Brindle Mastiff: 11 Things You Need to Know! (Breed Guide)

Brindle Mastiffs are large, loveable dogs

The Brindle Mastiff is a somewhat rare choice for a new pet.

The brindle coloration, that iconic trait that’s characterized by a reddish-brown coat with black striping, is held as a high standard for breeders, and they cost a pretty penny for that reason. 

If this large and beautiful dog is the object of your fascination, though, there are a few important things to know before picking out and taking care of your new pet.

Keep reading to learn about the Brindle Mastiff and whether this is the right dog for you.

Differentiating the Brindle Mastiff

Mastiffs are a well-known and easily recognizable breed, relegated to the rarest size designation of “giant” by the AKC. Their scrunched-up faces and wide-set shoulders can be identified from a football field away. This massive creature can be quite intimidating to look at, much less to own and tame. Yet, many do.

Mastiffs can come in several different colors.

These include:

  • Brindle
  • Apricot
  • Fawn
This well-mannered dog can be your best friend

Brindle coloration is one of the most popular for Mastiffs. When breeding, there’s little doubt of producing a Brindle Mastiff if the sire and dam are both from registered bloodlines that have produced brindles in the past.

The practice is just manipulating luck by providing the highest likelihood of crossing two dogs with the coloration, themselves. 

Brindle coloration has been identified as a recessive gene that’s less likely to occur in some pairings than others. Black is a dominant color for Mastiffs. Yellow, which produces the apricot and fawn coat colors, is less common than brindle.

As a recessive gene, brindle can only express when there are not enough black genes to suppress it. 

The reddish-to-orangish brown coat of a Brindle Mastiff is marked with black stripes, creating a striking appearance of shadowed or soiled fur, even when the dog is groomed well. White is also often interspersed with the coloration in flecks, particularly around the paws and muzzle. 

Varieties of Brindle Mastiff Dogs

Brindle Mastiffs are always purebred and are part of the working group within the AKC, making them a prized and popular pet all around the world, but particularly in Great Britain, where they’re native.

In Britain, they’re often called “Olde English” Mastiffs and they’ve been used for hunting and sports since the Dark Ages. 

The varieties of Brindle Mastiff include:

  • Olde English Mastiff
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Spanish Mastiff

The term “Mastiff” is usually reserved for the English variety, though there are other variants of the breed across the globe who are called mastiffs, such as the Tibetan mastiff or the Neapolitan mastiff. 

Only the English and American breeds are capable of being brindles. The bullmastiff, a crossbreed between the bulldog and mastiff, can also develop the trait. 

Lifespan of a Brindle Mastiff

If you get your Brindle Mastiff as a puppy, you can expect to live with them for 6 to 10 years. This is normal for giant-sized dogs, and it might seem very short compared to other breeds, but there are lots of things that can be achieved and experienced by your pet in that time.

Mastiffs are gentle giants loved by families everywhere

Exercise and diet are key to this breed, as the size and weight of this animal can cause fatigue and painful joints in later life.

Kept and treated well, you can extend the lifespan of your individual Brindle Mastiff well beyond average expectations.

Health Concerns

Aging can be hard on your Brindle Mastiff, but there are other things to keep an eye on when they’re young. Any normal disease or disorder for canines should be considered a risk for these dogs, too. 

Major health concerns for Mastiffs include:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Eye anomalies
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Hip joint problems

Big dogs like Mastiffs have a tendency toward hip dysplasia, painful joint growths that might cause them to limp. Degenerative myelopathy, a spinal condition causing incontinence and probably loss of function in the hind legs, is a serious risk. Hygromas are fluid-filled pockets that form around the elbows are harmless, if ugly.

For the Mastiff breed, bloat is a common health risk. This is a condition where the stomach suddenly becomes distended and can twist out of shape. Just watch their eating habits. Keeping up on your pet’s health will likely save their life in this case.

Coat Types

The coat of a Mastiff is typically short and double-layered. They shed their soft undercoat about twice a year while their outer coloration, made up of the wiry outer coat, remains pretty constant. With only weekly brushing, the mess of your dog’s abundant hair can be easily contained.

As for Brindle Mastiffs specifically, while their coats are consistent with other colors of Mastiffs, the variety of color patterns can vary as widely as tabby cats. Many Brindle Mastiffs have the recognizable “tiger stripes” which most people associate with the brindle trait. 

However, there are some variations involving apricot, fawn, or white patches, particularly around the belly, or white patches on the chest or paws. A black mask, typified by the raccoon-style eye mask and a dark or black muzzle, is also common for brindles, just as it is for Mastiffs of other base colors.

Shedding and Hair Management

Expect to see a seasonal shift in shedding in your Brindle Mastiff. A weekly brushing year-round will keep the fur under control no matter how much undercoat they lose. Some Mastiffs can handle even less attention to grooming, but it’s up to you to know the needs of your specific animal.

Bathing is even less critical than brushing for the Brindle Mastiff. As a short-haired breed, they don’t need much cleaning unless they’re exposed to dirty or wet conditions on a regular basis. 

