Meet the breed: Bullmastiff

Oct 11, 2014 at 8:25 a.m. ET
Image: Eldad Carin/iStock/360/Getty Images

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We're here to help you meet the breed that's right for you. If you're looking for a devoted guard dog that gets along well with children and cats, learn everything you need to know about the Bullmastiff.

Breed at a glance

  • Devoted
  • Intelligent
  • Fearless
  • High-spirited
  • Excellent guard dog

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As the name suggests, the Bullmastiff is 60 percent Mastiff and 40 percent Bulldog. Bred in England to guard estates from poachers, the idea behind the mix was to create a dog that was larger than the Bulldog, yet a bit faster and more fierce than the Mastiff. Once its services were no longer needed, it was turned into a hunter's companion due to its light complexion. Now, Bullmastiffs are known for their police work, assistance in the military and as excellent family guard dogs.

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Breed standards

  • AKC group: Working Group
  • UKC group: Guardian Dog Group
  • Average lifespan: 8 - 10 years
  • Average size: 100 - 130 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Short and dense
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Powerful, muscular body; large and square head; short muzzle; black nose; dark eyes; V-shaped ears; muscular legs; high tail that is either curved or straight
  • Coloration: Red, brindle or fawn
  • Possible alterations: May have black markings on the body.

Is this breed right for you?

Active yet calm, the Bullmastiff is great for apartment or home life, but it will do best with a small yard and daily walks to avoid behavioral problems. It gets along well with cats, adores children and makes for a wonderful companion dog. Affectionate, the Bullmastiff was taught not to bite, but it is extremely fearless and will attack any threat that comes into range. Because of this, it is best that it is socialized young and trained by a firm yet kind owner. Sensitive, it is easily emotionally scarred and will not do well in a kennel or by being yelled at. Although it does not bark often, it is very loud when it does. A big drooler, snorer and likely to slobber, this is a kind yet messy pup. Not shedding very often, the Bullmastiff is easy to groom.

breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

There is no doubt that the Bullmastiff would prefer to spend its day surrounded by its family. At the heel of its favorite companion, this dog will be its master's shadow whenever it is not snoozing on the couch. After a walk, it'll ensure the home is safe by checking the home's perimeter inside and out. A lover, the Bullmastiff will be happy with a good rubdown as it falls asleep.

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