Breed Profile: Bullmastiff

Bull Mastiff laying down / Getty Images

The Bullmastiff was developed in England during the mid-1800s. Gamekeepers needed a dog to protect their game from poachers, and they experimented with cross-breeding. At the time, Bulldogs were fierce and intrepid - much more than today's Bulldog. Yet the breed was too small to take down a human. The Mastiff was too large and slow to do the job, but crossing the two breeds resulted in the ideal guard dog.

Though the Bullmastiff still makes an excellent guard dog, it is better known today as a friendly companion and wonderful family dog. This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1933.


Weight: 100-130 pounds
Height: 24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder


fawn, red or brindle

Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed

The Bullmastiff is large-boned and muscular working dog. Its origins as a Mastiff/Bulldog cross are apparent in its appearance. In personality, this breed is smart, alert and loyal. Though the Bullmastiff has a natural protective instinct, the breed is typically quite gentle around children and others who pose no threat.

The Mastiff has a short haircoat that typically needs little more than routine grooming. This breed is a moderately high shedder. Additionally, the Bullmastiff's ears and facial skin folds (if present) should be kept clean and dry. This breed is a drooler, so be prepared when he shakes his head! You'll want to carry a slobber rag for this one.

Like all dogs, proper training and socialization are important for the Bullmastiff. Overall, the breed is smart but also has an independent streak. Training will require firm consistency. The Bullmastiff is not overly active, but the breed needs routine exercise to remain fit and motivated. A word of caution: the Bullmastiff is vulnerable to overheating due to its short snout. Don't overdo exercise, and be sure to keep your dog cool in hot weather.

Bullmastiffs are very gentle companions and family protectors that make lovely family pets. They will get along wonderfully with children when properly trained and socialized. These dogs are quite versatile as well, even adapting to apartment life provided they get plenty of daily exercise. Above all, the Bullmastiff is a loyal and affectionate house pet that forms a close bond with its humans.