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Published on 21 Jun 2021

Bullmastiff enjoying nature and green grass

The Bullmastiff was developed in the 1800’s in England by cross breeding Old English Mastiffs and Old English Bulldogs. They were bred as guard dogs and to protect estates, particularly from poachers who were prolific at the time. By 1924, the breed was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club.

Bullmastiffs are a large dog ranging from around 60 to 69 cm high at the shoulder and weigh around 40 to 59 kg. Females are usually smaller than the males. They have a limited range of colours which includes fawn and red (and shades thereof), or brindle. The life expectancy of the Bullmastiff is 9 to 10 years. They are a brachycephalic breed, although their face is not as flat as some other breeds such as the French Bulldog

Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics


England, 1800’s 


Large; 60 to 69 cm high, 40 to 59kgs

Weight Range

40 to 59kgs


Fawn, red, brindle 

Life expectancy

9 to 10 years


Short, dense, sheds


Gentle, intelligent, brave 

Activity levels

Moderately active 

Best suited for

Active households of experienced dog people 

Apartment friendly

Better suited to larger properties 


Intelligent and even-tempered, the Bullmastiff is a devoted companion and guardian. They are good with children but take their large size into consideration as small children can be easily knocked or pulled over. Legacy of their guarding ancestry, they can be aloof with strangers. Some Bullmastiffs can be aggressive toward unfamiliar dogs, so socialisation and obedience training are important early in life. The Bullmastiff needs a moderate amount of daily exercise to stay fit. They will appreciate a backyard to wander around, so are better suited to larger properties. Overall, the Bullmastiff can make a great family pet in a reasonably active household of experienced dog people. 


The Bullmastiff has a short, dense, coat that sheds but is easy to maintain. They can be quite a slobbery dog so keeping a dedicated cloth or wet wipes on hand to keep their faces (and your furniture!) clean could be handy. Flea control all year around is recommend as is tick control if in a tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Bullmastiff, select a premium large breed dog food appropriate to your dog’s age. Help your fur baby avoid becoming overweight by ensuring that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Bullmastiff walking in a dried field

Common health concerns 

Although the Bullmastiff’s face isn’t as flat as some, it is worth noting that brachycephalic breeds are known for having a higher risk for many major health problems including skin conditions, eye conditions, digestive diseases, and ear infections (PetSure data from 2013 to 2018). Read more about brachycephalic dogs here.

The top reasons why Bullmastiffs visited the Vet excluding routine visits over the 2020 year included allergic skin disease, arthritis, gastrointestinal problems, cancers, and other musculoskeletal complaints such as back pain.   

Table: The five most common reasons for Bullmastiffs to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in the 2020 calendar year:

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
1Skin conditions, including allergic skin disease$288$6,053
2Cancers and tumours$565$6,256
3Ear infections$160$734
4Cruciate disease$1,010$6,482
5Musculoskeletal problems, including lameness and back pain $269$1,406

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider


Bullmastiff feeling tired and lying on the floor

Most popular Bullmastiff names (PetSure data 2020)

Most popular names

  1. Diesel
  2. Kobe
  3. Luna
  4. Bailey
  5. Benny
  6. Boston 
  7. Daisy
  8. Dexter
  9. Freya
  10. Nova

Most popular female names

  1. Luna
  2. Bailey
  3. Daisy
  4. Freya
  5. Kobe
  6. Nova
  7. Pebbles
  8. Ruby
  9. Bambi
  10. Bonnie

Most popular male names

  1. Diesel
  2. Benny
  3. Boston
  4. Dexter
  5. Reggie
  6. Zeus
  7. Alfie
  8. Arlo
  9. Arnie
  10. Barney

Did you know?

Swagger, a 145-pound Bullmastiff, was the mascot for the Cleveland Browns, an American professional football team, from 2014 to 2019. He led the team out of the stadium tunnel onto the field before every home game. Swagger died in 2020, at the age of 6, and his son, SJ (Swagger Junior), is the new mascot.

Where can I get a Bullmastiff?

Although they are a pure breed of dog, breed specific rescues may have Bullmastiffs for adoption. It may also be possible to find a wonderful large dog for your family at the local shelter or rescue organisation who is looking for a loving home. 


  1. American Kennel Club, Bullmastiff, Accessed on 20/05/2021
  2. Australian National Kennel Council 2021, Breed Standard of the Bullmastiff, Accessed on 04/05/2021
  3. Cleveland Browns 2021, Mascots, Accessed on 04/05/2021
  4. Media News Group 2021, Swagger, Beloved Bullmastiff Mascot of Cleveland Browns, Remembered, Accessed on 04/05/2021 is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard); is promoted and distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 38 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partners (including Pet Culture Group Pty Limited ABN: 69 644 613 098; AR 001284860) (PetCulture) and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and PetCulture are authorised representatives of PetSure. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the product disclosure statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Pet Insurance.

Kylie Mitchell

Kylie Mitchell


Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie Mitchell's Pets

  • MeekaMeeka
  • Bei BeiBei Bei
  • NoahNoah

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