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English mastiffs are a much loved large dog breed. Similar to the average for dogs of this size, the life expectancy for an English mastiff is set between a range of 6 and 12 years.
Although the average mastiff lifespan may be on the lower end of this wide range, it is certainly not strange to see a mastiff reaching an older age.
There are many factors that influence aging, and a few general guidelines to keep in mind when estimating the lifespan of your English mastiff.
We’ll be taking you through a look at how long English mastiffs live, listing all of the key factors to know to give your dog that happiest, healthiest and longest life possible.
A well-rounded diet and regular exercise are the best way to give your mastiff the best health and overall longevity. Most of the issues that plague large dogs like this breed only occur when an overweight state is sustained. Select food specifically formulated for giant breeds.
An English mastiff needs at least 20 to 30-minutes of daily exercise a day to stay in shape. However, as a giant breed, it is important they aren’t over-exercised. This means that it’s better for your dog’s heart to go for a daily walk rather than a long-distance jog. A little high-paced fun is healthy every now and then but not every day.
While not always true, the bigger the dog, the shorter its lifespan. The more massive your pooch is, the better you’ll need to take care of their health.
The biggest English mastiffs weigh in at around 230 pounds but without delicate dietary adjustments, regular exercise, careful attention to health and, of course, your love and attention, they are prone to dysplasias and other health issues. Here’s a look at what conditions are most common to English mastiffs:
Hip dysplasia occurs when the thigh bone no longer fits properly into the hip joint. Pain and lameness can arise in either one or both legs, but in many cases, most dogs show little signs of dysplasia. Dogs affected are likely to develop arthritis.
Any good veterinary practice will screen your English mastiff for hip dysplasia so that dietary changes can be made. A simple X-ray reveals whether or not there is a problem. If you’re considering a puppy, make sure that your breeder provides proof that the parents are tested and are free from hip dysplasia.
Canines with this problem need to switch to a low-calorie diet while you make sure that there is no risk of harm from their environment as well. Slick floors and smooth surfaces are a no-go.
In a similar fashion to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia occurs due to weight imbalances pushing the elbow out of its socket. Pain is usually evident, leading owners to get their pet checked by a vet. Depending on the degree of damage, the elbow develops incorrectly.
Forelimbs grow stiff, and lameness will occur if nothing is done to alleviate the symptoms. Surgery is possible, but it depends on the individual dog’s degree of dysplasia. In many cases, all that can be done is setting your dog on a diet to correct their weight while taking corrective steps to protect them from their environment.
Wobbler syndrome refers to a gait caused by compression of the spinal cord. Dogs affected begin to take short steps with the appearance of dangling their front limbs while having a swaying gait in their back legs. This gives them the appearance of wobbling as they walk. This condition not only affects mastiffs but other giant breeds like Great Danes and mountain dogs as well.
Excessive pressure on the neck vertebrae caused by weight over time wears down the rounded shape of the spinal cord. Once this condition develops, it will slowly worsen. X-rays can diagnose the injury, but advanced imaging like an MRI or CT scan is necessary to discover how badly the spinal cord is compressed.
A schedule of steroids typically improves the symptoms and reduces long-term complications, but in extreme cases, surgery will be needed. Medical management is almost always the chosen course of action.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) refers to a disease that weakens the contractions of the heart while impairing its pumping ability. This condition is most common to large breeds and is a risk for any English mastiff who is overweight for most of its life.
Reduced exercise performance is a forerunning but subtle sign. As the heart degrades, blood pressure irregularities can cause lung congestion and fluid accumulation. If you listen to the beat of your dog’s heart, you’ll hear a soft murmur and possibly other irregular sounds, accompanied by an irregular heart rhythm.
A vet uses X-rays and an electrocardiogram to confirm a suspected diagnosis. With treatment using a reliable ACE inhibitor medication, the lifespan of your English mastiff can be increased, and their general quality of life improved. This condition does detract from the general life expectancy though.
Keep in mind that the primary threat to English mastiffs is cancer. Cancers can plague a mastiff in ill-health, such as osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and lymphosarcoma (lymphoid tissue cancer).
This is why most breeders and vets recommend that you neuter or spay your mastiff. This eliminates the risk of testicular/uterine cancer and a number of diseases connected to reproductive function.
Unless you plan to usher in a litter, consider this procedure to eliminate some of the cancer risks.
The hands-on weight test is the best way to determine whether or not your dog is overweight. Another precautionary measure for English mastiffs is preventing bloating. Don’t allow your dog to eat a large meal and then drink a large amount of water.
And remember, stress creates a barrier against good health. A happy dog will live longer, with a stronger immune system and higher energy levels overall.