Canine Breed Menu

Gamekeeper's Nightdog

Gamekeeper's Nightdog

No Additional Pictures
Breed Organization
American Bullmastiff Association
Native Country
Great Britain
Other Names
Guardian Dog, Bullmastiff
Life Expectancy
Approximately 8-10 Years
Litter Size
Average 4-12 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC - Working
Breed Appearance
The bullmastiff is a large breed of domestic dog. It has a solid build and a short muzzle. The bullmastiff shares the characteristics of Molosser dogs, and was originally developed by 19th-century gamekeepers to guard estates. The breed's bloodlines are drawn from the English Mastiff and Old English Bulldog. It was recognized as a purebred dog by the English Kennel Club in 1924. They are a very quiet dog; they very rarely bark.

Breed Description
Head: Broad. Strong, square skull. Skin on face is wrinkled when dog is alert. Distinct stop. Well developed cheeks. Short, broad muzzle. Flews must not be pendulous.
Ears: Small, V-shaped, set on high and placed wide apart. Darker color than the rest of the coat.
Eyes: Medium size. Dark or hazel color.
Body: Powerful. Very muscular neck. Broad chest. Muscular shoulders.
Tail: Set high, strong at the base and tapering to the tip. Carried straight or curved and reaching the hocks.
Hair: Short, hard, close-lying.
Coat: Any shade of brindle, red, or fawn. White spot on the chest is acceptable. Black mask on the muzzle. Dark markings around the eyes.
Size: Dog: 63 to 68 cm. (25-27 in).Bitch: 61 to 66 cm. (24-26 in).
Weight: Dog: 50 to 59 kg. (110-130 lb).Bitch: 41 to 50 kg. (90-110 lb).

The Bullmastiff was bred to aid gamekeepers in protecting the game on large English estates. Poaching on the estates was an expensive problem for the landowners, and it was the gamekeeper's duty to catch the thieves. Gamekeepers needed a dog that could track quietly, cover short distances quickly, and pin and hold poachers without mauling them.

Gamekeepers experimented with several breeds, looking to the mastiff, who was too slow, and then the bulldog, who was at the time a more ferocious dog than he is today. Out of these breeds, the bullmastiff was born. He combined the best of both breeds for the job required of him. He is now primarily a family companion with a calm, dependable disposition when properly trained and socialized.

Active, agile, showing great endurance and of solid build, the Bullmastiff has a symmetrical appearance. He is earnest, courageous and alert, making him an excellent guard dog. However, he is loyal and gentle, an excellent playmate for children. The Bullmastiff has a very keen sense of smell and a dominant personality. Early, firm, (though gentle) training is required. Bullmastiffs are strong, powerful but sensitive dogs. For a bullmastiff to become a well-behaved family member, consistency is needed. Training and socialization is of high importance. Dogs of this breed are natural guardians of their home and owners. No special guard training is needed for a bullmastiff to react appropriately if his family is endangered. Special approach to bullmastiff training is needed, because these dogs do not like to repeat the same actions again and again. Activities bullmastiffs can really enjoy are obedience, agility, tracking, and carting.

Hip dysplasia, cancer, tumors, and gastric torsion or bloat (twisted stomach). Other health concerns include elbow dysplasia, eye problems, cardiac disease, hypothyroidism, kidney problems, and panosteitis (bone disease).

The Bullmastiff is not a good house dog. He needs a lot of space and exercise. Regular brushing of the coat and cleaning of his folds are required.

Guard and Defense Dog, Police and Army Dog, Pet.

Horse Herd