Bullmastiff General Breed Profile

BullmastiffThe very name bullmastiff may sound intimidating to some people, and indeed, this animal is the avatar of a big, powerful, mean-looking dog. But some of those looks are deceiving. The dog is big and powerful. But is it mean? Not so much.



A male bullmastiff stands between 25 to 27 inches tall at the withers, or shoulders and weighs between 110 to 130 pounds. Bitches are a bit smaller. They stand 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 100 and 120 pounds. The body of the dog should be more square than rectangular and have a wide and deep chest. The neck should have a slight arch, be somewhat long and packed with muscle to the point where it is almost as big around as the dog’s head. The tail is high set, strong and tapering. It can be a bit curved or straight but never held curved up the way a hound holds its tail. According to dog breeders, the heftier the dog the better.

Though the bullmastiff is a powerfully built dog, its gait is smooth, graceful but powerful. It moves in a straight line without its joints twisting in or twisting out.



The acceptable colors for the bull mastiff according to the American Kennel Club are red, brindle or fawn with a black muzzle. The dog can have a tiny patch of white on its chest, but more than this is a fault. A dog with a brindle coat has a base coat that is shades of brown or tan streaked with another color, usually a darker brown or black. The streaks should never be white.

Because the coat is short it does not need extensive grooming. Brush and comb the coat regularly, keep the nails clipped, and give the dog a bath once in a while. Check the ears to make sure they are not waxy or dirty, and brush the teeth. Most dogs love a meat-flavored toothpaste.



The bullmastiff is a sensitive, sweet-tempered, calm and faithful dog who craves human companionship and leadership. Because of this, it responds well to obedience training and can live peaceably with children and other pets. On the other hand, it is self-assured and fearless and has no problem taking down intruders who threaten its family. It is important that the owner be firm, consistent and loving with a dog who is this powerful.

Another trait of this dog is that it is relatively quiet, for stealth is a virtue when there are miscreants lurking around. It does not need a great deal of exercise though it does require its daily walk to satisfy a dog’s instinct to roam around. Because the dog is quiet and not overly energetic, it can live happily in an apartment or in a house with a smallish yard. It should not be exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures.



The bull mastiff is generally a robust dog, but like many large dogs, it only lives about a decade or less. Its jowls and smushed-in face make it drool, snore and slobber. More serious conditions to watch out for are hip dysplasia, where the ball of the dog’s hip comes out of its socket, problems with the eyelids and a condition called PRA. PRA is progressive retinal atrophy and can lead to blindness. The dog can also fall victim to canine bloat, which is a medical emergency. During bloat so much gas is trapped in the stomach that it swells to the point where the blood supply to the heart is interfered with. The stomach can also twist, which can cause the dog to go into shock. The bull mastiff gets fat easily, so it is best to feed it several small meals throughout the day as opposed to a huge meal a couple of times a day. It should not be fed table scraps.


Fun Facts

The bullmastiff was developed from the mastiff and the bulldog and is the 48th most popular dog breed. Its story begins in England around 1860, where it was used to see off poachers on those huge Downton Abbeyesque estates. Dogs with dark brindled coats were preferred for this job, for they were harder to see at night. The dog was recognized as its own breed in England in 1924 and in the United States in 1933.