The Black Mastiff: Everything You Need to Know

Do you want to know if a black Mastiff is for you? Mastiffs are one of the largest breeds of dogs there are, and they were one of the first to be domesticated in ancient times. Thousands of years ago, they were war dogs.  Their descendants are still huge dogs but are much tamer in modern days. Mastiffs easily get to more than 100 pounds, and 200 pounds is not uncommon for English Mastiffs. The world record for the biggest dog was a Mastiff that was well over 300 pounds.

Black Tibetan Mastiff
Black Tibetan Mastiff

The American and English Kennel Clubs, the organizations that define breeds, recognize about a dozen breeds of Mastiff. Black Mastiffs can show up in at least three of those breeds.

The American Kennel Club says Mastiffs were used by ancient Greece and Rome as war dogs, but adds that they are good-natured family dogs today.

Black Mastiff

Black Mastiffs are usually entirely black, and dog experts are not sure why that shows up at certain times. They are very rare, however, and that makes them more sought after and more valuable. Even if not officially a breed, they still look like Mastiffs and are great guardian dogs.

Three breeds of black mastiffs

  • Tibetan Mastiff is the most common breed to have black coats. It has thick hair and is a natural guard dog.
  • Spanish Mastiff is also huge and has worked as guardians for sheep and other livestock for more than 1000 years.
  • Neapolitan Mastiff is a common breed that comes from Italy, where they were developed to be working guard dogs. This breed has wrinkled loose skin and is one of the larger breeds of Mastiff.

Black Mastiff Puppy

Neapolitan Mastiff Puppies
Neapolitan Mastiff Puppies

It should be no surprise that Mastiff puppies are big. They start at just over a pound at birth and grow quickly from there. At six months on, they can weigh 100 pounds, on their way to being 200 pounds as adults. Since black Mastiff puppies can be so large, it can be compared to taking care of a human baby.  Very young black Mastiff puppies can eat at least a pound of food a day and should eat often. As they grow they will eat two to seven pounds per day. Black Mastiff puppies are rare and can show up in any litter of puppies. 

Black English Mastiff

English Mastiff
English Mastiff

Often, Mastiffs are called Old English Mastiffs, and they are a breed native to England.  There are no solid black English Mastiff dogs known to exist. However, most English Mastiffs have a black mask, or face, that gives them a distinctive appearance. The mask can cover the entire face, or just some of the face, but most of the muzzle is black. Colors recognized by the American Kennel Club for English Mastiffs include golden fawn, light fawn, apricot, silver, tiger, and brindle. Dogs inherit different genes at random and are of different colors as a result.

Black Pitbull Mastiff

Black Pitbull Mastiff
Pitbull Mastiff (Source: animalso)

While pure-bred black Mastiff puppies are rare, you might have better luck finding one by getting a mixed Pitbull and Mastiff.  They can be completely black, or have some white on them. Brown, red, and blue are also colors for the mix of Pitbull and Mastiff. The puppies could inherit the black coat from the Pitbull. There is also a cross between a Mastiff and an American Bulldog, which will give very similar results. This combination will make a great guard dog and will be very protective. The downside is they may get aggressive toward other dogs or other people. They make great guard dogs but have some of the aggressiveness of the Pitbull. 

Black Tibetan Mastiff

Black Tibetan Mastiff Puppy
Black Tibetan Mastiff Puppy

A Tibetan Mastiff is a separate breed and pretty different than other Mastiff dogs. They are still huge, but they have heavy coats with long hair. They have double coats, which they need in the mountains of Tibet, but they do not do well in warmer climates. Black Tibetan Mastiffs are often black but can be combinations of black and brown, or combined with reddish-colored hair. They are fast dogs for their size, able to go 20 miles per hour over a short distance. This breed is a “primitive” breed, which means it developed on its own without human intervention.  Tibetan Mastiffs are great guard dogs, and docile toward family members, but they require a lot of training and are known to be stubborn.

Black Lab Mastiff Mix

Black Lab-Mastiff
Black Lab-Mastiff (Source: thelabradorsite)

A black Lab Mastiff mix is going to look a lot like a big Labrador retriever. They may be a bit more laid back than a typical Lab, but be more of a guard dog like the Mastiff. If you want a black Mastiff, this may be the route to go. You are very likely to get some black puppies with this mix because the black coat of the lab usually wins out over other breeds. They make great family pets.  It is a combination of the brave and loyal Mastiff, and the active, outgoing Lab. These dogs can weigh 100 pounds when fully grown. They are usually bigger than the typical Lab and smaller than the typical Mastiff.

Black Lab Mastiff Mix Puppy

Some breeders breed for color, so it is a good idea to know the breeder. Be sure to use a reputable dealer, so you are more likely to get a healthy puppy.  They are called Mastadors and normally are the color of the Lab parent.  All puppies are rambunctious, and these are as well. They need lots of exercise and training early on. The laidback nature of the Mastiff may help calm some of the energy of the Lab. Remember that this is going to be a big dog, so they may be the size of a full-grown average dog at six months or around 50 pounds.

Black Mastiff Size and Weight

You should expect any Mastiff adult dog to weigh 100 pounds or more. A Tibetan Mastiff weighs between 70 and 150 pounds. They are 25 inches tall at the shoulder. The Neapolitan and Spanish breeds both weigh between 100 and 150 pounds and are 24-30 inches tall.  The largest Mastiff is the English Mastiff which weighs around 200, but they are not black. Mixing a Lab or a Pitbull with a Mastiff will get a slightly smaller dog, at around 80 pounds.

Are Black Mastiffs Rare?

Black Mastiffs are rare, and only show up in three out of the more than a dozen breeds of Mastiff dogs. Tibetan Mastiffs have the most black fur of any breed of Mastiff. It is also very rare to see one in the United States. Part of the reason for that is the thick fur coat. Neapolitan and Spanish Mastiffs can also be black, but they are even rarer than the Tibetan variety. While not purebred, a Mastiff-Lab mix is the most common, and easiest, way to find a black Mastiff. 

How Much Does a Black Mastiff Cost?

Probably, because they are rare, they can get quite expensive. Mastiff dogs are not cheap to start with, so the rarer ones get an even higher price. Tibetan Mastiffs, which is what most black Mastiffs are, can fetch as much as $7,000. The top-of-the-line and probably black, Neapolitan Mastiff can go as high as $10,000.  A Lab-Mastiff mix can be had for $800 to $2,000. This mix is often black, so that makes it cheaper. The Lab-Pitbull mix is about the same price.