AKC Dog Breeds: Bullmastiff

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Working Group
Height: 24-27 inches   Weight: 100-135  pounds  Color:  fawn, brindle or red, with black markings

The Bullmastiff is a strong and powerfully built animal that possesses great intelligence and a willingness to please, making them ideal family companions and protectors. Although large, the breed remains both agile and active and is successful in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, carting and therapy work. The Bullmastiff’s coat may be red, fawn or brindle. The Bullmastiff is thought to be a cross between the Bulldog and the English Mastiff with a rich history. This is a breed that was originally bred to search out and to stop poachers, but then became a part of the family setting. The combination of the two breeds is about 60% Mastiff and 40% of Bulldog. Then the dog was used as a hunting dog and then as a watchdog by the Diamond Society of South Africa.

General Appearance

The Bullmastiff is very powerfully built, but not cumbersome, with a broad wrinkled head and fairly short, square, dark muzzle (about 1/3 the length of the whole head). The nose is black with large nostrils. The dark hazel, medium-sized eyes should have an alert, intelligent expression. The v-shaped wide-set ears are pendant and dark colored. The teeth should meet in a level or slightly undershot bite. The short back is straight and level between the withers and the loin. The tapering tail is set high and reaches to the hocks. Having a great coat for weather protection, the hair on the Bullmastiff is very short. With a distinct black mask around muzzle, the coat on this breed should be dense and somewhat coarse to the touch.

The Bullmastiff is fearless and confident, yet remains docile and sweet-natured with his family. They are natural guardians of the home, but do not bark much, as silence was a virtue when guarding estates. Bullmastiffs are independent thinkers and may not respond to traditional obedience training. The Bullmastiff is a giant animal, and has great loyalty and devotion, as well as a fearless and protective streak. Strong, alert, and calm, the Bullmastiff is confident yet gentle and mild mannered. This is an intelligent breed, and is quick to learn, but he is also very stubborn and this can make training difficult. The Bullmastiff is an animal that is best suited to a more experience dog owner, and required someone that will be confident, assertive, yet attentive. These cheerful dogs make great companions and family pets, and their protective outlook makes them effective watchdogs. If you have children then you will normally find that the Bullmastiff gets along well with them, and when raised and properly socialized with children this breed is an excellent playmate, although his size may prove a problem around smaller children. The Bullmastiff will also be fine with family pets, although he may want to express dominance over other dogs and will not be happy about strange animals coming onto his territory. The Bullmastiff can be aloof with strangers, but will always be loyal and loving with their family.


The coat of the Bullmastiff is short and rough, making it simple to take care of for most owners. Regular brushing will help you manage the shine and the health of the fur. Using a short coarse bristle brush on the fur at least once a week will allow you to remove any dead or loose fur from the exterior of the dog. This will also help you minimize the shedding that the Bullmastiff is sometimes associated with. Shampoo this breed whenever you feel it's necessary, but it's not something you need to do on a regular basis. Since this is a heavier breed, you will also want to check their nails regularly and trim them to prevent problems.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Bullmastiff has a lifespan of around 8-10 years, which is relatively low compared to many other breeds. They are prone to cancer. Beware of hip dysplasia, tumors, and some eyelid problems. Bullmastiff are also prone to boils on the lips and PRA (eyes). These dogs tend to bloat. It is a good idea to feed them two or three small meals a day instead of one large meal. This breed should be kept out of extreme heat and sun, as they can suffer heatstroke.

Activity Level

While you might think the Bullmastiff breed is going to want to run around, asserting itself, it's actually quite the opposite. This is a dog that will actually prefer to be lazy and to lay around the house - perfect for the not so active person. However, this isn't a healthy practice for them, so it's advised that you take this dog out for regular exercise and daily walks to encourage this dog to stay in shape.


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