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.
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.
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.
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.