Mabosstiff is a large, canine Pokémon. Its coat is primarily gray, with blackish gray colorations on its underside, back, and around its face and eyes. It also has a stripe of light gray fur running down its spine. The stripe starts at its forehead, which forms the appearance of slicked back hair; and ends at its rear, forming a long, brushy tail. Mabosstiff is known to shed its fur frequently.
Mabosstiff's head is large with no discernible neck, and contains small, orange beady eyes; light gray eyebrows; additional light gray accents under its eyes; a rounded, triangular orange nose; and a mouth filled with sharp teeth. Mabosstiff has a large dewlap below its mouth, which allows it to store energy to drive back opponents.
Mabosstiff has a gentle temperament and loves playing with children. However, it will bare its teeth and take on an intimidating look when protecting its family.
Mabosstiff is the only known Pokémon that can have Guard Dog as an Ability.
Mabosstiff seems to be based on the mastiff breeds of dog. With its large build and long, dark coat, Mabosstiff particularly resembles the Tibetan Mastiff, which is not a true mastiff breed despite its name; although Mabosstiff also seems to have traits derived from true mastiff breeds such as the Pyrenean Mastiff and the Spanish Mastiff. Its friendly behavior around children and signature Ability invoke the general image of livestock guardian dogs, a type of dog known for their friendliness and bred to protect livestock from predators. Many livestock guardian dogs are mastiff breeds.
Mabosstiff's appearance, combined with its name, Dark type, and protective nature towards its family, may be derived from the archetypal looks and behaviors of leaders in organized crime families, such as the Italian mafia and the Japanese yakuza. It also slightly resembles an old person because of the grey eyebrows and fur on its head and back.
Mabosstiff may be a combination of mafia, mob, boss, and mastiff.
Mafitiff may be a combination of mafia and mastiff.