- Occasional references to crosses between mastiff-type dogs and bull-baiting dogs can be found as early as the late 1700s, but no evidence exists that these crosses were perpetuated.
- The documented history of the bullmastiff traces to the late 1800s. Gamekeepers for large estates in England needed a courageous dog to catch and subdue poachers on their land. The dog was to creep up silently and subdue, but not maul, the trespasser. The cross between a mastiff and bulldog provided a dog that combined the speed and strength to do the job.
- The breed was so adept at its work that it was dubbed the "gamekeeper's night dog."
- Dark brindle was preferred because it blended into the darkness at night.
- Lighter fawns later became popular with estate owners who wanted a flashy looking guardian reminiscent of a mastiff.
- Breeders eventually aimed for a pure breeding strain that had the appearance of being 60 percent mastiff and 40 percent bulldog.
- The Kennel Club in England recognized the breed in 1924; the AKC recognized it in 1933.
Bullmastiff Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and protective companion.
- Gentle and generally good with children, but may be overly protective of them when around strangers. As with all large dogs, dogs and children should always be supervised.
- Not easily roused, but fearless when the situation calls for it.
- Tends to be suspicious of strangers. Early socialization is essential.
- Not very friendly toward strange dogs.
- Good with other pets.
- Tends to be stubborn. Rebels against forceful methods.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
Bullmastiff Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and well-mannered housedog.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a moderate walk or short jog.
- The bullmastiff prefers cold weather to warm.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
- Coat is short, straight, and coarse.
- The coat needs only occasional brushing, once every week or so, to remove dead hair.
- Deep facial wrinkles may need cleaning and drying.
- Shedding is average.
- Be prepared for drool.
Suggested Bullmastiff Nutritional Needs
- Bullmastiffs tend to stay in good weight or be slightly overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.