The Mastiff Lab mix is also known as a Mastador. This cross combines a purebred Labrador Retriever with a Mastiff. Usually, the Bullmastiff breed is used, but some breeders use the English Mastiff in this mix. The Mastador mix will be loyal, large, and relaxed, as long as puppies are socialized well. However, there is a risk of strong guarding instincts, health issues and an awful lot of grooming to be done. They can also be very destructive at home if left for long periods of time.
The Mastador dog hopes to bring together aspects of the brave, affectionate and loyal Bullmastiff, and the active, friendly and outgoing Labrador. They are a rare among designer dogs, but have a hardcore group of fans that can’t wait to share their virtues with you. And it must be said, those large, doleful eyes and floppy jowls are hard to resist.
Where They Come From
The Labrador had its origins around the fishing ports of Newfoundland. These dogs helped the local fishermen, pulling in nets and carts laden with fish.
They soon gained popularity in England for their hunting ability. The Earl of Malmsbury gave these dogs the name ‘Labrador’, and in 1916 the first Labrador club was started in England.
The Bullmastiff was originally developed in England, around the year 1860. The breed is the result of a cross between the Bulldog and the old English Mastiff. Originally this cross was 60% mastiff and 40% bulldog.
The purpose of this cross was to produce a breed that would act as a guard dog for gamekeepers against poachers. The impressive size and courage displayed by this cross breed made them perfect for their role as guard dogs.
The Mastador mix will often use a Bullmastiff parent. But, you may also find an English Mastiff Lab mix, or English Mastador.
A Bull Mastiff will typically weigh anywhere between 90 and 130 pounds, depending on gender.
They can be anywhere between 24 and 27 inches at the shoulder in height. They are also a heavy set dog.
A Labrador is a somewhat smaller dog than the bullmastiff and will typically be around 22 inches at the withers. They usually weigh somewhere between 55 and 90 pounds.
Whichever side of the family your Lab Mastiff pup takes after, the fact remains that both parents are large dogs.
A Bull Mastiff Labrador mix is going to be a big dog. Females are often smaller than males, but either way it’s likely that your full grown Mastador dog will weigh over 100 pounds as an adult.
Bullmastiffs also have a distinctive droopy face and floppy jowls. Which unfortunately aren’t the most structurally healthy of features. Some Mastadors will inherit this trait.
Colors and Coat Type
Bullmastiffs have six colors, including fawn, brindle, red and combinations of the three. They all have a dark face mask.
The Labrador comes in three recognized colors; yellow, black and chocolate. They are also known for their kind, friendly eyes.
Some Mastadors look decidedly like a Bullmastiff, and others like a Labrador with slightly looser jowls. Often, a Lab Mastiff cross results in a rather distinguished and stately looking pooch.
Grooming and Shedding
The Bullmastiff has a short coat and does not require heavy grooming. Labradors have a double coat, so they will shed. They need regular grooming and baths to keep them looking their best.
It’s likely that you mix will fall somewhere in between the two. But, as such a large breed, even a small amount of shedding can result in a lot of loose fur around your home.
Neither of these parent breeds have a very long coat. But, the Mastador mix is a very large dog, so grooming can be quite time consuming. And, if your puppy takes after the Labrador parent, you may need to spend a little time keeping their coat groomed.
Particularly in the case of black Lab Mastiff, the short, shiny mastiff coat teamed with the jet black color of the Labrador makes for an impressive shiny black coat.
Keep an eye on the nails of your dog and trim them when necessary. Labrador nails grow quickly, so they could become excessively long if not kept in check.
Both the Labrador and the Bullmastiff have floppy ears, so regularly check your dog’s ears for excessive wax buildup. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Mastiff Lab Mix Temperament
Bullmastiffs are not overly active dogs, so spending time lazing around inside is not a big issue for them. But, like all dogs, they still need regular exercise.
Don’t let them lay around all day! They are also known to be loyal dogs, protective of their family.
The Labrador is known for its friendly, outgoing personality and laid back personality.
But, a Labrador’s even temperament should not be confused with laziness. They are very active dogs and will thrive if they get lots of opportunities to play.
A Bullmastiff Lab mix could take after either side of the family or fall somewhere in between.
Whichever parent your lab mastiff cross takes after, they are likely to have a relaxed and friendly temperament. As long as they are socialized well.
