By Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian)Dr. Sergey Uhanov Last updated: 22nd August 2023



Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian) Dr. Sergey Uhanov
Last updated: 22nd August 2023

Nicknamed “The Gamekeeper’s Night Dog,” the Bullmastiff is bred from the Bulldog and the Mastiff and is a majestic, powerful, and courageous breed. It is a large breed characterized by its large forehead, deep-set brown eyes, dark muzzle with hanging jowls, and sharp V-set ears.

Though its name and history suggest that it is an aggressive and fierce dog, the truth is that it is a gentle, docile, and calm breed that loves its owners fiercely and will always be loyal and steadfast.

Bullmastiff Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesThe Gamekeeper’s Night Dog
CoatSmooth and short
ColorBrindle, red, or fawn, with occasional white markings on the chest
Breed typePurebred
Group Mastiff, Working
Life expectancy7 – 9 years
HeightMale – 25 – 27 inches
Female – 24 – 26 inches
WeightMale – 110 – 130 pounds
Female – 100 – 120 pounds
Litter Size4 – 13 puppies with an average of 8 pups
Behavioral Characteristics Affectionate, good-tempered, strong, cheerful, and brave
Good with children Moderate; may injure younger children due to its size
Barking Tendency Very low; only barks and howls if it is excited or agitated
Climate compatibilityModerate; does well in colder weather, can overheat quickly in warmer climates
Apartment compatibilityHigh
Do they shedThey shed very little, with seasonal shedding in spring and fall
Are they hypoallergenicNo
TrainabilityModerate; can be challenging for novices
How much do they cost$1,000-$2,000
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationAKC – American Kennel Club
CKC – Continental Kennel Club
FCI – Fédération Cynologique Internationale
KCGB – Kennel Club of Great Britain
NKC – National Kennel Club
CKC – Canadian Kennel Club
ACA – American Canine Association Inc.
ACR – American Canine Registry
ANKC – Australian National Kennel Club
NZKC – New Zealand Kennel Club
APRI – American Pet Registry, Inc.
DRA – Dog Registry of America, Inc.
NAPR – North American Purebred Registry, Inc.

History and Origin

Bullmastiffs trace their origin back to mid-to-late 19th–century England. They were bred to combat the problem of poaching in the English aristocracy’s extensive orchards and game reserves. Gamekeepers needed a swift, courageous, intelligent, and powerful animal to hunt and trap, but not physically harm, intruders at night. Thus, they bred Bulldogs and Mastiffs In a sixty-to-forty ratio to get the perfect breed, the Bullmastiff.

Initially, they preferred a brindle-colored coat for camouflage at night. However, as the need for gamekeepers decreased, the fawn variety became more popular as a household pet. Eventually, The Kennel Club accepted the Bullmastiff in 1924. The American Kennel Club recognized it in 1933, and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1955. Today, Bullmastiffs find use as hunting guards, watchdogs, and as an aid for the police and the army.

Temperament and Personality

Bullmastiffs are incredibly loyal, and once they bond with their master, they are willing to do anything for their protection, making them excellent watchdogs and guard dogs. Their large size hides the fact that they are low-energy dogs and prefer lying down near their owner’s feet or leaning on them all day. They are good family dogs and are gentle with children. However, one must be careful of their size since they can hurt little kids unintentionally while playing. They might be friendly and loving with their family but mistrust strangers and unfamiliar pets. Their high prey drive means they might mistake other animals, especially cats, for prey and hunt them.

They can get agitated and turn destructive if left alone for too long. Their independent nature might make them difficult to handle for new owners. Still, they are easy to train due to their calm and laid-back attitude. Early and consistent training will take care of unwanted stubbornness and aggression in these dogs, and you will have a devoted, loving, and cuddly pet.



Even though it is a low-energy breed, your Bullmastiff requires daily walks and regular exercise to stay healthy and avoid obesity-related issues. For outdoor play, fencing is a must to prevent your dog from showing aggression to other people or pets. Since this breed is prone to overheating, keep the walks brief and limit outdoor play to cooler parts of the day, especially during warmer months. Clean and fresh water is great for cooling down your pet. Some recommended activities for your dog are agility, rally, obedience, scent work, and tracking.


Since Bullmastiffs do not shed much, you should only bathe them when required. Regular brushing with a rubber curry and checking their ears, muzzle, and skin for infections and foul odor are sufficient. Brush their teeth twice or thrice a week and trim their nails twice a month or when required.

Health Problems

Bullmastiffs are generally healthy but are predisposed to certain conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, entropion, hypothyroidism, GDV or bloat leading to excess flatulence, cystinuria, cardiac issues, cancer, and skin infections due to their oily skin. Getting your dog from reputed breeders is a must to avoid many of these issues and ensure a healthy life.


Most breeders recommend feeding your Bullmastiff puppy adult or large-breed puppy food only for slower and healthier growth. You can provide your pup with a mix of dry and canned food, but avoid mixing water into their dry food. The advised daily amount for an adult Bullmastiff is around 3-4 cups of dry food per day. To prevent bloat, feed your pup multiple smaller portions throughout the day and an adult dog twice or thrice a day. It is best to consult your veterinarian for the proper portion sizes and feed for your dog, considering its size, age, and personal requirements.


Bullmastiffs are protective, devoted, wilful, and a little reserved, so early socialization and training are vital to helping them grow up to be well-adjusted and enjoyable companions.

Socialization: It is best to start training your Bullmastiff as a puppy to control its territorial and aggressive tendencies. Puppy kindergarten, inviting visitors and pets, and taking them on strolls to pet-friendly spaces are great for encouraging your pup to socialize and adjust to their surroundings. You can take the help of a dog crate for house training and traveling, as it gives your dog a safe place to de-stress.

You should be firm with your Bullmastiff to establish boundaries and routines. However, they need love and tenderness; positive encouragement and a few treats are usually enough to get them to listen.

Obedience: It is best to teach it a few basic commands early on and avoid rough play to have control of your Bullmastiff. Obedience training is necessary to establish a hierarchy between the dog and owner, as Bullmastiffs can become dominating.

Leash: You should teach your Bullmastiff not to pull on its leash when outside and keep it leashed at all times. To properly establish yourself as the pack leader, always go through doorways before your dog and make it heel either beside or behind you when outside to help curb their dominating tendencies.

Interesting Facts

  • Butkus the Bullmastiff, Sylvester Stallone’s beloved pet, appeared in the 1976 movie Rocky and again in 1979 in Rocky II.
  • Besides Sylvester Stallone, many celebrities such as Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Christina Aguilera, and Jon Bon Jovi own Bullmastiffs.
  • The NFL team Cleveland Browns has a Bullmastiff, SJ, as their mascot. After five years of service, he replaced his father, Swagger, in 2019.


1. Are Bullmastiffs good at swimming?

Unlike Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs can be trained to swim early in life. You can join them in the water and introduce other family dogs as they learn to make it enjoyable for them.

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