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As early as mid 17th century, paintings depicted dogs that were described as part Bulldog and part Mastiff. But it was the gamekeepers on large British estates that really developed the breed in the mid 19th century. They had become fearful of confrontations with poachers. They needed a dog that would remain silent as poachers approached, and could be trained to attack and hold down a man without savaging him. They began breeding Bulldogs and Mastiffs. This first Bullmastiff was known as the “Gamekeeper’s Night Dog.” And by the mid 1920s, the English Kennel Club recognized them as a separate breed. Food shortages during World War II forced owners to keep only the best dogs, which Britain bred to produce some of the finest Bullmastiffs the breed had ever known. In 1930 the first Bullmastiff was officially imported from Britain to the United States. Three years later the American Kennel Club granted recognition to the breed.


Bullmastiffs are high-spirited, alert and faithful. They are generally an independent dog, yet have a great desire to please. Loyal, faithful and even-tempered, the Bullmastiff is usually thoroughly gentle and kind. They have acute hearing, extremely good eyesight and impressive scenting capabilities. Bullmastiffs are a quiet breed, generally only barking to “sound an alarm.” They are fearless and confident yet docile. Bullmastiffs combine reliability, intelligence and willingness to please. They can best be described as a companion dog with a natural guarding instinct.

Breed Standards:

  • Working Group
  • Males are 25 – 27 inches at withers, 110 – 130 pounds
  • Females are 24 – 26 inches at withers, 100 – 120 pounds
  • Full height is reached around 15 – 18 months
  • Full body maturity is reached at 2 ½ - 3 years
  • Average litter = 6 – 8 puppies
  • Average life span is 8 –10 years
  • Short, dense coat
  • Colors = Red, Fawn, or Brindle

Everyday Care:

  • Exercise: Young Bullmastiffs should not be over-exercised, as this could harm their growth. After 18 months of age, they will usually be happy to take as much or little exercise as you offer them, so daily walks or jaunts in the park are essential to keep muscles toned.
  • Feeding: It is best to feed two or three meals a day instead of only feeding once. A Bullmastiff should never be exercised one hour before feeding or for two hours afterwards. And they should never be allowed to gulp water. Be careful not to overfeed, as Bullmastiffs have a tendency to put on weight.
  • Grooming: If you brush your Bullmastiff weekly, they will only need baths very infrequently, such as at times when they have rolled in something. Ears should be checked weekly and cleaned if needed. And nails should be trimmed when you can hear them clicking as the dog walks across the floor.
  • Attention: The Bullmastiff is a breed that needs a lot of human attention in order to allow its intelligence to be developed to its full potential. They should be allowed to live indoors as a family member, with owners that can definitely establish themselves as the Alpha. Obedience training and socialization should be a consistent part of any Bullmastiff’s life.

Health Considerations:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Cruciate Ligament Rupture
  • Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma

Am I Right for You?

  • I tend to drool and snore
  • I cannot tolerate extremes in temperature
  • An apartment and/or small yard are okay as long as you can provide me with daily exercise.
  • I’m not a suitable dog for someone who has a fragile body or is timid by nature.
  • Because I am large and powerful, I may not be a good match for families with very young children.
  • Because of my size, substance and strength, you will need to be the kind of person who can command my respect and always be in control.
  • You must be willing to be consistent with obedience training and socialization.
  • Do you have other dogs? Older male Bullmastiffs tend to be more aggressive toward other dogs.