Are Mastadors Aggressive?
All dogs are prone to aggression if they aren’t raised right. Mastiff breeds and Labs are known for their friendly and relaxed natures.
But, the Bullmastiff is a natural guard dog and is an independent thinker.
As such, they need thorough socialization from a young age.
You must meet the Mastiff parent and feel confident that their guarding nature is not to the detriment of their friendliness around strangers.
Make sure your Mastador feels comfortable around other dogs, small animals like cats, young and older children, elderly people, and strangers.
Even when bringing home a Mastiff Lab mix, socialization is still essential. You don’t know which parent they will take after, so you need to be proactive.
Make sure you have visitors to the home every day from 8 to 14 weeks old, then regularly from that point.
Take them somewhere new and busy every day, where they will meet lots of friendly faces of various ages.
These are very big dogs, so they can easily hurt someone without meaning to. Especially elderly people or very young children.
You must be prepared to properly socialize and train a Mastador dog to avoid this.
If you don’t have the time to dedicate to training and socialization, you should choose a smaller dog breed that can cause less accidental damage.
Training Your Dog
Training, leadership and regular time spent playing with your Mastiff cross Labrador puppy will mean it grows up to be a happy and well-adjusted companion.
Keep in mind that despite their size, Bullmastiffs are quite sensitive deep down.
Positive reinforcement training is essential with potentially aggressive breeds, and those prone to stubbornness.
It makes training motivating, rewarding, and an enjoyable experience for you both.
On the other hand, Labradors are sociable, outgoing dogs that are eager to please. They have high energy levels and love to be kept busy.
Whether your lab mastiff puppy takes after the bullmastiff or the Labrador, training and strong leadership is going to be highly beneficial for your puppy. Particularly given the size this dog will grow to be.
While Bullmastiffs are known to be happy spending time indoors relaxing, Labradors crave a little more action.
After you bring your lab mastiff puppy home, it will take some time before you know which side of the family he or she will take after.
It is important that you have somewhere outside you can take your Lab Mastiff cross for some playtime.
But, be wary of overexercising this breed, or exercising them strenuously whilst they are young. This can lead to joint damage.
Both parent breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, so watch out for signs of this whilst exercising your Mastiff Lab mix.
Mastiff and Labrador Health
Just because Mastiff Lab mix pups are a cross breed, this does not mean they are immune to the health issues that the parent dogs may experience.
It is still vitally important to check that the parents of your Labrador x Mastiff puppy enjoyed good health.
The main health concerns reported among Labradors are:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Eye diseases (in particular progressive retinal atrophy)
- And exercise induced collapse
Given that elbow and hip dysplasia is a common problem in Labradors, and tends to occur more frequently in large dogs, it is important that you check that this has not been a problem for your puppies’ parents.
Other conditions to watch out for in the Labrador parent and Lab mix puppies include:
- Centronuclear myopathy
- Copper Associatic Chronic Hepatitis
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture
- Osteochondritis Dessicans of the Stifle
- Patellar Luxation
- Shoulder Osteochondrosis
- Tricuspid Valve Malformation.
Bullmastiffs are a brachycephalic dog. In everyday terms, it means they have a short, flat head.
English Mastiffs also suffer with this conformational issue. So, even an English Mastiff Lab mix can inherit a flatter head.
Dogs with this head shape are more prone to breathing problems and skin problems.
This is due to the structure of their nose, and the deep folds of skin around the face, which can become irritated.
A study done in 1993 also indicated that Bullmastiffs are at risk of suffering a heart condition called valvular pulmonic stenosis.
Large Breed Health Issues
Large breed dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller breeds. Sadly, there are a number of health issues more common in larger dogs.
If you have a Mastador, you should watch out for the following common large dog issues:
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (bloat)
Mastiff Lab Mix Health
Despite being cross bred, both of your puppy’s parents should be fully health tested.
The Labrador parent should have a recent clear eye test, good hip and elbow scores and be PRA clear.
The Mastiff parent should have no history of eye problems, skin fold infections and a recent heart check from the vet. Ideally they should also be hip tested.
Make sure you meet the Mastiff parent and see that they are not overly structurally unsound. They should have a long muzzle, limited skin folds and jowls. And wide open nostrils.
Mastador Life Expectancy
As a relatively new mixed breed, there are no studies into the average lifespan of the Mastiff Lab mix.
