Dog Breeds 101: Bullmastiff

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Originating from the United Kingdom, the Bullmastiff is a breed of large domestic dog with a short muzzle and a solid build. They were initially bred to help gamekeepers keep poachers off estate property. [1] Today, the breed excels in carting, tracking, conformation, agility and obedience activities.

The ancestors of the Bullmastiff can be traced back to the Old English Bulldogs and English Mastiffs. They are 40% Old English Bulldog, and 60% English Mastiff. It is believed that the breed’s loyalty, size, and strength was inherited from their English Mastiff ancestors. In 1924, they were recognized by the English Kennel Club as purebred dogs. Nine years later, they were fully accepted by the same organization.

According to the AKC standards, the acceptable colors of the breed’s coat include brindle, red, and fawn. Compared to other breeds, the Bullmastiff barks less often, though they will function as an alarm dog. They also possess a powerful build and a formidable appearance which often deters potential intruders and attackers.

Bullmastiffs are known to be sensitive, strong, and powerful dogs. Consistent training and adequate socialization at an early age is essential to making them well-behaved members of the family later on. Experts warn that without training this dog will become overly confident and have no concern for its owners. [2] Although rigorous training is necessary, Bullmastiffs do not require training to react appropriately when members of their family are facing potential harm.

This breed may have a soft spot when it comes to their family members but they are often standoffish towards strangers. In fact, they are considered as fearless and firm in protecting their families. On the other hand, the Bullmastiff is generally considered as a loving, courageous, and faithful dog.

Bullmastiffs are regarded as good natured. They are docile, devoted, and affectionate dogs that can turn fearless whenever provoked. Also, they are the type of dog that craves human leadership. In fact, they need a human master that is firm and consistent in setting and reinforcing the rules.

Bullmastiff puppies are usually more energetic than their adult counterparts. This breed tends to reach maturity at age 2 and the owner is likely to see a gradual shift in their dog’s personality. [1]

The Bullmastiff has a reputation of getting along well with children. In fact, they are known to possess amazing patience with kids. However, supervision is still important when toddlers and babies are around.

Generally, the Bull Mastiff is considered to be a clean breed. They have short coats that are relatively easy to groom making them a low-maintenance breed. However, they are natural droolers, thus, owners must have towels at hand at all times. [3]

Considering the size of the Bullmastiff, the life expectancy of this dog is estimated to be around 8 years of age. [3]


[1] Consumer Dummies, Dogs All-in-One For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, 2010).

[2] Mychelle Klose, Bullmastiffs (Booktango, 2013).


[4] Silvan R. Urfer, Kimberly Greer, and Norman S. Wolf, “Age-Related Cataract in Dogs: A Biomarker for Life Span and Its Relation to Body Size,” AGE 33, no. 3 (September 1, 2011): 451–60, doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9158-4.

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