[bool-mas-tif, -mah-stif]

The Bullmastiff is a powerful dog, which was originally a cross between the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog. Originally bred to find and immobilize poachers, the breed has proven its value as a family pet.



Adult male bullmastiffs should be 25 to 27 inches tall (63.5 to 68.5 cm) at the withers and 110 to 130 pounds (50 to 59 kg). Females typically reach 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm) at the withers, and 100 to 120 pounds (45 to 55 kg). Exceeding these dimensions is discouraged by breeders as they are too big to do their jobs.


Any shade of brindle, fawn, or red is allowed as long as the colour is pure and clear. In the United States, however, there is no mention in the standard of the colour being "pure and clear". The fawn is a light tan or blond colour, while the red is a richer, red-brown. This can range from a deep red to a light red merging with the fawn sometimes described as a red-fawn. A slight white marking on the chest is permissible, but other white markings are undesirable. A black muzzle is essential, toning off towards the eyes, with dark markings around eyes contributing to the expression.


The Bullmastiff is courageous, loyal, calm, and loving with those it knows. It has a very strong protective instinct and will defend its owners against anything it perceives as a threat. However, it does not normally attack to protect. Instead, it knocks the intruder over with its massive size and pins them to the ground, or, will simply stand in front of the stranger/intruder and refuse to let them pass. Bullmastiffs become intensely attached to their families and do best when they can live inside with them. Their protective instinct combined with their great size and natural wariness of strangers means that early socialization is a must. The Bullmastiff may or may not get along well with other dogs. Occasionally, females in heat will also not get along with other females. The Bullmastiff gets along well with children and is very loving towards them. Parental supervision must be maintained when they are with children; they may knock smaller children down accidentally because of their large size.


Bullmastiffs are prone to certain hereditary diseases. These include:


Bred by English gamekeepers in the 1800s to tackle poachers, the Bullmastiff (also known as a Gamekeeper's Night Dog) was a cross of 40% English Bulldog for its agility and tenacity (which was the Old English Bulldog, not the short, fat Bulldog of today) and 60% English Mastiff for its size, strength and loyalty. They bark much less often than other breeds, but when they bark they will make your head turn, as it is dark and hollow sounding.

The Bullmastiff was recognized as a pure-bred dog in 1924 by the English Kennel Club.

In October, 1933, The American Kennel Club recognized the Bullmastiff. The first standard for the breed was approved in 1935.

The standard has undergone several revisions since then. The most current version is available on the AKC web site.

Bullmastiffs in popular culture

  • Robbie Williams has a Bullmastiff named Duke
  • Agent 11 (Spot) from See Spot Run was a Bullmastiff.
  • Butkus from Rocky.
  • Paul Sr., the owner of Orange County Choppers, has 2 Bullmastiffs named Gus and Marty.
  • Henry's childhood dog Olive in the film "Stay".
  • The video for the John Conlee song Doghouse used a Bullmastiff named Sachmo
  • Reverend Frank (Robin Williams) owns a Bullmastiff in License to Wed.
  • In the movie "The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)" the hound was a Bullmastiff chosen for his abnormally large size for that of a dog, and of the breed in particular.
  • In the movie Fancy Pants (1950) the dog chase scene near the end of the film includes a Bullmastiff.
  • Singer Christina Aguilera has a Bullmastiff named Cocoa.
  • In the movie "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star", the family dog was a bullmastiff.
  • In the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely comic We3, a bull mastiff is portrayed as the antagonistic Weapon 4.
  • The comic strip Pooch Cafe has a Bullmastiff named Droolia as a regular character.
  • In the movie "Frank", the main character is a bullmastiff.
  • In the movie "Homeward Bound- Lost in San Francisco" Pete the junkyard dog is a bullmastiff.
  • "Hooch" in the Tom Hanks movie "Turner and Hooch" is often mistaken for a bullmastiff. Hooch is actually a Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff).
  • The 1999 movie, The Dogwalker was about a woman who owned a Bullmastiff.

See also

External links

GeneralBreed Standards For Different Countries

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