Bullmastiffs are a superb blend of guard dog and well-mannered gentleman. They may look intense, but they are actually gentle, laid-back pals, happy to play with children or roll around on the carpet. Bullmastiffs are people-oriented dogs, not loners—they crave attention and can become very attached to their families. Your Bullmastiff will want to be involved in every group occasion, and then some.
- 100 - 130 pounds
- 24 - 27 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Families with older children
- Active people
- Experienced dog handlers
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What They Are Like to Live With
Bullmastiffs are devoted protectors of the home. They have a self-assuredness that can come in very handy when duty calls. However, they are more likely to hold an intruder down than hurt him. Also, because their instinct is to protect you, Bullmastiffs are more likely to react to an intruder when you’re home. When you’re not home, they might not react at all.
These dogs are protective and loving companions to children. Parental supervision is a must, however, when younger children are playing with a Bullmastiff, simply because of their size.
Things You Should Know
Bullmastiffs require a physically and mentally tough master—a handler who can teach them how to manage their own size and strength. They are generally even-tempered, but it’s always a good idea to keep them on a leash in public.
Bullmastiffs will do fine in apartments as long as they get enough exercise. Daily 30-minute walks will keep them happy and healthy. When it’s especially hot or cold outside, make sure they don’t overexert themselves: Bullmastiffs are sensitive to extreme temperatures.
A healthy Bullmastiff can live as long as 9 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia and eye problems. Because they are prone to bloat, try not to feed them large meals.
To control poaching on estates and game preserves in the 1860s, English gamekeepers mixed the English Bulldog with the Mastiff and, voilà, the Bullmastiff came to be. Their combination of athleticism and strength proved to be very successful in policing huge tracts of land. However, instead of attacking trespassers, Bullmastiffs would hold them down or corner them until their masters arrived. When the poaching problem dwindled, Bullmastiffs continued to be in demand, getting work as police dogs, military dogs and of course lovable companions.
The Look of a Bullmastiff
Bullmastiffs have a strong, vigorous build with an unwavering alertness. Their heads are wide and wrinkled, and their muzzles are short and dark. They have medium-sized, dark hazel eyes that have a sharp and shrewd expression. Their V-shaped ears hang close to their cheeks. Bullmastiffs have strong, slightly arched necks that slope down to balanced and level backs. They have well-developed legs and strong, tapered tails. Their short, thick coats can come in fawn, red or brindle with black coloring on the head.
Talk About Bullmastiffs
A dog that loves you even when you're grumpy
My girl Moxy has the sweetest temperament. She thinks she is a lap dog but will climb down when requested. The idea that I would never be able to control such a big animal is total nonsense! She just wants to please me and wants me to be happy with her. To that end, we spend a little time each day learning how to please each other.
Make sure that your lifestyle and routine can support the animal that you are wanting. Also remember that pets are expensive. Make an appointment with your local vet and find out what your annual costs will be in preventative care/meds.
This is a full commitment you are making. You are taking on a furry child who trusts you to take care of them. Take that responsibility seriously.
Anyone who is looking for a big, beautiful, loving dog who will love you and your family faithfully, who will always be there to love you when you've had a bad day (no matter how grumpy you are), and who thinks you are perfect even if the back of your shoe has been chewed off and you still insist on wearing it, the Bullmastiff is your breed. They are evenly tempered, sweet, and very tender.
~Laura C., owner of a Bullmastiff
We are bully fans!
We have fallen in love with Bullmastiffs! My husband's family has had dogs for years, his most recent being a Boxer which passed away in 2008. We searched for another large breed with the goofiness, loyalty, and ease with children that our Boxer had, minus the high exercise requirement. We got our female bully Kira from a fantastic breeder in Arkansas, and have been great fans ever since.
She has been terrific with our kids, (ages 2 and 4 when we got her), and has mellowed into a perfect house companion. She is large, and you MUST be able to tolerate drool and messy eating! But it is a worthwhile trade-off for such a sweet personality.
One issue that has sprung up recently is dog aggression, however. She was very friendly to other dogs as a puppy, though wary of strange people. This is typical for this breed. But as she approaches her 3rd birthday, she has seemed more territorial and has a distinct dislike for certain dogs. Good to keep in mind when you are training them at an early age -- these dogs need firm obedience and must be on a lead in new or challenging situations. If you take the right precautions with training and socialization, you will have a true friend for life.
~Melinda J., owner of a Bullmastiff
I've had two Bullmastiffs, both amazing, intelligent beautiful dogs. I honestly could not be without my little girl, although I only recommend Bullmastiffs if you have a lot of spare time! This breed is ideal for families too!! I love my princess!
~Holly Chantelle S., owner of a Bullmastiff
Can be a little possessive
My daughter fell in love with the breed when she met my girlfriend's two gentle giants. Duke is 13 months old now. We also have Hank, a black lab, and have noticed that when Anna feeds the boys, Duke will get a little possessive of his food. So now she makes up the bowls and feeds Hank first, then walks with Duke to his spot and then she has to walk away.
Other than that little issue, he is the best. So far, he is about 120 pounds and still has more to grow -- what a great lap dog!
~Amy R., owner of a Bullmastiff
Big marshmallows that will watch over the family
We have had bullys for 30 years and know they need socialization. If you want a guard dog, this may not be the best choice. They will watch over the family, equally and always, but they are not loud and "guardy." People assume they are just big marshmallows, but if your family is threatened, you will discover another dog lurks in the quiet pool of their time with you.
One rule of thumb I have learned: ALWAYS have them on a leash. It is the only protection they have. Because if there is a problem and the bully is off leash, people will assume they were the problem.
Yes, they drool, and you must be willing to be touched. They will lie on your feet, sit in your lap if they get a chance, and be crushed if you leave them alone. They are at their best living in the house with you.
~Mike B, owner of a Bullmastiff
A very rewarding dog to spoil
He is such a sweet loving animal who wants to make you proud of him. He knows what "bad dog" means, and he doesn't like being called it -- he will put his head under something if you say it.
He's a smart dog. If you ask him for his ball he'll bring it to you to play; ask him for his baby, he will bring you his stuffed animal. He also knows what candy means in our house -- those are his doggy treats.
He prefers being under my feet when I'm sitting and he sleeps at the foot of my bed. He hates to be left alone for a long time -- he used to tear things up, but not anymore. He knows I won't leave him for good like his previous owners did.
Be prepared to treat him like he is almost human. You must accept him as one of your family and include him in daily functions around your home. He will stick to you like your personal asistant. He likes baths -- many times I have run a tub of water and he has jumped in it! He wants to be with you in everything. They are very rewarding dogs to spoil -- they give you so much love and they want to be good dogs.
~valerie G., owner of a Bullmastiff