The advantage to buying a purebred dog, is that you have a good idea of what you're getting - Even an oversized Toy Poodle is still small, and conversely, the smallest Mastiff is still a large dog!

Ask yourself the following questions:

1) How big will he/she get? Mastiff females range anywhere from 26 - 30 inches at the shoulder, and 150 - 190 lbs. Mastiff males range anywhere from 29 - 34 inches at the shoulder, and 180 - 230 lbs. As well, Vet bills increase with the size of the dog!

2) Is the breed good with children? Mastiffs love children. Although a guardian, you don't have to worry about them eating the neighbourhood kids who might be cutting through your back yard one day. The dog will probably give a good woof, and scare the pants off them. You'll notice that when strangers come near the home, the dog will put itself in a position close to the children in the family.HOWEVER, I cannot stress enough, that dogs of any breed should not be left alone with young children!!!! Accidents can, and do, happen. Also, children need to be taught how to behave properly around dogs. Crating is a fantastic training method, as well as a place of safety for dogs. In the wild they den, so it follows that the crate becomes their den. It should be accessible to the dog at all times, and off limits to the children. The dog should be able to go there to get away from the kids.

3) How busy is he/she going to be? Mastiffs tend to be very lazy. However, they can adapt to your lifestyle if you happen to be an active family. If you're sick with the flu, or have to run kids around to practice after work, and can't get the dog out for a walk for a few days - no big deal, the Mastiff won't be bouncing off the walls (This would be a good opportunity to take the dog with you and socialize it - make it the team mascot!) If you are an active family, it is critical not to overdo the exercise until the dog is over 18 months of age, and the bones have calcified. Like an athlete, they must be slowly and carefully worked up to strenuous activity. No pulling or carrying any weight during this time! No carrying loads on the back - dogs are anatomically different from horses! No jumping heights - like out of the back of a pickup truck. Keep in mind that puppies are puppies, no matter the breed, and all are much more active than the mature dog.

4) Will he/she be noisy? Mastiffs are very quiet. They rarely bark, and as a general rule only do so when someone comes to the house. Even then, many do not make a fuss. The exception is that they are great snorers!

5) How much grooming and shedding is there? Mastiffs are easy keepers as far as grooming is concerned. In general, a weekly brushing, along with nail trim and ear cleaning is all that's needed. You can bathe them as often or as seldom as you personally prefer. Although the Mastiff coat is short, it is a double coat. Because the breed is giant, there is a lot of hair there to lose. They tend to have two major sheds each year, but like people, they are losing some hair all the time. They drool! Usually when they eat and/or drink, and when they are hot. Feed and water them outside, and keep them in air conditioning.

6) What was the breed's original purpose? This is one of the oldest breeds in existence, and its purpose has been varied. They have always been a guard dog, but they have also been used as dogs of war; used for bull and bear baiting; used as working dogs pulling carts; used as hunting dogs. Today, I find them to be a most discerning guardian. They use their great size to intimidate rather than actually have a physical encounter, and they love doing draft work. It is important to lay down rules as soon as the dog enters the home, and ensure that he knows his place in the pecking order of the home.

7) Will he/she do what they're told? This is a stubborn breed, and they use their size to their advantage. If they don't want to do something, they have a tendency to just lie down! By 6 mos. you have a 100 lb. dog - I'd like to see you make him obey! Obedience classes by a qualified, reputable instructor is a must! Like kids, they will test you periodically - DO NOT GIVE IN! It is important to establish that the dog is at the bottom of the pecking order. Have your children practice obedience with your Mastiff. As well, this breed has a tendency to become shy. Obedience school is a great way to socialize your Mastiff!