24-27" (61-69 cm) 90-130 lb (41-59 kg) Short hard coat, lying flat to the body. Black muzzle. Brindle, fawn or red. May have white markings.
Like most breeds, the Bullmastiff was bred for a specific purpose. Poaching was an ongoing problem in England throughout the 19th century. As penalties increased, the poachers’ desperation to avoid capture made gameskeeping a high risk job. The gameskeeper needed a strong silent dog that could find and take down a poacher without savaging him. The solution was to cross the Mastiff, a powerful, trustworthy, loyal and brave dog, with the Bulldog, a tough, tenacious no-fuss animal. The result was the “Gameskeeper’s Night Dog” or Bullmastiff. As poaching became less of a problem, the need for Bullmastiffs waned. But interest in this powerful yet calm-natured dog continued. People held contests in which a man would be given the chance to try to outwit a Bullmastiff. The man received a sizeable head start, but the result was inevitable. He would soon be knocked down and held to the ground by the valiant dog, only to be released when the dog’s handler arrived on the scene.
The Bullmastiff is still used as a guard dog and family pet. His highly stable temperament and ability to tolerate discomfort make him surprisingly safe around children. Loyal and protective, he bonds closely to his family. Because he is such a large dog, training at a young age is essential, as is good socialization.