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Adopt a Bullmastiff

Bullmastiff Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


livestock dog, mastiff (bulldog)

Area of origin:


Original function:

estate guardian

Average size of male:

Ht: 25-27, Wt: 110-130

Average size of female:

Ht: 24-26, Wt: 100-120

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Bullmastiff Dog Temperament

The bullmastiff is gentle and quiet, a devoted companion and guardian. He is not easily roused, but once threatened he is fearless. He is stubborn and cannot easily be goaded into action against his will. He is generally good with other household dogs and pets. He is good with children. The bullmastiff needs a firm but loving home. He is not for fragile or timid pet parents.

Bullmastiff Dog Care

The bullmastiff is a big dog and needs daily exercise to stay in shape. His needs are moderate, however, and can be met with walks on leash and short romps. He does not do well in hot, humid weather and generally should be kept as an indoor dog. He needs a soft bed and plenty of room to stretch out. He drools; some snore. Coat care is minimal.

Bullmastiff Dog Health

Major concerns: gastric torsion, CHD, elbow dysplasia
Minor concerns: entropion
Occasionally seen: PRA
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, (eye)
Life span: 8-10 years

Interested in the history of the Bullmastiff dog breed?

Although the mastiff is one of Britain's oldest breeds, his immediate descendant, the bullmastiff, is probably a fairly recent development. It is true that occasional references to the bullmastiff, or crosses of the mastiff and bulldog, can be found as early as 1791; however, no evidence exists that these strains were bred on. The documented history of the bullmastiff begins near the end of the 19th century, when poaching game from the large estates had become such a problem that the gamekeepers' lives were endangered. They needed a tough courageous dog that could wait silently as a poacher approached, attack on command and subdue but not maul the poacher. The mastiff was not fast enough, and the bulldog was not large enough, so they crossed the breeds in an attempt to create their perfect dog; the aptly named "gamekeeper's night dog." The preferred color was dark brindle, as he faded into the night. As the breed's reputation grew, however, many estate owners chose the dogs as estate sentries and preferred the lighter fawns, especially those with black masks, a coloration reminiscent of their mastiff ancestry. Breeders began to aim for a pure-breeding strain rather than relying upon repeating crosses between the mastiff and bulldog. They worked for an ideal animal that appeared to be 60 percent mastiff and 40 percent bulldog. By 1924, the breed was deemed to be pure and was recognized by the English Kennel Club. AKC recognition followed in 1933.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

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Some animal welfare organizations with Bullmastiffs ready for adoption:

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