If you are looking for a dog that is fiercely loyal, protective, and patient with the family then you are looking for a Bullmastiff. Dogs make great companions, guards, and emotional support animals and this makes then the number one choice for nearly everyone who is looking to bring an animal home.
There are loads of different kinds of dogs and breeds and you can choose any of them to bring home. Why choose a Bullmastiff? Probably the most distinctive quality of this breed is that despite being large and fierce, these dogs are gentle and make ideal house animals for families with well-behaved kids.
Know more about a Bullmastiff further in this blog.
Bullmastiff Overview and Characteristics
Below are the characteristics of a Bullmastiff dog.
Bullmastiff is a large dog and it belongs to the working dogs’ group. These dogs are a cross between a bulldog and a Mastiff. These canines are alert, loyal, and very intelligent. They are naturally protective and they make excellent family companion dogs.
Other than this, there are a number of other dog breeds that make excellent emotional support dogs for everyone who is looking for protection and support.
History of Bullmastiff - How Did the Breed Originate?
Where did the Bullmastiff originate?’ The dog has an interesting origin story. They were developed in the mid 19th century, probably around 1860, and are also known as ‘The Gamekeeper’s Night Dog’. During those times, the English game preserves and expensive country estates were high targets of the poachers.
To prevent and control it, strict penalties were enacted, but to no avail. The poaching continued and things were pretty much out of the gamekeepers’ control.
To tackle the situation, the gamekeepers needed a dog that is active, fierce, active, and powerful enough to hold the poacher down. They experimented with different dogs and succeeded with a cross between a Mastiff and a Bulldog. The acquired breed was a perfect mix of the qualities that the gamekeepers needed.
The dog was large and strong like a Mastiff and aggressive, alert, and brave like a Bulldog, a perfect mix. The dog is 60 percent Mastiff and 40 percent Bulldog. It was smart and alert and trainable enough to hold the poacher down till the gamekeeper came. Moreover, the dog’s dark brindle color is considered as a camouflage that helps the dog in chasing and pining an intruder down in the dark of night.
Famously, the dog was imported to South Africa for the purpose of guarding the De Beers diamond mines. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1933.
General Appearance of a Bullmastiff
What does a Bullmastiff look like? A Bullmastiff is powerfully built with the breeding foundation of 60 percent Mastiff and 40 percent Bulldog. These dogs were originally bred to protect against poaching and are now recognized as one of the best dogs to guard the homes and live with families.
They have a large bone structure and with a fierce look, they could make the intruders think twice before crossing paths with them.
Following is the AKC’s official standard of appearance for the Bullmastiff breed.
- Head - The dog has a keen, alert, and intelligent expression with dark and medium-sized eyes. The ears are V-shaped, drooped down, and closer to the cheeks. They are at the same level as the occiput and give the head a square shape. They are somewhat darker in color and are medium in size.
The skull is large and wide and the cheeks are well developed. The head has a large amount of wrinkles when the dog is alert. The forehead is flat and medium. The muzzle is comparatively broader and deeper while the nostrils on top of the muzzle are like that of a Bulldog.
The nose is black in color with large nostrils. The canine teeth are widely set and are quite large.
- Body - The dog is large and the males stand about 25 to 27 inches while the females stand around 24 to 26 inches tall. The neck is slightly arched, thick, strong, and medium in length. The topline is in a straight line, between the loins and withers.
The body is strong and compact with a wide and deep chest. The ribs are well set between the forelegs. The back is flat, straight, about loin width apart, muscular, strong, and with a slight arch. Moreover, the flank is also deep.
The tail is strongly built and set high. The tail could either be curved or straight.
- Forequarters - The shoulders are strong and well-muscled and have a slight slope. The forelegs are straight, widely set, and have well-structured bones. The elbows are straight, neither turned inwards or outwards. The pasterns are straight and without any curve or arch.
The feet are medium in size and have rounded toes, thick pads, and black nails.
- Hindquarters - The hindquarters are well-muscled and broad with a second thigh but not heavily loaded with muscles or weight. The angulation is medium.
- Coat - The coat is rather short in size and being dense in quality, it gives good protection from harsh weather. It also sheds less, making it an ideal dog for people with allergies.
- Coat Color and Variation - The dog comes in red, fawn, and brindle colors. Some dogs may have a white spot on their chest. If the spot is very small then it is negligible otherwise a white spot or mark is considered a fault.
