Breed Group: Working
Temperament and BehaviorThe Bullmastiff is a confident and fearless breed who is relatively quiet both inside and out. But if a warning bark is issued from this first class watchdog, any intruder, whether animal or human, should take the chance to retreat. Bullmastiffs, originally bred to protect against poachers, will be only too happy to back up the bark with their top tier guard dog ability. With family they are quite loving, sometimes considering themselves a lap dog. With proper socialization and training, they make quite good companions for children but, Bullmastiffs are too dedicated to serving as a guardian to also be a playmate. They usually get along with other animals they have been raised with, including cats, but may be testy with same sexed dogs. Bullmastiffs remain puppies until the age of two or three. While puppies they are rambunctious. Bred for short bursts of speed and power, despite their size, they need no more exercise than an average dog making them relatively easy keepers. Some drool; most snore.
Physical CharacteristicsThe Bullmastiff is among the largest dogs. His short shiny coat needs little grooming. Though his shedding is no worse than average, a weekly brushing will reduce the hair lost inside. Their coats are colored either fawn, red or brindle with a black mask. A small white mark is acceptable but only on his chest. A male dog stands 25″ to 27″ at the withers and weighs up to 130 pounds; females stand 24″ to 26″ at the withers and weigh up to 120 pounds. They do reasonably well in cold temperatures but should be protected from heat above 80° F.
Trainer's NotesLike any large dog that is territorial, socialization is absolutely imperative to help the dog develop the ability to determine friend from foe. To maintain control of a dog this size, basic obedience training is also required. But Bullmastiffs are not easily trained; they are stubborn and want to do things their own way. As they mature they will test family members to see who they can dominate. However, they will respond to early, firm, consistent obedience training from a firm trainer who demonstrates leadership. The breed is not recommended for first-time owners or those who have little time to give their dog.
Bullmastiff, fawn color
HealthThe Bullmastiff is subject to many of the afflictions common to large breed dogs. This includes 1 in 4 dogs suffering from Hip Dysplasia and another 14% affected by Elbow Dysplasia. A condition called Bloat can also be an issue. Other, less serious problems include Entropion, PRA, and Glaucoma. Bullmastiffs, like other breeds with short muzzles, do not tolerate heat well. They do best in a temperature controlled environment.
PopularityAccording to the American Kennel Club, the Bullmastiff ranks 42nd in popularity with close to 4,000 dogs registered each year.
Breed HistoryComprised of 40% Bulldog and 60% Mastiff, there are records of the breed dating to mid 19th century England where the Bulldog and Mastiff were bred together to obtain a large dog to help track and hold poachers. The Mastiff was too slow and the Bulldog was, at that time, too ferocious. The combination of the two produced the perfect dog. The early dogs were dark brindle; the color was invaluable in their night work, making it difficult for the poachers to see him. As their popularity grew, they were put into service as estate sentries where the fawn color, usually with a black mask, was preferred. Today he is mainly a family dog, although they enjoy working in obedience, tracking, carting, and therapy work. The Bullmastiff was accepted as a breed by the English Kennel Club in 1924 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1933.
Additional InformationThe Bullmastiff has a more aggressive personality than their Mastiff ancestors. Prospective Bullmastiff owners should check both local ordinances and their homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure ownership is not barred. For more information on the breed, visit National (US) Breed Club which is the American Bullmastiff Association.