Bull mastiffs are a human made breed comprising of 60 per cent Mastiff and 40 per cent Bulldog. The original color of the Bullmastiff helped them blend in to the surrounding landscape at night making them undetectable to people out and about poaching.

They used to be known as the “gamekeepers dog” – The breed would hunt and find poachers and would be able to hold the intruder on the ground with their weight and strength until the owner arrived.

Famous Bull mastiffs include Gus and Marty from American Chopper and also Spot from the movie See Spot Run.

The intelligent and even-tempered Bull mastiff is affectionate, fearless and protective of their family.


The Bull mastiff typically has a powerful build, shows great strength, is sound and active. A well-socialized Bull mastiff will be high spirited, alert and faithful. It will, however, be wary and cautious of strangers or strange situations. They make great watchdogs as they are not barkers unless a stranger comes calling.

Adult dogs are usually calm and quiet, but are highly protective and territorial. They need to be well-socialized at an early age so they learn to tell friend from foe. Like most large breeds of dog, they have strongly defined guarding instincts. A poorly socialized and trained large dog is a significant risk to the community. A well-socialized and trained dog should be able to switch on his protective behaviors if required, but regardless of their large size – They are safe to have around your family & friends.

The Bull mastiff is intensely loyal to its family and does not like to be separated from family life. This is not an outside dog – it needs companionship and attention. Bull mastiffs can also be aggressive with dogs of the same sex and may not readily accept animals from outside the family. However, they are easily trained and very responsive to humane obedience training and good, consistent leadership.


Bull mastiffs have a short, hard and slightly rough coat that is easy to groom and weather resistant, lying flat to the body. They also shed very little. Because they carry a lot of weight, check the feet regularly and keep the nails trimmed.

An overweight Bull mastiff is a short-lived Bull mastiff; excessive weight can cause diseases such as difficulty in breathing, movement difficulties (especially in old age due to the onset of arthritis) and could induce possible cancers.

As adults, regular exercise is a must, such as a daily walk, which will aid in keeping them fit, well-muscled and well socialized. However, in hot weather they can overheat. Bull mastiff puppies should not be taken on long walks as it can put stress on growing bones and soft tissue.

They slobber, snort, grunt and snore, and without a good, natural diet they can suffer awful flatulence. Bull mastiffs cannot tolerate warm weather because they have short noses and their short coat make them sensitive to the cold.

Like all dogs, Bull mastiffs require regular tick, flea, intestinal worms and heartworm treatments. Consult your veterinarian on treatment options. Desexing and vaccination against diseases, such as the deadly parvo virus and highly infectious canine cough, are also important to discuss with your vet.


Bull mastiffs take up a lot of space. They are heavy and like to lean against their owners. They do not do well when left outside all day with minimal human contact as boredom can set in and bad habits can commence, such as chewing, digging etc.

These dogs are protective of and gentle with children; however, like with any dog, adult supervision of your Bull mastiff around children is important. Just like your dog has to learn to behave around children, children also need to be taught how to treat dogs respectfully without hitting, kicking, pinching or tormenting the animals.

Bull mastiffs need space to run around in so they need a secure back garden. They are not suitable for apartment life. An experienced, confident dog owner who will bring out the best in this breed is the ideal owner. A well-bred, correctly trained, socialized and supervised Bull mastiff makes an excellent canine citizen.

Fact file

Breed classification Working Dog
Size Large
Origin England
Lifespan 8 to 10 years
Colors Red, brindle, fawn
Cost up to $2500
Common hereditary problems Hip and elbow dysplasia, entropion, hypothyroidism, lymphoma, arthritis, bloat.