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The Bullmastiff Temperament

Locki and Boo snuggling in our comfortable kennel

The intelligent Bullmastiff is a terrific family dog. He is loyal, loving, good natured and sweet, although they can be aggressive when they feel their family is threatened. When a Bullmastiff has been properly socialized and trained, they are calm and dependable.

This powerhouse of a dog weighs between 40 and 70 kilos and has a mind of his own, with the muscle to back his intentions. He’s devoted to his human family, particularly children, so a well-bred, well-socialised Bullmastiff is an excellent family dog. Just be sure to set boundaries with him from a young age; he needs lots of firm, consistent training and exposure to all kinds of people and situations to develop the common sense and instincts to temper his strength and encourage his kindness.

The Bullmastiff is not highly active, but he successfully competes in obedience, agility, tracking and carting, and he makes a good therapy dog. He’s intelligent and a quick study, but he’s not big on repetitive training.

Bullmastiff’s are guard dogs and will protect their family and property. They require a fenced yard and should never be allowed to roam.

The Bullmastiff does not love other dogs, especially if they are of the same sex. It’s extremely difficult to house a male Bullmastiff and another male dog of any breed together. Even dogs that live in peace for years can one day become implacable enemies. Bullmastiff”s also have a high prey drive, and many Bullmastiff’s cannot live with cats for that reason.

Bullmastiff’s drool. They drool after eating and drinking, exercise, while smelling food, when they’re warm or hot, and when they’re stressed. Drooling is a part of the Bullmastiff experience, although some drool more than others. A safe rule of thumb is that the longer the jowls are, the more drool you can expect from a Bullmastiff. Carrying a drool towel is a good idea, as is accepting the concept of drool streaks on your clothing and belongings.

Despite his size, the Bullmastiff can live in an apartment if you don’t mind constantly bumping into or stepping over him. He doesn’t need much exercise, nor is he much of a barker. His grooming needs are modest, too: brush him a couple of times a week to keep shedding to a minimum, and make sure his ears are clean and his nails are trimmed.

What he does need is to be a part of the family. This is a dog who forms very deep bonds to the humans with whom he lives, and isolating him in the yard or the garage, or expecting him to spend most of his time alone, is guaranteed to make him a very unhappy dog – and a very badly behaved, destructive and possibly dangerous one based on his size.

Make him a family member, and he’ll be a strong, mostly silent guardian of your home and children, and an intensely loyal companion. His training and socialization needs to be taken seriously, starting when he is a puppy, before bad habits have a chance to take hold. In particular, you need to teach your Bullmastiff not to pull on the leash or jump on people, or he’ll be a hazard to anyone he’s around when he’s full-grown. This dog can knock an NFL line-backer off his feet.

Bullmastiff’s usually love children, but the reality of a dog this big is that he can unwittingly hurt or scare a child. Be cautious and always supervise dogs and kids when they’re together. If you have toddlers, consider waiting until they’re older to bring a Bullmastiff into your family.

Other Quick Facts
  • The Bullmastiff’s colours include red, fawn or brindle.
  • Bullmastiffs will drive out unknown animals from their yard and home.
  • Bullmastiff’s do not have a high energy level and are satisfied with short daily walks.

The Bullmastiff breed is gentle and affectionate with family members. Their generally calm, easy-going natures make them good dogs for families with reasonably well-behaved children.

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