The low-energy Bullmastiff is – as the name suggests – the result of crossing Bulldogs with Mastiffs. These dogs were prized in 19th century England for their superior guarding skills. This powerful breed requires a strong owner who can provide discipline and socialisation.


The Bullmastiff is a relative newcomer. It was only developed in the 19th century by crossings of the Mastiff (60 percent) and the Bulldog (40 percent). Poachers were a plague to gamekeepers on wide estates in England, and this powerful, agile resulting cross proved to be a competent colleague. Its mission was to allow the poacher to approach, then throw him down and hold — not savage — him. A brindle color, so obscure at night, was preferred for the job. With increased popularity and the establishment of type, the fawn with dark mask and ears of the Mastiff became more evident. By 1924 the breed had become standardized and was officially accepted as the Bullmastiff in England and then by the AKC in 1933.


Bred for large size, not looks, this breed has a short, straight back; a wide, deep chest; wide, powerful loins with thick, straight front limbs and well-boned and muscled rear thighs and limbs; big yet tight well-arched (almost catlike) rounded toes; a large head with short muzzle; an undershot bite; good-sized flews; a wrinkled forehead; a short nose; dark, round-tipped, V-shaped, relatively small drop ears; and a long, high-set hanging tail. The double coat consists of a dense, short undercoat and a slightly rough overcoat. Coat coloration ranges from red and brindle to fawn, with a small white upper-chest spot and a black mask. An ideal bullmastiff would have a jet black nose, muzzle, and ears, and black markings around the eyes.

Height: 61-69 cm at the shoulder

Weight: 40-60 kg


Although rather standoffish with strangers and fearless in the face of enemies, this dog is loving toward its owner and is normally very gentle, cheerful, and calm. It makes a good household pet.

Coat and Grooming

A weekly brush is required to remove dead hairs. The short coat requires only simple care: use a cloth or very soft brush to massage the body daily for about 10 minutes. This breed's nails should always be kept short.


Hip and elbow dysplasia are major concerns. Common complaints are contact dermatitis, alopecia and eczema.

Expected lifespan is 8-10 years.

Special Care and Training

The Bullmastiff’s short coat is easily maintained and adapts to a considerable range of climate. It is worth remembering why the breed was developed and to be fully aware of its impressive stature and strength. Bullmastiffs are compliant and responsive to training. However, it is the owner’s obligation to bring its potential to fruition.

Environment and Exercise

The Bullmastiff requires a large yard, but should also have access to the home. This breed has little tolerance for the heat. Dogs under a year old only require gentle exercise in the backyard. Vigorous or long exercise sessions could damage the puppy's bones and joints. Adult dogs will be happy with a couple of short daily walks.


The Bullmastiff has demonstrated its adaptability by making the transition from the gamekeeper’s night dog to its primary role of family pet and watchdog. Although a house and some outdoor space is recommended, an owner dedicated to providing adequate exercise can successfully maintain a Bullmastiff as an apartment dweller.

Compatibility with Kids and other Pets

Even though this breed likes children, they may accidently knock them over in play. Their protective nature may also mean that a child's friends are treated with suspicion and possibly aggression. This breed is known to be aggressive with other dogs and pets, but many Bullmastiffs have proven otherwise.


An average litter numbers five to eight puppies, which must very early be given the opportunity to become accustomed to people and other animals.

Gallery of Bullmastiff