Bullmastiff Dogs

The Bullmastiff is not for everyone. Here, Dogsbarn takes an in-depth look at the breed and whether these loyal loving giants could be the perfect dog for you?

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Introduction

The Bullmastiff is a large domestic dog, Confident, extremely loving and placid, a natural guardian he will protect his family fearlessly and can be quite stand-offish with strangers.

Not for everyone, these dogs are expensive to own and demand a lot of time and patience but if you feel you can cope with the size, dominant tendencies, high vet's bills, gassiness, snoring and excessive drool the Bullmastiff could be the perfect choice.

Bullmastiff

One of the many different types of Mastiff, the Bullmastiff was developed in the UK during the 19th century by gamekeepers on large country estates to apprehend poachers.

Crossing the now-extinct Old English Bulldog with the largest of the Mastiff breeds the English Mastiff produced the perfect guard dog, and they retain this guarding instinct today although they are more often beloved family pets.

bullmastiff chilling outside patio

Source: iHeartDogs.com

These gentle giants love nothing more than cuddles on the sofa and although they don't mind being left alone they love the companionship of humans and do not do well living outside which can lead to them becoming territorial.

Being a short-nosed (brachycephalic) breed they don't cope with heat well and having a short coat means they don't much like the extreme cold either. Surprisingly they make good apartment dogs as long as they get a couple of leash walks a day they are quiet and some can be lazy.


Size

There is no doubt about it, the Bullmastiff is a huge dog with males standing around 25-27 inches, almost the size of a small Shetland pony whereas females are slightly smaller at around 24-26 inches at the withers.

Weight

You wouldn't like one of these dogs standing on your toe, males weigh approximately 110-130 lbs with females a bit lighter at 100-120 lbs. Some breeders have tried to increase the dimensions of the breed, it isn't unusual to find some males weighing from 8-12 stone that's a whopping 168lbs.

Coat

A Bullmastiff's coat comes in 3 colours, red, fawn, and brindle, their muzzle and ears are usually darker and they sometimes have a splash of white on their chests although this is unusual. It is a dense short coat that offers protection against snow, rain and cold temperatures. Easy to keep clean with a quick rub down Bullmastiffs don't shed much.

Lifespan

As with most large breeds, the Bullmastiff has a relatively short lifespan of 8-10 years. The oldest Mastiff recorded, lived in Australia, she was called Kush and lived to the ripe old age of 15.

Appearance

Bullmastiffs are quite formidable in appearance, you wouldn't want to come across one in a dark alley, no wonder they were a deterrent to intruders back in the day. Large powerful muscular dogs they should not be too heavy. They have a broad head with short muzzle with a slight under-bite. The bulldog influence has given them more wrinkled features than other mastiff types.

Bullmastiffs have a square set to their heads which is achieved by their ears lying flat and framing the face.

bullmastiff Correct Ear Position

Correct Ear Position

bullmastiff Incorrect or flying ears

Incorrect or "flying ears"

Source: lonelycreek.com

As puppies, when they are teething, the ears are often rolled back or what is called "flying" they harden in the incorrect position which affects the dog's appearance. Taping doesn't hurt or cause any discomfort to the puppy. Find out more about ear-taping here.

Bullmastiffs have a solid deep-chested stance, their backs are short and straight making them look stocky, they have a thick tail especially at the base, strong and set high.


History

Bullmastiffs are descended from the ancient Molossus dogs which originated in the mountainous regions of the Balkans and are thought to be direct descendants of large dogs from Central Asia namely the Tibetan Mastiff.

Over time these ferocious guardians were introduced to most countries in Europe where they were valued for their impressive size and fearlessness. They were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for hunting, fighting lions, bears, guarding homes, livestock and as war dogs.

There is a Roman statue in the British Museum known as the Jennings Dog which is remarkably similar to modern day Mastiffs and it is mentioned in history books that they were Julius Caesar's favourite breed.

In 1415 a British knight Sir Peers Legh brought his Mastiff bitch to fight by his side at the battle of Agincourt. When he was injured she stood defending him ferociously and although he died a few days later from his inflicted wounds his beloved dog was returned to his home, Lyme Hall in Cheshire and it is now accepted that modern Mastiffs descend from this line.

During the 19th century, poachers were the bane of every large country estate throughout England. Gamekeepers were employed by the gentry to protect their lands and needed a deterrent on their nightly patrols.

Bulldogs (very different to the modern breed) were too aggressive, while the Mastiff was too slow and didn't have the necessary drive to take down the criminals. Hence the two breeds were crossed and eventually the gamekeepers' " Night Dog" was created with a ratio of 60% English Mastiff and 40% Old English Bulldog.

This combination was perfect for the gamekeeper's needs, quiet, they were capable of tracking a man, chasing the culprit and pinning them to ground until apprehension without biting. Brindle was the preferred colour as it was indistinguishable from the forest at night-time.

Poachers were dangerous as they punishment for their crime was hanging so the dogs needed to be brave and tenacious characteristics that remain in the breed to this day making them a challenge for the novice owner give them an inch and they will take the proverbial mile.

The breed was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1924, the AKC accepting the breed 10 years later. The first Bullmastiff to become a Cruft's champion was Ch Farcroft Silvo a brindle bitch who won in 1927 and 1928.

