Bullmastiff Dog Breed Characteristics, Health & More Information


Bullmastiff Dog, Although historically a member of the ancient Molosser breeds, the modern Bullmastiff dog, as we know it today, was only officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1927. Its original purpose in the mid 19th century was to act as a Gamekeeper’s companion and guard to assist in the apprehension of poachers, hence its name at that time of the ‘Gamekeeper’s Night Dog’.


The requirement was for a large but agile dog, able to pursue and bring down a man and hold without savaging until his master arrived. The crossing of the English Mastiff and Bulldog produced such a specimen, often known as the ‘Bull and Mastiff’ before ‘Bullmastiff’ was eventually registered, although numerous other out-crosses were used in the early years.

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Characteristics Of Bullmastiff Dog

True to its original employment, the Bullmastiff dog is normally a quiet and stable companion, well suited to a family environment, although socialization from an early age is of paramount importance to prevent him from becoming overprotective of his owners and territory.

Kind but firm training should be practiced from puppyhood, which he will be quick to learn. Whilst rarely seeking trouble, he will not turn his back on it if challenged. It should always be remembered that this is a large and powerful dog and it needs a strong hand to hold him if he makes up his mind to take a certain direction! He makes an ideal companion – undemanding, affectionate and loyal to his owner.

Health Of Bullmastiff Dog

The Bullmastiff dog normally enjoys a healthy existence, although an important contribution to his long-term well-being is the care taken during his formative months when he grows at an alarming rate.

A condition known as Panosteitis, or ‘shifting lameness’ can occur during these growth surges but is helped by rest and analgesics until the growing process levels out. As the Bullmastiff dog is a heavy dog, joint problems are a risk if too much exercise is allowed when a puppy.

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Hip and elbow dysplasia can occur and, although cases are not so common these days, Entropion has been known in the breed.

All types of cancer are prevalent in the breed, with lymphoma being the major cause for concern. Research is currently underway into the disease.

Training Of Bullmastiff Dog

A fully grown bullmastiff dog will normally weigh between eight and twelve stone and is often stronger than a person.  It is vitally important to establish control over your dog from the outset.

Training is an absolute necessity for a Bullmastiff dog. They can be extremely stubborn and headstrong; therefore, laying down the ground rules early in life is a must. Bullmastiffs can be trained and a consistently fair and firm approach is the key to a well-behaved dog.

Man-handling and rough treatment is not the way to teach any dog and bullmastiffs do not respond to this type of training.  Obedience classes are the best way to train your dog and your breeder or vet will be able to recommend one locally.

Socialization Of Bullmastiff Dog

Socialization is the name given to how animals learn to adopt the behavior patterns of the community in which they live. The only way that a bullmastiff dog can learn about its community is to experience everything first hand. This means that a puppy who is going to grow into a happy, relaxed adult should be introduced to every aspect of its life as soon as possible.

This includes other animals, car travel, fireworks, traffic, etc.  The critical period for the socialization of a dog is between 3 and 16 weeks old, after this time it is more difficult for a dog to accept something new.

A good breeder will have socialized the puppies from birth and will have introduced them to many different things, it is then down to the new owner to keep up the good work. This means allowing the puppy to accompany you throughout your normal daily routine once the inoculations are complete.

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Feeding Bullmastiff Dog

A common misconception about Bullmastiffs is that they must cost a fortune to feed.  High-quality complete kibble needs no supplementing and costs between £25.00 and £30.00 for a 15kg bag. Depending on age, and activity levels of the dog, it costs around £7.00 per week to feed a Bullmastiff dog.  The recommended daily amount of food is always divided into two meals.

Exercise For Bullmastiff

Bullmastiffs should not have a huge amount of exercise before they are a year old. This is because their bones are still soft and can be damaged by excessive walking or play.  After twelve months the dog should be walked for a minimum of 30 minutes each day but should never be exercised off the lead; apart from the prospect of injury to the dog, the public is usually intimidated by the presence of a large dog, no matter how friendly it may be.


Bullmastiffs as a general rule are excellent with children but children must be taught that respect and kindness are a two-way thing.  Bullmastiffs are big, extremely powerful and can be clumsy; they can easily cause accidental injury to a child by knocking them over.

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As with all soft-mouthed dogs, bullmastiffs dog slobber!  It is difficult to remove from clothes and walls as it takes on a spectacularly adhesive quality.  If you are house proud or fashion-conscious then a bullmastiff is not the dog for you.


Veterinary costs for bullmastiffs are normally very high because the dosage for many veterinary medicines is based on the weight and size of the dog. However, these costs can easily be overcome by taking out a pet insurance policy which normally costs around £15.00 per month.

Housing For Bullmastiff

A well fenced and secure garden is a must for a bullmastiff Dog. Apart from their lack of road sense, the theft of pedigree dogs is on the increase throughout the UK. Bullmastiffs will happily live either in or outdoors.  If a dog is to live outdoors it must be provided with a draught free insulated kennel with shelter from both the rain and the sun. Outdoor dogs must be given as much stimulation as possible including walks, play and time spent with their owner.

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Working Owners

Bullmastiffs generally cope well in working households but need human companionship and attention as soon as you arrive home. They are not, however, the type of dog who is content to stay alone for hours on end and then be ignored or left to their own devices when you are with them.

Before buying a bullmastiff Dog

Ask yourself:

  • Am I willing to dedicate the time needed to raise a bullmastiff dog?
  • Am I willing to attend obedience classes?
  • Am I willing to provide consistent discipline?
  • Are my family 100% committed to owning a bullmastiff dog?
  • Am I willing to provide an excellent home for the dog for the next twelve years?
  • Am I willing to provide a healthy diet and any necessary veterinary care?

What to look for:

  • Research as many breeders as possible.
  • Reputable breeders are prepared to answer all of your questions.
  • Ask to see the mother and assess her temperament.
  • Ask to see the father if he is available.
  • Do not buy a puppy from nervous or hostile parents.
  • Puppies should be playful, inquisitive and happy in their environment.
  • Puppies should be healthy and active with clear eyes.
  • Do not believe a breeder who says the whole litter is show quality.
  • Reputable breeders will question you about your home and lifestyle.
  • Reputable breeders will provide a puppy care pack and ongoing advice.
  • Do not be tempted to buy a puppy from Free-Ads newspapers.
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Care And Grooming

Along with annual booster inoculations a bullmastiff dog will need to be wormed and treated for fleas approximately four times per year. Regular brushing improves circulation and is an excellent form of socializing and getting your dog used to being handled. A Simple health check to include ears, eyes, teeth, and skin should be carried out once a week.


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