Monday, March 26, 2007

English Mastiff: The Good, The Bad, & The Smelly

I am a dog lover. I have been a lover of animals ever since I can remember. I truly can't recall being scared of any dogs until about 2 years ago. I had been walking about 2 miles around "the loop" which started at my house and circled around until I returned home again. I love this walk because the mountains are beautiful and the road doesn't have too much traffic. About half way around the loop is a beautiful new home with a dog that looks much like the one you see in this picture. She never even so much barked at me for over a year. Then one day I happened to walk by and she wasn't only barking but she was running very fast towards me. I quickly climbed into a cow pen and stood there facing the neighbor's bovines, but they beat the barking dog. I was thinking about climbing up into the barn, but decided that I was safe enough on the ground. I went to reach for my cell phone, but much to my dismay I had left without it that morning. I stood there for a while and then decided that I could maybe climb out of the pen and sneak back home. Every time I tried to climb out, the dog would come back and bark again. I was trapped, and I was feeling a bit frustrated. I then spotted an older farmer way up on the hill and I started yelling with all of my might for him to come my way. I knew this man, and I knew he was the father of the dog's owner. He came down the hill asking me what in the world I was doing standing in his cow pen. I pointed out to the DOG. He said in a calm voice, "Sassy, go home". She went home. I was so impressed. However, I was having a little difficulty getting up the nerve to start my walk back home so I requested that he drive me past the dog's abode. He laughed and assured me that she wouldn't hurt me. I laughed and said I would rather ride than take a chance on meeting Sassy again that morning. This was my first encounter with an English Mastiff.

About a year after my encounter, Sassy became a mommy, and my oldest son begged me to stop in and see the pups. I honored his request. They were the cutest pups, but I knew they would be expensive. Several months later, I was the owner of one of her pups. The neighbor's called and offered us a "deal we couldn't refuse" to get rid of the last puppy. I wanted to share our experience thus far with this breed of dog.

THE GOOD: Mastiffs are known to be very loyal. They were bred to stay at home to guard the castle during the middle ages. They did not often bite their enemies, but they would sit on them or back them into a corner until their master came home. (This explains why Sassy was happy to trap me in the cow pen and keep me until helped arrived).

English Mastiffs have a very sweet disposition. Our Missy dog is one of the sweetest dogs we have ever had. They enjoy being with their people, and dislike being left alone. (Missy's favorite spot is to sit on the rug in front of the kitchen sink while I am doing dishes. She will also sit on our feet if she gets the chance). She wants to be as close to us as possible. They are also known as lazy which I think is a good trait. She sleeps a lot so this has kept her out of trouble.

English Mastiffs are smart dogs who want to please their owners. She has an understanding that she can play with our older children roughly, but she had best be easy with the little guy.

THE BAD: English Mastiffs are very large animals. They average out between 150-190 and above. I believe our dog is about 150 pounds. This is a good trait if you need them to scare a bad guy away. However, this can work against you if you need to get your dog out of the UPS truck. (That happened just last week at our house. Thankfully the UPS guy has a great sense of humor)! Due to their size, these dogs can do a lot of damage without really trying. I cannot go into all the things that Missy has messed up in as well as out of our home because Michael hasn't figured it all out yet! (We did find one of his lost golf balls. However nobody wanted to retrieve it from Missy's pile of pooo. Yes, she ate his golf ball)! We have a rule at our house...WATCH MISSY, and if you cannot watch her PUT HER IN THE BATHROOM with everything removed from the counter! She is a house dog who is my shadow so this isn't usually a problem.

THE SMELLY: Before we got Missy, we did a little reading about the breed. The breed profile said these dogs were on the gassy side. I believe that was an understatement...they can smell very bad if fed the wrong thing. Sometimes she smells just plain bad even when she is fed the right thing! The breed profile says that this breed tends to snore a bit. That was an understatement as well. Missy can put Michael's snoring to shame. She is very noisy at night, but I can sleep through just about anything so it doesn't bother much. The breed profile forgot to say that this breed of dog tends to slobber. That can be a bit disgusting, but a large roll of paper towels applied to her jaws usually can conquer this problem.

You may be wondering why in the world we would have a 150 pound smelly snoring house dog living in our home. (Yes, Michael asks me this question often). But remember, I am truly a dog lover. I love big dogs that are sweet natured, and Missy Girl is so very sweet. She is my shadow, and I feel a bit lost when she isn't by my side. Yes, she has probably doubled my housework load, but she has brought me and the kids much joy. (Michael is still waiting for the joy part, but I know down deep he truly loves her). Well, we will just leave it that way until he decides to post his own thoughts!!

grace and peace,



TNfarmgirl said...

Gosh, I can't decide now if I want one or not...think I may go back to the Fila - at least the gassy part doesn't apply :)

TnFullQuiver said...


You know you really want one of these darling dogs. You wouldn't have to smell the gassy part too much if the dog lived outdoors!!! You need to come visit our Missy Girl. She might just win your heart after all. (Michael says and maybe not).

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if you would recommend this kind of dog door us... We have four small children 10 months to 7 years

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