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Bullmastiff Information

AKC & UKC Breed Standards

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Bullmastiff Breed Standard

American Kennel Club Working Group

Approved Feb 8, 1992  Effective Mar 31, 1992



The known history of the Bullmastiff begins about the year 1860 in England. The problem of keeping large estates and game preserves free from poachers was an acute one. The gamekeepers enlisted the aid of a dog to aid in guarding off poachers. They needed fearless dogs that would attack on command, for those needs they crossed the Mastiff with the Bulldog, the Bullmastiff was founded. Dogs of dark brindle color were preferred for the work at night. They were referred to as the Night Dog.


The English Kennel Club recognized the Bullmastiff as a purebred dog in 1924. The American Kennel Club recognized the Bullmastiff in October of 1933.


General Appearance

That of a symmetrical animal, showing great strength, endurance, and alertness; powerfully built but active. The foundation breeding was 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog. The breed was developed in England by gamekeepers for protection against poachers.


Size, Proportion, Substance

Size--Dogs, 25 to 27 inches at the withers, and 110 to 130 pounds weight. Bitches, 24 to 26 inches at the withers, and 100 to 120 pounds weight.

     Other things being equal, the more substantial dog within these limits is favored.

Proportion--The length from tip of breastbone to rear of thigh exceeds the height from withers to ground only slightly, resulting in a nearly square appearance.



Expression--Keen, alert, and intelligent. Eyes Dark and of medium size.

Ears--V-shaped and carried close to the cheeks, set on wide and high, level with occiput and cheeks, giving a square appearance to the skull; darker in color than the body and medium in size. Skull Large, with a fair amount of wrinkle when alert; broad, with cheeks well developed. Forehead flat.


Muzzle--Broad and deep; its length, in comparison with that of the entire head, approximately as 1 is to 3. Lack of foreface with nostrils set on top of muzzle is a reversion to the Bulldog and is very undesirable. A dark muzzle is preferable.

Nose--Black, with nostrils large and broad.

Flews--Not too pendulous.

Bite--Preferably level or slightly undershot. Canine teeth large and set wide apart.


Neck, Topline, Body

Neck--Slightly arched, of moderate length, very muscular, and almost equal in circumference to the skull.

Topline--Straight and level between withers and loin.

Body--Compact. Chest wide and deep, with ribs well sprung and well set down between the forelegs.

Back--Short, giving the impression of a well balanced dog.

Loin--Wide, muscular, and slightly arched, with fair depth of flank.

Tail--Set on high, strong at the root, and tapering to the hocks. It may be straight or curved, but never carried hound fashion.



Shoulders--muscular but not loaded, and slightly sloping.

Forelegs--straight, well boned, and set well apart; elbows turned neither in nor out. Pasterns straight, feet of medium size, with round toes well arched. Pads thick and tough, nails black.



Broad and muscular, with well developed second thigh denoting power, but not cumbersome. Moderate angulation at hocks. Cowhocks and splay feet are serious faults.



Short and dense, giving good weather protection.



Red, fawn, or brindle. Except for a very small white spot on the chest, white marking is considered a fault.



Free, smooth, and powerful. When viewed from the side, reach and drive indicate maximum use of the dog's moderate angulation. Back remains level and firm. Coming and going, the dog moves in a straight line. Feet tend to converge under the body, without crossing over, as speed increases. There is no twisting in or out at the joints.



Fearless and confident yet docile. The dog combines the reliability, intelligence, and willingness to please required in a dependable family companion and protector.

200816101702 https://www.thedogplace.org/Breeds/Bullmastiff/Breed-Standards-AKC-UKC.asp

Bullmastiff Breed Standard

United Kennel Club Guardian Dog Group

Recognized in 1948



In its present form, this is a fairly new breed, developed about 1860. The purpose for the development of the breed (a 60% Mastiff, 40% Bulldog cross), was to stop poaching in the English estates. The landowners wanted the poachers thrown and held but not mauled. The Mastiff, while powerful and courageous, was not fast enough and sufficiently aggressive. The Bulldog was a little too ferocious and not large enough for the task. This cross resulted in the development of a breed that was totally utilitarian.


The Bullmastiff was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1948.


General Appearance

The Bullmastiff is symmetrical in structure. The breed is powerfully built, showing great strength and endurance, and is active. It is alert and fearless, yet docile in manner. It may be red, fawn or brindle in color, with a natural tail and ears.


Characteristics High spirited, alert and reliable, the Bullmastiff is a dependable family companion and protector.


Head The head is broad with well-developed cheeks and a fair amount of wrinkles showing when the dog is alert.


Skull is large and square; the circumference of the skull may be equal to the height of the dog at the shoulder. The stop is pronounced.


Muzzle is short, blunt and squared off. It is approximately one-third of the length of the entire head. The flews are not pendulous. A dark muzzle is preferred. Serious Faults: Lack of foreface, with the nostrils set on top of the muzzle such as in the Bulldog.


Teeth A full complement of large, strong, white teeth meet in a level or slightly undershot bite. The canine teeth are large and set wide apart.


Nose Black. The nostrils are large and broad.


Eyes The eyes are dark and of medium size. They are set well apart, and there is a furrow between them. Serious Faults: Light or yellow eyes.


Ears are medium-sized, V-shaped ears are set wide and high on the skull, level with occiput and close to the cheeks, giving a squared-off appearance to the skull. Serious Fault: Rose ears.


Neck is slightly-arched, muscular neck is of moderate length; it has almost the same circumference as the skull.


Forequarters The shoulders are muscular, sloping, and powerful, but not loaded.

Forelegs The powerful, straight, well-boned forelegs are set wide apart, showing a straight front. The pasterns are straight and strong.


Body In proportion, the Bullmastiff is just slightly longer, from the breastbone to the buttocks, than he is tall, resulting in a fairly square appearance. The chest is wide and deep, and well let down between the forelegs. The back is short and straight, giving a compact carriage. The loin is wide and has good depth. Faults: Roached back; sway back.


Hind Legs are strong and muscular, with a well-developed second thigh. When viewed from the rear, they are parallel. The hocks are moderately bent. Serious Fault: Cow hocks.


Feet are medium-sized, with well-arched, rounded toes. The pads are thick and tough. Dark toenails are desirable. Serious Fault: Splayed feet.


Tail is set high, and is carried straight or curved. It is strong at the root, and tapers, reaching to the hocks.


Coat is short and dense, and lies flat to the body, giving protection to the weather.


Color Any shade of brindle, fawn or red; to be pure and clean. A slight white marking on the chest is permissible. A dark muzzle is essential. The ears are darker than the body. Disqualification: Albinism.


Height & Weight Males: 25 to 27 inches at the shoulders, and from 110 to 130 pounds.  Females: 24 to 26 inches at the shoulders, and from 100 to 120 pounds. Size is proportionate to weight, with the heavier dog being preferred.


Gait is free and powerful, indicating a sense of purpose. Legs do not cross or interfere and the back remains firm and level.


Disqualifications:  Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.


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