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Bullmastiff Lifespan – What to Expect & How to Help a Bullmastiff Live Longer

Written by: Ejay C.
Ejay Cris C. Camposano, hailing from the Philippines, is a proud fur dad to two lovable dogs: a Beagle and a Shih Tzu. A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets. His love for dogs and cats has profoundly influenced his life, leading him to a fulfilling career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. In his writing, Ejay captures the heartwarming bond between pets and their owners, sharing valuable insights and stories with a broad audience of animal lovers.Read more
| Published on February 15, 2024

The Bullmastiff, a formidable yet gentle giant, is a breed known for its physical strength, protective instincts, and loyal companionship. Originating in the 19th century in England, Bullmastiffs were bred by gamekeepers to guard estates against poachers, a task for which their bravery and discretion were unparalleled. Despite their imposing appearance, Bullmastiffs are affectionate with family members and can be excellent household pets if given proper training and socialization. A Bullmastiff’s lifespan typically ranges from 8 to 10 years, somewhat shorter than smaller breeds, yet not uncommon for dogs of their size. Understanding the factors that influence their lifespan and the health challenges they may face is crucial for owners who wish to provide the best care for their gentle giants.

Lifespan Expectancy of a Bullmastiff

Bullmastiffs generally live between 8 to 10 years. Their lifespan is influenced by various factors including genetics, lifestyle, and the care they receive. Providing a loving environment, along with attention to their health, nutrition, and exercise needs, can help maximize their years of companionship.

Common Health Challenges in Bullmastiffs

Bullmastiffs are prone to several health issues that potential and current owners should be aware of. Addressing these conditions early can help manage their impact and extend the dog’s life.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia, a common genetic condition in large breeds, affects Bullmastiffs and can lead to arthritis or mobility problems. Management may include weight control, supplements, or surgery in severe cases.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Also known as bloat, GDV is a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists and fills with gas. Preventive measures include feeding smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding exercise around feeding times.


Hypothyroidism, resulting from an underactive thyroid gland, can lead to symptoms like weight gain, lethargy, and coat problems. It’s typically manageable with medication.


Bullmastiffs have a higher risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma and mast cell tumours. Early detection through regular veterinary check-ups is crucial for treatment and management.

Heart Disease

Heart disease, including aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy, can affect Bullmastiffs. Monitoring for symptoms and regular veterinary care can help manage heart health.

Skin Conditions

Due to their folds and wrinkles, Bullmastiffs may develop skin infections. Regular cleaning and monitoring of their skin can prevent severe issues.

By understanding these health challenges and working closely with a veterinarian, Bullmastiff owners can take proactive steps to monitor and maintain their pet’s health. Regular check-ups, a balanced lifestyle, and immediate attention to any signs of illness are crucial components of caring for a Bullmastiff, ensuring they enjoy a full and happy life.


How Can I Extend the Lifespan of My Bullmastiff?

The Bullmastiff, with its imposing stature and gentle demeanour, captures the hearts of those who seek both a protector and a family companion in their canine friend. Renowned for their loyalty, courage, and affection towards their families, Bullmastiffs are a testament to the unique blend of tenderness and strength. However, as with any large breed, the Bullmastiff faces certain health challenges that can impact their lifespan, typically ranging from 8 to 10 years. Owners of these noble dogs often look for ways to ensure their pets lead not only a happy but also a long life. This article explores actionable strategies, from diet and exercises to preventive healthcare, aimed at extending the lifespan of Bullmastiffs, ensuring these gentle giants enjoy the fullest and healthiest life possible alongside their human families.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential for early detection and management of health issues that are common in Bullmastiffs. These visits can help identify conditions such as hip dysplasia, heart problems, and potential signs of cancer early on when they are more manageable. Vaccinations, parasite control, and routine screenings are part of preventive care that can significantly impact your Bullmastiff’s health and longevity.

Optimal Nutrition

Feeding your Bullmastiff a balanced, high-quality diet tailored to their specific needs is crucial. Proper nutrition supports overall health, aids in managing weight, and can prevent obesity—a common issue in large breeds that can lead to or exacerbate health problems. Consulting with a veterinarian to determine the best diet plan can ensure your Bullmastiff gets the necessary nutrients for a healthy life.

Adequate Exercise

Despite their size, Bullmastiffs do not require excessive exercise but benefit greatly from regular, moderate activity. This helps maintain a healthy weight, supports joint health, and contributes to mental well-being. Activities should be appropriate for their size and physical condition, with special consideration for their risk of overheating and joint stress.

Weight Management

Closely monitoring your Bullmastiff’s weight and keeping it within a healthy range is vital. Excess weight can strain the heart and joints, leading to serious health issues. A combination of a well-balanced diet and regular exercise is key to effective weight management.

