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How Do Mastiffs Show Affection? (All You Need to Know)

Mastiffs are one of the most loyal, protective, and loving dogs to bring into a family. Some mastiffs are more affectionate than others.

While some would come and welcome themselves on your lap. There are a few more ways that they show their affection.

How do mastiffs show affection?

Mastiffs are loving and affectionate dogs that show their fondness in a few unique ways. Mastiffs love to exhibit their affection by either leaning on their owner or by sitting too close to them. Few mastiffs would also sit on their human laps, nuzzle about or lick their hands to show love.

Here are a few signs and movements through which a mastiff might be showing that they love you:

Leaning on you:

One of the most common ways that a mastiff uses to show affection to their family or close ones is to simply sit beside you and lean their head or body towards you.

Sitting close to you:

Mastiffs sitting on their owner’s lap is a common sight. Other than that, they might sit on the floor near your feet, beside you, or even on your bed. Mastiffs sitting anywhere too close to you is a sign of affection.

Moving their tail:

A wagging tail of a mastiff does not always mean they are angry. When they wag their tail with a few jumps and nudges you, they are simply wanting to tell you that they love you.

Making eye contact:

Some mastiffs will simply look at you with deep, longing eyes to show their affection. This might also mean they are trying to communicate with you through their eyes.

Nuzzling with you:

If your mastiff is simply rubbing its nose on your shirt, your face, and your arms, they are just nuzzling you to show their fondness for you. Oftentimes, this is a gentle reminder for their owner to give them a little more time.

Licking your hands or face:

Yes, mastiffs can lick your hands constantly and your face occasionally. Like other dogs, mastiffs too love to show their favorite humans some love through drooling licks.

Making gentle contacts:

They don’t have to lick or nuzzle to always show affection. Simply maintaining some sort of physical contact, like a light grip or should touch is also a sign of love.

Are mastiffs affectionate?

Mastiffs, in general, are affectionate dogs that are both protective and loving towards their family. They are good with children and love to maintain physical contact with you or stay near you to show their love.

Some mastiff breeds may be more affectionate and gentler while few are more protective. Here is how they differ:

Tibetan Mastiff:

Tibetan Mastiffs are as loving and affectionate as well but often their protective nature takes a front.

They are an independent and emotionally stronger breed that does not need cuddles to assure their fondness. They would rather guard your house as a sign of love and affection. 


Bullmastiffs are extremely calm, gentle, and affectionate dogs that love to show their affection through occasional cuddles and sleeping on your bed.

They can, however, be quite stubborn with outsiders. The bulldog mix mastiff also loves to lean on you at times

English Mastiff:

English mastiff is considered to be the most affectionate mastiff breed and when compared in this list, they might just be the winner.

The gentle and calm English mastiff loves the company of its family and would sit on your lap or lick your hands just to show you how much they love you.

Neapolitan Mastiff:

Although Neapolitan mastiffs look big and hostile, they are indeed a docile breed that is highly affectionate.

They love to spend slow, quality time with their owners and would never say no to cuddles. When it comes to affections and emotions, these dogs are close to English mastiffs as well.

French Mastiff:

French Mastiffs are also loving dogs that have incredibly expressive eyes. Although they look intimidating, they are soft hearted. Even tempered dogs make for a great family dog.

If they make eye contact with you, you would know that they are trying to show you their admiration for you.

Italian Mastiff:

Although not for children, Italian mastiffs are quite loving and wish to show affection abundantly once they get to know you. Although they are docile and calm, but not essentially cuddly all the time.

Pyrenean Mastiff:

Pyrenean mastiffs are one of the most affectionate breeds. Their enormous size does not make them shy away from sitting on your lap when they want to show some love.

They love cuddles, leaning, and licking their owner and make great companion dogs even with older children.

Do mastiffs like to cuddle?

Mastiffs are affectionate dogs that love to show adoration for the people they are fond of. Cuddling is another way to do so.

While most mastiffs are cuddly, English mastiffs and Neapolitan mastiffs are more ready to cuddle due to their ultra-friendly and gentle nature.

Pyrenean Mastiffs are also close second when it comes to cuddling with their humans. These dogs are huge in size but they would never miss a chance to jump on your lap and cuddle.

On the other hand, Tibetan mastiffs are more likely to cuddle less than others. They are strong, independent, and do not resort to cuddling to show love. Italian mastiffs are similar, although they are more ready to show affection in other ways.

With mastiffs, it is said that their cuddle time would increase if you give them more time and attention. Through proper training, you can also alter their cuddle behavior.

What is the friendliest mastiff breed?

The friendliest mastiff breed is the English mastiff, and they are well known for their loving and affectionate dogs.

Although English mastiffs are not the best of breed when it comes to expressing their love, they can be with their families in the most adaptable ways. Because English dogs are lazier than other mastiffs, they do not need too much effort for maintenance.

They might not be the most aggressive when it comes to protecting you, but their guarding instincts are also in the right place.

If you are looking for a mastiff breed that would gel in with the family and can be easily socialized, English mastiffs are your soft hearted, gentle, and friend canine to go for.

Don’t go on their big size and somewhat serious looks, the Neapolitan Mastiff is another friendly dog from the mastiff line that would be ready to laze around with you without hesitation.

The dog is friendly, affectionate and can give you lots of reasons to have them as a family dog.

For these dogs, their usual way of showing their friendly nature involves playtime, cuddling, and simply spending time with their family. They should be socialized to make sure their friendly nature does not disappear over time.

Why do mastiffs lean on you?

When a mastiff leans on you, it is a sign of love that they are trying to show. Sometimes, when mastiffs are looking for comfort, they will come next to you and lean on you with all their weight.

You would notice bigger sized dogs lean more than smaller ones. Smaller ones can be picked up and cuddled, unlike bigger mastiffs. You may be careful as at times leaning can mean they are scared and want protection from you.

Why do mastiffs sit on you?

When it comes to a mastiff showing their love for their owner, it is most common for them to come and sit on your lap.

No matter what their size and weight are, they would make sure they leave all their weight on you as they sit on you.

This is another way to show that they love your company and want to be around you more.

Why do mastiffs paw at you?

When a mastiff paws at you, they are only telling you that they want to be loved. Pawing can also mean that they want instant love.

If you are already cuddling and they paw at you then, they want to express that they want even more cuddles and love.

Will a mastiff protect me?

As affectionate as they are, mastiffs can be quite defensive of their owner as well. However, mastiffs show their protective nature differently depending on the breed.

A Tibetan one can be more hostile and aggressive while being on guard while an English mastiff, because of their soft nature, would only show the guard through their body.

Tibetan and Italian mastiffs are also great when it comes to guarding a house at night. However, generally, mastiffs always stand up to protect the one they love.

Final thoughts:

This affectionate breed is known to be a great companion dog as well. Despite some of the breed’s size and look, they are sweethearts who love to cuddle and show fondness by just being around you. However, some mastiffs are more affectionate than others.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Are Mastiffs So Expensive?

Why is My Mastiff so Scared?

Do Mastiffs Bark a Lot?

Can Mastiffs Live Outside?

Are Mastiffs Good with Cats?

Are Mastiffs Good with Other Dogs?