Do Mastiffs Like to Cuddle? [Veterinary Advice]

We love dogs for their very personality, and some of them are more towards the snuggly type. Have you ever wondered whether giants like mastiffs like to cuddle?

Do mastiffs like to cuddle? Yes, mastiffs love to cuddle. They show their affection and cuddliness behavior by licking hands, gentle grasping, nuzzling, back rubs, sleeping with the owner, etc. Their Cuddling behavior can be enhanced by giving them more attention and sometimes through training.

Mastiffs’ cuddle behavior differs from one mastiff to another. It requires excellent training & mental stimulation. Knowing the correct approaches would help to prevent some behavioral problems.

Do mastiffs like to cuddle, and how do they show that?

Do mastiffs like to cuddle? My answer is a big YES. In fact, mastiff loves to be cuddled up with their owners. Their sleek easy-care coat gives the feeling of a ball of meat covered with soft velvet making them the perfect snuggle partners. 

So how do they show that they like to feel your warmth? He’ll come at you wagging his tail with glistening bright eyes and start licking your hand if you are sitting on the couch.

Look at this cuddly mastiff

He will continue by gently grasping your thigh, nuzzling, and finally getting on your lap and leaning his weight against you.

And eventually, they’ll start licking your face too. Those are the signs that your mastiff gives you to let you know that it’s time for some cuddle sharing.

What are some ways to promote or increase cuddle time with your mastiff?

Distinguished by its enormous size, massive head, and short coat in a limited range of colors and always displaying a black mask, mastiffs are overlooked as a cuddly type. 

In my opinion, it is very wrong to judge by the size and appearance of someone and say that they seem less likely to cuddle. They enjoy nothing more than to snuggle up with their owners as much as they love to play and get exhausted.

Each and every mastiff will have their unique way of expressing and receiving love and affection.

The cuddling time may be short or long, depending on your pet’s environmental, physical & mental state. If their needs are being adequately met, Mastiffs are great to snuggle buddies.

Here are some ways to promote and increase cuddle time with your mastiff,

  1. Understanding his moods
  2. Take him for a walk.
  3. Feed him with enough food
  4. Pet them every now and then
  5. Grooming

1. Understanding his moods

I think that this is the most important step of all. You need to understand his mental condition by judging from his behavior. 

If your mastiff seems to be happy with bright eyes while wagging his tail, that surely is inviting you for some quality cuddle time.

If your pet seems to be off with tucked ears, tucked tail, trying to avoid eye contact, and showing whale eye [when whites of the eye are revealed], it is not a very good time to even pet him and get him close to you.

2. Taking him for a walk

Investing time to strengthen your bond between your mastiff and you is very important. Taking him for a short-distance walk is good in this aspect and for his health as well.

They need a moderate amount of exercise. Young and adult both need exercises to keep in good health and adult ones, especially to maintain their shape.

Mastiffs need a moderate amount of exercise. Young and adult both need exercises to keep in good health and adult ones, especially to maintain their shape.

Ms. Chamindrie (Veterinary undergraduate)

But be careful with the younger ones as they tend to injure their joints and ligaments if they are overstressed with too much exercise.

Mastiffs are not the type you can train for jogging or running and definitely not under hot and humid weather conditions. However, it is not very easy to provide giant breeds with an adequate amount of exercise.

Giving short snack breaks during playtime, constant appreciative comments, and random belly-scratching hugs would make him love his work-out period even more. On the other hand, this will help you to connect with your pet much closer.

Who wouldn’t love to cuddle up on a nice comfy sofa after having a tiresome day with a good work-out? Yes, the same goes for the Mastiffs too.

3. Feed him with enough food

A good mastiff diet must include at least 80% meat. The diet directly affects the physical and mental wellbeing of your pet. So a healthy, happy pet means more playtime and MORE CUDDLES!

4. Pet them every now and then

Most Mastiff breeds are naturally friendly. They are not the ones to be left alone for long hours. Therefore these cuddling moments can’t be scheduled at all. They always look for affection from their owners and are excellent companions.

Here’s a list of things that he’d do to show you how much your mastiff loves to be cuddled, 

  • Showering with wet dog kisses 
  • Try to lick you out
  • Rest his body on you
  • Sitting beside you
  • At times he’d sit on your lap and lean his weight against your leg 
  • And he’d sleep over you too

Extra tip: He loves it when you rub his back while leaning on you.

Cuddling is a great way to connect with your pet and help them overcome their fears and anxiety. Not only for them it’s good for you as well. 

Find the snuggling position that works for both of you and hug, kiss, and pet him at every chance you get.

5. Grooming

Would you ever hug a smelly person? No right. So grooming is essential. As a veterinary student, I would advise you to give him a nice bath at least once a week to maintain their healthy skin and coat.

Recommended reading: (9 reasons) why does my dog drool around other dogs?

What can make mastiffs refuse to cuddle?

As far as we know, mastiffs are great to cuddle buddies. But there are times that he might refuse your touch. The most immediate reason for this would be the way you reach out to him.

It is all by experience one must learn how to cuddle with your dog. You have to be mindful about the pace of petting, the duration, the intensity of the touch, and their preferred specific spot areas on their body. When they feel the slightest uneasiness, they will refuse to cuddle up with you.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the mood completely depends on his emotional status. 

