Why Do Mastiffs Have Red Eyes? [EXPLAINED]

Do you have a Mastiff and want to know why is my Mastiff’s eye red? No doubt about it when your dog is suffering from eye problems, it has a massive effect on the poor thing’s life and can make them utterly miserable, which is entirely understandable. 

The simple truth is that Mastiffs can suffer from inherited eye problems or develop them as they get older.

Eye conditions can render your Mastiff blind if you don’t take them along to the vet at the earliest sign of a problem; even if there’s no risk of your Mastiff going blind, eye conditions can be excruciatingly painful for your Mastiff.

Do Mastiffs Have Eye Problems?

To begin with, Mastiffs are the same as every other dog in this regard, so yes, they can undoubtedly have eye problems.

There are several eye conditions pertinent to Mastiffs we should talk about:

  • Cherry Eye: All dogs Possess three eyelids, two you can see and one that sits below the inside corner of the eye, out of sight. This “third eyelid” is significant because it houses a tear-producing gland that supplies around 50% of tears to the dog’s eyes. Holding the gland in position are ligaments, and sometimes these ligaments are just not strong enough to retain the gland. The gland will then appear bright red (hence the name “cherry eye”) in the corner of the dog’s eye. Unfortunately, the only way forward is to remove the gland or tack it back into a normal position by surgery.
  • Entropion And Ectropion: Entropion is where one eyelid, in Mastiffs, usually the lower lid, rolls inwards. This causes hairs on the eyelid to scrape along the cornea; it can be painful and irritating to the Mastiff. As a consequence, it can lead to conjunctivitis and a constant discharge. Ectropion is the opposite effect, where the eyelid rolls outwards. While it doesn’t touch the cornea,  it constantly exposes the cornea to the outside air, which can also scar the cornea and contribute to acute conjunctivitis. A Mastiff will need surgery to correct either of these conditions. The Neapolitan Mastiff or Mastin Napoletano is particularly susceptible to these eye conditions with their droopy face and heavy jowls pulling down on their eyes.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts can cause blindness in older Mastiffs, and you will begin to notice the dog’s eye lens begin to go cloudy over time. There is surgery available to correct the condition.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is another inherited disease, and once again, Neapolitan Mastiffs are more likely to have the condition than other Mastiffs. For whatever reason, the dog’s eyes are genetically programmed to go blind. There’s no cure to date, and signs begin to show something is wrong by the age of three years.

Is it Normal for Mastiff to Have Red Eyes?

By now, you’ll have realized it’s not normal for your Mastiff to have red eyes, and if they do, there’s an underlying health problem.

If your Mastiff does have red eyes, there could be one of several issues affecting them. It might not be one of the genetic defects I’ve just outlined; it could be down to the environment. For example, various household chemicals, fragrances, smoke, pesticides all of which can irritate your Mastiff’s eyes. Allergies are another reason your Mastiff might be suffering from red eyes.

How to Treat Mastiff Eye Problems?

Think about it this way; it’s not likely you will know why your Mastiff has red eyes. The ideal way to treat eye problems is to visit your vet and get a professional diagnosis; only then will you know the correct treatment for your Mastiff’s red eyes.


Brad Davenport

Brad has spent his entire life surrounded by dogs and has owned all sorts of breeds, including Dachshunds, Great Danes, French Bulldogs and he currently has a little Hasanese called Biscuit. Brad is an experienced dog writer who is obsessed by canine health, care and psychology and has completed several courses on dog care and training.

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