We hope that you enjoy the information on this page about the wonderful Bullmastiff and a bit of history of how they were developed as a breed.
If you would like to see what we strive for in breeding the dogs - please visit our Bullmastiff Breed Standard page.
The Breed Standard is generally what judges at shows concentrate on, and as breeders, we try to achieve dogs with the physical and psychological generalities and 'standards' of excellence within our litters.
The aim of breeding is to improve the stock that you have, certainly not to go backwards in any way!
Combining the Mastiff and the Bulldog was a stroke of genius by the English back in the mid 1800's, with the result being our beloved Bullmastiff that we have today and the only breed of guard dog to be produced in England.
The English estate owners were rather displeased with their game being poached, and employed gamekeepers to protect their properties and its inhabitants full time, and with the poachers being quite dangerous (with the penalty for poaching being death by hanging), the gamekeepers needed a suitable 'partner' in their choice of dog.
It was found that Mastiffs were rather slow and were not really up to the task of chasing down and holding the poachers, and the Bulldogs, who in that era were rather fierce and did quite a bit of damage to their target. Both breeds had their faults for the job at hand, so it was decided to cross the two, and determined that the 60% Mastiff, 40% Bulldog was the ideal mix!
This mixture was eventually called the 'Bullmastiff' and suited the gamekeepers extremely well and were brilliant at their jobs. They were able to track men through the forest at night, they could work quietly and had enough strength, weight and agility behind them to be able to sprint for a short distance after their intended target and bring him down, holding them there til the gamekeeper was able to catch up - but did not do too much damage to them!
Poachers were known to use every trick under the sun to try to escape as they knew that if caught - the result would be final - at the end of the
The life of a Gamekeepers Dog was not one for the faint hearted, the Bullmastiff had to be full of courage and sadly, dogs were killed by the poachers who were trying anything in their power to escape. The Gamekeepers were extremely pleased with the breed as they performed the tasks required well and with an experienced handler, were easy to train.
For those who are perhaps a novice at training and handling dogs - they have the smarts to take advantage if they feel their human is not as confident as they need to be about their training abilities. Having said that - they are a very docile, easygoing, loyal and devoted dog, and if their owners are welcoming to strangers - the Bullmastiff will welcome them too - if not - they will protect their family.
Whilst not a 'giant breed' - Bullmastiffs are large dogs - both in height and stature. The Breed Standard expects the males to be between 25 and 27 inches at the withers, and between 110 and 130 lbs in weight. Females are slightly smaller - between 24 and 26 inches and 100 - 120 lbs in weight. The Bullmastiff comes in a variety of colours - all having a black mask covering the muzzle and up over the eyes, they are found in Fawn, Red and Brindle.
The Brindle being the colour favoured by the Gamekeepers due to them being well camouflaged at night in the forest!
Over time, the large estates were divided and the need for the Bullmastiff as a gamekeepers companion dwindled. As this occurred, they were bred for famly companions and the brindle colour became less popular and the fawns and reds came into fashion. All three colours are 'correct' for the breed - and it is a matter of personal choice and preference these days, and any dog of good conformation, with a short, smooth coat, meeting the breed standard is perfectly acceptable and are wonderful companions!
The downside to the breed is that they are relatively short lived. As with all bigger breeds of dogs - their life span is not overly long -
however 8 to 10 years is the average. There will always be exceptions to that rule of course!
Bullmastiffs can be extremely stubborn, they slobber everywhere, and if purchasing from a reputable breeder will be quite expensive - be sure to check that your breeder has records showing their breeding dogs health - as hip and elbow dysplasia, interdigital cysts, entropian and entropian (eye issues) and early death from cancer are all issues that can affect Bullmastiffs.
The advantages of the breed are that they are very mellow, chilled out and easy to get along with, they do not require a huge amount of exercise.
They are intelligent, loyal, fairly quiet (ie: they wont bark their heads off like some other breeds of dogs - they dont tend to bark at shadows or invisible gremlins!!!), great guard dogs and protectors of their family however are not at all vicious, they are sensitive and willing to please and learn.
They read their owners body language and tension levels in situations and will accept people that their owners are friendly towards and if their owner is taken aback by someone - or clearly does not like them - the Bullmastiff will put themselves between their owner and the 'intruder' and will not be overly friendly towards them themselves!
Sadly, Bullmastiffs do end up in rescue situations and the reasons are as varied as there are situations, though is rarely, if ever, because they have not gotten as 'big' as the owners were hoping. Generally it is because folk are moving and cannot or will not take their dog with them, marriage/relationship breakdowns, rental properties that do not allow animals/dogs and the people went ahead and got one anyhow - and now have to part with it as their landlords have cracked down, and on occasion they end up in shelters after being collected as strays. It is extremely rare to have a Bullmastiff surrendered or end up abandoned because of the dog itself - generally its the idiot owners! This is generally true for most breeds of dog/cat/companion animal!
General commonsense, experience with larger breeds of guard type dogs, people who are willing to learn and take direction/advice from those who know the breed well, who have a well fenced yard or if in a house or unit without yard access - someone who is going to walk the dog regularly and take proper care of it are considered for our pups. Anyone who is after a big agressive dog to match their own ego and lifestyle is generally not the type of person we are after for our fur kids lifelong homes!
If socialised well - Bullmastiffs get along with their other family members no matter the species.... it is not generally recommended that you raise a Bullmastiff and when it is an adult, try to introduce another dog. The Bullmastiff will possibly see the other dog as a threat to his/her family and can be a little agressive towards them. If you socialise your Bully early on in its life - you should have a nice, well mannered, easy to get along with pet.
As a general rule - Bullmastiffs need an owner who is strong willed, dominant and consistent with the 'house rules' and can provide discipline as well as love, affection and respect at all times.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any information about our Bullmastiffs, or the breed in general. We are only too happy to help