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A Guide to the Gentle and Protective Bullmastiff Dog Breed

Discover the Bullmastiff breed’s rich history, characteristics, and whether it’s the perfect family companion. Get expert insights!

The Bullmastiff is not suitable for you unless you want a dog that: It is large and takes up a lot of space. Has a lot of weight. Tends to destroy things when bored or if left alone for too long. Has a short life expectancy.

Bullmastiff dog breed guide. The Bullmastiff is an imposing molluscoid dog that, despite its physical conformation, manages to be docile and playful even with small children.

It falls into the Pinscher and Schnauzer type category and is originally from Great Britain. Let’s discover its characteristics and raise it with all the necessary care.

Origin

The known history of the Bullmastiff begins around the year 1860 in England. The problem of keeping large estates and preserving game from poachers was a hot issue. Gamekeepers took the help of dogs to keep poachers away. They needed fearless dogs that could attack command, and for these reasons, they crossed the Mastiff with the Bulldog: the Bullmastiff was born. Dogs with dark-coloured coats were preferred for night work. That is why they were called Night Dogs.

The English Kennel Club recognised the Bullmastiff as a pure breed in 1924, and 1928, Exhibition Certificates were authorised. Already in the first dog show, 191 Bullmastiff entries were registered.
In 1925, the first breed association was formed, The Midland Bull-Mastiff Club, which another association followed, The National Bullmastiff Police Dog Club, whose promoter was S.E. Moseley, the official creator of the Bullmastiff breed and well-known breeder with the “Farcroft” affix.

That lineage of Bullmastiffs was the progenitor of the modern Bullmastiff, but they were not aesthetically large, solid and powerful as we know them today. They were of a more agile and dry trunk, and their heads were less square, with more elongated muzzles. In 1930, the first Bullmastiff was exported to America.
The American Kennel Club recognised the breed in October 1933.
The Bullmastiff was explicitly trained to land a man without biting and holding him down until his owner arrived.

In the 1800s, British farms were the target of massive poaching and theft of livestock and big game, and bullmastiffs were bred to help eliminate poachers. The Bullmastiff is a large dog with remarkable capabilities, but it is not produced to attack but somewhat to control and block.

Probably because they were bred to block a man and not to fight or kill him, they are endowed with wisdom and instinct to watch and behave intelligently towards strangers. They are excellent watchdogs and only accept strangers when accompanied by their owners. They rarely bite or attack, preferring to stand still and observe.

This breed is not impressionable by nature, and they do the job of guarding quite effectively, as their physical bulk combined with their barking is enough to deter unwanted visitors. This dog suits country life or suburban areas but can still be kept on a fence or leash. They are territorial by nature and protect the entire property to which they have access.

The Bullmastiff, as its name suggests, was born from a cross between the English Mastiff (English mastiff) and the Bulldog. The breed was defined after a series of selections in the second half of the 19th century.
The main objective was to obtain a breed that could help gamekeepers defend the game from the indiscriminate action of poachers.

The common name for the breed was ‘The Gamekeeper Night Dog’.

The original crossbreeding of Bulldogs with Mastiffs produced this docile, powerful breed. The original lineage consisted of 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog.

This is Moseley’s published writing: ‘By mating a female Mastiff and a Bulldog I produce a 50/50. I had a female of these mated by a Mastiff male, and he gave me a 75% Mastiff – 25% Bulldog female, a female I had mated by a 50/50 male. I kept a 62.5% Mastiff – 37.5% Bulldog female from this mating. I mated her to a 50/50 male, and a female born from this mating I gave to a 62.5% Mastiff – 37.5% Bulldog male, which provided me with my ideal 60% Mastiff – 40% Bulldog. I repeated this from other bloodlines, as an outcross, and in this way founded my lineage “Farcroft” and the Bull-Mastiff.

The common name for the breed was ‘The Gamekeeper Night Dog’. At first, this was a generic description for all large dogs that patrolled properties, but slowly, these original dogs were selected to become what is known today as the Bullmastiff.

The Second World War hit the Bullmastiff hard, which, being a new breed, was not yet well established and appreciated. It was halved in size, and there was a real risk of permanently losing the Tiger colour from which it had started, as gamekeepers preferred dark subjects that blended perfectly into the darkness of the woods.

