All About Bullmastiff Dogs: Facts & Traits

bull mastiff

What is a bullmastiff and what are its origins?

The bullmastiff is a large, powerful breed of dog that originated in England. It was developed in the 19th century by gamekeepers to protect estates from poachers. The breed is a mix of the English mastiff and the old English bulldog, resulting in a loyal, fearless, and protective companion.

Bullmastiffs are large, powerful dogs known for their protective nature and loyal companionship. If you’re considering adding a Bullmastiff to your family, it’s important to understand their breed, temperament, health concerns, and care requirements. In this guide, we’ll chat about the Bullmastiff and the types of personality traits you can expect. Plus, we’ll tell you how much space these pups need and how you can care for this unique breed.

Understanding the Bullmastiff Breed

Bullmastiffs, also known as gamekeeper’s dogs, were created in 19th century England by gamekeepers who needed a breed that could guard large estates against poachers. To develop this breed, mastiffs, bulldogs, and various other dog breeds were crossed, resulting in the bullmastiff breed we know today. These dogs were specifically bred to be large, powerful, but agile, with a loyal temperament that would make them protective companions.

The Origin of Bullmastiffs

The bullmastiff breed was developed in the 19th century by British gamekeepers to guard large estates. These gamekeepers needed a dog that could apprehend intruders without causing harm, and thus, the bullmastiff breed was born. Breeders aimed to create a dog with a protective nature, but also one that would remain loyal to its family members. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the Bullmastiff began to be bred as a distinct breed rather than just a crossbreed. In 1924, the Kennel Club in England officially recognized the Bullmastiff, followed by the American Kennel Club in 1933, with the first registered AKC Bullmastiff being Fascination of Felons Fear in 1934.

Bullmastiff Size and Appearance

Bullmastiffs are large dogs, with males typically reaching heights of 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 110 to 130 pounds. They have a muscular build, often mistaken for their larger cousin, the mastiff. Bullmastiffs have a short, dense coat that comes in brindle, fawn, or red colors, shedding occasionally but requiring minimal grooming. Their protective temperament shines through their strong and confident appearance. The average life expectancy for a Bullmastiff is between 8 and 10 years, which is shorter than many other breeds.

The Bullmastiff Personality

Bullmastiffs are known for their loyal and protective nature, making them excellent family dogs. Let’s explore these traits further.

Loyal and Protective Nature

Bullmastiffs are loyal companions, often forming strong bonds with their family members. They have a protective nature, which, combined with their loyalty, makes them perfect family pets. While they may seem intimidating, bullmastiffs are gentle giants who will fiercely protect their loved ones if they sense any danger. Their protective nature, however, doesn’t require extensive socialization, as they naturally guard and care for their family members. The size and appearance of the Bullmastiff can be intimidating and act as a deterrent to potential threats.

Bullmastiffs and their Interaction with Other Pets

Despite their protective nature, bullmastiffs can socialize well with other pets, especially with early socialization. With proper training and early exposure to different animals, bullmastiffs can coexist harmoniously with other dogs, cats, and small animals, even in humid weather. It is essential to introduce new pets gradually and under supervision, but bullmastiffs can form lasting companionships with their furry counterparts.

Health Concerns in Bullmastiffs

As with any breed, bullmastiffs are susceptible to certain health issues that potential pet parents should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at these health concerns.

Common Bullmastiff Health Conditions

Bullmastiffs may be prone to health conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, obesity, lymphoma, and gdv (gastric dilatation-volvulus or bloat). Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are conditions where the hip or elbow joint is malformed, causing pain and mobility issues. Obesity can contribute to various health problems, while lymphoma is a type of cancer that can affect dogs. Gdv is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas, leading to torsion, which requires immediate veterinary attention. In particular, elbow dysplasia is commonly seen in young dogs, and it is important to diagnose and treat it early on to ensure a good prognosis.

Ensuring Bullmastiff Health

To ensure the health of your bullmastiff, early age obedience training, daily exercise, occasional bath, and regular vet check-ups are crucial. Obedience training helps prevent obesity in bullmastiffs, while daily exercise keeps them physically and mentally stimulated, reducing the risk of hip dysplasia, arthritis, and obesity-related conditions. Regular vet visits can help identify and address any health issues early on, ensuring a happy and healthy bullmastiff companion.

