What breeds were used to create the American Mastiff?

Approximately 20-25 years or so years ago, Fredericka Wagner of Flying W Farms in Ohio, crossed an English Mastiff with an Anatolian Mastiff.  Through years of very selective breeding, the American Mastiff was developed. 

Why was the American Mastiff created?

Fredericka Wagner was a very respected English Mastiff breeder for many, many years.  She sought to minimize  some undesirable traits in the English Mastiff, mainly excessive drooling, health problems including a high incidence of hip and knee problems and short life-span, among others.   The result is the present-day American Mastiff.   The American Mastiff is similar to the English Mastiff in size, appearance, and temperament.  Because of the early outcross and very selective breeding, on average, American Mastiffs tend to drool less than their English Mastiff cousins, have a lower incidence of health problems (they are not completely immune to giant breed health issues), and tends to have a longer lifespan. 

 What is the AMBC?

"AMBC" is an acronym for "American Mastiff Breeders Council."  The AMBC consists of 10-approved American Mastiff breeders in the United States and Canada.  These breeders have voluntarily agreed to abide by the ethical breeder guidelines and rules of the AMBC.  These are breeders of the true purebred American Mastiff dogs which trace their bloodlines back to Flying W Farms, Inc. (, Fredericka Wagner, Breed Founder.

What do American Mastiffs look like?

The American mastiff is a large, massive, powerful dog with a moderately broad head, dropped ears, kindly wide-set eyes of brown or amber color (the darker the better).  The neck is powerful.  The chest is deep and wide.  The back is muscular.  The tail is wide at the root and tapering to the end and hanging straight in repose, forming slight curve. The overall appearance should be of proportions slightly longer in body than in height.   ALL AMERICAN MASTIFFS MUST EXHIBIT THE BLACK MASK IN ORDER TO MEET THE BREED STANDARD!

Are there different colors of American Mastiffs?

Fawn, (varying shades from very light cream to darker fawn), also Apricot and Brindle. Brindle should have fawn or apricot as a background color which should be patterned with dark stripes. Puppies are all born dark and lighten as they grow older, some becoming very light fawn by age one year and some retain dark hairs (not a fault).  To meet the breed standard, all American Mastiff's must have a black mask, the darker the better.  White on a foot, chest , nose and sometimes the chin is not considered a fault.  

 How big do American Mastiffs get?

Height at maturity is typically 32 to 36 inches for males. The average male weighs between 160 to over 200 pounds. Height at maturity for females is typically 28 to 34 inches. The average female weighs between 140 and 180 pounds.  Larger or smaller for both males and females is acceptable, provided the dog is in good proportion and structurally balanced.

What is the temperament of the American Mastiff?

A "Gentle Giant," the American mastiff is a combination of grandeur, good nature and gentleness. Dignity rather than gaiety. They are quite, calm, loving, and loyal. They are neither shy nor vicious. The well-trained American Mastiff is calm, controlled, and confident. They are understanding, patient and loving with their family, especially children. They are generally aloof towards strangers. A well-socialized American Mastiff is friendly yet sensitive and alert to changing situations. They are not aggressive by nature but will defend their family if necessary. They respond to threats with judicious warnings and courageous action if needed.

Do American Mastiffs get along with other pets in the household?

As with any other breed, if the American Mastiff is socialized early with other pets in the household, there is no reason they cannot coexist peacefully and even become great friends. 

Are American Mastiffs indoor or outdoor dogs?

American Mastiffs are indoor dogs.  They need to be with their people to be happy and mentally healthy.  They, of course, love to run around the yard and go for nice walks, but they must live in the home with their family. 

 Do I need to have  a large home?

American Mastiffs do just fine in an apartment with daily exercise. A daily walk or two will do.  If you have a fenced yard, your AM will be happy to run around.  As they grow older, American Mastiffs may tend to become a little lazy.  They are relatively inactive indoors ("couch potatoes"). 

 Do American Mastiffs require a lot of exercise?

American Mastiff puppies are as active as any other puppies, but are inclined to be lazy as adults.  They will keep more fit and be happier if they are given regular exercise.  Like all dogs, American Mastiffs should be taken on regular daily walks to help release mental and physical energy.  It's in a dog's nature to walk.  As with any dog breed, they should always be leashed for their protection while in public.

Do American Mastiffs shed?

American Mastiffs are average shedders.  They tend to shed twice per year.  Periodic bathing and brushing will minimize any accumulation of fur in the household.

 Do American Mastiffs drool?

On average, American Mastiffs tend to drool less than their English Mastiff cousins.   The "drool factor" does vary between individual dogs, with reports of some dogs drooling somewhat and other dogs not drooling at all. Some drool only after  running on a warm day or in anticipation of a yummy treat.  

 Do American Mastiffs snore?

Many, not all, American Mastiffs snore.  Please keep this in mind when deciding whether an American Mastiff is the right breed for you, as AMs want to sleep in the same room with members of their family.

 Are American Mastiffs gassy?

Mastiffs are known to be gassy. Just as in humans, some diets are better tolerated by some and not others.  Experimenting with different high-quality foods may result in less gassiness.  

Are American Mastiffs difficult to train?

