Breeds Category Icon Breeds

Fluffy English Mastiff: Can Mastiffs Have Long Hair?

Did you know that English Mastiffs can have long hair and fluffy coats? It's a rare find, but these soft and giant furballs do exist! Read on to find out what makes the Fluffy English Mastiff so special and unique.


Last Updated: April 10, 2024 | 8 min read

Uhtred the Fluffy English Mastiff

Can English Mastiffs have long hair and be fluffy? They most certainly can! Fluffies are no different from a normal English Mastiff except that they have inherited a long-haired genetic trait. Breeders view the long hair as a fault and breed it out of their breeding lines if they have a pup that inherited the gene. They are often mistaken for a Caucasian Mastiff, otherwise known as the Russian Bear Dog.

There are some mixed thoughts on how the fluffy gene came to be, but from what I found doing some research is that the long hair is thought to be brought in from when the breed may have had some Saint Bernard brought into the breed to save it from extinction in the early 1900s.

Fluffy Mastiffs look bigger because of their fluff, but they fall into the same buckets as all EMs when it comes to size and traits. We personally own a Fluffy Mastiff, and we will tell you a little bit of his story if you’ll hang with us!

Finding Our Fluffy

We’d been shopping for Mastiffs for a long time when we bought Freyja, our American Mastiff Puppy. We brought her home and it wasn’t long before we decided that we wanted to get her a friend to keep her company. She was about 6 months old and we started looking for a rescue to add to the household.

I was surfing Facebook one day, and an interesting-looking Mastiff popped up in our feed from our local Mastiff Rescue here in Arizona. We went to go check him out and see how he would respond to Freyja, our American Mastiff, and Bailey, our Chocolate Labrador Retriever.

The Wilson Dog Clan
Here’s the Wilson Dog Clan, with our AM Freyja on the left, Uhtred the Fluffy in the Middle, and Bailey our Chocolate lab on the right!

Once we went down to the rescue, they brought us into a room to meet our new fluffy friend. When he came in, he was still a puppy, around 9 months old. His hair was long, but not nearly as long as it is now that he’s 2 years old. He got along extremely well with both our old lab (she was 11 years old at the time) and his new best friend, our AM puppy.

We chatted with the Rescue Volunteer and agreed to foster him. We took him home and after 3 days we decided he was staying with us forever and it was time to adopt. It was slightly crazy for a while with 3 dogs and 4 kids, but we eventually found our groove and he was home. We get lots of questions about him, so we figured we would answer a few since there seems to be a lot of misinformation about them out there on the internet.

He’s Not a Leonberger Or A Tibetan Mastiff

Uhtred Outdoors in Grass
He might look like both breeds, but he’s neither!

Uhtred often gets mistaken for a Leonberger when we take him to Petsmart or just out for a walk. Leonbergers are another large breed of dog, and they look very much like Uhtred but their fur is noticeably more dense and long. Our Fluffy almost looks like the Golden Retriever coat equivalent when comparing that breed to the Lab.

At one local groomer, they have him labeled as a Tibetan Mastiff in their breed system because they bill us out for the cost it takes to groom him and that’s the closest thing they could find to label him. He’s not a Tibetan Mastiff, and those dogs look FAR furrier than our Fluffy does.

How Did He Get Long Hair?

Uhtred the Mastiff Looking at Yard
A common theory is that a Saint Bernard was introduced into the Mastiff Breed at some point.

As mentioned prior, many breeders think that it’s when there was some Saint Bernard introduced into the breed when the English Mastiffs were all but going extinct back in the early 1900s. There has also been some research done that indicates that it could have come through completely normal means, and just be a complete genetic variation where there’s long hair instead of short.

One thing is certain, breeders breed it out. I’ve read some forum posts and some Facebook content that show how many people would actually love a fluffy, but breeders generally do not breed them. When they are born, those pups will not be bred. If they were bred with another Fluffy Mastiff, genetically there is a high likelihood that the offspring would also have long hair.

Because the Fluffy gene is not something that’s bred actively, they only usually randomly pop up if a breeder hasn’t DNA tested their dog for the gene and eliminated it from the line. The types of fluffy hair can range from long and silky to all-out major fluff ball.