- Gait - The gait is smooth, powerful, and free. When walking, the back of the dog remains straight and leveled and the dog moves in a straight line. When running, the feet converge but without any crossing over and the joints do not twist in the process.
What is the Price of a Bullmastiff Puppy?
How much are Bullmastiff puppies? The price depends on a number of factors like its heritage, the kind of breeding, and the reputation of the breeder. On average, a Bullmastiff puppy is sold for $1,500 to $4,000 and upward.
To get the puppy with breeding rights or with papers will come at a premium cost. The price could be anywhere between $2,400 to $6,500 and even more for puppies with high pedigree and breed lines.
How much does a Bullmastiff cost? The price of an adult dog will be almost the same as that of the puppies but we suggest that you adopt or buy a puppy instead of a grown dog.
What is the Lifespan of a Bullmastiff?
Since it is a big dog, a Bullmastiff has an average life expectancy of 8 to 10 years. Large dogs have shorter lifespans than medium and small-sized dogs. However, how long your dog lives depends on a number of factors like the overall health of the dog, medical conditions, and a number of environmental factors.
Bullmastiff Speed - How Fast can a Bullmastiff Run?
These dogs were bred to catch intruders and they are known for the right combination of strength, aggression, intelligence, and speed to stop an intruder in his tracks. On average, they could run with a speed of 15-25 mph.
The speed may not be that impressive when compared with other superfast dogs but it is enough to apprehend the thieves and intruders.
Other Names and Variations of Mastiff Dogs
Other than the Bullmastiff, there are a number of other dogs that belong to the Mastiff group. This is usually because the origins of the dogs remain the same while they are known by different names in different countries. Some of such variations are given below.
- American Bullmastiff
- Italian Bullmastiff (Cane Corso)
- French Bullmastiff
- South African Mastiff (Boerboel)
- Neapolitan Mastiff
Other than these Mastiff dog variations, fancy breeders have crossed the Bullmastiff with other breeds.
Bullmastiff Mix Breeds - What Breed Combinations are Available?
A Bullmastiff is crossbred but there are a number of breeds that are a result of crossing a Bullmastiff with other purebred dogs. Here are some of such breeds.
||Bullmastiff & Pitbull Terrier Mix
||Bullmastiff & Basset Hound Mix
||Bullmastiff & Clumber Spaniel Mix
||Bullmastiff & Dogue de Bordeaux Mix
|Golden Bullmastiff Retriever
||Bullmastiff & Golden Retriever Mix
||Bullmastiff & Great Dane Mix
||Bullmastiff & Labrador Retriever Mix
||Bullmastiff & Mastiff Mix
||Bullmastiff & Neapolitan Mastiff Mix
||Bullmastiff & Rottweiler Mix
||Bullmastiff & Siberian Husky Mix
|Staffy Bull Bullmastiff
||Bullmastiff & Staffordshire Bull Terrier Mix
|Bullmastiff German Shepherd
||Bullmastiff & German Shepherd Mix
|Bullmastiff Boxer Mix
||Bullmastiff & Boxer Mix
|Cane Corso Bullmastiff Mix
||Bullmastiff & Cane Corso Mix
||Bullmastiff & St. Bernard Mix
What is the Temperament of a Bullmastiff?
Bullmastiffs are fearless and strong dogs that are gentle and docile when they are not on guard and with their family members. The dog is a perfect combination of intelligence, reliability, and a tendency to please their human family.
They are very loyal and they make excellent protectors and companions.
Since they were bred to protect and safeguard the property, they have a natural tendency to protect and guard their family and family members. They were bred as quiet and docile watch dogs, due to which they have a relatively low tendency to bark.
However, like other dogs, Bullmastiffs also need ample and early training and socialization. By exposing your puppy to different people, sounds, experiences, and sights, you will help your puppy to grow into a well-rounded and well-trained dog. You can socialize your canine in a number of ways.
Take him to a puppy kindergarten or invite some friends over to spend time with you and your Bullmastiff puppy. Besides, take him to pet supermarkets and places where they allow dogs and on daily walks to acquaint him with the neighbors and strangers.
These gentle giants are slow to anger but could be very dangerous when provoked and threatened.
Bullmastiff with Children - Safe to Have Around Kids and other Pets?
Are Bullmastiffs good with kids? Yes, they are. Despite their size, these dogs are docile and gentle with kids and other family members. They are calm and easy-going and they make excellent family dogs that have adequately behaved kids.
They are great with kids and other pets but those must be raised with them.
Though they are friendly, they could be skeptical about other dogs, and especially the male Bullmastiffs, they could not tolerate other male dogs.