The only exception to this rule is that the folds of skin that are common around the face and neck of your Brindle Mastiff need to be examined and cleaned regularly. This is one area that your dog cannot self-monitor or reach, even with their massive tongues.


The Brindle Mastiff is one of the most gentle and agreeable creatures in all of the animal kingdom. Owners talk about their calm and friendly attitude toward all family members. The term “gentle giant” definitely describes the Mastiff perfectly.

  • They aren’t particularly chatty dogs and may only bark when surprised
  • They’re amazingly aware of their size around children and smaller animals
  • You can’t find a much better pillow pet for the whole family than the Mastiff 
  • Parents of young children need to be aware of the relationship between their kids and their pets, but Mastiffs are considered pretty safe

Overall, they are gentle, well-rounded animals who will easily fit into your family.

Exercise Needs

The exercise needs of a Brindle Mastiff are just as friendly towards their humans as their personalities. A regular walk around the block is all they need, and they don’t engage in energetic play very often. They love to lounge, and their bodies are made for it.

This fact makes a Brindle Mastiff an ideal pet for apartments and urban settings.

They aren’t considered as a pet option by most city dwellers, but their calm behavior and low exercise requirements fit everything a busy socialite might want in a pet. Having this giant pal at your side would definitely change the face of your neighborhood.

The Brindle Mastiff would also make a great pet for the great outdoors in a more rural setting.

They’re suited to many tasks, including:

  • Guard dogs
  • Livestock watchers
  • Simple tasks

The amount of exercise might need to be limited, in fact, because excess exercise can actually cause accelerated bone density loss or hip problems for your dog.

Brindle Mastiffs for First-Time Dog Owners

This is a huge debate that probably won’t be solved within the lifespan of your new Brindle Mastiff. If you’ve never owned a dog before, choosing a Mastiff might be a bit intimidating and exciting. The idea of this perceived challenge will probably influence your decision greatly. 

It’s not much of a real challenge because Mastiffs are easy dogs to acclimate and train. Their size and deep-throated bark are considered intimidating and therefore dangerous, but this isn’t accurate. With a little professional training, your new Brindle Mastiff can be as easy to own and keep as the cutest purse-sized puppy.

Many other factors contribute to how well-suited they are as a first dog, including:

  • Lack of significant exercise needs
  • Calm personality
  • How quiet they generally are

If you’re a parent, you have to seriously evaluate your situation based upon experience and your child’s behavior towards animals. 

Most owners would tell you that a Brindle Mastiff is perfectly safe around your kids with little monitoring. Your experience matters too, though, so you’ll have to decide for yourself if the size of this giant animal fits into the space you have planned for your children safely.

Where to Find a Brindle Mastiff

Breeders are the only sure way to get a Brindle Mastiff for your own. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find one of these fairly rare creatures up for sale on the open market or left for care at your local animal shelter.

Many breeders are also AKC registered as sellers, so expect to go through a thorough process to find and then obtain a Brindle Mastiff.

A great companion for the family and a perfect guard dog, too

You might also consider adoption at a shelter. You would think that it’s difficult to find specific breeds, but websites like PetFinder make this much easier than it used to be.

This comes with the added bonus of only paying the facility’s standard adoption fee, but the drawback of uncertain lineage.


On average, getting a purebred, papered Brindle Mastiff from a breeder is going to run you far more than any other Mastiff on the market. They’re rare enough to command almost double the prices of their un-brindled brothers and sisters. 

Popular opinion says that the prices for a Brindle Mastiff are somewhere in the range of $1,000 to $1,500 (USD), which is about $500 more than other Mastiffs. The marketplace on the AKC website, which is made up of breeders registered with the AKC, shows the prices across the U.S. to be anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500. 

You can negotiate with a breeder on prices if you want, but they’re usually inflexible. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find Mastiffs available through a broker, like a shelter or a pet store. Expect to pay premium prices to bring a Brindle Mastiff into your home, though, and probably more if you’re looking for a show dog.

Breaking it All Down

What We Like About Brindle Mastiffs

  • Gentle giants, docile and manageable
  • Working dogs, capable of being used for guards or just companions
  • Family-friendly, with a calm demeanor, perfect for social integration
  • Good for either urban or rural living
  • Low exercise needs
  • Little grooming needs

Potential Drawbacks of Brindle Mastiffs

  • Slobber, there’s a lot of it
  • Strong, and therefore sometimes difficult to redirect
  • Huge, perhaps not ideal for a small, intimate house
  • Shorter lifespan than other dog breeds
  • Health problems due to the size and weight of their breed
  • Initial cost, along with any desired registrations, can be high

These are the basic facts about Mastiffs. The brindle coat can be a huge reason to take on the challenge but think about these numbers and what you have to offer them, too. Pet ownership is always a two-way street.

Lifespan6-10 years
Weight160-230 (male); 120-170 (female)
Height30 inches & up (male); 27.5 inches & up (female)
Family fitAlmost any, small children are a consideration
Grooming needsLow, seasonal
TemperamentGentle and easily trained

All new pets are a challenge, but the Brindle Mastiff could be one of the best you ever choose to take on. The love and adventure you find just might make you fall in love with this real-life teddy bear. 

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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