Joint Care

Due to their large size, Bullmastiffs are susceptible to joint issues, including hip dysplasia. Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can support joint health while maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on the joints. Regular, gentle exercise helps keep joints flexible.

Monitoring and Managing Heart Health

Heart disease can be a concern for Bullmastiffs. Regular veterinary check-ups that include heart monitoring are important. Symptoms of heart issues, such as fatigue, coughing, or difficulty breathing, should be addressed promptly with your veterinarian.

Skin and Coat Care

Proper care of your Bullmastiff’s skin and coat can prevent infections and parasites. Regular grooming, including brushing and baths, helps manage shedding, prevents matting, and allows for early detection of skin issues. Paying attention to the unique needs of their skin, especially in folds, can prevent infections.

Preventive Health Measures

Implementing preventive health measures can significantly impact your Bullmastiff’s longevity. This includes maintaining a routine of vaccinations and parasite control to protect against diseases and infections. Additionally, consider preventive strategies for bloat, such as feeding smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding vigorous exercise around feeding times.

Early Socialization and Training

Early socialization and consistent training are crucial for Bullmastiffs, not only for their behavioural development but also for their overall well-being. Socializing your Bullmastiff from a young age exposes them to various people, animals, and situations, promoting confidence and reducing stress and anxiety. Training that emphasizes positive reinforcement builds a strong bond between you and your dog, encourages good behaviour, and mentally stimulates your Bullmastiff, keeping them engaged and happy. A well-socialized and trained Bullmastiff is more likely to lead a balanced, stress-free life, contributing positively to their health and longevity.

Regular Health Screenings

In addition to routine veterinary check-ups, regular health screenings for breed-specific conditions can play a vital role in extending your Bullmastiff’s life. Genetic testing for conditions such as hip dysplasia, cystinuria, and heart disease can provide valuable information on your dog’s health risks. Proactive monitoring allows for early intervention and management strategies that can significantly improve your dog’s quality of life. Discuss with your veterinarian the most appropriate screenings for your Bullmastiff based on their age, health history, and breed predispositions.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is an often-overlooked aspect of a Bullmastiff’s health that can impact their overall lifespan. Poor dental health can lead to periodontal disease, which may cause systemic health problems affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys. Regular brushing of your Bullmastiff’s teeth, along with professional dental cleanings as recommended by your veterinarian, can prevent dental issues and contribute to better overall health. Introducing dental care routines early and consistently can help your Bullmastiff become comfortable with the process, ensuring their teeth and gums remain healthy throughout their life.

Environmental Enrichment

Creating an enriching environment for your Bullmastiff can significantly enhance their quality of life. Environmental enrichment includes providing a variety of toys, engaging in interactive play, and offering opportunities for mental stimulation, such as puzzle feeders. An enriched environment helps prevent boredom and associated behavioural issues, reduces stress, and promotes physical and mental activity. Ensuring your Bullmastiff has access to a safe, comfortable space, both indoors and outdoors, where they can explore, play, and rest, is essential for their well-being.

Addressing Obesity Proactively

Proactively managing your Bullmastiff’s weight is critical for preventing obesity, a significant health risk for large breeds. Obesity can exacerbate joint problems, increase the risk of heart disease, and lead to other health complications. Monitoring your Bullmastiff’s diet, ensuring they receive balanced nutrition, and adjusting food intake based on their activity level are key steps in maintaining a healthy weight. Regular, moderate exercise tailored to their needs supports weight management and overall health. Consult with your veterinarian to develop a nutrition and exercise plan that’s right for your Bullmastiff.

Emotional Support and Companionship

The emotional health of your Bullmastiff is as important as their physical health in extending their lifespan. Bullmastiffs thrive on companionship and can become stressed or anxious if left alone for long periods. Providing consistent attention, affection, and interaction meets their emotional needs and strengthens their bond. Including your Bullmastiff in family activities and ensuring they’re a valued part of the household supports their emotional well-being, contributing to a happier, healthier life.

By focusing on these comprehensive care strategies, owners can significantly impact the health and happiness of their Bullmastiff, potentially extending their lifespan and ensuring they enjoy a fulfilling life as part of the family.


Frequently Asked Questions About The Lifespans of Bullmastiffs

1. What is the Average Lifespan of a Bullmastiff?

The average lifespan of a Bullmastiff is typically between 8 to 10 years. This range can vary based on several factors, including genetics, the level of care, and the presence of any health conditions. Bullmastiffs are considered a giant breed, and like many large dogs, they tend to have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds. However, with proper care, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups, some Bullmastiffs can live beyond their average expectancy. Ensuring they live in a loving, stress-free environment also contributes significantly to their overall well-being and longevity.