But, we can get general stats from the purebred parent breeds.
Labradors live an average of 12 years.
The English Mastiff, in a study into dog lifespan, lived an average of 6.83 years. But, the Bullmastiff lived an average of 7.46 years.
So, you may be able to extend your mix’s lifespan by choosing a Bullmastiff Lab mix.
Obviously some may live longer than these averages. But, you will need to give your puppy the best care possible, and choose a reputable breeder to maximise their potential lifespan.
Rescuing a Mastiff Lab Mix
As the Mastador grows in popularity, it may become easier to find individual dogs available for rescue in rescue centers.
Adopting a dog is often much cheaper than buying a puppy, but you may know less about their background, including early socialization, health, and training.
Most dogs that are up for adoption have some basic training, but they may also have some behavioral issues.
Work closely with adoption centers to ensure you’re getting the best possible match for your family.
And bear in mind that an older Mastiff Lab mix in a shelter may not be with you for all that long. Although, they will always appreciate the new opportunity for a loving home.
When looking for a mixed breed puppy, pay close attention to the conditions they have been raised in.
It is essential that you physically attend the premises where the puppies are housed.
Check if the other puppies in the litter are healthy and ask to see the parents. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
Ask for physical proof of health tests, and meet the Mastiff parent to ensure that they are not stranger friendly.
Reputable breeders will be more than happy to answer all your questions and show you any health tests. They will also likely ask you lots too, to ensure their puppies are going to a good home.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website
I currently have a Mastador that has been trained for senior living facilities which we own. Our first Mastador and acquired it from two farm dogs that breed. I’m looking for suggestions on reputable breeders to purchase another Mastador and that could help identify the mellow characteristics that we need for senior living companionship. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
We had a Mastadore for 14 years. She was a great dog very well trained. We could lat her out and she would not leave the yard. I hooked on this breed and looking for another one.
My 5yr old bull mastidor is called D’Arcy. We keep a strict watch on her weight as she has had both cruciates explode and successfully operated on. She looks great at 37, 38 kg.
She loves children, she sits with my niece’s and nephew and plays with them. Only concern with little kids is her size and spacial awareness she could knock them down. She indicates 10 mins before I get a migraine.
Summary : great family dog, 2 x 45 min walks a day, depending on genetics and on development of bones and joints decent health. Patient, bit stubborn, food oriented, gentle, amazing with naughty puppies.
Yes I have read the same. The mastador is a lab english mastiff mix not bull mastiff. But i suppose all mastiff lab mixes could be called a mastador. Having been bred since the1950s it’s interesting that they are not featured in any dog book that includes designer or mixed breeds.
My mastador began as my college daughters dog; I became the owner when she could not take him to grad school. Riley is currently …6 years old? In the house, he likes to steal my grandchildrens toys that squeak and run off – grandkids hot on his tail. My grandson, the first day he met Riley (yellow in color) he took out of Riley’s mouth a new rawhide bone – Riley just looked at him, that was it. Riley became very protective of my grandchildren and when another dog (inherited from a son who also could not take his dog to grad school – do you see a pattern here?) – so when the other dog came close to my grandson (who was in his highchair tossing food to Riley every so often) so my other dog walked between Riley (on highchair duty) and the highchair – Riley took him to the floor instantly.
The problem with my Mastador – he has become overly protective. He tries to “save” my grand children when they are in the pool so I have to keep him locked in the house. He has very large, sharp teeth.
Me – I am crippled and have seizures. Riley is in-tune with me and knows before I do when I am about to have a problem; he saved my life in 2017 by sitting in front of me and looking at me and then my wife all the while whining. My wife did not know what to do as 2 days prior a local ER said I was fine – I wasn’t and Riley knew it thus I am here today.
Riley has become increasingly protective and has bit my wife twice. Neither time was it the dogs fault, my bride thinks Riley is a sweetheart (which he is) but he is also large and ferocious. Never put your hand around the face of a dog that wants to attack even when he wants to protect you.
So – mastador is lovable, good with children, protective – to a fault.
My 13 week matador plays hard with out other two digs.Is it normal for him to limp.He was favoring a front leg two weeks ago.now one of his back legs..This has been goi g on for 4 days now..I’m concerned.
The mastador breeds I am aware of are lab and English not bull mastiffs