These dogs are large and have a reputation of being immensely loyal, many people adopt or bring them home without proper research and thought. As a result, many of such dogs end up in rescue homes and other dog rescue organizations.
If you are thinking of bringing one home then do not forget to check with some rescue organizations like
and other organizations.
Check with them for the available dogs and further documentation.
Bullmastiff Health Issues - Overall Health and Concerns
Generally, Bullmastiffs are healthy dogs but like other canines, they could be prone to a number of health issues. This does not mean that all the Bullmastiffs will develop these or some of these diseases but it is better that you know about them.
Some dogs do not exhibit any symptoms of the disease until they are fully grown. Therefore, medical clearance is not issued to dogs that are younger than two years. Some of the common health problems and diseases that a Bullmastiff may suffer from are given below.
- A genetic disease could be inherited from parents. In this condition, the dog’s thigh bone does not fit properly into his hip joint. Sometimes there are no signs while some dogs may show signs of pain, discomfort, and lameness.
- X-rays could help in identifying this disease. Though it is hereditary, increased weight and injuries could worsen it.
- A hereditary disease, more common in large-sized dogs. The condition is caused when the three bones forming the dog’s elbow do not grow at the same rate.
- To rectify the condition, some veterinarians may suggest a correction surgery.
- Caused due to the insufficient secretion of the thyroid hormone, may lead to other health issues. Due to the insufficiency of the thyroid hormone, the dog may experience health problems like weight gain, infertility, dullness, and lack of energy
- The condition could be managed by administering a thyroid replacement pill to your dog.
- Eye disease causes the eyelid to roll inwards. The disease could be diagnosed when the dog is six months old. In it, the eyelid rolls inward and could injure the eyeball.
- The disease could be rectified through surgery but your dog must be at least one or two years old for it.
- A hereditary disease, a common heart condition in dogs, caused due to the narrowing of the aorta. The condition is caused when the aorta narrows down and below the aortic valve.
- This forces and causes the heart to work harder to pump and supply blood.
- The condition could cause sudden death and be hereditary, dogs with this condition must not be bred.
- A genetic disease caused due to the body’s inability to absorb cystine in the tubules of kidneys. Due to the body’s inability to reabsorb cystine, a form of amino acid, into the kidney tubules.
- Due to this, the kidney and bladder could form stones and cause a life threat to the dog.
- It could be identified through a urine nitroprusside test and medicine, surgery and diet could help in managing it better. Dogs with this disease must not be bred.
|Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
- Stomach or gastric torsion that could cause discomfort and depression in dogs can also cause death.
- This condition is more common in large breed dogs that have large and deep chests. In GDV, the stomach is bloated with gas and it twists.
- The dog could neither belch nor vomit to get rid of that gas or air. The dog’s blood pressure drops and if not given immediate medical attention, could lead to death
|Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament
- A common knee condition caused due to an injury. The condition is common in large dog puppies and in senior dogs. This happens due to the rupturing or tearing of the ligament.
- To treat the condition, the veterinarian will do the surgery or if the tear is minor then a low-impact workout and diet will help it.
- Fairly common in dogs, could happen due to many reasons. Dogs are prone to several kinds of cancers including hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and lymphosarcoma.
- These cancers could be treated through surgery, chemotherapy, and medication.
- A less often and temporary health condition that occurs in puppies. In this condition, the dog may develop lameness and pain that could be relieved through dog pain killers.
- Usually, the dogs get rid of this by the time they are two years old.
- Unfortunately, many times the veterinarian may misdiagnose it and consider it one of the other more serious diseases.
- Prone to rashes, allergies, and sores. Bullmastiffs have sensitive skin that is prone to rashes, irritations, sores, and allergies.
- These could be caused due to any external factors like airborne allergies, chemicals, detergents, or bedding. The best way of treating it is to keep your dog away from chemicals and provide soft and clean bedding.
To make sure that the acquired litter is healthy, avoid breeding the dogs having genetic disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia.
Bullmastiff Care and Training - How to Take Care of your Dog?
The Bullmastiffs are low-energy dogs that are happy to stay at home and with their family members. However, given their size, they are better in a house that has a fenced yard. This will keep them protected and inside the territory of the house.
This is also important because animals like dogs mark their territories and if left unattended, your Bullmastiff can cause harm and disturbance to others. This is why it is important to give yard training to your dog.
Learn more about how to train your dog to stay in the yard and teach your canine to stay inside and safe.