American Mastiffs are very intelligent dogs.  There is never a need to raise your voice with your American Mastiff.  They are very sensitive and respond very well to a normal, but firm and confident tone.  Positive reinforcement is the best method of training for the American Mastiff.  They can be stubborn at times and require consistency in training.  If you are a first-time large/extra-large dog owner, I firmly recommend formal training classes with your pup to help train you along with your American Mastiff.  Not only will you learn a bunch of great techniques and have the opportunity for your American Mastiff puppy to socialize with other dogs and other people in different surroundings, you will have an awesome bonding experience with your pup!  Puppies of all breeds go through some difficult phases while growing up, and consistency in training is of the utmost  importance.  I feel that proper socialization and training is even more important for large and extra-large breeds.  It might be "cute" for a 20-pound dog to greet you at the door by jumping up on you, but it certainly isn't "cute" for a 200+ pound dog to do the same.   It is never enjoyable to be around an un-trained or under-trained dog, but it is always a joy to be around a well-trained and well-mannered dog!

Note:  There are lots of different training methods (and trainers) available.   Please investigate thoroughly and check references, and choose the trainer and/or facility that best suits the needs of  you and your pup.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!

If you chose to train your American Mastiff on your own, keep your training sessions short (about 15 minutes or so  at a time).  Never raise your voice to your American Mastiff.  A normal, but firm tone is much more effective.  Reward your puppy with lots and lots of praise (and treats if you do so choose).  Make the training sessions fun, but not overwhelming.  Focus on only one or two commands per session until each is mastered.  Practice daily.  Remember, consistency is key. 

 How quickly do American Mastiff puppies grow?

American Mastiff puppies grow very quickly.  You will notice that they eat and then sleep A LOT.  On average, puppies gain between three and five pounds per week for their first eight months or so.  Because they can't possibly eat enough at one sitting to sustain themselves for more than one hour at a time, it is recommended that they be free-fed so they can eat throughout the day. 

Because American Mastiff puppies grow so very quickly, great care must be taken to ensure that their joints and bones are protected from injury.  American Mastiffs puppies must not be over-exercised. This means no jumping off anything higher than 12 inches or so, no major "rough-housing" with people or other pets, and no excessive running or quick turns. 

It is a good idea to train your American Mastiff puppy while relatively young to use a ramp to get in and out of your vehicle.  Once they become too large to safely lift, it will become potentially dangerous for both you and your American Mastiff to try to lift him/her into your vehicle.   

After the first year, their growth rate begins to slow down.  You will notice growth spurts in your American Mastiff by the sudden increase in appetite.  American Mastiffs grow "up" (tall) for the first two years and "out" (fill out) for the next two years.  American Mastiffs are not fully grown until four years of age.

Is it expensive to own an American Mastiff?

As a general rule, a larger dogs cost more than small dogs.  Larger dogs require larger quantities of vaccine, heartworm and flea and tick prevention and other medications (as they are based on weight).  Extra-large dogs require more food, larger crates and larger beds, which cost more than smaller-scale items. Boarding/kenneling extra-large dogs costs more also.  Don't forget, you'll need a vehicle large enough to transport your extra-large dog comfortably.  I had a 2-door Honda Civic when I got my American Mastiff.  As he grew, I had to buy an additional vehicle in order to transport my extra-large dogs.

Is socializing my American Mastiff important?

Socialization is a very important aspect of every dog's development.  It is very important to expose your American Mastiff to lots of people of both sexes representing different ages and colors, other dogs and other animals, as well as different places and situations in a positive manner.   Well-socialized dogs tend to be friendlier and less fearful of the kinds of individuals they were socialized to.  Don't underestimate the importance of continued socialization of your dog well into adulthood. Dogs need continued socialization throughout their lives.

Are American Mastiffs good "watchdogs?"

Because of their sheer size, American Mastiffs are a very good deterrent for any potential criminal.  American Mastiffs are extremely intuitive when it comes to threats.  If an American Mastiff senses a potential threat, he/she will stand between their loved one and the potential threat until they feel that their loved one is safe.  They will defend their loved ones with their lives, if necessary.

Can I register my American Mastiff with the AKC?

No. This line is relatively new, so it is ineligible for registration in most breed registries.  Registries with less stringent requirements may recognize a new breed with recent history, such as the Continental Kennel Club's recognition of the American Mastiff line in 2000.  American Mastiffs were bred to be family dogs, not show dogs. There are 10 authorized breeders in North America which comprise the American Mastiff Breeders Council (AMBC) and whose dogs' bloodlines can be traced exclusively back to Flying W Farms.  See the American Mastiff Breeders Council (AMBC) link below:

Can I show my dog at dog shows?

No.  American Mastiff breed was solely created to be family dogs, not show dogs.  The American Mastiff breed is not registered with the AKC, making them ineligible to be entered in any AKC sanctioned shows.  

 Are there other dogs who claim to be American Mastiffs?

There is a breed called the Panja American Mastiff.  This breed is NOT in any way related to our American Mastiff breed traceable to Fredericka Wagner of Flying W Farms.  Pitbulls and Rottweilers are strong influences in the Panja breed.  They are very strong-willed and want to be the alpha in the household.  They require a very strong experienced handler.  See link below for Panja information:

There are 10 members of the American Mastiff Breeders Council (AMBC) in the United States and Canada.  These breeders have voluntarily agreed to abide by the ethical breeder guidelines and rules of AMBC. These are breeders of the true purebred American Mastiff dogs which trace their bloodlines back to Flying W Farms, Inc., ( / Fredericka Wagner - breed founder).  The American Mastiff breed is very closely tracked and is bred with the best interest of the breed at heart, so beware of imposters!  The American Mastiff is NOT to be confused with the Panja Mastiff.  As the owner/administrator of the American Mastiff Family website and forum, I personally endorse each and every one of the 10 AMBC-Approved breeders.    For a complete list of the 10 AMBC-Approved breeders, please see "List of AMBC-Aprpoved Breeders" in the left column. 

See the American Mastiff Breeders Council (AMBC) link below: