8 Facts About Bullmastiffs

bullmastiff puppy in a basket

The Bullmastiff is a large working dog breed with a solid build and a short muzzle. Although they are determined and focused while they are working, they are loving, affectionate, and playful when they are at home with the family. Here are a few more facts about Bullmastiffs:

1. They Were Bred to Protect Noble Land

During the mid to late 19th century, English nobles had a big issue with poachers killing animals on their land. Bulldogs and Mastiffs were bred together to create the perfect protector and guardian. From these crosses, the Bullmastiff was born and became known as a prized noble gamekeeper.

These dogs were large, solidly built, and brave. They were focused on their jobs, determined not to give up, and able to think independently in order to get the job done. They routinely patrolled their aristocrat owners’ vast lands to guard against intruders, protect the game on those lands, and protect the aristocrat, their family, and their home.

Before long, English aristocrats were competing to see who had the best Bullmastiffs. As these competitions became more popular, the Bullmastiff became known as a working dog as well as a show dog. This led them to official Kennel Club recognition in 1924 and American Kennel Club recognition in 1934.

2. Bullmastiffs Don’t Tend to Bark or Bite

While Bullmastiffs were trained to be guard dogs, they were also trained not to bite or bark at invaders. The English landowners wanted the intruders to be caught, but not scared off or harmed. Instead, the dogs were taught to track intruders silently and then either pin or hold them down.

These instincts have stuck with Bullmastiffs since then. This guard dog trait makes them excellent family dogs. They will guard your family but not in an aggressive manner provided they have been properly socialized. Poor socialization, especially in protective breeds, often results in aggression in dogs even when that behavior is not usual in the breed.

3. The Rockefellers Brought Them to America

The Rockefellers are well known for many things; bringing Bullmastiffs to America isn’t on the top of that list. But, back in the 1920s, John D. Rockefeller brought Bullmastiffs into the United States to guard his large estate.

Finding his wealth in oil, John Rockefeller built an estate in Tarrytown, New York. He wanted guard dogs to patrol his vast estate, and ended up bringing two Bullmastiffs over from England to do the job. They gained popularity as guard dogs from there.

4. A Bullmastiff Appeared in Rocky

Unlike most famous dogs who appear in films or television, the beloved dog in Rocky was not a trained dog actor, but rather, a family pet. Sylvester Stallone adopted a Bullmastiff named Butkus at six weeks old.

When Stallone realized he couldn’t afford a trained dog for the movie, he decided to use Butkus. After his appearance in Rocky, Butkus became one of the most famous and beloved Bullmastiffs in Hollywood.

5. A Bullmastiff is an NFL Team’s Mascot

The Cleveland Browns football team has a Bullmastiff as their live mascot. His name is Swagger and he attends games with the team and hangs out on the sidelines. He even gives “interviews”, too.

6. Bullmastiffs Are Loving Family Dogs

Although these dogs may look intimidating, some facts about Bullmastiffs are that they are loving, affectionate, and loyal family dogs. They are known for being docile, gentle, and warm with their families. They also tend to get along well with children and other dogs that are part of the family.

Due to their large size, even as a puppy, an excited Bullmastiff can easily knock over small children. Because of this, they may be a better fit for families with older children who won’t be as easily injured by accidental bumps.

They can still be a great fit for families with younger children as long as playtime is supervised and both young kids and puppies are taught how to properly interact with each other.

7. Proper Socialization and Training Are Very Important

Poor socialization and training are some of the most common causes of aggression in dogs. Although proper socialization and training are important for every dog breed, they are particularly important for breeds with protective instincts and guardian backgrounds.

Dogs with a protective instinct tend to be naturally wary of strangers or strange animals. They can also tend to be territorial. They will also often attempt to expand what they consider their territory if their yard is not fenced and they are permitted to roam off-leash.

Without proper socialization and training, the natural suspicion they have can turn into viewing everything as a threat. This often results in aggressive behavior. Although this will be an issue no matter the breed or size of the dog, the consequences can be more disastrous with larger breeds.

As such, it is important to train and socialize a puppy early, often, and throughout their life. In the case of a Bullmastiff, they will retain an initial suspicion of strangers even when they are well-socialized and well-trained. But, they will not be aggressive and will warm up quickly once introduced.

8. Bullmastiffs Need a More Experienced Owner

One of the facts about Bullmastiffs is that they tend to need a more experienced owner. Although Bullmastiffs are intelligent dogs and can pick up on things quickly, they have an independent nature and can be quite stubborn.

In fact, they are considered one of the most independent dog breeds. This, paired with their large size, guardian instinct, and working dog background, makes them difficult for first-time or novice dog owners to handle on their own.

First-time dog owners can do well with a Bullmastiff as long as they are prepared to put in the work and enroll in puppy training classes or enlist the help of a professional trainer. These dogs require consistent training that helps establish rules and routines early on and maintains them throughout training.

As a working dog, they also need a job to do to be happy. Thankfully, they also tend to be athletic dogs and have a moderate activity level. So, training them for dog sports once they’ve finished growing can be a great way to give them the exercise they need while also giving them a job. They tend to excel at scent work, tracking, rally, and obedience. They have even been found to do well in agility as well.

These are just a few facts about Bullmastiffs. If you think this could be the right dog breed for you, learn more about them, and then check out the available Bullmastiff puppies. You could end up finding your new best friend!