If you are interested in the genetics behind it, there’s a good chart right here that will walk you through the genetics.

Does He Shed?

Uhtred with Metal Tooth
Yes, our fluffy English Mastiff sheds a lot!

Yep. He sheds more than our American Mastiff, which leads me to believe that he probably sheds more than a normal English Mastiff too. Because of the sheer volume of hair, we have it on our stairs, in our kitchen, in our bedroom, and just about everywhere else. It’s a running joke that we take him with us wherever we go, whether we want to or not.

We have a family that has Golden Retrievers and he does not shed really any more than they do. He’s just bigger and has more hair, so it’s likely he sheds about the same amount as two full-grown Goldens, seeing as he weighs about as much as two of them combined (he’s about 155 pounds). So yes, if you get a fluffy, be prepared to brush them frequently and deal with the hair. A deshedder can help with keeping fur under control.

Does He Take a Long Time To Groom?

Yep, because he’s twice the dog with twice the amount of hair, he takes longer to groom. We do have to brush him pretty frequently. We make it a point to stay on top of his hair on a daily or every other day basis so it doesn’t get too overwhelming. But whenever we clean out his crate area, there’s always tons of hair hanging out in the cracks.

Uhtred the Fluffy in a Chair
Uhtred loves to sit his fluffy backside in chairs he can’t really fit in.

We do use a special oatmeal shampoo for him because he’s got relatively sensitive skin. We use that shampoo for both him and our American Mastiff and they both react very well to it. He gets matted hair behind his ears as well if we don’t keep up with it. When we got him from the rescue, he had huge clumps of matted hair behind his ears, and we had to shave the fur off the back of his ears to get rid of them.

Keep in mind, that he’s just a hairier version of a normal English Mastiff, so being a giant breed means in general he’s going to take longer to bathe.

Is His Fur Soft?

Uhtred with Long Hair in Grass
Yes, his fur is incredibly soft! More so than our purebred E.M.

We get this question a lot because some people are too intimidated to touch his fur and find out for themselves. Owning a Mastiff is not for everyone. He’s quite imposing with his size, even though we don’t see it anymore. He’s only 2 years old, so he’s still got some puppy tendencies in him, but he’s a complete lover and will be anyone’s best friend that will give him attention. His fur is quite soft, I would say even more than our AM.

It probably helps that we use a special shampoo and conditioner to keep his fur soft and well taken care of, but his fur is naturally very soft and our kids love to snuggle with him on his bed or the floor.

Where Can I Get One?

Uhtred Playing with Stick
Because they are rarer, Fluffy English Mastiffs can be difficult to find.

Your best bet is to put feelers out to every breeder out there and tell them what you are looking for. If they have any Mastiffs in their breeding line that are carriers of the long-haired gene, it’s possible any breeder could end up with a Fluffy. It’s also a possibility you just get a Mastiff mix if you adopt from a rescue – there’s really no way to know unless you are adopting a pup with papers. In reality, because the gene is bred out, they are quite rare.

The best thing to do is put feelers out to every breeder out there and tell them what you want. They are pretty rare to come along, but if you put your name on a waiting list with a large number of breeders, there’s a chance you will eventually end up with one. We just got lucky when we got ours because we wanted a fluffy when we got our AM, so we lucked out with our rescue.

Are You Sure He’s An English Mastiff?

Fluffy Mastiff Embark Test Results
We actually did an Embark DNA test on him to double-check his breed.

Yep! In fact, we had him take a dog DNA test from Embark because we were curious if he was a carrier of any other type of breed. You can see the results below, and if you are curious about our experience with Embark, we can say we were quite satisfied with the results. The Embark test confirmed he is 100% Mastiff and also gave a health screening.

The health screening was helpful because it can identify problem markers for other health defects. Mastiffs are known for elbow and hip dysplasia, and he was not a carrier of either of those genes. Our AM has already torn her ACL (thank goodness for pet insurance) and we were told that the defect is degenerative (meaning it’s genetic and will likely happen to her other knee). While things can definitely happen, we are happy to know he’s not only a purebred English Mastiff but that he’s got good genes and should be healthy for a long time.

Would You Recommend A Fluffy?

Uhtred with Tennis Ball in Grass
We would recommend a Fluffy English Mastiff without hesitation.

