Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Majorca Mastiff

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

Ca de bou Majorca Mastiff

The Majorca Mastiff is a large sized dog from Spain that has been around for centuries used as a watchdog and guard dog, protector, fighter and hunter. It is an intelligent dog but as with most Mastiffs is best with experienced owners rather new ones. It has a life span of 10 to 12 years and has large number of different names including Ca de Bou, Perro Dogo Mallorquin, Mallorquin Bulldog/Mastiff, Mallorca Mastiff, Presa Canario Mallorquin, Majorcan Bulldog and Silverback Mastiff.
The Majorca Mastiff at a Glance
Name Majorca Mastiff
Other names Ca de Bou, Perro Dogo Mallorquin, Mallorquin Bulldog/Mastiff, Mallorca Mastiff, Presa Canario Mallorquin, Majorcan Bulldog, Silverback Mastiff
Nicknames MM
Origin Spain
Average size Large
Average weight 66 to 83 pounds
Average height 20 to 22 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Short, rough
Hypoallergenic No
Color Fawn, Light Brown, Brindle, Black
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Very good
Tolerance to cold Very good
Shedding Moderate – some hair around the home
Drooling Above average – especially when drinking
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate to average – brush a couple of times a week
Barking Occasional – will be some barking but should not be constant
Exercise needs High – needs an active owner
Trainability Moderate – experience will help
Friendliness Good with socialization
Good first dog No – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Good to very good with socialization and training
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate – Socialization and training is essential
Good with strangers Moderate – Socialization and supervision required as it is distrustful of strangers
Good apartment dog Moderate – best in a home with space and a yard
Handles alone time well Moderate – not for long periods
Health issues Quite healthy but some issues can include Skeletal problems like hip dysplasia, bloat and eye problems
Medical expenses $485 a year for pet insurance and basic medical care
Food expenses $260 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for a license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $990 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Majorca Mastiff’s Beginnings

The Majorca Mastiff is a Spanish breed over which there is some debate about its status today. Some think the dog is a recreation and some believe there were a few left of the originals and the breed has been revived from them. It is thought its ancestors come from the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Isles including the island of Majorca, where a Mastiff type dog noted for their large heads, strength and resistance was used. Their roles included hunting, fighting (bull baiting and dog fights), as herders and as watch and guard dogs. The first mention in writing of the ancestor dog the Spanish Alano was in 1350 in the ‘Book of Hunting’ and the Mastiff on the islands dates to around the 1500s.

When the British came in the 1600s and took control of places like Minorca they brought with them their own guard and fighting dogs and these ended being crossed with native mastiffs. At the start of the 1700s under British rule, bull baiting and dog fights were especially popular forms of entertainment and the Majorca Mastiff fit the bill, hence one of its names is Ca de Bou which translates to Bull Dog. There were for a long time different shapes and sizes of the dog depending on what they were used for. In the 19th century it started to look more like the dog we see today. It continued to be used in dog fights until it was banned by the Spanish in 1940. In 1923 it was entered into the stud book in Spain and the first time the dog can be found as an entrant into a dog show is in 1929 in Barcelona. However it then faced problems, the first world war, the famine in the 1920s and 1930s and the second world war all took their toll. The breed was almost extinct.

New Lease on Life

After the war in 1946 the first standard was written for it but it was not recognized by the FCI until 1964. Its popularity was low due to other new breeds being more popular like Rottweilers and German Shepherds. By crossing the breed was revived in the 1980s and breeders worked on getting it as close as possible to the original. However its numbers are low and it is rare. It has some success in other parts of Europe including Russia and Poland. It first came to the UK in 2001 and is recognized by the UKC but not the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Majorca Mastiff is a typical Molasser, large, muscular and powerful. It is a large dog weighing 66 to 83 pounds and stands 20 to 22 inches tall. Its body is slightly elongated as it is longer than it is tall giving it a rectangular shape. The chest is deep and wide and its tail is low set, thick at the base and then tapers and slightly arches to the tip. The skin of this breed is thick and around the neck it is looser creating a small dewlap. Its coat is short and rough and common colors are fawn, brindle and black with a small amount of white patching allowed, which usually occurs on the front feet, chest and muzzle. Some have a black mask.

