Is the Bullmastiff
the Right Breed
For You and Your Family?
So you're interested in a Bullmastiff (Bully).
Owning a Bullmastiff can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship that will last years
and years. It can also be the beginning of a huge responsibility for which you may not be
ready. Bullmastiffs are large powerful animals. They are loving, protective, loyal, and
very co-dependant on their humans for companionship. THEY SLOBBER. Are you prepared to
keep a slobber rag handy in each room of your home? These giants can reach anywhere from
90 - 130 pounds. Once their growth stage is completed, they eat an average of 3-5 cups of
high quality food per day. They are very sensitive, and usually a stern voice is all
that's needed for discipline.
There are several issues that you must consider before you determine to
become a Bullmastiff owner. Think about this, and be honest with yourself. Your family,
yourself, and your Bullmastiff are counting on you to make as informed a decision as
possible to ensure a quality of life that can be counted among one of the best experiences
you will have.
DO I REALLY WANT A BULLMASTIFF?
WHY DO I WANT A BULLMASTIFF?
Bullmastiffs are wonderful companions. They are not dogs to be left
outside all day with minimal human contact. Bullmastiffs cannot tolerate even warm weather
due to their short noses and they are cold sensitive due to their short coats. These
Bullies also need to be socialized within the human environment. They need at least basic
obedience training. The last thing you want is a rambunctious 130-lb. cruise missile
running through your house. Is your home large enough for this size of dog? You need room;
your Bullmastiff needs room. A backyard, with good shade, and a well-constructed fenceline
is a must for Bullmastiff owners. Some people have maintained their Bullmastiffs in
apartment settings, but with this environment comes the added responsibility of extra
exercise and walks on a daily basis. If your home is too small for a 130-lb. dog, and you
are not willing to take the responsibility of ownership, then this is not the right breed
for you. We have found that behavioral problems exist when the Bullmastiff was not an
active member of the household, but rather was relegated to the backyard with only minimal
Did I mention that Bullmastiff's slobber? You bet they do! Some
Bullmastiffs will drool more than others, but all Bullmastiffs do to some extent.
Especially after eating, drinking, or hard exercise. Are you willing to do the cleaning
every time your Bullmastiff shakes its head and the slobber paints the walls and ceilings?
Slobber rags are an integral part of ownership, and we suggest keeping one in each room of
your home. Also hand them out to guests as they arrive in your home, after all, it's the
polite thing to do!
Bullmastiffs will also snore. Loudly at times. If you are a light
sleeper, or require peace and quiet during your slumber, think again of another breed. At
times your Bullmastiff will rattle the windows with a good prolonged snort. Your
Bullmastiff, being the sociable fellow that he is, will want to sleep with you, as in
cuddle up with you in the sheets. If not directly on the bed, then they'll want to be in
the same room, to look over you while you sleep. Protective instinct. My Bullmastiff likes
to roam the house at night, checking all the rooms every few hours to be sure all is safe
before returning to the bedroom for a nap. And if he happens upon a pull toy or a favorite
chewy, well, its party time at 2:00 am!
Bullmastiffs are wonderful dogs with children. They are very gentle and
quite tolerant of ear and tail pulls, and they adore licking kids faces. They will protect
their children. And although Bullmastiffs love children, please make sure you supervise
and train your children to respect and treat the dog well. In rescue, we will not place a
Bullmastiff in a family with small children unless that dog has been raised with them in
the previous household. The shear size of a Bullmastiff or its playful paw is enough to
knock a small child down. If you have small children who are just learning to walk, you
may want to wait until they are older before getting a Bullmastiff - whether it's a puppy
or a rescue dog.
Bullmastiff's can be territorial dogs. They will protect their yard,
house, car, and family from people or other dogs. They want it to be known that THIS IS
THEIR YARD. They are dogs that can be very good with other dogs and cats as long as they
have had good experiences with them. If you have an adult male dog already and you are
considering a rescue, you should consider acquiring a female Bullmastiff, and visa-versa.
This is not to say that two male dogs will not get along, but males especially have a
tendency to want to dominate the other.
CAN I REALLY AFFORD TO KEEP A
An adult male Bullmastiff can go through 40-70 pounds of food a month.
That's a rough estimate of $35-$70 a month in quality food alone.
A Bullmastiff due to its size will cost you extra at the vet as well.