These things might make your mastiff unhappy and refuse to cuddle

  1. Health issues and age 
  2. Changes in his surrounding environment
  3. Strangers
  4. Mental stress

1. Health issues and age

Mastiffs’ health is one major factor. If he’s suffering from some kind of a health issue, he might refuse to cuddle. This is considered as a sort of a behavioral indication of prolonging undiagnosed disease.

Like all other puppies, young mastiffs usually seek the same affection that they received from their mother. Cuddling your puppy would make him feel much loved.

On the other hand, old dogs don’t like to cuddle very often compared to those of the young. 

2. Strangers

The surrounding environment affects his mental status. Suppose that he’s surrounded by too many strangers. Then again, he might get confused, nervous, and refuse to cuddle. 

Although they are considered to be an amiable breed, cuddling only works with individual humans. Usually, they’ll behave as lovable, affectionate creatures as they are in the home environment where they feel much comfortable and safe. 

3. Mental stress

The animal can be stressed due to the below mentioned factors.

Internal FactorsExternal Factors
DiseasesLiving premises
Pet-owner relationship
Food preferences
Other companion animals if present & the list continues…

Depending on these, they tend to become aggressive under stress conditions and not so lovable at times. However, Mastiffs are considered to be an extremely loyal breed.

In multi-pet households, each pet will demand an equal amount of attention and affection from the owners. When they fail to do so, the pets might get jealous over each other, stubborn, become aggressive, and anxiety might develop too. So make sure that your snuggly mastiff does not feel left out.

Recommended reading: Do bullmastiffs have webbed feet? (The hidden truth)

What can you do if your mastiff refuses to cuddle?

How you treat your pet significantly affects to build up his personality and temperament. Constant cuddling is a show of affection, and this connection promotes the happiness and wellbeing of the pet.  

Given below are several methods that you can try if your mastiff refuses to cuddle.

  1. Through socialization from puppyhood
  2. Find out the reasons for why their mood is dull
  3. Giving more attention than usual

Let’s dig deep in this regard.

1. Socialization from puppyhood

Socialization involves training your dog to be obedient to basic commands; mostly, it is done by skilled trainers. They can be enrolled in various socialization courses [Some are available online, which would be beneficial during this quarantine period] with the approval of your trusted veterinarian.

This can also be done by the owners at home, such that your pet identifies it as an extension of playtime. Try to build up that connection between you and your pet through such activities. Cuddle your mastiff every here and then and add extra moments of love during playtime.

Through these pieces of training, they’ll be able to overcome stubbornness, difficulty with peering up with other animals and will get more comfortable with you, and will keep the love alive.

Socialization training can be given at the younger and middle stages of life. 

2. Finding the sources of their worries

These causes could be controllable and uncontrollable, depending on the situation. All you want to do is provide him with some distractions to reduce the fears and ease the worries.

3. Giving more attention

Mastiffs have a very sweet temperament and a loving personality by nature. Cuddling him, giving him an excellent belly scratch, petting them with a soothing tone would always contribute to strengthening that special bond more between you and your pet.

Spending a little extra time sitting with them, talking to them, extra love & attention, cuddles will help them feel comfortable if they seem to be off.

Most domestic pet animals have similar mental, emotional and social needs as humans and sometimes even more, don’t you agree?

Recommended reading: 8 Reasons why does my dog growl or bark at my wife?

Do all mastiffs like to cuddle or snuggle?


Mastiffs, by nature, are friendly buddies. So, most of the mastiff breeds are easy-going, but some lines show extreme shyness, and some are very arrogant. 

For ensuring excellent behavior, these mastiffs need early and more frequent extensive training for socialization than other breeds. It’s better if one can continue the training throughout their life.

Suppose that you have started adopting your mastiff from the middle ages [picked up from an orphanage]. To be honest, he finds it challenging to connect with the family at first.

But this can also be eradicated through proper socialization training and getting him adapted to the new family and the surroundings. You need to stay patient with him and allow him to adapt with time.  

 As I’ve mentioned earlier, with age, their likeliness towards cuddling changes as well.

Things to be aware

As much as you love your mastiff, there are few things to be kept in mind when petting your pets.

  • Body language
  • Their Destructive behavior 
  • Can display potential aggression towards strangers
  • Less responsiveness

Body language

As we discussed earlier, we must be very vigilant about his behavioral changes before making contact and during petting hours.

Destructive Behavior

Suppose a person with a busy lifestyle wants to adopt a pet dog as a veterinary student. In that case, I suggest not to choose mastiff as your first breed.

Because they tend to become easily bored and display destructive behavior when enough attention is not given to them.

Potential aggression towards strangers

Although they are considered friendly and loyal, mastiffs might connect with only individual humans to share quality cuddle time. So it’s better not to let your visitors get too friendly as that might cause some serious problems later.

However, these kinds of bad behavior can be minimized through the following methods

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Socialization training

Less responsiveness

If your active, energetic pet seems to be less responsive, that indicates some health issues. These kinds of behavioral changes are early indications of most of the diseases. Do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian in such situations.

Recommended reading: How long do puppy blues last? (How to overcome)


Everybody loves hugs. Mastiffs, in particular from all domestic dogs, breeds crave more affection and cuddle time from their owners.

They literally awaken the cuddle bear inside you. Mastiffs are one of those few breeds that I would recommend as good cuddle partners.

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