Bullmastiffs were developed as overseers of livestock and flocks. They took their responsibility seriously and developed a reputation for fearlessness in the face of predators. Bullmastiffs were also invaluable to gameskeepers, patrolling the grounds and stopping poachers from hunting the stock. They were trained not to hurt people and would stalk the poachers and keep them subdued until backup arrived to arrest the trespasser.
Today Bullmastiffs maintain their imposing figure and watchful eye, but make a generally docile family pet. It takes a lot to provoke a Bullmastiff and despite what their appearance may suggest, they get along just fine with children. They make great farm dogs, happily keeping an eye on livestock and accompanying farmers as they do their chores.
Weighing as much as 130 pounds, Bullmastiffs need a big house and a lot of room to exercise and should not be kept in an apartment or condominium. Their body size makes getting the proper amount of exercise a challenge – they need enough to stay in shape and keep their minds active, but if exercised too much, they can develop joint problems. They should not be over exercised in summer months.
Bullmastiffs are not for the soft of heart. They are stubborn and willful and need a great deal of consistency and confidence from a leader or they will quickly take over the house. Training should be done with calm-assertiveness, lots of positive reinforcement and plenty of treats. They will test boundaries and employ manipulation to get their own way.
This breed is not for the first time dog owner, either. They need constant reinforcement of leadership roles and their socialization with people and animals should be ongoing. In short, living with a Bullmastiff is a commitment to ongoing work. They are like perpetual teenagers, testing boundaries and ignoring the rules, just to see if they can get away with it. Consistency is the key ingredient to training a Bullmastiff.
They are highly protective of their people and property and it is highly unlikely that a strange animal will ever be welcome in a Bullmastiff's yard. They do fine in a multiple dog home, if raised alongside other animals, but new dogs (especially of the same sex) should not be introduced into a Bullmastiff's home. This breed is fearless and will not back down if provoked by another animal.
Despite his protective instincts, when properly socialized around people and animals, Bullmastiffs are generally docile animals and can be trusted with new people.
This breed is prone to drooling, snorting, snoring, and flatulence.