The Bullmastiff is a very strong and powerful dog. Known for their excellent intelligence, they make outstanding family pets and protectors for those who fully understand the breed’s nature. They have a calm and dependable disposition when properly trained and socialized. Bullmastiffs can be very determined and need a strong hand to lead them. Yet they are gentle loving dogs who enjoy pleasing their owners. Bullmastiffs are remarkable protectors of their homes and family members. They do not require any type of protection training as it is a natural instinct bred into them.
Physical CharacteristicsBullmastiffs are solid built dogs. They have large frames and a very powerful appearance. Bred to be the guards of estates and game preserves where silence was a virtue, most Bullmastiffs are not big barkers.
Known for their large heads, black masks and short muzzles, Bullmastiffs show keen and alert expressions. Their coats are short and come in a light brown to reddish brown fawn color, light to dark red, or brindle (stripes of fawn and red overlaying each other). Bullmastiffs have striking features and demonstrate keen alertness.
TemperamentBullmastiffs are strong and powerful dogs with natural instincts to be guardians of their homes and family members. Although they need no coaching to guard, consistent training and socialization is necessary for a well behaved family pet. Bullmastiffs are independent thinkers with great intelligence. They are described as fearless, confident, reliable, dependable and very obedient.
Because of their natural instinct to be guard dogs, Bullmastiffs should not be allowed to freely roam. They should be confined to the strict area of their home only. Bullmastiffs will expand their territory to protect should they be allowed to freely roam. They will react appropriately if they feel their family and territory is threatened. Normally this side of Bullmastiffs is not seen unless a threat occurs.
Bullmastiffs are pack animals. It is important for them to be properly trained and socialized. Training techniques are not normally the same as for other dogs. If Bullmastiffs are not trained and left on their own, they will take lead of the family (known to them as their pack) which will promote negative behavior. Consistency is the key when working with them.
Making excellent family pets, the Bullmastiff does well with children. They have a high tolerance of pain which makes them less likely to snap at children when they are pulled and grabbed. However, as with some dogs, a Bullmastiff should not be left alone with children. The breed does not realize its strength and size. They can easily injure a child by knocking them over, hitting them with their large heads or taking a playful swat with their paw. Equally, Bullmastiffs need to be taught to respect children and children need to be taught to respect them.
Their independent nature tends to make Bullmastiffs aggressive towards other dogs although they tend to get along with cats, minus the temptation to give them a chase. During the first few years of a Bullmastiff’s life they may get along well with other dogs. Most of the time there are no problems when a Bullmastiff is paired with another dog of the opposite sex. However, owners must prepare themselves should the situation change. Bullmastiffs are known to suddenly change how they feel about the other dog and turn on them, causing a fight to break out. Dogs who have engaged in fights with Bullmastiffs almost always suffers sever injuries.
Care & GroomingKnown as a wash and wear breed, Bullmastiffs do not require much exercise and grooming. This makes them good large dogs for indoors or apartments. They are the happiest spending time inside with their family members. Because of their short muzzles, they tend to easily overheat. It is best to keep their exercise and outside activities limited to the coolest hours of the day to prevent overheating.
Bullmastiffs do have common health issues, just like any other dog. The most common health issues are bloat, torn anterior cruciate ligaments, subaortic stenosis, cancer, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, skin and coat problems, thyroid problems, and entropin.