A mix of the purebred Bulldog and purebred English Mastiff, the Bullmastiff is a loyal, brave, and affectionate dog breed. In this article, you’ll learn every reason there is to take home and love a purebred Bullmastiff puppy!
This breed came onto the scene in the mid 19th century as a response to a plague of poaching. At the time, poachers were known to ransack English country estates and game preserves owned by wealthy aristocrats in England, making off with their valuables. Though there were laws in place to dissuade poachers from robbing valuable game from these estates, the penalty of which was death by hanging, this only motivated the poachers to kill in order not to be caught or reported by witnesses. Several guard dog breeds were tried as a protection and alarm system on these estates, but it was only the Bullmastiff that succeeded. Thanks to the sheer size and fearless nature of the Bullmastiff, along with its intelligent discernment and ability to “capture and pin” poachers, exercising the self-restraint not to kill them, the Bullmastiff dog breed was soon employed at virtually all of these English estates. By 1924, the Bullmastiff was hailed as a competition show dog in England’s Kennel Club, since breeders had perfected this guard dog for the purposes of supplying the best of the best to gamekeepers. The reliability and popularity of the Bullmastiff soon “crossed the pond” and this breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, which led to home and business owners as well as gamekeepers using Bullmastiffs for protection and companionship.
APPEARANCE, SIZE, & LIFESPAN
The Bullmastiff is a large dog breed from the “working group” category of purebred dogs. Tall and muscular, the males of this breed can weigh as much as 130 lbs, while the females weigh in at 100 – 120 lbs. They have a short, smooth, double-layer coat of fur, which can be either fawn, brindle, or red, or a combination of these colors. Most notably, the Bullmastiff has a large, square head and blunt snout that can resemble the Boxer dog breed. All Bullmastiffs regardless of their fur colors have a standard black “mask” of fur on their faces. The life expectancy of this courageous yet docile breed is 7 – 9 years. The Bullmastiff should not be confused with its larger cousin, the English Mastiff, which you may recall from the 1993 coming-of-age blockbuster movie, The Sandlot.
TEMPERAMENT & TRAINABILITY
Bullmastiffs are exceptional guard dogs, which speaks to their loyal, protective nature towards their human family and their courageous, fearless confidence with strangers. This should be taken into account during the puppy training and socialization process. Owners of Bullmastiffs fall into error when they assume that their sweet-natured and docile giant will behave that way towards everyone.
Bullmastiffs regard their families versus unknown people very differently. And this instinct of theirs is highly pronounced when their owners do not carefully train their Bullmastiff puppies with behavioral expectations right away. When you bring a Bullmastiff home, you’re getting a guard dog, one who will not need to be trained to protect you and your family. The training emphasis therefore should be on fostering the dog to proceed with a welcoming, friendly attitude towards new people, unknown children, and animals both domestic and wild.
While your Bullmastiff will naturally regard unknown people and strangers as potential threats, and proceed in a “guard dog” manner, you and your family will experience the true heart of the Bullmastiff breed. Towards you and your family, your Bullmastiff will be gentle, docile, affectionate, and companionable. Many owners of this majestic breed describe their dogs as loyal, obedient, and nurturing. They are eager to please and playful with a bouncy energy whenever they’re on an outing with their favorite person.
The Bullmastiff is delightfully paradoxical. Gentle yet aggressive. Docile yet energetic. There is the “family” side of this breed’s personality that greatly contrasts its “guard dog” nature, which comes out during times of conflict and confrontation. In the same vein, you will quickly notice your Bullmastiff is highly energetic at times, boasting his agility and inexhaustible strength. While at other times of leisure around the home, your Bullmastiff will be a relaxed lump of content love, hardly willing to lift his giant head to see which family member just went into the kitchen.
The best way to provide your Bullmastiff with the exercise he needs is to take him out for a 1-hour walking and playing outing per day, and this is in addition to his bathroom trips and walks around the block in the early morning and early evening. When walking in public areas, your Bullmastiff should remain on his leash. Only allow him outside off leash on your own property if your boundary lines are fenced in. If your home property does not have a fence, your Bullmastiff will act aggressively towards strange people and animals that walk near or on the property, as he will regard all of the property as his “territory.”
When bringing your Bullmastiff to the dog park, we advise that you proceed with caution. Until your Bullmastiff is trained, trustworthy, and unfailingly obedient to you, it’s not advisable to bring him off leash to a dog park. Only the owner of a Bullmastiff will know the dog’s exact personality and temperament, and so please use your best judgment when you’re deciding whether or not your Bullmastiff is ready for the dog park.
Though the Bullmastiff has a short coat of fur, this breed sheds year-round and requires regular brushing. You can keep shedding under control by brushing your Bullmastiff either once a day or once every three days. We also advise that as part of socializing your Bullmastiff during puppyhood that you bring him to the professional dog groomers where he will be “handled” and groomed by “strangers.” This will help train your Bullmastiff to accept being touched and handled by appropriate people, and will broaden his understanding of “safe places” where he doesn’t need to “have his guard up.” Owners of Bullmastiffs should pay special attention to their dogs’ coats. If the coat and skin become dry, or if they become oily, this is an indication that an underlying health problem could be in the works. If this occurs, bring your Bullmastiff to see the vet for proper diagnosis and possible treatment.
THE JOYS OF OWNING A BULLMASTIFF
To conclude this blog, we have to take a moment to rave about the joys you’ll experience owning a Bullmastiff. Your Bullmastiff’s unique personality will warm your heart. Every quirk, from his hilariously loud snoring to his almost saintly self-restraint from barking will endear him to you! The gentle attitude and docile demeanor of your Bullmastiff around the home will make a wonderful housemate and furry friend, while providing you and your family with a sense of security and protection that few other dog breeds can bring.
Petland Kansas City has adorable Bullmastiff puppies ready to become the newest member of your family. Check out our available puppies page to explore all the dog breeds we currently have at our Overland Park location.