About the Breed
The Bullmastiff is a large and imposing breed of dog originally developed from crossing Mastiffs with Bulldogs to create a dog larger than a Bulldog, faster and more aggressive than a Mastiff yet not quite as ferocious as a Bulldog. The record of his development becomes known mid 1800’s in England where he was used for both large estates and game preserves.
The keepers of these estates and preserves had a hard job keeping poachers of the wild game at bay. These dogs were created to be a silent watcher, one who could remain quietly hidden while tracking yet be fast and powerful enough to take down and hold a poacher until the gamekeeper could come without actually damaging the poacher via mauling in the process.
Today the Bullmastiff is still a natural guardian and can rise to the occasion by instinct alone to protect his family if need be.
The Bullmastiff is a giant breed of dog standing a good 24-27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing a hefty 100-130 pounds. Males are larger than females. It may feel like you are standing next to a small horse! He should be powerful and strong in appearance.
His coat is very short and flat yet dense. He comes in three color variations: red, fawn, and brindle.
The Bullmastiff is a stable, reliable kind of dog that is friendly. He does well with all family members, including children. He is quite tolerant of children and normally doesn’t react to heavy petting, ear pulls, or stepped on tails, but both dog and child need to learn how to behave around one another. The breed is very large, and if not careful, he can easily knock down a small child.
As long as the Bullmastiff has been well socialized with people, he likes greeting new people. His calm and docile nature can make him an excellent therapy dog prospect.
While the breed does excellently with people, he may or may not be able to live with other animals, depending on the individual. Many can live peacefully with cats if raised with or socialized to them, although he might chase them. He isn’t a breed of dog that generally lives within a pack of dogs well. He can do okay with opposite sex pairings, but fights often break out between same sex dogs. He was never bred to be dog tolerant in groups.
Despite the Bullmastiff’s large size, he doesn’t require a large degree of exercise. A short daily walk or two is more than enough. He can live equally well in an apartment or in a home so long as he is provided this exercise. He can be heat intolerant, so care should be used not to work him extensively in heat.
The breed is generally a very quiet breed of dog.
The Bullmastiff should receive training very early in life and continuing into adulthood. As a large breed of dog, it is very hard to manhandle him into doing something, and a well trained Bullmastiff will be more receptive. He can be independent at times.
He learns new tasks well, but he does tire and become bored of those tasks that seem repetitive. Try to keep training consistent, yet fun and entertaining for him.
It is important for all family members to take part in the training process so that the dog views everyone equally. They do tend to look at where they fit within the human pack and may rank themselves higher over some.
Because he is a natural guardian, it is a good idea for him to be well socialized at an early age so that he takes well to new people and situations. Additionally, he should be exposed to well-behaved dogs as part of the process to help prevent generalized dog aggression issues.
Shedding & Grooming
The Bullmastiff is a fairly wash and wear kind of dog. His short coat is easily maintained using a light brush or glove brush.
As with all dogs that have downed ears, it is a good idea to routinely inspect and clean the ears. This way you can quickly identify problems indicative of an infection or you can prevent one from forming.
Lastly, an occasional bath, routine nail trims, and toothbrushing round out the routine.
Health & Life Expectancy
As a giant breed of dog, the Bullmastiff only has an average lifespan of 8-10 years of age. There are several health issues related to the Bullmastiff to be aware of, according to the American Bullmastiff Association (www.bullmastiff.us):
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Torn ligaments
- Subaortic stenosis
- Thyroid issues
- Skin and coat problems