Mastiffs are a large, powerful breed of dog that has been around for thousands of years. They were bred to guard, hunt, help soldiers, and battle fierce animals like lions, bulls and bears during ancient times.
So, at 30 inches tall and 130 pounds, Mastiffs are a force to be reckoned with. But they’re also good-natured, calm, and patient dogs that make great family companions.
And yes, like most dogs, they do shed.
Mastiffs are a double coated breed that sheds moderately year-round. However, their short, straight outer coat and dense undercoat sheds more heavily once or twice per year with the change of season. You can’t stop a Mastiff from shedding, but regular brushing can help reduce it significantly.
In this article, we’re going to discuss how much these incredible dogs shed, what they’re like to groom, and how you can effectively reduce shedding.
Note: The word “mastiff” is used to describe both a type of dog AND an individual dog breed. This article is about the individual dog breed that is listed by the American Kennel Club as the Mastiff. Which is the same breed that is referred to by Wikipedia as the English Mastiff, or Old English Mastiff.
Mastiff Shedding – What to Expect
Mastiffs are a moderate-to-heavy shedding breed. They shed an average amount year-round, but more heavily once or twice per year with the change of season.
Many people think that dogs with short coats don’t shed much, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are lots of shorthaired dogs that shed heavily, both small and large breeds. And a good example of this is the Great Dane (large, short coat, high shedder) and the Pug (small, short coat, high shedder).
In any case, most dogs shed. This is a perfectly natural, normal process. The dog is simply shedding (or moulting) their old, dead hair in order to make way for new, living hairs. The only difference is how much each dog sheds and how noticeable it is when they do.
The amount of shedding depends largely on the breed and how fast their hair goes through the natural process of growth (anagen), rest (catagen), and falling out (telogen). This is known as the hair growth cycle and basically the shorter the growth phase, the more they will shed.
The time of year also plays a part as to how much they shed. For example, you may notice an increase in shedding during seasonal changes like spring and fall (autumn). This is known as seasonal shedding, and it’s typically not as extreme in a Mastiff compared to dogs like the Newfoundland.
Either way, they are known to shed more heavily once or twice each year, so this could explain a sudden increase in shedding. But in some cases there may be an underlying problem causing the excessive hair loss. So, if you have any concerns, contact your local veterinarian for assistance.
Another thing that can impact how noticeable the shedding is, is the type of coat the dog has. For example, when curly or longhaired dogs shed, like the Shih Tzu, most of the hair is trapped within their coat, so you can brush them before it falls out. However, when dogs with short coats molt, like the Mastiff, most of their fur falls out before you get a chance to brush.
And it goes without saying, Mastiffs are a huge breed. Which means there is plenty of surface area for hair to grow on them. And, while the physical size of the dog doesn’t impact the speed at which his hair falls out, this can make a difference overall because there’s just so much fur on his body.
So they shed, a fair bit. But there are some effective ways you can deal with it, and of the best methods is through proper grooming. So let’s take a closer look at what Mastiffs are like to groom.
Grooming Your English Mastiff
The English Mastiff’s short, double coat is fairly easy to maintain. You typically only need to brush them a few times per week to keep their coat in good shape.
Their outer coat is made up of short, straight, coarse hair that comes in apricot, fawn, or brindle with black markings. And their undercoat is dense and close lying.
Together, this coat protects him from the elements and keeps him well insulated during both hot and cold weather. So it’s important not to shave him down to the skin, even though you may be tempted to reduce the shedding, which it doesn’t really help with anyway.
Given the length and texture of his coat, a rubber hand mitt or metal comb works well for general maintenance brushing, while a deshedding tool is generally better for removing the dead hair. And, optionally, a bristle brush can be a great brush for finishing up and adding shine to the coat.
The occasional bath is also worthwhile. Not only can this help improve the condition of his coat, provided you use a quality dog shampoo, but it can help keep them from smelling bad. Which is a fairly common complaint about Mastiffs.
They also drool, so it pays to be prepared for situations where you may need to wipe them down occasionally. Like after eating, drinking, or exercise for example.
Overall though, Mastiffs are quite easy to groom. A weekly brush, the occasional bath and wiping them down every now and then is typically enough to keep them looking their best.
You may want to step up the brushing and bathing during shedding season though, which we’ll go into more detail on now.
How to Reduce Excessive Shedding
You can’t stop a Mastiff from shedding completely, but it is possible to reduce it to a point where it’s virtually unnoticeable. And it’s not difficult, nor do you need to spend lots of money on expensive brushes or supplements, to get the shedding under control.
It mostly just comes down to consistent brushing.
Brushing consistently not only helps to remove the loose fur from his coat, but it helps spread his coat oils which in turn promote a healthier, more moisture rich skin and hair. So, as simple as it may sound, regular brushing is one of the best ways to reduce shedding.
With that being said, you don’t want to brush too often, especially not with a brush that can cause irritation, like a deshedding tool. The bristle brush or curry brush (rubber brush) is generally considered more suitable for daily brushing as they are not as harsh on the dog’s skin. So if you’re going to brush daily, these may be the better choice.
Bathing during shedding season can also make a difference. You never want to over bathe, or use cheap shampoos, as these can dry out his skin. But bathing your Mastiff with a good quality dog shampoo can help to loosen up the hairs on his coat. And when you follow this up with a thorough brushing, this can remove a lot of old, dead hair.
What you feed your dog can also have an impact on shedding. Because, generally speaking, Mastiffs that enjoy a healthy, balanced diet have healthier coats, and healthier coats tend to shed less.
Some Mastiff owners find that a small amount of virgin coconut oil or virgin olive oil can help too. So, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to further reduce shedding, in addition to a healthy diet, a natural supplement like this may be worth considering.
As always, consult with a qualified veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, and to help determine the best, highest quality dog food for your unique dog.
At the end of the day, it’s normal for Mastiffs to shed, so you will notice some hair floating around your home. But it’s not hard to minimize it substantially. It’s often as simple as maintaining a proper grooming routine and ensuring their diet is optimal. A little bit of consistent effort can save you a lot of time vacuuming, so it can be well worth the effort.
Are There Any Low Shedding Mastiff Breeds?
Most mastiffs have short coats that shed moderately. Like the Bullmastiff for example, which sheds about the same as the English Mastiff, and is about as easy to groom.
Each dog is unique though, so it really depends on the individual breed as to what they’re like to groom and how much fur they drop.
For example, the Tibetan Mastiff has a longer coat that tends to shed heavily once per year, and very little outside of this. While other popular breeds he’s closely associated with, like the English Bulldog, French Bulldog and Boxer for example, shed year-round like the Mastiff, just not quite as heavily. So it really does depend on the breed.
If you don’t care how similar the breed is, and just want a low shedding breed alternative, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is worth considering. Or, if you want a low shedder that’s also very easy to groom, and way smaller, the Italian Greyhound might interest you. Alternatively, check out our full list of low shedding dogs here.