Having overcome this crisis, over the centuries, this big good dog was able to make itself appreciated and loved both for its singular appearance and (above all) for its beautiful character that blends power and wisdom in a unique and unmistakable balance.

Appearance and Attributes

The Bullmastiff is a large, powerfully built dog breed that stands 24 to 27 inches tall (61 to 18 cm )and weighs between 100 and 130 pounds (45 to 59 kg). They have a substantial, square-looking head with a short, broad muzzle and a black nose. Their ears are triangular and hang close to the head. Bullmastiffs have a short, dense coat in fawn, red, or brindle colours.

Some key attributes and characteristics of the Bullmastiff breed:

  • Imposing physical presence and formidable appearance, yet affectionate and loyal.
  • Muscular and athletic build, very strong and sturdy.
  • Intelligent and obedient, with a moderately high energy level.
  • Excellent guarding instincts and protective nature; serves well as a watch and guard dog.
  • Low maintenance coat requires only occasional brushing.
  • It makes an excellent family companion but requires proper socialisation and training.
  • It has a loud, deep bark and will alert owners to anything suspicious.
  • Can be stubborn but responds well to firm, consistent training.
  • Requires regular exercise but is relatively inactive indoors.
  • It is a courageous, reliable breed that bonds closely with its family members.
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Size: Males are 24-27 inches tall (61 to 18 cm ) at the shoulder and weigh 100-130 pounds (45 to 59 kg). Females are 24-26 inches (61 to 66 cm ) tall at the shoulder and weigh 100-120 pounds (45 to 55 kg)

Appearance

  • Large and muscular build
  • A short, dense coat
  • Fawn, red, or brindle in colour, with a black mask on the face
  • Broad head with a deep muzzle
  • V-shaped ears that hang down
  • Square body and powerful legs

Attributes

  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Courageous
  • Strong
  • Protective
  • Gentle
  • Affectionate

UK price Bullmastiff


Here are some details on the average UK price for a Bullmastiff puppy:

  • The average price range for a Bullmastiff puppy in the UK is £800 – £1000.
  • Well-bred puppies from reputable and experienced breeders tend to be at the higher end of this price range, around £1000 or more.
  • The Kennel Club Assured Breeder scheme highlights responsible Bullmastiff breeders who follow best practices. Puppies from these breeders are likely to cost £1000-£1200.
  • Factors that affect the price include the puppy’s pedigree, lineage, health testing of parents, breeder reputation and location.
  • Cheaper puppies priced under £800 may come from puppy farms or irresponsible breeders without proper health testing. These should be avoided.
  • The initial cost of a Bullmastiff puppy is just a starting point. Lifetime food, medical care, supplies and insurance costs can reach £20,000 or more.
  • As a large, pedigree breed, Bullmastiffs have higher than average health and care costs compared to mutts and small dogs.

So, in summary, the average market price for a health-tested Bullmastiff puppy from a responsible breeder in the UK tends to range from £800 to £1200, with well-bred pups usually costing around £1000. Cheaper puppies may indicate health/welfare issues with parents.

Pros and Cons of owning this breed

A relatively common problem is hyperthyroidism, which tends to appear as the dog gets older.
Unfortunately, he is not exactly in the best of health!


Bullmastiffs are a large and powerful breed of dog, so it is crucial to consider the pros and cons of owning one before deciding. Here are some of the key pros and cons of owning a Bullmastiff:

Pros:

  • Excellent guard dog and watchdog – very protective and courageous.
  • Form a strong family bond – devoted, loyal and great with kids.
  • Imposing presence deters intruders. Intimidating bark.
  • Relatively low exercise needs – moderate indoor activity satisfies them.
  • Minimal grooming is required; the short coat needs occasional brushing.
  • Intelligent and obedient – responds well to training.
  • Makes a great companion for an active family.

Cons:

  • They can be stubborn, and they require confident handling and early socialisation.
  • It drools quite a bit and is a bit flatulent.
  • Potentially destructive if bored or not exercised enough.
  • Strong-willed and likes to lean – can overwhelm small children.
  • Heavy shedder – mainly seasonal shedding twice a year.
  • The large size makes it difficult for some owners to control and handle.
  • Prone to specific health issues like hip dysplasia.
  • It is not ideal for first-time owners; it needs experienced handling.
  • High grooming needs – regular brushing required.

