The Bullmastiff is a large, powerful-looking breed that originated in England from the cross between the English Mastiff and old-time Bulldog. Although the origin of the name Mastiff is unknown, there are wall carvings of mastiff-type breeds in ancient Ninevah that date back to 640 B.C. Unlike many types of hunting breeds, Bullmastiffs were originally bred by gamekeepers during the 19th century to hunt down and catch poachers on their property. The breed was given the nickname "Gamekeeper's Night Dog" for their ability to stalk poachers in complete silence. Today, these massive dogs are mostly kept as estate guardians and watchdogs but over the decades, the breed has developed a more docile temperament, making them more acceptable as a family companion.
Although not quite as large as their Mastiff cousin, Bullmastiffs are still a massive molossus-type breed that can tip the scale at 100 to 130 pounds. Showing great strength and endurance, they are mostly recognized for their large size and powerfully-built body with a short coat that comes in shades of red, fawn, or brindle. The Bullmastiff has a large, broad head with dark medium-sized eyes and high V-shaped ears, giving them an expression of confidence and alertness. The muzzle of the breed is broad with a black nose, and the tail can be either straight or curved but is never carried high.
The Bullmastiff is commonly described as being confident, reliable, and fearless yet docile to make an excellent guardian. Even though these massive dogs look intimidating and tend to be standoffish towards strangers, they can be fairly affectionate and loving towards their friends and family members. Similar to many guard dog breeds, Bullmastiffs will protect their family at all costs, especially children, and plenty of socialization is needed to avoid over-protective behavior and aggression towards others. The breed is known for their intelligence and willingness to please but with a mind of their own and a lot of power, it is very important that obedience training is done as early as possible while they can still be controlled. Some Bullmastiffs may or may not be tolerant of dogs of the same sex, especially between two males, and tend to not be tolerant of cats because of their high prey drive. They are not considered to be active dogs and are just as happy to lay around the house next to their favorite human but occasional exercise is appreciated. Drooling is a part of the experience of owning a Bullmastiff, be prepared to clean drool streaks from your floor and clothes! Always devoted to their loved ones, a well-trained and well-socialized Bullmastiff can make for an excellent family pet and guardian.