning a dog
- You don’t have any clue as to what positive reinforcement training is all about
- You’re as lazy as any other couch potato
- You live in a place that is desperately wanting in space
Alert and intelligent, although with extreme cases of stubbornness that can span several weeks while still a puppy, the Pitbull Mastiff is always the pride of a family that knows how to take good care of it. Its devotion is unquestionable and its affection is undeniable. It is in constant need of human companionship, not the other way around. It is exceptionally playful given its high level of energy that is best served if given the opportunity to exercise and train.
The Pitbull Mastiff is not your average hybrid dog. It is affectionate and devoted, yes. But this can only happen if it is trained and socialized by someone who truly knows how. And if you think you’re that someone, then the Pit Mastiff is yours.