Caring for a Bullmastiff

Caring for a bullmastiff involves meeting their grooming, exercise, and nutritional needs. Let’s explore these aspects further.

Bullmastiff Grooming Needs

Bullmastiffs have average shedding, but regular brushing helps keep their coat clean and healthy. Occasional baths are recommended to maintain their hygiene, but over-bathing should be avoided, as it can strip their coat of its natural protective oils. Additionally, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care should be included in their grooming routine. Regular grooming sessions also provide an opportunity to check for any signs of health issues, maintaining the overall well-being of your bullmastiff.

The Importance of Regular Exercise

Daily exercise is essential for bullmastiffs to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated, especially in cold weather. Engaging them in activities, such as daily walks, playtime, or obedience training, helps prevent obesity, which can lead to various health conditions. Additionally, exercise is crucial for socializing bullmastiffs with new people and environments, helping them become well-rounded companions.

Feeding your Bullmastiff

Proper nutrition is vital for bullmastiffs’ overall health and well-being. Let’s delve into their nutritional requirements and how to avoid overfeeding.

Nutritional Requirements

Bullmastiffs, especially puppies, require a diet rich in nutrients for proper growth and development. Their nutritional needs may vary as they age, with puppies needing more frequent meals to support their rapid growth. A balanced diet, including high-quality dog food, rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, is essential to promote their health and maintain their energy levels. Reputable breeders can provide guidance on choosing the right food for your bullmastiff, considering their specific health conditions, such as hip dysplasia.

Avoiding Overfeeding in Bullmastiffs

Overfeeding bullmastiffs can lead to obesity, exacerbating health issues such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and lymphoma. Monitoring their food intake, feeding them appropriate portion sizes, and avoiding excessive treats can help prevent obesity-related conditions. It’s important to remember that bullmastiffs have a large frame but should maintain a healthy weight to ensure longevity and overall well-being.

Training your Bullmastiff

Training is crucial for bullmastiffs to channel their protective nature and become well-behaved companions. Let’s explore training tips, including obedience training and addressing behavioral concerns.

Addressing Behavioral Concerns

Early socialization is key to helping bullmastiffs interact positively with family members, young children, and new people. Enrolling them in puppy kindergarten classes is an excellent way to start their socialization journey. Regularly inviting visitors over and taking them to busy parks, dog-friendly stores, and leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will further enhance their social skills. Proper socialization ensures that bullmastiff puppies grow up to be well-behaved and socially adept companions. While their protective nature is an inherent trait, early training and socialization ensure they understand appropriate behavior in different situations, making them loyal family dogs. Reputable breeders can provide valuable guidance on training bullmastiffs, considering their temperament and protective nature.

Obedience Training Tips

Obedience training, early socialization, and supervision are essential for bullmastiffs to develop into loyal, family-friendly companions. Leash training, repetition, and agility exercises help bullmastiffs understand commands and become well-mannered dogs. Training them early to fulfill their watchdog instincts, but also teaching them obedience and agility, strengthens their protective nature, making them loyal family members, watchdogs, and guard dogs in one.

Are Bullmastiffs Good Family Dogs?

In conclusion, bullmastiffs, with their protective nature, make loyal family members, watchdogs, and guard dogs. Once properly socialized, bullmastiffs interact well with family members, young children, and other pets, making them excellent family dogs. Their obedience, socialization, protective nature, drool, shedding, butkus, Sylvester Stallone, companionship, and watchdog instincts make bullmastiffs a wonderful addition to any family, providing both companionship and a sense of security.


In conclusion, Bullmastiffs are a remarkable breed known for their loyalty, protectiveness, and gentle nature. They make excellent family pets and are highly adaptable to different living environments. However, it is important to understand their specific needs and provide them with proper care, training, and socialization. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular grooming are essential for their overall health and well-being. With the right approach, a Bullmastiff can bring immense joy and companionship to your life. Whether you’re looking for a loyal guardian or a loving family pet, the Bullmastiff is sure to win your heart. Consider adopting a Bullmastiff and experience the unconditional love and devotion they have to offer.

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