Mastiff Health Issues


Mastiffs belong to one of the 14 ancient breeds of dogs. This breed of large dogs originates from the mountainous regions of Asia. They are descendants of the ancient Molosser dog who lived 4000 years ago. There are several types of Mastiffs and their average life expectancy is from 8 to 14 years. 

Mastiffs are brachycephalic dogs; their muzzle is short and flattened, which is why they often have respiratory difficulties. Due to their size and weight, Mastiffs are also susceptible to various types of orthopedic issues, and other health problems like obesity, heart issues, and skin problems. They are very attached to the owner so they are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for a long time.

Common Tibetan Mastiff Health Issues


Tibetan Mastiffs are large, strong, stubborn, determined, and protective dogs that need early socialization. The average life expectancy of Tibetan Mastiffs is 12 to 15 years and they have fewer health problems compared to other breeds. However, due to various environmental factors and genetic changes in the breed over the years, Tibetan Mastiffs have become more susceptible to some diseases than their original ancestors.

The health issues that Tibetan Mastiffs are susceptible to:

  • Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • Skin problems: demodectic mange, allergies, elbow hygroma
  • Heart problems: subaortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), mitral valve disease, pulmonic stenosis (occasionally)
  • Neurological diseases: canine hereditary demyelinating neuropathy (CIDN)
  • Autoimmune diseases: Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, lymphocytic thyroiditis
  • Eye problems: entropion, ectropion, corneal dystrophy, retinal dysplasia, distichiasis, cataract, persistent pupillary membranes, progressive retinal atrophy(PRA)
  • Bleeding Disorders: hemophilia, Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Behavioral disorders: separation anxiety, aggression, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (spinning, tail chasing)
  • Ear infections
  • Dental issues: missing teeth, overbite, underbite, dry mouth
  • Obesity
  • Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy

The purpose of this list is to serve as a starting point for all Tibetan Mastiff owners who want to be informed about the potential health issues that may occur in their pet. It doesn’t mean that these health issues will surely occur in every Tibetan Mastiff, nor it means that these dogs cannot get a disease that is not mentioned here.

Tibetan Mastiffs are prone to obesity. To help your dog to have the best possible quality of life, provide him with a proper diet and regular walks. They should be given only dog food appropriate for their age.

Common Bullmastiff Health Issues


The Bullmastiff is a breed that was obtained by mixing the English Mastiff with a Bulldog. Generally speaking, Bullmastiffs are healthy and resilient dogs but they are susceptible to some breed-specific health issues. Their average life expectancy is 8 to 10 years.

The health issues that have been reported in Bullmastiffs over the years:

  • Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, anterior cruciate ligament rupture, arthritis, panosteitis, cervical vertebral malformation (instability), osteochondritis dissecans, osteochondrosis
  • Skin problems: demodectic mange, rashes, sores, irritations
  • Heart problems: dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), subaortic stenosis
  • Cancer: lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumors
  • Sebaceous cysts (non-tumorous growths)
  • Neurological diseases: Wobbler syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases: lymphocytic thyroiditis
  • Urinary tract infections: bladder or kidney stones, cystinuria
  • Eye problems: entropion, distichiasis, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, cataracts, Cherry eye, persistent pupillary membrane (PPM), retinal dysplasia
  • Birth abnormalities: screw tail, short tail, cleft palate
  • Reproductive issues: the birth process can be very difficult due to their physical build; large heads and wide shoulders, so it is required to do C-section to deliver puppies
  • Infectious diseases: parvo, rabies, and distemper
  • Ear infections
  • Dietary indiscretions
  • Difficulties with emptying the anal glands
  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus)
  • Vaginal hyperplasia (in females)
  • Hypothyroidism

The above-mentioned health issues are not ranked according to any special criteria, which means that there is no higher risk for diseases that are at the top of the list and vice versa.

Bullmastiffs are prone to anxiety if left alone at home or separated from the owner for a long period of time. They are also prone to dental problems which can later lead to more severe health issues, so it is necessary to brush their teeth twice a week. Bullmastiffs require daily exercise and walks to avoid dissatisfaction which can manifest with an accumulation of negative energy and ultimately by aggression.

Common English Mastiff Health Issues


The English Mastiff is a breed of large, massive, and powerful dogs. In 1885, the breed was first imported into the United States and has spread slowly since. Their average life expectancy is 6 to 12 years. There are a few health issues that English Mastiffs are prone to more than other breeds.

The health issues that have been reported in English Mastiffs over the years:

  • Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Skin problems: demodectic mange, allergies, pyoderma
  • Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion), Cherry eye, persistent pupillary membranes (PPM), retinal dysplasia
  • Heart problems: coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiomyopathy (occasionally)
  • Cancer: osteosarcoma
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus)
  • Obesity
  • Epilepsy
  • Cystinuria
  • Vaginal hyperplasia (in females)
  • Difficulties with emptying the anal glands
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Myasthenia gravis

This doesn’t mean that all of the above-mentioned health issues will certainly occur in every Tibetan Mastiff, nor that these dogs cannot get a disease that is not on this list. It is necessary to divide the daily meal given to these dogs into 2-3 smaller doses because ingesting a large amount of food at once increases the chance of stomach torsion.

Common Neapolitan Mastiff Health Issues

Neapolitan Mastiff or Mastino Napoletano is a breed of large dogs native to Italy. Their average life expectancy is 8 to 10 years and they are generally healthy. However, they can have certain health problems that are common in giant dogs such as themselves.

Health issues that have been reported in Neapolitan Mastiffs are the following:

  • Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, arthritis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, osteochondritis dissecans, cruciate ligament rupture, lameness, turned-out front feet
  • Skin problems: dermoid cyst, allergies, dry skin, pyoderma, hormonal alopecia, dermatitis, demodectic and sarcoptic mange, yeast infection, eczema
  • Eye problems: ectropion, entropion, cataracts, Cherry eye, persistent pupillary membrane (PPM), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), eyelids abnormalities
  • Cancer: histiosarcoma, neoplasms of the central nervous system, transmissible venereal tumor (in females), appendicular osteosarcoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, low-grade malignant myxosarcoma, neoplastic skin tumors
  • Hereditary diseases: missing teeth, mitral dysplasia (MD), tricuspid valve dysplasia (TD), aortic stenosis (AS), tetralogy of Fallot (ToF), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), pulmonic stenosis (PD), ventricular septal defect (VSD)
  • Heart problems: myocardial degeneration, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy
  • Reproductive issues: sterility
  • Flatulence
  • Immunosuppression
  • Osseous metaplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus)
  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

It doesn’t necessarily mean that some of these health issues have to occur if you regularly take care of your pet’s health. Please note that the health issues we listed above are not ranked according to any specific criteria, i.e. diseases listed at the top of the list do not occur more often in Neapolitan Mastiffs than diseases at the bottom of the list and vice versa.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to obesity, so it is necessary to divide their meals into 2-3 smaller portions and provide them with a daily dose of activities in the form of walks or training. Their wrinkled skin makes them susceptible to skin infections so they need to be cleaned regularly. Wrinkles pull the eyelids down due to their weight and thus cause problems with the eyes as well.