2. Are Bullmastiffs Prone to Any Hereditary Health Conditions?

Yes, Bullmastiffs are prone to several hereditary health conditions that can impact their lifespan. These include hip dysplasia, a condition affecting the hip joints that can lead to arthritis; elbow dysplasia, similar to hip dysplasia but affecting the elbow joints; and gastric torsion, also known as bloat, which is a life-threatening emergency where the stomach twists on itself. They can also be predisposed to certain cancers, and heart conditions such as subaortic stenosis, and hypothyroidism, which affects the dog’s metabolism. Regular health screenings and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help manage these conditions and potentially extend the lifespan of a Bullmastiff.

3. How Can I Prevent Obesity in My Bullmastiff?

Preventing obesity in your Bullmastiff involves a combination of proper diet and regular exercise. Feed your Bullmastiff a high-quality diet appropriate for their age, size, and energy level, and avoid overfeeding. Treats should be given sparingly and accounted for in their daily calorie intake. Establish a consistent exercise routine that includes daily walks and playtime to keep them active. Since Bullmastiffs can be prone to joint issues, choose low-impact exercises to avoid stress on their hips and elbows. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help monitor your weight and adjust your diet and exercise plan as needed.

4. What Signs of Aging Should I Look for in My Bullmastiff?

As Bullmastiffs age, you may notice several signs indicating they are entering their senior years. These signs include a decrease in activity level, increased difficulty in standing up or climbing stairs, more frequent napping, greying fur around the muzzle and face, and a possible increase in health issues such as stiffness or changes in appetite. They may also show signs of cognitive decline, similar to dementia in humans, which can manifest as disorientation or changes in behaviour. Monitoring these signs and adapting their care to accommodate their ageing needs can help maintain their quality of life in their senior years.

5. How Important is Regular Veterinary Care for Extending My Bullmastiff’s Lifespan?

Regular veterinary care is crucial for extending the lifespan of your Bullmastiff. Routine check-ups allow for early detection and management of health issues, which is particularly important for identifying conditions common to the breed. Vaccinations, parasite control, and dental care are essential preventive measures that protect against diseases and conditions that can affect their health. Discussing your Bullmastiff’s diet, exercise routine, and any changes in their health or behaviour with your veterinarian can also provide valuable insights into maintaining their well-being. Establishing a regular veterinary care routine can significantly contribute to a longer, healthier life for your Bullmastiff.

6. What can I do to prevent common health issues in my Bullmastiff?

Preventing common health issues in Bullmastiffs involves a multifaceted approach centred around proper nutrition, regular exercise, and attentive health care. Start by feeding your Bullmastiff a high-quality diet that’s appropriate for their age, size, and energy level, focusing on foods that support joint health and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise is crucial but should be moderated to avoid putting excessive strain on their joints; low-impact activities like walking and swimming are excellent choices. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for early detection and management of health issues such as hip dysplasia, heart problems, and hypothyroidism. Additionally, keep up with routine vaccinations and parasite control to protect against infectious diseases and external/internal parasites. Implementing a proactive health care routine, including dental care and skin maintenance, can significantly reduce the risk of common health problems. Educating yourself about the signs of bloat, a serious condition Bullmastiffs are prone to, and taking preventive measures like feeding smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding exercise around feeding times can also help prevent this life-threatening issue.

7. How does diet affect a Bullmastiff’s lifespan?

Diet plays a critical role in affecting a Bullmastiff’s lifespan by directly impacting their overall health, weight management, and risk for various diseases. A balanced diet rich in nutrients, tailored to the specific needs of the Bullmastiff breed, supports optimal health and can prevent obesity, which is a significant risk factor for numerous health conditions, including joint issues, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. High-quality dog food that includes appropriate amounts of protein for muscle maintenance, fats for energy, and carbohydrates for digestive health, along with essential vitamins and minerals, can help maintain a healthy immune system and support joint health. Additionally, incorporating foods with anti-inflammatory properties and supplements like glucosamine can benefit joint health, especially important for large breeds prone to hip dysplasia. Avoiding overfeeding and monitoring calorie intake is crucial in preventing obesity and its associated health risks. Consulting with a veterinarian to determine the most appropriate diet for your Bullmastiff’s age, health status, and activity level is advisable to ensure their nutritional needs are met throughout their life stages.