Since these dogs have a short muzzle, they could get overheated and exhausted. The best way of preventing it is to keep them indoors when it is a hot day. Make sure that they have access to fresh water and shade whenever they are outdoors.
It is a strong and independent thinker and he could be stubborn and hard to train. This is why this breed is not good for first-time dog owners as they need a firm and experienced handler.
When to Start Training a Bullmastiff Puppy?
Since these dogs are fairly large and independent, it is better that you start training them at an early stage. Start the training as soon as you bring them home and you can do it in a number of ways. Some of the common ways are given below.
- Enroll him in a puppy kindergarten class
- Begin his socialization and obedience training
- Train him yourself by taking him to parks, outdoor malls, and places where the dog could interact with new people
Once the dog grows to its maximum size, it will be nearly impossible for you to control and manage it. So, begin early.
Training Tips for Bullmastiff Puppies
How to train a Bullmastiff? Start early and here are some Bullmastiff training tips that will help you train your dog at home.
- Start early and typically when the dog is still a puppy and easy to handle and control
- Be consistent and repeat the same actions each day till your puppy gets a hold of it
- Use simple commands and gestures to make him understand your command and use a collar or leash for the training
- Get a martingale collar to handle and train your dog better
- Reward him when it picks the command correctly and behaves well
- Be firm when you are reprimanding him and use a firm tone
- Discourage the habits and behaviors like tearing the furniture and bedsheets, relieving himself in the garden or indoors, nibbling the shoes, and others that you do not want it to develop
- Take him to gardens and outdoors to acquaint with the neighbors and learn socialization skills
- Manage his weight by keeping his diet balanced such as low protein dog food and with regular exercise
All of these tips will help you in instilling good behavior in your dog. However, since these are powerful and ‘thinking’ dogs, it could be difficult for many to train them. In such a case, it is better to appoint a professional dog trainer to help you.
They are bred to be fierce protectors and this quality helps them to be great guard dogs. Though there are a number of other guard dog breeds that can protect your house, a Bullmastiff is a quiet watchdog, making him better than many other breeds.
Feeding a Bullmastiff - How much should You Feed your Dog?
How much does a Bullmastiff eat? The recommended amount of food that an adult Bullmastiff needs is 3 1/8 to 4 1/8 cups of dog food daily and two times a day. These dogs need a rich and balanced food and for puppies, the food must contain 25% - 27% protein and 12%-15% fat. For adults, the ratio should be 18% - 25% protein and 10% fat.
The amount of food depends on the size of your dog but the adult dog’s diet will be different from that of a puppy’s.
How much should a Bullmastiff puppy eat? Generally, a puppy should be given three meals per day till it is six months old. The ratio could be between ¾ to 1 cup of dry dog food each time.
After the puppy is six months old, cut back to two meals a day. However, do not give him one large meal a day, thinking that it will do him good.
This will only cause bloating and stomach torsion. Giving him two meals a day will help him stay at an ideal body weight while preventing bloating and gastric dilatation-volvulus. Help your dog to eat slowly so that the food is digested properly and give him ample but moderate level exercise to keep him fit.
Choose high-quality dry and canned dog food for your dog. The best way to know that you are giving top-quality food to your dog is to talk to your dog’s veterinarian and start a vet recommended dog food. The vet knows what is good for your dog and will guide you better.
What is the best dog food for Bullmastiffs? Below is a table showing the best dog food for puppy, adult, and senior Bullmastiff dogs.
||For Adult Dogs
||For Senior Dogs
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Chicken Recipe Grain-Free
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Recipe
Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe
Farmina Natural And Delicious Ancestral Low-Grain Formula Dry Dog Food, Chicken
Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula Grain-Free
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Canidae All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food
Taste Of The Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Recipe
Nom Nom Beef Mash Fresh Dog Food
Primal Duck Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe
Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Senior Dog Food
Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Giant Adult Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Chicken, Egg, and Oatmeal
Grooming Needs of a Bullmastiff
A Bullmastiff needs medium or minimal grooming. Since they have short and dense coats, they shed less and you can keep the coat clean easily. Moreover, you will not need to bathe him every week, daily brushing is enough to keep them happy and healthy. Bathe him when needed only.
Check the ears and make sure that they are clean and do not have a foul smell. Clean them with a special and vet-approved solution. If you notice anything unusual then take your dog to the veterinarian.
Check and trim the nails once or twice a month, or as needed. If they get too long, they could hinder your canine’s movements and become spread out. Once spread out, they will not be able to support your dog. Get a good-quality nail clipper to trim your dog’s nails easily.