It is most obvious to tell the sexes apart by looking at the head, in the male it is much larger in fact the circumference should be even more than its height. The head is squared and has strong definition. Its jaws are powerful and strong. The ears are small and rose types, set high and on the sides of its head. It has oval shaped large eyes that should be dark.

The Inner Majorca Mastiff

Temperament

The Majorca Mastiff is like most molassers independent, protective and reserved. It needs experienced owners who can deal with its stubborn size and do not let its size intimidate them. In the right hands it is balanced and laid back, and while it may happily relax in a sun spot, it is up and alert in less than a second if needed. While it is loyal and affectionate towards its owners and family it is not an attention seeking dog, is not going to be demanding of your time. It will need some interaction though and needs socialization so it learns not to turn its distrust of strangers into something more worrying.

This dog is territorial and protective so it is a good guard dog as well as being an alert watchdog. It will let you know if someone is approaching or breaking in, and it will act to defend you, the family and its home. Because of these strong protective urges and its high dominance it is important it is well socialized and trained. While it is a quiet dog it is very brave and devoted. It has the ability to be aggressive and do damage if it has to, but a well trained dog with the right owner who is a strong leader should never be aggressive for no reason.

Living with a Majorca Mastiff

What will training look like?

The Majorca Mastiff is a confident and dominant dog with a strong personality. That with its large size means it is important it is well trained and socialized from a young age. It should be with an experienced owner, one able to be consistent, firm and the pack leader. It needs strong and confident owners not meek or unsure ones. You will need patience and use positive techniques, praise, encouragement, and treats for motivation. Allow them chances to experience different places, situations, animals, people and make sure they know the appropriate reactions and do not get carries away in protectiveness or suspicion.

How active is the Majorca Mastiff?

While this breed is not especially active, it does need a certain level daily to keep it healthy. Some suggest that because it is not active indoors it is fine for apartment living but unless you have a spacious apartment really this is a dog best in a larger home that comes with a large yard. It should be taken out for a good 30 minute walk twice a day and get some physical play time with you too. You should also find somewhere where it can safely go off leash for some roaming and run time. Make sure you train it to walk on a leash so it does not try to drag you around, and when it is still growing do not let it jump or exercise on hard surfaces as it can easily damage its joints.

Caring for the Majorca Mastiff

Grooming needs

The coat is short so the Majorca Mastiff is easy enough to brush but being large it is still time consuming and it does shed moderately so expect some hair around the home. Brush once or twice a week with a firm bristle brush to remove debris, loose hair and move its natural oils around the coat. Only give it a bath as needed using a shampoo for dogs so that you do not damage those natural oils. There is some slobber with this breed so there is likely to be daily drool wipe up needed, especially after it drinks.

Other needs will include brushing its teeth two to three times a week using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. The nails should be clipped when they get too long taking care not to go too far down the nail. In the quick of the nail are blood vessels and nerves so cutting there hurts your dog and will cause bleeding. The ears should be cleaned weekly just by carefully wiping only what you can reach. Also use this time to check to see if there is an infection, signs include wax build up, redness, a bad odor or irritation for example.

Feeding Time

The amount the Majorca Mastiff will eat depends on various factors like what you feed it, its size, metabolism, level of activity, age and health. It is likely to be between 4 to 5 1/2 cups of a good quality dry dog food, split into two meals a day. Make sure it gets water and that it is changed when possible.

How is the Majorca Mastiff with children and other animals?

The Majorca Mastiff is good with children with socialization and especially when raised with them. When in the right owners hands this dog is patient and gentle with them, playful sometimes, affectionate and always protective. Keep in mind that being larger it can cause toddlers to take a tumble now and then so supervision is a good idea. It can get along with other pets too under the same circumstances. Good socialization and supervision is important when around other dogs though as there can be dominance issues.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

A Majorca Mastiff can live for 10 to 12 years, and is fairly healthy but there are some issues that can happen. These include bloat, joint dysplasia and other skeletal issues, eye problems and cancer.

