Bullmastiff Information & Characteristics

Bullmastiffs were bred to catch, pin and hold down poachers in the forests of England. The gamekeepers needed an agile, strong and obedient dog, so they crossed the English Mastiff and the British Bulldog. These dogs were more aggressive than is considered either necessary or acceptable in today's Bullmastiff.

Average lifespan
These big dogs normally live to eight years of age, but fed correctly and given the love and respect they deserve Bullmastiffs will usually live up to ten years.

Average size and weight
This is another big dog where a healthy female can weigh up to 45kg and reach 61cm in height, while the male weighs in at 60kg and can grow to 73cm tall.

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament
Bullmastiffs have a more independent mindset than many of the other guarding breeds. This extremely impressive animal can be very gentle or a total clown. They can also curl up napping or viewing television with children. Each Bullmastiff has a personality of its own. The true Bullmastiff character should exhibit dignity, alertness, intelligence, stability and loyalty. They should be neither too assertive nor too passive.

The Bullmastiff's favourite spot in the house or yard is the one that will afford the best overall view of its territory. It may appear to be at ease, while still being extremely aware of the slightest changes that occur. The Bullmastiff has an innate talent for distinguishing who belongs on the property and who is an intruder.

Obedience training is a must for such a large and powerful dog, in order for it to happily co-exist in the average household. The prime factor in training a Bullmastiff is consistency.

Compatibility with other pets
As a general rule, mature Bullmastiff males do not get along well with other males. Occasionally females will not tolerate other females. Although there are always exceptions, it is less likely that two dogs of the same sex will get along, especially after sexual maturity - so if you are planning to purchase two Bullmastiffs, it is recommended that you get one of each sex.

Care requirements
The coat requires minimal work to keep it in good condition. It is a waterproof jacket that for the most part manages to look impressive, even with very little attention. Brushing several times a week will take care of any loose hairs, while regular use of a rubber hound glove will apply pressure all over the body to stimulate the flow of oil and massage the skin to a healthy condition. Exercise is necessary and important, however, Bullmastiffs need only a limited amount of exercise to keep fit and healthy. Never over exercise a Bullmastiff, especially in its formative first year.

Please take note
Generally Bullmastiffs are not jumpers, however, they can, with provocation, jump high fences - so 1.5-metre high fences are the absolute minimum. All Bullmastiffs need to have a suitable kennel for when the need arises. Certain health conditions, such as Entropian and Hip Dysplasia, can occur in Bullmastiffs, as with some other breeds. Contact breed experts or vets for additional information.

Ideal owners
The Bullmastiff is not the breed for everyone. Due to its intelligence, independence of mind, size, and strength to back up its wishes, the Bullmastiff should not be owned by those who are not willing, or are afraid, to enforce rules of proper behaviour.

Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.

Read up on all dog breeds and find the perfect pet for yourself on our breeds category page.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Bullmastiffs can get along with other pets provided that they have been socialized since a young age. As soon as your Bullmastiff dog turns 15-16 weeks old, start its socialization training. 

A Bullmastiff is an excellent family dog. Once trained and socialized, these dogs turn into formidable guardians who don’t only adore you but also your children and other family members. 

Bullmastiffs are even-tempered and calm dogs. As long as you have a few toys laid out, you can easily leave your Bullmastiff dog alone at home for a few hours. 

Bullmastiff dogs don’t shed a lot. You may notice extra shedding during the spring and fall season but nothing more than that. Their single coat is easy to brush, and you need to bathe them only when they don’t smell too fresh.

Bullmastiffs do not bark a lot; they are calm and quiet in general. So, if you notice that your Bullmastiff dog is barking a lot or getting restless, it is because it has noticed something out of the ordinary.

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