The Bullmastiff is a large mastiff-type dog from the United Kingdom. In the nineteenth century, it was developed as a guard dog by crossing the English Mastiff with the now-extinct Old English Bulldog. In some parts of England in the nineteenth century, the Old English Mastiff and English Bulldog were frequently crossed to produce dogs capable of guarding people and their property.

This cross-breed was widely used as a tool to help gamekeepers combat poaching by the turn of the twentieth century. Gamekeepers used a cross of the tough, heavy, and aggressive Bulldog of the nineteenth century with the large, strong, and less aggressive Mastiff to breed them for strength, size, and speed.

Bullmastiffs, also known as “Gamekeeper’s Night Dogs,” first appeared in England in the mid-1880s, when gamekeepers on large country estates struggled to keep poachers at bay. Because poaching was a crime, most landowners preferred to apprehend rather than kill poachers. The goal was to develop a dog that was swift as well as aggressive while remaining calm.

A lady with a bullmastif sitting together

John D. Rockefeller brought bullmastiff dogs to the United States in the 1920s. He wanted them to have free reign over the grounds of Kykuit, his country estate in New York’s Hudson River Valley. The American Kennel Club recognized purebred bullmastiffs in 1933 after the East Coast elite couldn’t help but notice the majestic presence of this new dog.

The Kennel Club recognized the Bullmastiff as a breed in 1924. Dogs had to be descended from Bullmastiff stock for at least four generations without any Bulldog or Mastiff contribution; hybrid animals could not be enlisted. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934. In 1955, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale gave it final approval.

Physical Appearance of a Bullmastiff Dog

  • The Bullmastiff is a large dog with a large head.
  • It is a brachycephalic dog, which means it has a flat face and a short muzzle, but this has no effect on its breathing.
  • Female bullmastiffs are 24 to 26 inches tall and weigh 100 to 120 pounds, while males are 25 to 27 inches tall and weigh 110 to 130 pounds.
  • The coat may be any shade of fawn, red, or brindle, with some white marking on the chest.
  • The muzzle is black and paler as it approaches the eyes.
  • Their coats are short and easy to maintain.
A bullmastiff standing near water

Behavior of a Bullmastiff Dog

These breed of dog is a calm, cuddly companion who longs for your company. They are gentle giants who are known for being quiet hounds who don’t bark much. They’re a natural guardian of life and family and will react quickly if they’re threatened. Bullmastiffs were bred to be quiet guardians, so barking is unusual. The ideal Bullmastiff is courageous and self-assured while remaining obedient to the wishes of its owners. They are intelligent and dependable, and they can think independently.

Training and Caring of a Bullmastiff Dog

Bullmastiffs require a secure, fenced area to exercise and should only be left off-leash in their home environment. They don’t require daily vigorous exercise to be healthy and behave well. Your dog should be happy if you take him for walks throughout the day.

Bullmastiff breed together

While bullmastiffs have strong prey drives, they were not bred to be aggressive toward other dogs, and with proper supervision and socialization from a young age, they should get along swimmingly with other dogs. The dog doesn’t require a lot of grooming. He will shed a little bit, especially in the spring and fall, but weekly brushing will keep him neat and tidy.

Health of a Bullmastiff Dog

Hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, bloat, and cancer are all health concerns in the breed, with lymphoma and mast cell tumors being particularly common. Entropion, hypothyroidism, and lymphoma are all hereditary diseases in Bullmastiffs. They can live for up to 8 years.


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