5 Things to Know About Bullmastiffs

If you’re looking for a large-breed dog who is intelligent, good with kids and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, the Bullmastiff could be your next pet.

Bullmastiffs are intelligent, but watch out for the drool. Photo: iStock.com/f8grapher

1. Key Characteristics of Bullmastiffs

  • AKC Group: Working
  • Height: 25–27 inches (male); 24–26 inches (female)
  • Weight: 110–130 pounds (male); 100–120 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 7–10 years

Bullmastiffs are large, strong, powerful dogs. They are intelligent and protective.

Their short coat comes in colors of red, fawn and brindle.

2. Where Bullmastiffs Came From

Evidence of Bullmastiffs dates to the 1700s, but these dogs are mostly known for their work in England around 1860.


Poachers would target large estates and game preserves. A dog was enlisted to ward off the poachers and, if needed, attack on command.

The dogs would actually pin down the poacher and hold them without causing great harm until the gamekeeper could arrive. They could run short distances quickly and quietly.

The dog was created by crossing Bulldogs (40%) and Mastiffs (60%). Dark brindle colors were desired for night work, and the dogs with this coat color were referred to as night dogs.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) added Bullmastiffs to its breed registry in 1933.

Bullmastiffs are confident, alert and affectionate dogs. Photo: Pixabay

3. How Friendly Are Bullmastiffs?

In addition to the drooling and snoring, Bullmastiffs are intelligent, loyal, protective dogs who are eager to please. They are active, confident, alert yet affectionate, and tolerate children well.

They don’t bark much and can live comfortably in apartments with daily exercise.

Bullmastiffs are fine with other pets as long as they are properly socialized. They require obedience training with a leader who is firm but not harsh. Know that Bullmastiffs don’t do well in kennels.


4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


MEDIUM: While this is an active breed, the Bullmastiff can get sufficient exercise with daily walks. As long as you provide regular walks, the breed can do well in an apartment.

Bullmastiffs can gain weight easily, so monitor the food intake for these dogs.

Grooming Needs


MEDIUM: Shedding and grooming is minimal for this breed. Weekly brushing is sufficient, and you can give baths as necessary.

Check the paws regularly and trim the hair between the toes. Provide regular teeth brushing, nail clipping and ear cleaning.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: These are some of the health issues seen in the Bullmastiff breed:

This Bullmastiff is incredibly excited in this video:

5. How to Adopt a Bullmastiff

Purebred dogs end up in shelters and rescues every day. Start your search here for an adoptable Bullmastiff, or contact a local rescue.

If you decide to buy rather than adopt, please don’t buy from a breeder unless you are confident they’re not running a puppy mill operation.

Additional Resources

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Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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