So, in summary, Bullmastiffs can be loyal family guardians but need proper training, plenty of space, and owners prepared for their size, strength and potential health issues. They are better suited for experienced dog owners.

Temperament

Bullmastiffs are typically known for their gentle, affectionate, and loyal temperament. They are often described as “gentle giants” and are known to be good with children. However, they can also be stubborn and independent, requiring early socialisation and training to prevent them from becoming aggressive.

Bullmastiffs are naturally protective of their family and home and can be suspicious of strangers. This can make them good guard dogs, but it is essential to socialise them from a young age so that they can learn to distinguish between friend and foe.

Bullmastiffs are also relatively low-energy dogs and do not require a lot of exercise. They are content to lounge around the house or yard most of the day. However, they need regular training and socialisation to stimulate them mentally and physically.

Overall, Bullmastiffs can make great companions for the right family. They are loyal, affectionate, and protective but also require early socialisation and training to prevent them from becoming aggressive.

Education and training

Bullmastiff training should begin early in the puppy’s life, and positive reinforcement techniques should be utilised. These dogs respond best to firm, fair, and consistent guidance from their owner. Obedience training is a must with this breed, given their large size and strength. Bullmastiffs need a confident owner who can establish themselves as the alpha. Trainers will need patience and persistence as Bullmastiffs are intelligent but can sometimes have a stubborn streak. Keep training sessions short and upbeat.

Does not accept attempts at dominance by other dogs.
This dog must move and play with its owner, a faithful protector.

Proper socialisation starting in puppyhood is critical for the Bullmastiff. Expose them slowly to new people, animals, places, sounds, and experiences to prevent over-protectiveness and skittishness. Cate training can assist in housebreaking and provide a safe space when unsupervised, which is recommended given their size. Leash training is also essential as Bullmastiffs tend to pull hard if not trained otherwise. Use a front-clip harness for best control. Reinforce basic commands like “sit”, “stay“, “come“, and “no” consistently. Teaching boundaries and unacceptable behaviour like mouthing, jumping up, or aggression is crucial. Use firm corrections as needed.

Ongoing training should continue throughout a Bullmastiff’s lifespan to prevent boredom and reinforce good behaviour. Advanced activities like agility work can provide extra mental stimulation and valuable bonding time between a Bullmastiff and its owner. With the proper leadership, early socialisation, and a commitment to regular training methods, the Bullmastiff can become a well-rounded and obedient companion. Their training must be handled with an assertive approach to control their strength and tendency towards dominance. Patience and persistence are key.

Is it suitable for families and children?

Bullmastiffs can be suitable for families and children with proper training and socialisation. They are known for being gentle, affectionate, and loyal dogs. However, it is essential to remember that they are a large and powerful breed, and they may not be the best choice for families with very young children.

Here are some things to consider when deciding if a Bullmastiff is suitable for your family:

  • Your child’s age and personality: Bullmastiffs are best suited for families with older children who are gentle and respectful of animals. Young children may be too small and active for a bullmastiff, and they may accidentally injure the dog or injure themselves.
  • Your lifestyle: Bullmastiffs are relatively low-maintenance dogs that require regular exercise and training. If you have a busy lifestyle and may not have time to give your dog the attention it needs, a Bullmastiff may not be the right breed for you.
  • Your budget: Bullmastiffs can be expensive to feed and care for. They are also prone to specific health problems, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, which can be costly to treat.

Suppose you decide that a Bullmastiff is the right breed for your family. Finding a reputable breeder who can provide information about the puppy’s lineage, health, and temperament is essential. You should also start training and socialising your puppy as soon as possible to ensure they grow up well-behaved and loving companions.

Here are some tips for keeping your Bullmastiff safe around children:

  • Always supervise your Bullmastiff when it is around children.
  • Teach your children how to interact with the dog safely.
  • Please do not allow children to ride on the dog or pull its tail.
  • Provide your Bullmastiff with a safe place to retreat if it feels overwhelmed.

Bullmastiffs can make excellent companions for families with children with proper training and socialisation.

