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The Bullmastiff was obtained by crossing 60% Mastiffs with 40% Bulldogs in England. Mastiff Bulldog types can be found in records as early back as 1795. In 1924 Bullmastiffs began to be judged. Three generations of breeding of Bullmastiffs was required for Bullmastiffs to be registered as purebreds. The Bullmastiff was used as a gamekeeper's dog to track down, tackle and hold poachers. The dogs were fierce and threatening, but were trained not to bite the intruders.

When the need for gamekeeper's dogs decreased the dark brindle dogs so good for night camouflage gave way in popularity to the lighter fawn coloration. It has been prized as a hunting guard, as an aid in army and police work, and is used as a watchdog by the Diamond Society of South Africa. Today's Bullmastiff is a reliable family companion and guardian. It enjoys living with the family, with whom it comforts itself well.


The Bullmastiff is massive, very powerfully built, but is not a cumbersome dog. The large, broad skull is wrinkled and the muzzle is broad, deep and usually darker in color. The forehead is flat and the stop is moderate. The black nose is wide and has large nostrils. The teeth meet in a level or undershot bite. The medium sized eyes are dark hazel.

The V-shaped ears are set high and wide carried close to the cheeks giving a square appearance to the skull. The strong tail is set high, thicker at the root and tapering and is either straight or curved, and reaches to the hocks. The back is short, straight and level between the withers and the loin. The short, dense, slightly rough coat comes in brindle, fawn, or red, often with black markings on the head.


The Bullmastiff is a devoted, alert guard dog, with a good-natured temperament. Docile and affectionate, but fearless if provoked. Although unlikely to attack, it will catch an intruder, knock him down and hold him. At the same time, it is tolerant of children. Intelligent, even-tempered, calm and loyal, these dogs crave proper training and leadership.The Bullmastiff is extremely powerful and needs a pack leader who is confident and consistent with set boundaries.

They should be thoroughly educated and trained to listen to their master and should be taught not to pull on the leash. When going in and out gateways or doorways the dog should allow the humans to enter and exit first out of pack respect, because in the dog's mind, the leader goes first. The dog should be taught to walk to heel. This is most important as not only do dogs have migration instincts and need to walk daily, but instinct tells a dog the alpha goes first. Be sure to socialize extensively with both people and other dogs at an early age. They can be okay with other house hold pets depending on how well the owners communicate with the dog.

The Bullmastiff is a more dominant breed than the Mastiff. He tends to slobber, drool at the mouth and snore. Puppies may seem uncoordinated. These dogs are very sensitive to the tone of your voice and need someone to speak with an air of assertiveness, but not harshly. It is not a difficult dog but does require a handler who can assert his authority. The Bullmastiff should never be banished to a kennel. Meek or passive owners will find it hard to control this dog. It will appear wilful, possibly aggressive with other dogs and reserved with strangers if owners do not take the time to introduce the dog to other dogs and know how to properly communicate what is expected in a meaningful manner.

Height, Weight

Height: Dogs 63-69cm Bitches 61-66cm
Weight: Dogs 50-60kg Bitches 45-54kg

Health Problems

Prone to cancer, hip dysplasia, tumors, eyelid problems, PRA and boils on the lips. As Bullmastiffs can suffer from the condition bloat It is a good idea to feed them two or three small meals a day instead of one large meal. Gains weight easily, do not over feed.

Living Conditions

Bullmastiffs will do okay in a flat if sufficiently exercised. It is relatively inactive indoors. They can not tolerate extremes of temperatures.


Bullmastiffs need to be taken on at least two walks a day to fulfil their primal canine instinct to migrate. Those individuals who do not get this need met are more likely to develop problems. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Teach them to enter and exit all door and gateways after the human.

Life Expectancy

Under 10 years.

Litter Size
4 - 13 puppies - Average 8


The short-haired, slightly rough coat is easy to groom. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and shampoo only when necessary. There is little hair loss with this breed. Check the feet regularly because they carry a lot of weight, and trim the nails.



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