It’s a personal choice. We love our fluff – but we love him because of his personality. It definitely got our foot in the door at the rescue when we saw him come up as an available dog to adopt. We wanted a fluff when we first found out it was a possibility. We were looking at several large and giant breeds at the time, including the Bernese Mountain Dog or even a Bernese Mountain Dog Mix.

The fluff got us in the door, but ultimately our Uhtred won us over with his shining personality and velcro-like ability to follow you into just about any room you walk into. Overall he’s a great dog, and we love him very much. We’d recommend you get the dog you want based on breed and feel with that dog around your family rather than looks, but if it has to be fluffy, the Mastiff has quickly become our favorite breed of any dog we’ve ever owned. Make sure you can afford a giant dog breed because we can tell you that they eat a lot and dog food for Mastiffs can get expensive!

Final Thoughts

Yes, Mastiffs can have long hair and they are called “fluffies” or “floofs.” We’ve heard folks call them “long coats” as well. Really when it comes down to our fluffy boy, we love him and would have probably adopted him regardless of the length of his coat. If you are looking for a great breed to fit your family’s needs, the English Mastiff is one of the best family dogs you can introduce to your tribe. Just be prepared to spend more than you would on a smaller dog. Mastiffs require bigger beds and eat upwards of 6-8 cups of Mastiff-friendly dry kibble each day.

We will continue loving the slobber, long hair, and sparkling personality that our fluffy brings into our home for as long as we have him. If you find a fluff at a rescue, the Embark DNA test was a really cool experience for us and allowed us to get a little insight into our boy’s heritage. We’d recommend it if you really want to know what kind of dog you have, regardless of if it’s a Mastiff or another “question mark” looking dog breed.

English Mastiff Adult standing tall in a field

Author's Suggestion

English Mastiff Growth Chart: Male & Female Weight & Height

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.


  1. I loved your post. in 1998 we bought our 1st Mastiff who turned out to be a “fluffy” – he was purebred and we had people tell us he couldn’t be because of the long hair so I was thrilled to see the ACK recognize that the long hair is a trait. He was the most awesome dog! Thanks for the post!

  2. I lost my fluffy Mastiff, Muffy, 10 years ago. She was a big 223 lbs amazing girl. She was a certified Therapy Dog and she titled in AKC Obedience/Rally trials. We even tried Tracking but she was more interested in training with hotdogs than finding the articles! She was the gentlest of all giants!!! She had extremely long hair and in the early years I shaved the coat short. Not a day has passed that I don’t think of her or miss her.

  3. Dave,
    I’m glad you have entered the realm of Fluffy Mastiffs. We live in Upstate N near Canada.. Boris is a typical Fawn color but Rusty is a typical Fluffy. My wife Rita combs both dogs out in the morning. They both prefer that instead brushing. They don’t mind to get wet in the rain when they are on our deck, but the don’t like our garden hose. We also have air conditioning and a ceiling fan for their comfort. Since I’m a fly fisher. I use some of the soft fur from Rusty for tying some of my dry flies. Envoy your Fluffy while you have him….John Bielinski

  4. We have both an English Mastiff and a Apricot Fluffy Mastiff. They are both about 4 years old males. They are a beloved part of our family and are our forever dogs. I just wish they would have a longer life span. Our first English Mastiff was larger than most and our young daughter’s faithful companion. He was never sick a day in his life but suddenly died one afternoon when he was 11 years old. We still miss him today. Are English Mastiffs a forever dog ? They certainly are and I hope our paths will cross again.

  5. We too have a Fluff. He is so darn cute! Didn’t realize they were so hard to come by! He is only 5 months old and we’re really having fun watching him grow and really get fluffy! All our family and friends can’t get over how soft he is! We are very attentive to his every need and to be quite honest he is completely spoiled. He loves to be cuddled, pampered and smooches on! He get groomed daily, nails done on a reg. basis! I’m sorry that breeders refer to them as defects…Sherman he is the best boy! Their loss is our gain!!!

