Bullmastiffs are smart, confident, and fearless dogs that have a pretty intimidating appearance. They're also incredibly loving, sweet, and like to please their owners. They make great pets (albeit not for first-time pup parents) and can even, despite their size, live in apartments.
But what about a Bullmastiff guard dog? Is it worth considering this breed if you want to protect your family or property?
History of the Bullmastiff
These large dogs were originally bred in the 1800s on big estates in England. Landowners needed a dog with a ferocious appearance but which wasn't overly aggressive. They had to be intelligent enough to hunt out poachers, quick enough to outrun them, and strong enough to hold them down should they need to.
After experimenting with a few different breeds, they finally found the perfect combination by crossing a Mastiff with an English Bulldog. Mastiff breeds had the ideal size but didn't have the aggressive streak needed to chase intruders.
Bulldogs, however, weren't big enough to hold down a man. The two together, however, made the perfect pup. They were so good at their job that they started to be called the Gamekeeper's night dog.
With the decline of estates and poaching, Bullmastiffs started to take on a new role – being an excellent guard dog. Over time, the Mastiff coloring of a fawn coat with a dark muzzle and face became more common and these pups were adopted into families across England and the United States.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the Bullmastiff as a breed (rather than a Mastiff/Bulldog cross) in 1934.
Are Bullmastiffs good guard dogs?
Yes, Bullmastiffs are amazing guard dogs. In fact, some say they're the best breed to get if you're looking for a pup to protect your home.
Because of their history guarding estates, they're naturally very protective over land and loved ones. As is the case with many large dog breeds, the Bullmastiff's appearance is often enough to deter any intruders.
Male dogs can grow to 27 inches tall and weigh 130 pounds! You certainly wouldn't cross one if you saw one (well, maybe just a Bullmastiff puppy)!
Unlike other adult dogs that guard, Bullmastiffs are large but very fast. They also don't bark a lot and are sometimes called ‘The Silent Watchdog' because they were initially trained to silently track and pin down poachers (or other intruders) rather than to bark and chase them away.
Just because Bullmastiffs are one of the best guard dogs you could choose, it doesn't mean that they are (or that they should be) aggressive. Bullmastiff puppies should be trained from an early age and always adopted from a reputable breeder who cares about aggression and health. You could also check in animal shelters.
Whether you have a young pup or an adult dog, you need to make sure your pup is well socialized so that they don't become wary of all strangers. If Bullmastiffs don't learn to behave around non-threatening humans, their strength and strong personality could be a real problem.
Bullmastiffs are not a good choice for first-time dog owners as it takes a lot of experience to train them to be loving members of the family, fiercely loyal, and the perfect dog to look after your property. If you're a bit of a novice, there are plenty of other dogs better suited to first-time owners!
Are Bullmastiffs a safe family dog?
When trained and socialized from a young age, Bullmastiffs can be wonderful family dogs. Regardless of their size, they don't need a huge amount of exercise and, unlike many dogs, can adapt well to apartment living (although a yard is preferred). They can be quite intimidating for young children and small dogs but consistent training can help to reduce that.
A Bullmastiff is generally a healthy dog but it can suffer from some health conditions associated with gentle giants, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Regular vet checkups can help to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible!
A Bullmastiff guard dog is a great idea if you want a pup that's loyal, strong, intelligent, and an awesome family member. They need a lot of training so that their strength and size don't get the better of them, but with that and plenty of socialization, they will make sure that you, your family, and your property are safe!
Do you have a particularly protective pup? What breed are they?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!