Care and health

Bullmastiffs are a breed of dog that requires specific care and attention. Their maintenance and cleanliness are essential for maintaining the animal’s health and well-being. Good oral hygiene is necessary for these dogs, and brushing their teeth at least once a week with a product specially created for this purpose is advisable.

It is essential to check the ears regularly, as they can accumulate dirt, and it is necessary to take care of any infections that may develop. To do this, wet the ear lightly with lukewarm water before gently removing any accumulation of earwax with a cotton ball.

The hair should be brushed twice weekly with a wide-tooth comb to remove knots and accumulated impurities. Using products created explicitly for this breed is essential, as some typical shampoos can irritate the Bullmastiff’s sensitive skin.

Regular bathing (at least every two months) with products suitable for this breed is also recommended to keep your dog fresh and clean. When bathing, carefully wash each part of the animal’s body and ensure water does not enter the ears or eyes. Dry it well with a soft towel at the end of the bath.

Bullmastiffs are very loyal animals that require the attention of a responsible owner. By following these simple care and grooming guidelines, you can ensure your pet’s long-term health and well-being.

Feeding

The Bullmastiff is a large dog breed with a robust appearance. Its diet must be varied and well-balanced to meet the dog’s nutritional needs. The diet should include highly digestible foods, such as fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, although industrial foods can complement the diet.

The Bullmastiff needs a balanced diet, and it is essential to ensure it is always well-nourished.
The Bullmastiff needs a balanced diet with a high percentage of protein.

The food should be fed according to the directions on the label and should not exceed the recommended daily dose. It is important to remember that this breed of dog has a prolonged metabolism and can quickly become obese, so snacking should be limited. In addition, the Bullmastiff is sensitive to specific animal proteins that can cause food allergies, such as lamb or beef. It is advisable to talk to your vet to choose the diet most suitable to your pet’s needs.

Grooming

Here are some critical points about grooming and caring for a Bullmastiff’s coat:

  • Bullmastiffs have a short, dense double coat that sheds moderately year-round. During shedding seasons, they will shed more heavily.
  • Weekly brushing with a rubber or firm bristle brush is recommended to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils.
  • Their facial wrinkles should be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections. Wipe folds with a damp cloth.
  • Drooling is expected in the breed, so wiping the face after meals and water is essential.
  • Baths only every 2-3 months maximum, as shampooing too often can dry out their skin. Use a gentle dog shampoo.
  • Their nails increase and should be trimmed regularly to avoid cracking or overgrowth. Introduce nail trims slowly.
  • Teeth should be brushed 2-3 times per week using a dog-safe toothpaste. This prevents tartar buildup.
  • Check and clean your ears about once a week. Gently wipe the inside ears with a cotton ball and cleaner your veterinarian recommends.
  • Bullmastiffs thrive when kept indoors with their family. Access to a securely fenced yard is ideal.
  • Monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventative medication is essential for health and prevention.

With weekly brushing, facial wrinkle care, and toothbrushing, grooming a Bullmastiff is relatively low maintenance. Their short coat requires only occasional bathing. Regular at-home grooming keeps them looking and feeling their best.

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Final Thoughts

The Bullmastiff is a devoted, family-oriented breed that takes its role as guardian very seriously. While their imposing size and appearance may deter strangers, they are gentle giants when it comes to their loved ones. Bullmastiffs form deep bonds and do best when included in the family.

This breed needs experienced handling to manage its strength and tendency towards stubbornness or dominance. Early socialisation and lifelong training are crucial. Bullmastiffs require regular daily exercise to prevent boredom and destruction. Their exercise needs are lower than those of some breeds, but regular leashed walks and playtime are necessary.

Bullmastiffs can adapt well to family living, especially with older children, when provided structure, training, and guidance. Their protective instincts and courageous nature make them ideal watchdogs. With proper outlets for exercise and training, Bullmastiffs will happily spend their days snoozing and following their family everywhere. Their short coat requires minimal grooming.

For the right owner willing to provide leadership and commitment, the Bullmastiff can be a loyal companion, devoted home, and family protector for many years. Their iconic look and gallant temperament give Bullmastiffs an unforgettable charm.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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