Biting Statistics

In statistics gathered from reports of dog attacks in the US and Canada, ones where victims have received at least bodily harm level injuries, there is no specific mention of the Majorca Mastiff. However the Mastiff does have 30 incidents spread over 35 years, 25 of whom were children, and 5 of which were deaths. The Majorca Mastiff is a rare dog in North America so it is unlikely to come up in such data, but is possible all Mastiff type dogs have been lumped under one heading. Whatever the stats then are while this dog appears imposing and does have the strength to hurt, it should only be aggressive in situations where there is a threat. Make sure it recognizes real threats and make sure this is a dog you know how to handle, socialize and train it well and ensure it is well loved, exercised and stimulated.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

You should do some research and find a decent breeder before making a final purchase, there are disreputable and ignorant sellers out there, puppy mills, backyard breeders and even some pet stores and these should be avoided. A breeder with experience who sells pet quality Majorca Mastiff puppies will charge somewhere around $800. For a top breeder or one who breeds show dogs specifically that price will go up even more. Should you opt to adopt a dog that fee ranges from $50 to $400 but shelter dogs are less likely to be purebreds.

There are then other costs both ongoing and some initial needs. Your dog will need some things like a crate, collar and leash, carrier when it is young, food bowls and such and that will cost about $200. Medical needs when your dog is home will cost about $290 for a vet check up, physical exam, blood tests, deworming, vaccinations, micro chipping, spaying or neutering and such.

Feeding your dog will cost about $260 a year for a decent dry dog food and dog treats. Basic health care needs such as shots, flea and tick prevention, check ups and pet insurance come to about $485 a year. Then miscellaneous costs come to about $245 for things like basic training, miscellaneous items, toys and license. This gives an annual cost that will start at about $990.

Names

Looking for a Majorca Mastiff Name? Let select one from our list!

The Majorca Mastiff has a varied and sometimes ferocious past, hunter, fighter, bull baiter and guardian. Today though it has been gentled with breeding and while it still needs experienced and strong owners, with good socialization and training it can be a safe and gentle family pet. It is a very loyal and devoted companion, it will protect you and offer affection without being too needy. There are some typical large dog things to deal with, drool, hair, gas but as long as you prepared for what large dog ownership means you should be fine!

Popular Mastiff Mixes

DogBreed
Pitbull American Bandogge Mix
American Bandogge Mastiff
Pitbull American Bandogge Mix
General Information
Size Large
Weight 70 to 125 pounds
Height 19 to 30 inches
Life span 10-11 years
Touchiness Not sensitive
Barking Low
Activity Moderate to high
Breed Traits

Devoted Guardian
Playful
Good Family Pet
Obedient
Courageous
Protective

Hypoallergenic

No

DogBreed
Mountain Mastiff
Bernese Mountain, Mastiff Mix
General Information
Size Giant
Height 28 to 38 inches
Weight 150 to 200 pounds
Life span 7 to 12 years
Touchiness Quite sensitive
Barking Rare
Activity Fairly active
Breed Traits

Sensitive and Kind
Loyal
Docile nature
Intelligent
Eager to please
Great family companion

Hypoallergenic

No

DogBreed
Mastidoodle
Mastidoodle
Mastiff and Poodle Mix
General Information
Size Large
Height 15 to 30 inches
Weight 55 to 100 pounds
Life span 8 to 15 years
Touchiness Fairly sensitive
Barking Occasional
Activity Fairly active
Breed Traits

Protective
Great family dog
Affectionate
Loving
Intelligent
Loyal

Hypoallergenic

Can be

DogBreed
Mastador
Mastador
Labrador Retriever and Mastiff Mix
General Information
Size Large to Giant
Weight 100 to 200 pounds
Height 28 to 36 inches
Life span 8 to 14 years
Touchiness Not overly sensitive usually
Barking Rare
Activity Fairly active
Breed Traits

Protective
Affectionate
Gentle
Social
loyal
Good Family Pet

Hypoallergenic

No

DogBreed
Mastweiler
Mastweiler
Bull Mastiff, Rottweiler Mix
General Information
Size Giant
Height 24 to 27 inches
Weight 80 to 130 pounds
Life span 10 to 12 years
Touchiness Quite sensitive
Barking Occasional to frequent
Activity Quite high
Breed Traits

Confident and Happy
Intelligent
Loyal dog
Protective
Needs experienced owner
Good family dog

Hypoallergenic

No


Featured image credit: Собака породы ка де бо | Animaisa, Wikimedia Commons CC 3.0

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

Did you know: an average of 18 dog foods are recalled every year?

Get FREE Dog Food Recall Alerts by email whenever there's a recall.