  6. I have a fluffy female English Mastiff, she’s called Daisy. I got her from a top breeder here in Italy, Fracasso. Her father is a very famous dog called Ch Urano del Fracasso, who’s son is/was Crufts champion. She is a lovely dog and makes an excellent companion for my male EM. I got him from a breeder (and dog show judge) in the UK. I will breed them a couple of times (both have champion bloodlines) if the health checks are ok because there are no English Mastiff’s in this region of Italy and so many people ask me for puppies. She is too young at the moment, only 16 months old. Her mum is brindle so, I’m sure puppies will arrive with all different types of coats. Daisy is fawn (with darker fluffy fur on her chest and a very black face) and my male (Bo) is a standard short coat EM. Bo sheds way more hair than Daisy. Daisy loses very little hair, even when I give her a good grooming. Her hair is fairly thick but soft. My friend here is a judge at dog shows and he told me that some people believe the long hair Mastiff’s have more “antique” bloodlines and are a throwback from the distant past so, I’m not too sure about how they come about. He has checked the two dogs over and says they have no problems, which was good to hear. Mastiff’s are very affectionate and friendly dogs. They want to play when they meet other dogs. That’s the reason I got Daisy because Bo missed other dogs’ company.

  7. I love my 7-year old fluffy English Mastiff! Now that it is summer, he is getting very hot. Do you trim your fluffy’s fur in the summertime?

  8. Elizabeth Pearce-Babcock

    I rescued a 6 month old dog and through many years I discovered I had a fluffy.
    People kept telling me he was a Leonberger…but he was an amazing, loving and great companion.

  9. We have a Fluffy and I think the Breeder got a DNA test but not sure. He is the greatest dog and his hair is the softest we’ve ever felt. Can you tell me how we would get a DNA test, I would appreciate it so much. I loved your story so much and thank you for posting it. We have had English Mastiffs for over 20 years and they are one of the best breeds that there is. Unfortunately, we lost 2 of them to Lymphoma right before their 5th birthday and we lost our girl in Feb. of this year as she had Hip Dysplasia, severe Arthritis, and cancer but she lived to be 10 so that was a plus. The only thing I would wish for is a longer life in them but still love every minute we have with them.

  10. I have a 5-year-old fluffy brindle English mastiff he weighs 200 pounds. He is so amazing. He’s loving with everyone. He gets along with our eight yr old American Staffordshire terrier very well.

  11. We’ve had our EM, Mack, for over 5 years. Due to his size, it’s hard to find playmates for him. So we got Ms. Maisy a month ago knowing they will become great playmates and friends. After a few weeks, we noticed she was getting very fluffy. I’ve owned several EMs over the years but have never seen or heard of a “fluffy.”

    I was beginning to think the breeder wasn’t forthright with her actually being an EM. So happy to have come across this article and learned that she is simply a special EM. Our Maisy is absolutely beautiful. She has the sweetest personality just like what we’ve loved in all our EMs.

    Hands down the best family dog. Beautiful, sweet, loving, as well as loyal and protective. You can see how lovely she is and how handsome my Mackie is on their Instagram @theadventuresofmackandmaisy.

    1. Hi Debra! I just stopped by your IG account, and it looks like you have some amazing pups! Yes, Fluffy EM’s are really a thing, and a special one at that in my opinion! Enjoy the uniqueness of the dog, you will get asked everywhere what breed she is! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  12. Ronald H Corbett

    I just got a fluffy English Mastiff puppy from a recommended breeder through the AKC. She is a little darling, and I love the long coat and baby soft hair. Frankly, I am glad I got that type, she has had all the DNA tests and is a healthy pup. I just love her looks, she is just so beautiful. Thank you for the wonderful article.

    1. Kelly Wilson

      Glad you found your newest addition Ronald! Enjoy her – we absolutely adore our fluffy boy!

  13. I have a 10yo South African Mastiff ( also called Boerboel ) Fluffy. We didn’t specifically ask for a fluffy, but since we were not intending to breed with him anyway, and he just stole my heart when I first saw him, he came home with us. He is THE most intelligent dog I have ever had and he is so loving to the family.

    We even adopted another Boerboel (non-fluffy female) when he was a year old, and besides a few initial issues, they soon bonded so well that they were never apart until the day she passed over into the rainbow bridge in Feb. I absolutely adore this boy, and will NEVER regret having chosen him.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Bev! I don’t actually think I’ve seen a fluffy Boerboel before – sounds like an amazing pup! We appreciate you sharing your experience with our readers, and we absolutely adore our fluffy boy too!

