The Bullmastiff

descriptive textDog breed info
Weight: 100 — 130 lbs
Height: 24” — 27”
AKC Rank 2008 #39
Life Span: 8—10 yrs
Group Working
Origin England

Bullmastiff full body side view
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Dog Breed Info - The Bullmastiff

Breed Overview

Origin 1800’s. Original function: Estate guarding. Today, companion dog. They drool and some snore.

Bullmastiff's are a recent development of the Mastiff. He is a cross between the Mastiff and Bulldog. Poaching game from large estates had become a problem. Gamekeeper’s lives were endangered. They needed a tough dog that could wait silently as a poacher and his dog approached, attack on command and subdue, but not maul the poacher. The Mastiff was not fast enough and the Bulldog was not big enough. Thus, they crossed the two breed in an attempt to create the perfect guard dog for their needs at guarding the estates. What the got was the aptly named “Gatekeeper's Night Dog.”

The breed was registered by the AKC in 1933. This is a working dog for the police and military as well as a fairly popular family dog.


This dog learns quickly. Obedience training is an absolute must for a dog of this size and nature. He’s a guard dog by heritage so training is vital. He is intelligent and willing to learn. This breed is known to enjoy training and especially clicker training. That's the best way to train this big guy.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Mstiff puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Bullmastiff puppies are generally easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

Great Bullmastiff side view
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The Bullmastiff is a gentle, quiet dog. He’s a devoted companion and guard dog. He is not easily aroused. But, when he is once threatened, he becomes fearless. He is stubborn and can not easily be pushed into action against his will. Some can be aggressive toward strange dogs and people. Males tend not to tolerate other males. They can be good with children but should be raised with them.

If you happen to get a Bullmastiff puppy with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No, they can be a guardians and see other dogs as a threat. He might find a few dogs he likes, but be careful.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Yes, the Bullmastiff is a family dog and can do fairly well with household pets, especially if introduced on common ground and especially if he grows up with them. This Mastiff is quite docile and laid back. He’s rather tolerant, even of most cats.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No. Introduce your relatives and he’s okay but don’t provoke him. He has to know you to accept you.


Sort of, in a muted sense. He can roll in the grass and act silly, but he’s not overly playful.


Fairly affectionate. This guy loves his family and is really a gentle dog, even though highly protective..

Good with children?

If the dog is raised WITH the children, yes. The Bullmastiff is a calm, quiet, laid-back breed, not easily provoked. Toddlers beware—this heavy dog can cause serious injury to small children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. As long as the senior can walk, bend over to the ground to clean up after the dog, and has a car, the Bullmastiff is a fine, loving and protective dog. When he goes potty, it takes a truck to clean up so the senior needs to be able to reach the ground. If the owner drives a car, he can get the dog to a vet.A Bullmastiff Rescue might be a good idea for a dog that is a 'couple years old and already trained and housebroken so she is ready to go for the senior.

A Bullmastiff resting. Mr Casual!
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Living environment

Apartment, house with fenced yard or farm.
As long as the Bullmastiff gets some exercise, she doesn't need a big yard. In fact, she can do well with a very small yard because she doesn't move around much. Just give her a soft, "cushioney" place to stretch out.

Does not do well in hot, humid weather. Keep him in the air conditioning. This dog needs a SOFT BED with room to stretch out.


Energy level

Low. This is a laid-back dog who takes life slow and easy.

Exercise needs, daily

Low. A walk once or twice or some light romping in the yard is all this big guy needs. Daily exercise is needed for this dog to stay in good condition though.


Excellent. It’s in her heritage!

Guard dog

Excellent. It’s in her heritage. Guarding family and property is what she does for a living.




No, brush her weekly, more often when shedding.

The folds on the dog's face must be cleaned with a cotton swab every day and kept dry to prevent infection.



Suggested Reading - The Bullmastiff
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • Book at left is the "Pet Owners Guide To The Bullmastiff." It's an excellent hardcover book that's quite comprehensive.

  • 2nd book from the left is another owners guide, softcover.

  • 3rd book from the left is "Schutzhund" which is a training book for guard dogs. If you want to train your dog for guard work, this is a good book for the job.

