Bullmastiff Picture
Canis lupus familiaris

The Bullmastiff is a large strong dog, with a mind of its own!

The large Bullmastiff is a strong, intelligent working dog breed. This large dog breed has been trained throughout the years to knock down and hold intruders, but not to bite them. Therefore the Bullmastiff makes a good guard dog, but is not a dangerous animal.

Although the Bullmastiff looks quite imposing, this large breed actually has an affectionate and calm disposition. It has a placid temperment and responds well to a firm and gentle hand. When choosing a Bullmastiff, look for eye and lip problems and hip dysplasia and family history of cancer.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s)


Breed Type

The Bullmastiff is a working breed. It has been used for guarding game from poachers, as well as in military and police work. This breed fares best in moderate climates.


The Bullmastiff is the result of crosses between the Mastiff and the Bulldog. The practice goes back to the 1700s, but the Bullmastiff was not registered by kennel clubs until 1924. Today, the breed is sometimes crossed with the Labrador Retriever.


The Bullmastiff is a large dog with a short coat. Colors include brindle, fawn, and red, usually with a black muzzle or face. The head is broad with a short, square muzzle. The eyes are dark hazel, and the ears v-shaped, pendant, and dark in color. Males measure 25-27 inches and weigh 110-133 pounds. Females are 24-26 inches tall and weigh 100-120 pounds.

Care and Feeding

A Bullmastiff needs a diet that is high in fiber, and should also include beef, horse meat, and poultry. Two or three small daily feedings should be given to prevent bloat. Combing, brushing, and as-needed baths are all that are needed to maintain the Bullmastiff’s coat. Nails should be trimmed regularly.
Bullmastiffs need annual checkups to stay healthy. Vaccinations are due as follows:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

Bullmastiffs shed very little. Minimal maintenance is required if keeping them indoors.

Housing Your Dog

Bullmastiffs can live indoors or out. They should ideally have a small yard to exercise in. Extreme temperatures should be avoided.

Social Behaviors

The Bullmastiff gets along well with children. It may be reserved with strangers, but is rarely aggressive toward them if unprovoked. This breed tends to be aggressive toward other dogs and pets, but proper socialization as a puppy can minimize this.

Handling and Training

The Bullmastiff definitely has a mind of its own. Trainers must be authoritative, but they must also be gentle. Positive reinforcement works best.


Bullmastiffs do not require extensive exercise, but they must have a daily walk and some other physical activity. They will be lazy if you allow them to, and this can lead to obesity.


This breed is prone to some hereditary health problems. When selecting a mate for your Bullmastiff, look for joint dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and family history of cancer. Progressive retinal atrophy is also a frequent problem among the breed.

Common Health Problems

Bloat is a concern for the Bullmastiff. It can be prevented by proper feeding and exercise, but it is important to know how to contact your veterinarian quickly if your dog shows signs.


Bullmastiffs may be difficult to find in some areas, but breeders can be found online. Prices vary, but average around $1,000.


Featured Image Credit: Jen Dunham, Shutterstock