Check the best dog nail clippers that are available online and would help you to groom your dog.
Brush and clean your dog’s teeth at least two to three times a week to prevent tartar and plaque buildup, and other dental diseases.
Make sure that the eyes are healthy and free from any discharge or redness.
Bullmastiff Vs. English Mastiff - What are the Differences?
Since both of these dogs look a lot like each other, people are often confused between them. The following breed comparison chart will highlight the main differences between the two breeds.
||A cross between a Bulldog and a Mastiff
||A purebred dog hailed from the ancient Alaunt back and Pugnaces Britanniae
||Smaller in size with a short muzzle
||An extremely large dog with a large physical structure and a black face mask
||Being small in size, it needs comparatively less amount of food
||It is a large dog with huge food requirements
||Fawn, red, brindle, or brown with a black mask.
||Tiger, silver, light brown, golden brown, dark brown, and apricot.
||8 to 10 years.
||10 to 12 years.
||Less social and may not be good with other pets and animals
||More social and if trained the right way, could live with other house animals
||Short and makes the dog prone to heating up
||Large and better than a Bullmastiff
||Moderate to low
||High due to height and weight
The dogs may look similar but there are some key differences between them.
Bullmastiff vs. Rottweiler - Which Dog is Better for a Household?
Both the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler are large and powerful dogs and both of them need a large space to play and exercise peacefully. However, both of these dogs have some distinct qualities. Based on those qualities and characteristics, you can choose which one would be better for you.
||Short and dense
||Short and coarse
||Protective, gentle, alert, affectionate, and playful
||Loyal, confident, affectionate, alert, and protective
||Medium - 2 short walks daily
||High - an hour long walks twice a day + more play
||Joint dysplasia, skin infections, certain cancers, bloat
||Joint dysplasia, heart conditions, nerve paralysis, cartilage ligament issues
Both the dogs make great companions and family dogs and choosing any of them is a matter of choice and preference only.
Bullmastiffs are incredible watchdogs and since they are very affectionate, they make great ESAs also. They are especially good for the people who live alone and need an ESA-cum-protector for themselves.
To get your ESA letter, contact RealESALetter.com or fill our questionnaire to see if you qualify.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Bullmastiffs easy to train?
Because of their stubborn nature, they are not suitable for first-time dog owners but with an experienced handler, training would be easy. They are quite intelligent but need a firm and dominating owner to handle them.
Are Bullmastiffs aggressive dogs?
Bullmastiffs are not any more aggressive than other dogs. They are easygoing and laid-back dogs that love to be around their human families. Their massive size and alert expression confuse people and they often think that they are as aggressive as they look.
Generally, these canines are very patient and are not known for biting or mauling anyone. They were bred to only hold the intruders down and not to injure them. This quality persisted through the generations and this is what makes them the ideal guard and watchdogs.
What is the bite force of a Bullmastiff?
The Mastiffs have a whooping bite force of 552 pounds, which is A LOT. The force is more than that of a Pitbull, which is 235 pounds. However, Bullmastiffs are slow to anger and slower to bite.
Since they were bred to only chase and capture the poachers, they only bark and chase the intruders. But if they bite, the force is alarmingly strong and destructive.
Are Bullmastiff good family dogs?
Yes, these gentle giants make excellent family dogs. They are calm, easygoing, docile, and very patient with well-behaved kids. However, they may not be that tolerant of other pets.
Is Bullmastiff a dangerous dog?
Yes, if provoked, he could be a dangerous dog. These dogs are large and powerful but this does not mean that they would go around attacking people. They were bred to hold the intruders down and this is where their strength lies. They could pin and hold down a man for a longer period.
Do they make a good choice for first-time dog owners?
No, unfortunately, they do not make an ideal choice for first-time dog owners. These dogs are very intelligent and this makes them equally stubborn. Their training needs are high.
But if you have the experience and patience to handle an independent and strong-willed dg then a Bullmastiff is an ideal dog for your home.
Are Bullmastiffs lazy?
No, they are not. They do not run around the house like other breeds but this does not mean that they are lazy. They are just bred this way. When at home, they are very calm and laid back but when guarding the property, or its human owners, they are very agile and alert.
How often should a Bullmastiff exercise?
Between 30 to 45 minutes. Contrary to their size, these dogs do not need much exercise. A daily walk of 30 to 45 minutes with some free play, strengthening exercises and mental stimulation games are enough to keep them happy and healthy.