Ch Farcroft Silvo

Source: dbodblogspot.com

Over the years more Mastiff blood was bred into the dogs and lighter colours become more common. They became quite rare in the middle half of the 20th century but their popularity is increasing and in 2016 there were 493 Bullmastiff puppies registered with the Kennel Club.


Bullmastiff V English Mastiff

Both of these giant breeds are from the working group and both make excellent guard dogs. The English Mastiff is generally more placid and gentle than the Bullmastiff who can be aggressive if not correctly socialised and trained from an early age.

The Bullmastiff will be smaller than the English Mastiff which stands at an impressive 28-36" and can weigh up to 190 lbs. Although the English Mastiff is one of the largest Mastiffs they are also the least aggressive and most gentle.

Bullmastiffs are influenced by many Bulldog traits and generally are more sensitive with a higher hunting and chasing instinct than the English Mastiff. Neither Breed is recommended for first-time owners and both require perseverance and patience with training.

They have similar health problems but with the English Mastiff being larger they are slightly more expensive to own and vet bills can quickly mount up with large dogs.


Buying a Bullmastiff puppy

Bullmastiffs are influenced by many Bulldog traits and generally are more sensitive with a higher hunting and chasing instinct than the English Mastiff. Neither Breed is recommended for first-time owners and both require perseverance and patience with training.

sleeping bullmastiff puppies

Source: Doglers.com

Before you start looking at Bullmastiff puppies for sale, take a breath. It is essential to do extensive research before considering bringing a Bullmastiff into your home ask yourself these questions.

  • Have I got the time and dedication to raise a Bullmastiff?
  • Is everyone in the family 100% committed to owning this breed?
  • Can I afford the costs involved with keeping a Bullmastiff for up to 10 years?
  • Can I attend socialisation and obedience classes and continue with consistent training?
  • Can I put up with the drool, snoring, and flatulence common to the breed along with 8+ stone of muscle wanting to be a lap dog?

Once you have answered yes and done your research you can start to look for a reputable breeder of Bullmastiff puppies in your area. Speak to breeders and ask lots of questions. A good breeder should be well-informed on the breed and willing to give you all the information you require.

Check they have done the required health screening on the parents and ask about any health problems in previous generations.

A responsible breeder is more concerned with placing a puppy with the right owner than the colour of your money they will be keen to discuss temperament, health issues and should also be asking you questions about the life you intend to provide for the dog.

They should also provide ongoing advice, puppy pack and insurance covering the first few weeks of ownership in case anything goes wrong. You can expect to pay anything from £700-£2000 for a puppy depending on the lineage and pedigree.

So, you have your new puppy, now what to call it?

Some popular names for Bullmastiffs include:

Male

Jax

Brutus​

Max

Bruno

Thor

Bear

Spike

Bailey

Toby

Female

Cleo

Roxy

Phoebe

Bella

Ruby

Honey

Lady

Tia

Sasha​

Alternatively, you may wish to rescue an older dog instead of purchasing a pup, as cute as they are they require a lot of time and effort. It might be the case an adult dog would suit your lifestyle better.

In which case, it is worth checking out some of the specialist breed rescues they are often a great source of advice and many are looking for foster homes so in theory, you could try before you buy making double sure a Bullmastiff is the right breed for you.

The price of adopting a dog is much cheaper than buying a puppy around £100-£200, you will also be able to find out quite a bit about your chosen dog's personality, hopefully, he will have a modicum of training and you will have the pleasure of knowing you are providing a home for an unwanted pet.


Are Bullmastiffs easy to train?

Does a Bullmastiff need much grooming?

Do Bullmastiffs need much exercise?

Feeding your Bullmastiff

Are Bullmastiffs healthy?

Bullmastiff Temperament - Are they good with children?

Male V Female

What is the cost of owning a Bullmastiff?


Is a Bullmastiff the right breed for you?

Highlights

  • Dominant and strong-willed
  • Need little exercise
  • Needs extensive training
  • Great guard dog
  • Drools, snores and is quite gassy
  • Loving and incredibly loyal
  • Expensive to own
  • Don't mind being home alone
  • Dog Aggressive
  • Extremely Powerful

FAQs

How big do bullmastiffs get?

How much is a bullmastiff puppy?

Do bullmastiffs shed?

How to train a bullmastiff to be a guard dog

How much do bullmastiffs weigh?

Are bullmastiffs aggressive?

Is a bullmastiff a good family dog?

Bullmastiff colours

Bullmastiff with kids

Taping bullmastiff ears

How much does a bullmastiff eat?

Bullmastiff intelligence

How to find a reputable breeder for Bullmastiffs

Bullmastiff as a first dog?

Are bullmastiffs hard to train?

Are ear problems common with Bullmastiffs?

Do Bullmastiff dogs drool a lot?

When to neuter a bullmastiff?

Between male or female bullmastiffs which make better pets?

How to pick the best bullmastiff puppy in litter

Where to find bullmastiffs for adoption

Housebreaking a bullmastiff

Bullmastiff behaviour issues

Conclusion

Owning a Bullmastiff is a big commitment they are strong and powerful in body and mind. They cost a lot to keep and they are not the breed for first-time dog owners, however, with the proper training, a Bullmastiff can be a very well-adjusted, loyal and loving family pet.

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