The Bullmastiff is a large and powerful breed with a muscular build. It is a molosser type breed, and came about as a cross between the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog. The head and muzzle are broad and relatively square. The ears naturally fold downwards, and are usually left as-is. Cropping of the ears occurs rarely, if at all. The coat is short and fine, with fawn, red and brindle being the most common color variations. White markings are sometimes seen on the chest.
The Bullmastiff temperament is usually described as independent, calm, and docile. They are not generally agressive, and are mostly friendly towards humans and other dogs. In comparison with other breeds, they do not bark often, but may bark on alarm. Several health problems are common among the breed, with hip dysplasia being the most common due to the dog’s size. Hip dysplasia occurs in approximately one quarter of all Bullmastiffs.
The Bullmastiff was originally bred in England during the late 1700′s to early 1800′s. Their original purpose was to help guard the estates of gamekeepers. They were trained to tackle and hold down intruding poachers, but were not trained to bite them. Both their large size and gentle temperament reflect this. Today, their large and lovable nature lends itself well to life as a family pet. Despite originally being bred as a guard dog, they are not usually used for that purpose today. Though their large size is intimidating, they do not have the nerves or temperament required of guard dogs today. More common working breeds such as the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd are better suited to guard work, while the Bullmastiff is best left as a pet or companion dog.