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Country/Date of Origin: Great Britain/1800s

The recipe for a Bullmastiff was 4 parts Bulldog and 6 parts Mastiff. The concoction was created to help gamekeepers catch poachers on English estates. In the late 19th Century their job was very dangerous. The penalties for poaching were so severe that a criminal would rather try his luck shooting it out with the keeper than face the law. The big, agile dog inherited the best of both ancestors. From the Mastiff it got size and courage. From the Bulldog it got aggression and agility. After a few generations, the mixture mellowed into exactly the kind of deterrent the gamekeepers needed. The dogs caught poachers not so much by biting them but by using their weight and knocking them down. Then, they would hold the culprit until the gamekeeper could take over. The Bullmastiff was granted breed status by the British Kennel Club in 1924 and by the American Kennel Club in 1933.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Gamekeeper's Nightdog

AKC Group: Working

Breed Club: American Bullmastiff Association

Rescue Club: Bullmastiff Rescue Resource Center

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Body Type:

  • Large, imposing dog of a definite Mastiff type
  • Height: 25-27 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 90-130 pounds
  • Tail is set high, thick at the base and then tapering at the end. It is not altered
  • The v-shaped hanging ears are not altered. Their small size gives the head a square appearance


  • Luckily, most members of this breed are gentle and even-tempered. A cranky or irritable Bullmastiff is a menace to society
  • Intelligence is not the strong suit for this breed. However, it can be trained to obey basic commands. Just don't ask them to do anything too complicated
  • It only confuses them
  • Fearless and will not back down from man or beast. It is important to remember the original purpose of this dog


  • Short and smooth
  • Permissible colors are red, brindle, or fawn all with black face markings called a "mask." The ears must also be of a darker color than the body
  • Minimal grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Possible hypothyroidism
  • Bloat
  • Occasional eyelid abnormalities
  • Some bone ailments
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Puppies in this breed are clumsy oafs, big clumsy oafs
  • They tend to be wild too
  • Not suggested for a family with toddlers and smaller children that could be knocked over
  • Big, powerful and assertive, this is not recommended as a breed for first time dog owners

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