Since most dosages are based on weight, you can count on spending 5-10 times as much as
the woman sitting next to you with the little yapper dog. Heartworm, shots, antibiotics,
etc. all can cost more. You can expect to spend an average of $500 to $1000 a year in vet
bills, depending on the age and health of your Bullmastiff. Bullmastiffs are prone to
various health problems, (such as hyperthyroidism, hip/elbow dysplasia, lymphoma sarcoma
(cancer), entropian, etc.), that will require special treatment and medication that can
easily run up a vet bill.
DO I HAVE TIME TO SPEND
TRAINING, EXERCISING, AND GROOMING MY BULLMASTIFF?
A Bullmastiff needs obedience training. It is imperative that obedience
training be done. Think about it. Do you want to ruin that new pair of spiffy loafers when
you take your Bullmastiff for a walk and he decides it's gonna be a tractor pull? I said
it before... these are powerful animals. You must train your Bullmastiff. Bullmastiffs are
stubborn and like to think only of themselves at times, therefore the training they
receive should be of the positive reinforcement variety. All Bullmastiffs respond well to
love, praise, and will do almost anything for a treat. The training should not be
negatively based or your commands will fall on deaf ears, a faraway look, and locked
limbs. Training will benefit you and your Bully, after all, you don't want to be pulled
along like a water skier whenever you go for a walk or imprinted into the ground whenever
you and your Bullem greet.
Exercising a Bullmastiff is not as demanding as exercising one of the
sporting breeds who enjoy chasing frisbees all day long. A Bullmastiff is content with a
couple of walks a day, lasting around 30 minutes. Some love hiking and swimming, but
joggers they are not. The Bullmastiff gait is more of the type seen with large predatory
animals (the lion comes to mind...). They will not jog and should not be forced to do so
as it can be damaging to the joints. As with all large breed dogs, joint problems can
become serious if preventative measures are not taken. Your Bullmastiff would probably be
happy to just curl up on the couch all day and watch those interesting little morsels
running around on the Discovery channel (mine does), but exercise in the proper regime
will add to the health and longevity of your Bullmastiff.
Grooming your Bullmastiff is a simple exercise. A couple of times a week
with a shedding blade or grooming glove is sufficient. Cutting nails and ear cleaning are
very important, and should be done regularly. It should be started early in life, as
wrestling with a Bullmastiff can be quite interesting. You should also brush your
Bullmastiff's teeth (sounds silly, but you dont want your Bullmastiff to have grimy
teeth, and the other advantage is that minty breath!!).
Bullmastiffs are very sociable animals. They want to be with you, take
part in your daily routine, share your life. They love being housedogs and being in close
contact with their humans. They want you to know that they are there for you, that they
love you, and that they will always be yours. Bullmastiffs are a loyal, majestic breed of
dog that is happiest when they're making you happy. Do you own a large vehicle so that
they can ride with you? Bullmastiff's love to go for rides (of course when they hang their
head out the window you just know your gonna have to wash off all the slobber that drooled
down the windows, doors, bumpers, and maybe a couple of the cars behind you!) Will you
take your Bullmastiff to the grocery store, park, beach, post office, etc? Just remember
that putting a Bullmastiff in the back of a truck is not a good idea. He may decide that
the car next to you would be a wonderful toy to chase or that dog standing on the side of
the road is worth checking out.
As stated before, it is an awesome responsibility to own a Bullmastiff.
You must like big, wet, slobbery kisses, because they love to give them. They enjoy
sneaking onto the bed in the middle of the night to cuddle up with you, just to know that
youre there. They love to snuggle, roll around with you, roll on you, over you, and
sit on you. They can be very playful and cute (as much as a 130-lb. dog can be
"cute"). They like to put their paws on you, just for the contact. Big paws.
If you decide that this is the right breed for you, you are an
exceptional person and are to be commended.
But, are you
really sure? Bullmastiff's are not for everyone, but for those who can handle
the responsibility, your Bullmastiff will reward you a thousand times over with a life of
love and companionship unequaled throughout the dog world.
Please remember that your rescue Bullmastiff has been traumatized by the
changes that have occurred in its life. All Bullmastiff's have difficulty with change, and
most times they will not be ready to be the dream dog you've read about or seen on
television. Be understanding of their background and the circumstances that led to rescue
in the first place. Help your Bullmastiff over the rough times, and you will be rewarded
greatly with love and loyalty.
Your Rescue Coordinator will always be there to answer any questions you
may have regarding our majestic breed. If your coordinator cannot answer your questions,
they have the resources and the network help of many other breed specialists to help you
find what you need. We are here to assist you and the rescue Bullmastiff with the best
possible placement and adjustment.
The following article was
edited by Sophie per permission from the Neapolitan and
English Mastiff Rescue stories. Thank you for allowing us to use your