Bull Mastiff

By Dr Eloise Bright 8 Min Read

The Bull Mastiff is a cross between a bulldog and the Old English Mastiff and has a reliable and gentle temperament.

Originally Bull Mastiffs were bred as guard dogs, however they are big gentle giants and rarely bark. These large, powerful dogs can be clumsy, and will often continue growing until almost 3 years of age. They can be incredibly docile, loving dogs with a good-natured temperament, but will need a firm, consistent trainer to ensure they are easy to manage.If you live with a Bull Mastiff you will need to get accustomed to plenty of drool, otherwise they are fairly low maintenance. They do get a number of hereditary health conditions, common to larger breed dogs.


I would love to live with a family that loves me, will spend time playing and walking with me and who won’t mind my slobbers and snores. I don’t like to be banished to the back yard, so please keep me inside and treat me as part of the family. Ideally I would like lots of space and in return I will make sure my family is safe.


Lifespan 8-10 years
Weight 41-59 kg
Height (at shoulder) 61-69 cm



Gentle – the gentle Bull Mastiff loves to cuddle up on the couch and be with the family. They are lovable, sweet and kind and despite their enormous size they would never (deliberately) hurt a fly.

Stubborn/strong willed – Bull Mastiffs are known to be a little stubborn at times. They can be easily trained if motivated and only positive training methods are used, but they will often have a mind of their own.

Loyal – A Bull Mastiff will often bond very closely to their family and be extremely loyal. This can translate to a dog that is not suited to long periods of being alone and perhaps even a bit snappy if not socialised appropriately.


Exercise Requirements High – 1-2 hours per day
Training Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Apartment Friendly? No


Bull Mastiffs require consistent, gentle training. They can be sensitive dogs, but they do need ground rules and training, particularly leash training. Early socialisation will go a long way towards ensuring your dog is polite and well-mannered around other dogs and young children.

No specific guard dog training is required to teach your dog to look after your property. Naturally these dogs have a great guarding instinct, so training them to be aggressive in any way is not necessary. In fact training your dog to attack is actually very dangerous, as dogs are not moral creatures that can tell the difference between friend or foe.


Trips to the Groomer No- easy care at home
Tick Friendly? Yes
Hypoallergenic No
Brushing Low – Little to now brushing
Hair fall Moderate Shed- will drop some hair, but not excessive
Coat Type Short


Bull Mastiffs have a low maintenance coat, with minimal brushing or bathing required. They may require ear cleaning regularly due to their smaller ears and tendency towards greasy skin.


Good With Kids Good – okay with older kids, but maybe not those under 5
Good With Other Small Pets Low – Strong prey drive, best kept separate from other smaller species
Sociability Medium – Can live alone or with others.


Bull Mastiffs are big gentle giants, but should be supervised around smaller pets and young children. They do have a strong chase instinct and have a tendency to bowl over small children.


Overall Expenses (Annual) Medium – $1500-$2000
Veterinary Expenses (Annual) Medium – $200-$500
Food Expenses (Weekly) High – $20-$30+




Hip Displaysia – Bull Mastiffs are prone to hip dysplasia, and while more breeders are hip scoring in an attempt to breed out this devastating disease, in some cases it can still occur, particularly with overfeeding at a young age.

Elbow Dysplasia – This common cause of fore-limb lameness occurs in many large breeds and is caused by several possible defects, including osteochondrosis and an incongruous growth rate between the radius and ulnar of the fore-arm. This disorder is another reason not to overfeed a growing Bull Mastiff.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – This disease causes progressive blindness and is common in many breeds. There is a DNA test to detect carriers of the faulty gene.

Entropion – in some cases the eyelids roll inwards a little, causing the eyelashes to irritate the eye and in some cases cause painful corneal ulcers and vision loss. The condition is easily corrected with surgery.


Because hip dysplasia is common, ensure your breeder is only using dogs with good hips as breeding animals. You will still need to be careful about feeding your growing Bull Mastiff to his energy requirements, with no extra. Also avoid supplementing with calcium or excessive exercise.

Bull Mastiffs can be prone to ear infections, so ask your vet to show you how to do regular ear cleaning if your dog shakes his head or scratches around his ears.

Your vet can also advise you if there are any eye abnormalities you need to be aware of with your growing Bull Mastiff, and your dog should be regularly examined every 6 months for problems.


Bull Mastiffs were originally an English breed used to guard estates from poachers. They were trained not to bite intruders, just to pin them down and hold them until the game keeper arrived.
Bull Mastiffs date back in records as far as 1795, but were registered as purebreds in 1924. They were originally a combination of a Bulldog and a Mastiff and were the only true guarding breed from England.



Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

The ASPCA often has Bull Mastiffs for adoption; just do an advanced search on their adoption page.



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Dr Eloise is a Clinical Lead at Love That Pet and one of our resident pet care experts. She also curates the select range of vet recommended and approved products which feature on our site.
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