Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Mixing the formidable Mastiff with the versatile Poodle was practically an inevitability in the Designer Dog world and the result is a pleasing new hybrid with an easygoing personality and a docile nature that has been named the Mastidoodle or Mastipoo.

When describing the Mastidoodle, the words ‘giant’ and ‘teddy bear’ spring to mind. In fact, teddy bear is an adequate description of these curly-furred beasts who are affectionate and loyal to their families, enjoying lots of cuddle time. Those with young children will be pleased at the strong bonds the Mastidoodle typically forms with them but should be sure to monitor interactions at all times given their sheer size.

About & History

Likely developed within the last 20 years or so, the Americans have claimed the Mastidoodle as their own. Given the short length of their history, to learn more about the Mastidoodle we should take a closer look at each parent breed: the English Mastiff and the Standard Poodle.

The English Mastiff

English Mastiffs are impressively large dogs known for having giant skulls and for reaching weights of over 100kg. Mastiffs derive from an ancient type of dog known as ‘Molossers’, working dogs from Asia that were large and muscular. They were employed by man to guard their property and work alongside their livestock, working hard to earn their keep.

Some dogs would have inevitably been used to fight; both in war and in the dog fights of olden times. Inevitably, over time, the Mastiff’s descendants became less popular with the advent of technology making them outdated as working animals and the banning of dog fights meaning that they could no longer be used for that barbaric purpose. During the 1800s, breed numbers were low but a number of breed fanciers worked hard to maintain the bloodline and ensured that they chose only the best specimens to be bred.

The 1900s did not provide much relief for the Mastiff, who almost became extinct during the Second World War when food supplies were lower and pets were a luxury few could afford. More recently, Mastiffs have enjoyed somewhat of a surge in popularity and are becoming quite common pets in the UK, USA and other countries worldwide.

The Poodle

Standard Poodles are the largest of the three Poodle variants and are well-liked for their ability to learn quickly, obedient nature and spirited personality. While the Standard Poodle may not be seen as much as the Miniature or Toy versions, they are still a popular pet internationally.

Poodles were traditionally kept as working dogs and they would not only hunt alongside their master, they could also search and find truffles, making them a rather lucrative pet to own! Their well-known haircut was created from a necessity to keep their fur tangle-free when swimming and hunting. Of course, this haircut is still seen today but is now more of a fashion statement than anything else.


The most notable feature of the Mastidoodle is its stature, reaching staggering heights of 63cm to 76cm. While not quite as robustly built as the Mastiff, Mastidoodles are still well-muscled and can achieve weights of between 30kg to 45kg. They have large heads and broad skulls with thick necks and solid, sturdy frames. They have broad ears that hang close to their face and moderately sized dark noses. Their eyes are typically dark brown in colour and are circular and deeply-set within the skull.

The coat of the Mastidoodle is usually rather dense and curled, resembling their Poodle parent more so than their Mastiff parent. There are a number of potential coat colours, including cream, fawn, brown, red, grey and black, with some individuals having more than one solid coat colour.

Character & Temperament

Balanced and confident, it takes a lot to faze a Mastidoodle and these dogs are highly tolerant in most situations. While some people may at first be intimidated by their size, they are gentle souls who like to be close to their loved ones and are usually highly affectionate.

Good watchdogs, the Mastidoodle is always alert and will be the first to know of any new arrivals at the home, letting out a series of deep barks to ensure everyone is quickly aware! On the most part, this is a show of bravado and the majority of breed members are not hostile, settling down once they see that the new guest is accepted.

One potential issue that owners of Mastidoodles can experience is with separation anxiety and boredom. They require near constant attention and dislike being left alone for too long. Owners can try to prevent vices from developing by ensuring dogs are thoroughly exercised and do not get the chance to become bored. Failing to do so can mean returning home to chewed furniture and damaged doors after every outing.


As Mastidoodles are big and powerful, it is vitally essential that they are trained from a young age to prevent unwanted behaviours, such as jumping up on people or tugging on the lead. Puppy classes should begin in earnest once their vaccine course is completed so they can get a good understanding of what will be expected from them throughout their life. There can be a temptation to allow pups to jump all over you but this must be curtailed as the Mastidoodle grows up fast!

A good breed to train, the Mastidoodle responds well to positive reinforcement and will pick up on new cues quickly. It is never advised to punish dogs for incorrect behaviour as this is unlikely to stop the issue and will commonly result in resentment and a dislike of training sessions.


With any new breed, the emphasis should always be placed on their health. Neglecting to put their health first can result in genetic issues that affect a large proportion of the population. Breeders should take full advantage of any screening test available.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an orthopaedic disorder that results in limited mobility and joint pain that progresses as a dog ages. Hip dysplasia is particularly easy to diagnose and can be seen on plain radiographs taken under a deep sedation or anaesthetic. As hip dysplasia has a known genetic component, those affected should be neutered and should not be used fore breeding.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Improper cartilage development at the end of a bone can occur in young, developing dogs resulting in lameness and pain. Not particularly easy to diagnose, more advanced imaging tools, such as CT scans or arthroscopies, may be required to get a full diagnosis. Minor lesions may heal with rest and conservative treatment but many will require surgery to remove the defective cartilage.


The vast and deep chest of the Mastidoodle predisposes it to a nasty condition colloquially called ‘bloat’. The technical term for this condition is ‘Gastric Dilatation Volvulus’ and it is the filling up of the stomach with air and liquid after it has twisted over on itself, meaning there is no exit route for the contents.

Affected dogs become quickly unwell, and may pant, retch and drool. Time is of the essence and the sooner dogs are brought to the vet for treatment, the better the prognosis.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Mastidoodles require a medium amount of exercise and enjoy participating in a range of activities, such as swimming, hiking and jogging. However, owners must be cautious to never over-exercise a growing Mastidoodle as to do so can jeopardise their long-term joint health and result in lifelong mobility issues. For bigger dogs, it’s important that they have enough space and should be housed in relatively large homes with outdoor access that is securely fenced.


While it is true that many Mastidoodles will be have hypoallergenic fur, this can never be guaranteed and should not be expected. Owners must dedicate time to grooming the Mastidoodle who should be brushed through every other day. Special attention should be paid to their ears which can be prone to infections because they are pendulous and trap moisture and heat.

To avoid conflict down the line, owners should get their pups used to the brushing and ear checks so that they accept it all as a normal part of life. Similarly, introducing claw clipping and tooth brushing from a few months of age can make these necessary tasks more tolerable for all. Be sure to reward good behaviour with lots of treats and praise every time.

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