Breed Profile: Bullmastiff

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.

This large breed is also intelligent. By: Eran Finkle





Physical Description

Bullmastiffs are large, strong, powerful dogs. They are intelligent and protective, created with the crossing of a Bulldog and a mastiff.

The short coat comes in colors of red, fawn and brindle. Males weigh between 110 and 130 pounds, while females average between 100 and 120 pounds. Height averages are 25 to 27 inches for males and 24 to 26 inches for females. The average life expectancy is 10 years.


Evidence of bullmastiffs dates back to the 1700s, but they 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 pin down the poacher and hold him without causing great harm until the gamekeeper could arrive. They were able to run short distances fast 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 added the breed in 1933.


Bullmastiffs are guard dogs and family pets. They also participate in conformation, obedience, agility events, tracking and carting; many also perform therapy work.

This video shows a bullmastiff named Genie showing off her skills. When she changes heel position, she does an adorable little hop.


In addition to the drooling and snoring, bullmastiffs are intelligent, loyal, protective dogs eager to please. They are active, confident, alert yet affectionate, and tolerate children well. They do not bark much and can live comfortably in apartments with daily exercise.

They are okay with other pets as long as they are properly socialized. They require obedience training with a leader who is firm but not harsh. Confinement in a kennel is to be avoided.

Exercise Needs

While this is an active breed, the bullmastiff can receive sufficient exercise with daily walks. As long as you provide regular walks, the breed can do well in an apartment. Food intake should be monitored because bullmastiffs gain weight easily.

Grooming Requirements

Shedding and grooming is minimal for this breed. A weekly brushing is sufficient, and you can give baths when necessary. Check the paws regularly and trim the hair between the toes. Provide regular teeth brushing, nail clipping and ear cleaning.

Common Health Problems

These are some of the health issues seen in the bullmastiff breed:

Is the Bullmastiff the Right Dog for You?

Expect to turn some heads with this large dog breed. The bullmastiff is strong, so you will need to offer obedience training to make walks easier. Socialization is also important for keeping an even-tempered dog who will get along with other pets and children.

Grooming and exercise needs are minimal, but there are some health concerns that may appear. Bullmastiffs do not bark much, and this is a benefit to living in an apartment. Confining this breed to a kennel for any length of time is not recommended.

If these requirements are tasks you can fulfill, the bullmastiff might be a great pet to add to your family.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

Purebred dogs end up in shelters and rescues every day. Start your search here for adoptable bullmastiffs or contact a local rescue. If you decide to buy rather than adopt, please don’t buy from a breeder unless you are confident he or she is not running a puppy mill operation.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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