THE MASTADOR is the hybrid (or cross-breed) of the English Mastiff and the Labrador Retriever.
Labrador Retrievers have an enduring reputation for gentle temperment, ease of handling and training, high intelligence and loyalty. They are truly the perfect family pet.
English Mastiffs are a wonderful, stately breed that combines large size and strength with strong loyalty, gentleness and affection, all wrapped up in a beautiful, calm demeanor. They love close physical companionship, and want to be touching you, always staying close.
The Mastador as a hybrid has been around for many decades, though it has only been in the last decade that professional, responsible breeding programs have emerged to reproduce them. The star of the 1957 Disney movie "Old Yeller" was said to be a Mastador. He was rescued from a shelter in Los Angeles by a Hollywood dog trainer, and appeared in several other movies as well. The goal of professional Mastador breeders is to stabilize the breed in terms of temperament, size and other traits.
The Mastador is only in its third generation of responsible breeding. There are first, second and third generation Mastadors to be found out there, and several variations based on "back-crossing". This is the process of breeding a Mastador back to one of the foundation breeds, which results in a precentage of Mastiff/Lab mix that is other than 50/50. This is done to bring out certain traits, such as color or size. You may find breeders that insist that the only true Mastador is 50/50 English Mastiff/Labrador, but this is not true. The practice of back-crossing is a normal part of hybrid-breeding (especially in the early generations of development) and the results of those backcrosses are just as much "Mastador" as any 50/50 mix.
SIZE: First generation (F1) Mastadors tend to be the largest, with males often in the 130-140 lb. range. F1B Mastadors, where the dominant breed is the English Mastiff (75%) also tend to that larger size. F2 Mastadors tend to be about 10-15% smaller overall than F1 at full maturity. We are not sure why that is, but it seems to be fairly consistent.
In any litter of Mastadors, you can find pups that favor one side of their genetics over another. Our Dixie is about 95 lbs, and is built like a Lab, with a leaner body and longer muzzle. But she is brindle (striped) in color, which is exclusive to the Mastiff side. Her offspring can often reach 110-120 lbs, despite her smaller size, because the size genetics are all present in her pedigree. But she has had some females as small as 70-75 lbs. at maturity. Size for 2nd generation Mastadors seems to be about 90 to 130 lbs. (males and females together) as an average.
COLOR: F1 Mastadors (Mastiff x Lab) turn out black nearly 90% of the time.This is because most color genes are recessive, and require the color to exist in both parents in order to show up in offspring. The result is that most F1 Mastadors revert to Lab-dominant black color. There are exceptions, however, which cannot be readily explained by color genetics. Our own stud, Charlemagne is a tri-color (apricot, fawn and black) dog who has a Lab mother and English Mastiff father. The rarity of this is one of the reaons we chose him. Brindles (striped) have only shown up as a result of back-crossing a Mastador to an English Mastiff, as near as I can determine. Without that back-crossing (which some breeders condemn) the brindle color in Mastadors would not be present in a line that comes strictly from 50/50 breeding.
Chocolate and yellow Mastadors will appear when the chocolate or the yellow (both recessive genes) show up on both Lab sides of both parents. But if one parent carries Lab yellow, and one parent carries Lab chocolate, they will cancel each other out and produce black. However, most F2 (2nd generation) Mastadors will produce the common Mastiff colors of fawn (light yellow or off-white) and apricot (various shades of red).
When breeding in the 2nd and third generations, you may find a wide variety of colors, some which are Lab colors, and some which are Mastiff colors. Chocolate, yellow and black are all Mastador colors, as well as various shades of fawn (off-white/cream), apricot (red), along with brindles (stripes) some that have dark stripes with apricot, and some that have dark stripes with fawn, and also reverse brindle, in which the dominant color is either apricot or fawn, and the secondary color is the dark sable/brown. We have also seen black & tan in many litters, and black pups that have brindle sox or even their whole legs.
TEMPERAMENT: Mastador temperament in the early generations depends largely on which side of the genetics a particular puppy exhibits his or her behavioral traits. Some are veritable couch potatoes, like most English Mastiffs. Some are higher-drive (though rarely ever as high drive as a Labrador). But we can say in general that Mastadors are medium-to-low drive at maturity (and sometimes even in the puppy stage). They train easily and quickly for the most part, sometimes potty-training in a matter of a few days.
As a result of the blend of these two excellent temperaments, Mastadors are highly suited to service work of all sorts. We have placed Mastadors for service in the areas of autistic children and adults, PTSD support, mobility/stability support and Alzheimers companionship.
BEHAVIORAL ISSUES: English Mastiffs are a guardian breed, and therefore Mastadors are as well. It is very important (especially during the first 18 months life) that they are well-socialized with people and animals outside of your own household. Failure to do that could result in overly-protective behaviors starting to show up between 14-18 months of age (essentially puberty). This is more common in males than females, but can show up in both. This is correctable with professional training, but as the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
As both breeds are known to be diggers and chewers, there is a strong likelihood that you will need to train that behavior out of your puppy in the early going. Some are worse than others. Sometimes it is just cute. Sometimes, it can be expensive and destructive if not trained away early in life.
HEALTH / LIFESPAN: Health and lifespan have a number of contributing factors, other than the genetic predispositions of the foundation breeds. Just like in the case of people, quality of diet and healthcare are major factors. Let me start out by saying that if you do everything right in that regard, there is no reason why your Mastador should not live 13+ years. Obviously, things show up, just like they do in us, that cannot be predicted, but as a general rule this should be true.
The second important factor is that you should never get your dog spayed or neutered before they reach full maturity. For Mastadors, this is 18-24 months. The sex hormones are responsible for bone density and sound joint development, and robbing your pup of that before his or her growth plates close dramatically increases the risk of early hip dysplasia, joint failures, and three different types of cancer. To get more info on this and on diet, visit our Care & Feeding page .