  • Book on the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies, and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, included a DVD.

Bullmastiff Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Bullmastiff puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that REALLY know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training. It's not often that Bullmastiff puppies turn up in dog pounds and shelters but you might check anyway.
Bullmastiff Breeders with puppies for sale.

Bullmastiff Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an adult dog and are looking for a Bullmastiff Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Bullmastiff Rescue - (Nationwide) At this time, Petfinder is listing only 220 available Bullmastiff's for the entire country! Check online for more Bullmastiff Rescue groups. If you do adopt one, try to locate any dog health records and keep for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but is may not be enough so look for dog kennels and also online for other Bullmastiff Rescue places and clubs.

Dog Health Issues For The Bullmastiff
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Bullmastiff by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the Bullmastiff is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Ectropion—A hereditary medical problem. The lower eyelid grows outward leaving a gap between the eye and the eyelid. Excessive tearing and conjunctivitis are common signs of the disease but some dogs will have no symptoms. Blunt trauma and/or nerve damage can also cause the problem. If the cornea becomes damaged or if the conjunctivitis becomes chronic, surgery will be necessary.

  • Skin fold dermatitis—Areas affected - The folds on the face where moisture and dirt are trapped in the skin folds causing inflammation. The vet will give you a cleansing shampoo to fight the infection and an antibiotic cream of some kind. In severe cases where the problem won’t subside, surgery might be the last resort to remove a few folds. Commonly found in bulldogs, Bullmastiff’s, Pekingese and Pugs.

  • Interdigital dermatitis - An infection occurs between the "toes" of the dog and sacs fill with pus which bothers the dog. She licks and bites at the bothersome infections and after a few days, they break open and drain, giving relief to the dog. Al;l you will see is the dog limping around. Clean and cleanse the infected feet well, see a vet for medication to prevent returning infections and that should do it.

  • Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament - The tearing of the Cruciate ligament in the knee and NO weight can be applied to the affected leg with the torn ligament. Even sitting can be a painful problem This will cause lameness that may be severe. Knee surgery with total restriction of activity is the only answer.

  • Hemangiosarcoma—An incurable tumor in the blood vessels. It is a highly malignant and aggressive cancer that lines the blood vessels. In the early stages, this cancer shows no signs is painless and develops slowly. A lot of dogs die from internal bleeding before there is even a diagnosis. This is one deadly, stealthy disease.

  • Osteosarcoma—A leg bone cancer in large breed dogs like the Bullmastiff of any age but usually in older dogs. Osteosarcoma in the limbs is “appendicular osteosarcoma.” The dog will be in great pain as the disease destroys the bone from the inside out. The dog’s inability to walk will progress over only about 3 months time as the bone is destroyed by the tumor. Unfortunately, surgery to remove the leg is the only way to give your dog the only total relief needed.

  • Mast Cell Tumors—Mast cells are found throughout the body and help maintain the dog’s normal immune response, health and body functions. The tumors in question are CANCEROUS and spread through the body. There is no known cause for mast cell cancer and no cure, other than surgery for early-detected, low degree tumors that haven't spread too far. The best formula is to keep the dog as healthy as possible and be aware of any signs of tumors or poor health. Whether the Bullmastiff survives or not depends on how advanced and fast moving the malignant tumor is.

  • Cardiomyopathy—Disease of the heart muscle causing the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Cause is unknown. Older, bigger dogs , 4 to 10 years are usually affected. The prognosis is generally about 6 months to 2 years for a dog with this form of heart failure and only a matter of weeks for some severe cases.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Urolithiasis—Excessive crystals (urinary stones or bladder or kidney stones) can form in the urinary tract or kidney, bladder or urethra, blocking the flow of urine. The crystals or stones irritate the lining of the urinary tract. They cause blood in the urine and pain and in severe cases make urination impossible. Symptoms are frequent urination, urinating in odd places, blood in urine, dribbling, depression, weakness, straining, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. Bullmastiff's can be treated by diet, medications and surgery, depending on the dog, severity and other circumstances of the individual case.

Other problems could occur with your Bullmastiff. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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