(and growth cycles)
Spanish Mastiff Puppies grow very quickly in their first year and will show a much
slower, more gradual growth over the next two years, not reaching maturity until at
least 3 years old. This first year is a critical stage and pups should be fed an appropriate
diet of either raw food or a top quality, natural dog food and be fed 3 smaller meals daily.
Do NOT overfeed your Spanish Mastiff puppy, as too much weight can harm growing
joints and cause problems at maturity. These puppies already carry alot of weight on
their rapidly developing frames and do not need the added stress of carrying any excess!
Your puppy WILL reach it's genetic size and a slower growth is a healthier growth!
From what I have seen with Spanish Mastiffs and their new owners, is that many
get carried away by their puppies rapid growth and weight gain in the
first 8-10 months and want to see that sort of growth continue so that their dogs
reach their adult size early on. This is not in the best interest of the dog!
I feed my own dogs and puppies a premium quality dog food as well as raw food
that consists of ground beef with organ meats included (liver, heart, etc.) and
raw chicken quarters for the adults. Puppies are introduced to raw beef as soon as
they start eating solids and given chicken wings, gizzards, hearts and livers by 5-6 weeks.
When I have litters on the ground, they are fed a 5-6 star kibble for at least one
meal daily, so that they may transition to their new homes more easily if their
owners do not have easy access to a raw diet.
This link rates dog foods by ingredients and I recommend you feed the 5-6 star foods.
Puppies should be wormed as needed. I suggest that fecals be taken to your vet
every 4-6 weeks to determine if the pup has worms and what kind, so that the
appropriate wormer can be used. Puppies put everything in their mouths
and worms can be picked up from the soil. My litters are wormed regularly in the
first weeks before leaving for their new homes.
Because of their rapid growth, the puppies will go through many awkward stages in the
first year when body parts just don't seem to "fit"! Rear end may be higher than the
shoulder, head may seem out of proportion with a large body, they may appear "leggy",
thin, lacking wrinkle, etc. Be patient! The pups should level out by 12 months.
Puppies may also suffer growing pains during this time. These will usually only last for
short periods time and the pup generally does not need pain relievers.
I have heard many veterinarians recommend that Mastiff breeds be limited in their
activity while growing and I simply do not agree with that! Spanish Mastiffs NEED to
develop strong muscle to help support their growing frames and limiting exercise or inappropriate exercise is counter productive! Most pups will regulate their own activity,
when they are tired, they'll lay down and go to sleep. When they need or want excercise,
they'll get up and play. You should not take your young dog on 3 mile hikes or jogs if they
are not accustomed to it, but if they were gradually introduced to this sort of activity,
there is no reason you couldn't.
Spanish Mastiff puppies REQUIRE training!!! These puppies can be very deceptive for
new owners because invariably, they are very mellow and well behaved in their first 8-12 months before hitting their "teenage" stage when hormones start kicking in. This is a
crucial training period and many new owners miss it because they believe their sweet,
mellow puppy really didn't need to go to obedience classes!
These dogs have been bred for generations to make decisions regarding their duties
on their own, and are a very strong, independent minded breed that will behave
accordingly if there is not an "alpha" personality on the farm or in the household.
In their first months, they are still learning behaviors (good or bad) and are generally eager
to please. If you have not set strong parameters, introduced the pup to varying situations, people and places, you may not be able to react properly to your dogs behavior or control
it. When they reach their teenage stage sometime after 8 months old, they may begin
"testing" your authority, what boundaries may have been set, as well as discovering their
own capabilities. I usually refer to this as selective deafness! This can be a frustrating time
for owners because their pups early behavior spoiled them. This period requires patience
and understanding of the breed as well as a willingness to work through these "stages". In
my experience, by the time the dogs have reached 16-24 months, and if you have put
the effort in, you will have an amazing dog that will spoil you for any other breed!
Spanish Mastiffs are generally best suited to a consistant, firm, but fair owner with
some experience with independent minded breeds. Having an extremely powerful dog,
or one that weighs from 150 to 200 pounds is not for a person who is not prepared to
do a lot of obedience work and socialization.
Socialization doesn't appear to prevent or hinder this breed from doing it's job whether
it be a livestock guard, pet or family guard. It DOES build self confidence in the dog and
seems to strengthen their abilities to determine what is a real threat and what isn't!
I routinely take my dogs many places and have them around large numbers of people.
Mine transition very easily from the city right back to the farm and pasture with the goats.
I am always more than willing to try help anyone work through any issues they may be
having, or try to answer any questions about problems, training and behaviors based on
what I have witnessed in my own puppies and adult dogs as well as discussions I've had
with other owners and breeders in Europe.
All information is copyright property of Lois Jordan.
Please do not copy ANYTHING on these pages (or variations of) without my express written permission.