  14. I had a Fluffy Mastiff. He was a beautiful dog. He had all of the typical mastiff characteristics, lots of slingers and hair, just not as wrinkly. Great dog!!

    1. Glad you got to experience the Fluff Michelle! They are the best! Uhtred is my husband’s best friend on the planet. They are literally inseparable. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  15. I love my fluffy. When we drove in the breeder’s yard and I saw him, I told my husband, “I have to have that dog!” We went around to other breeders, but I came back and he was still there so I happily brought him home. He’s been one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever owned.

    Unlike some elderly people I like a big dog because he doesn’t get underfoot and I can see where he is. I’ve had many breeds over the years, always preferred Great Danes but now wouldn’t have anything but a Mastiff.

    1. We are with you there Renee! We love our Fluffy! They are so unique, and it’s a mystery to most people that see them. Glad you have a wonderful pup, and thanks for the comment!

  16. Thank you for posting. I am on my 2nd fluffy. Took me 4 yrs to find her. Being a breeder of mastiffs and possibly showing in the last 5 years, I have noticed that the fluffy is much more accepted than once was. There are even fluffies that have made champions in the show ring. I have also met English Mastiff show dog owners that actively sought out a fluffy. It is a personal preference, and you either like or don’t like them. Thank you for an informative article!

  17. We have a fluffy EM little girl, she’s weighing in around 85 kilo and is just coming up to 3 years old. We got ours from a breeder in Carmarthen Wales from a litter of twelve two sisters from the group were fluffy. 🙂

    Great dog and I’m told by the breeder that they do get a little larger due to the gene throw back. must admit she’s very heavy boned and around the size of the males. The breeder gets fluffs every now and then her names is Pauline Gittens. Great breeder and great dogs can recommend them to anyone in the UK!

  18. I have a fluffy! His name is Rosco! He will be 6 months old Feb 10! He’s all boy and ornery as can be! He’s our second mastiff! We absolutely love his long hair! Soft and fluffy!

  19. I too have a fluffy, she is so beautiful! She is a little timid and scared but she was on 8 months old when we got her and we’ve had her for 4 months now. She is 165lbs fawn. I also have her half brother and is not a fluffy, he is brindle 220lbs at 16 months old. Both intact.

    So I am definitely a mastiff lover. My boy is an animal therapy dog his personality is perfect for it. We were just certified last month and he is so popular people ask for him to come back. You can see both of them on his Facebook page at Porters Post.

    Had one before that died at 5 years old with small cell lung cancer in 2017. They are such amazing dogs that once you have one you have to have another. They are truly the love of our lives for our family. Wish I could send you pics. Thank you for all of your information very helpful.

    1. Thanks for the comment Cindi! Sounds like a great pup. We love the fluffs! A brindle mastiff is definitely on our list soon!

  20. I had a fluffy Bullmastiff 12 years ago. She was so beautiful and just the love of my life. I purchased her from the breeder I have used for all of my Bullies, she just happened (somehow) to come upon that gene. She has shown Bullies for years and is actually usually the person mentioned in any book about Bullmastiffs.

    Anyway, of course, dog show people don’t want a fluff so I took her!!! She was red and absolutely gorgeous!!! I had people stopping me all of the time to ask what kind of a dog she was. She lives to be 10 1/2 and I’ve been looking for a fluffy ever since. Enjoy your fluffs!!! Few and far between!!

  21. I also have a fluffy and just absolutely adore her!! I was just told last week that she has lymphoma and am just devastated! I want another fluffy so so badly but know they are hard to come by. My girl looks so much like your boy.

  22. We also have a fluffy that will soon turn six. We just lost our 9 1/2 yr old Irish wolfhound and want to have a companion for our mastiff. We are set on a fluffy so I will go with your recommendations of reaching out to breeders. Thanks for sharing. If you know of any reputable breeders please let me know.

    1. Thanks for writing Karen! We got ours as a rescue, so I can’t be much help on that – but keep your eyes peeled! Many Mastiff breeders have them pop up randomly which can be quite the surprise! Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top