8. What exercise is best for Bullmastiffs?

The best exercise for Bullmastiffs balances their need for physical activity with their susceptibility to joint stress. As a large breed, Bullmastiffs require regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and promote cardiovascular health, but activities should be low-impact to protect their joints. Daily walks at a moderate pace are ideal, providing both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Swimming is another excellent form of exercise for Bullmastiffs, offering a full-body workout with minimal joint strain. Play sessions in a secure, fenced area can also provide valuable physical activity, but intense roughhousing or high-impact activities should be avoided to prevent injury. It’s important to tailor the exercise routine to the individual dog’s health, age, and energy level, gradually increasing intensity and duration to avoid overexertion. During exercise, monitor your Bullmastiff for signs of fatigue or discomfort, especially in hot weather, to prevent overheating and ensure their safety.

9. How can I monitor my Bullmastiff for signs of joint problems?

Monitoring your Bullmastiff for signs of joint problems involves being vigilant about changes in their mobility, behaviour, and overall comfort levels. Early signs of joint issues may include reluctance to climb stairs, jump, or play; limping or stiffness, especially after resting; noticeable discomfort during or after exercise; and swelling or tenderness around the joints. Behavioural changes such as increased irritability or a decrease in activity levels can also indicate discomfort. Regularly feeling the joints for signs of swelling or heat can help detect problems early. Implementing a routine of gentle, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing joint supplements as recommended by a veterinarian can support joint health. If you suspect your Bullmastiff is developing joint problems, consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination, which may include x-rays or other diagnostic tests to assess the condition and determine the best course of treatment.

10. Are Bullmastiffs at risk for any hereditary conditions?

Bullmastiffs are at risk for several hereditary conditions, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma. Being large breed dogs, they are particularly prone to joint issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, which can lead to arthritis and mobility problems. Hypothyroidism, which affects the dog’s metabolism, is another condition to watch for, with symptoms including weight gain, lethargy, and changes in coat quality. Bullmastiffs also have a higher incidence of certain cancers, necessitating regular health screenings and monitoring for any unusual growths or symptoms. Responsible breeding practices, including health screening and genetic testing of breeding animals, can help reduce the risk of these hereditary conditions. As a Bullmastiff owner, being informed about these risks and working closely with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s health can lead to early detection and management of these conditions, improving your dog’s quality of life.

11. What are the best practices for Bullmastiff puppy care to ensure a long life?

Best practices for Bullmastiff puppy care to ensure a long life include providing a balanced diet formulated for large-breed puppies, which supports healthy growth without promoting excessive weight gain that can stress developing joints. Early socialization and training are crucial for mental health and behavioural development, exposing the puppy to a variety of people, animals, and environments in a positive manner. Regular veterinary check-ups, starting with vaccinations and parasite control, lay the foundation for good health, allowing for early detection and prevention of diseases. Establishing a routine that includes moderate exercise can help prevent obesity and maintain cardiovascular health without overexerting the growing puppy. Additionally, teaching good habits from a young age, such as dental care routines and grooming acceptance, contributes to long-term well-being. Focusing on these areas of care provides a solid foundation for your Bullmastiff puppy to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted adult dog.

12. How do environmental factors affect a Bullmastiff’s health?

Environmental factors can significantly affect a Bullmastiff’s health in various ways. Exposure to extreme temperatures, particularly heat, can be dangerous for Bullmastiffs due to their large size and susceptibility to overheating. Ensuring they have a cool, shaded place during hot weather and avoiding strenuous exercise in high temperatures are essential precautions. Indoor environments should be safe and free from hazards that could cause injury, such as slippery floors that can increase the risk of joint injuries. Exposure to chemicals, both indoors and outdoors, should be minimized to prevent skin irritations and allergies. Additionally, providing a clean, stress-free living environment can help reduce the risk of anxiety-related behaviours and contribute to overall well-being. Tailoring the environment to meet the specific needs of a Bullmastiff, considering their size, health predispositions, and comfort, can play a crucial role in maintaining their health and extending their lifespan.

13. Can regular grooming impact the lifespan of a Bullmastiff?

Regular grooming can positively impact the lifespan of a Bullmastiff by contributing to their overall health and early detection of potential health issues. Consistent grooming practices, such as brushing, bathing, and nail trimming, not only keep the coat and skin in good condition but also provide opportunities to check for signs of skin infections, parasites, and unusual lumps or bumps. Ear cleaning is particularly important for preventing infections that can lead to more serious complications if left untreated. Dental care, including regular brushing and professional cleanings, is crucial for preventing periodontal disease, which can affect overall health and longevity. By maintaining a regular grooming routine, owners can ensure their Bullmastiff remains comfortable, reduce the risk of preventable health issues, and potentially identify concerns early, allowing for prompt veterinary care.

14. What should I know about Bullmastiff’s susceptibility to bloat?

Bloat, or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), is a critical condition that Bullmastiffs are particularly susceptible to, due to their deep-chested nature. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, blocking blood flow and causing rapid health decline. Warning signs include restlessness, a swollen abdomen, salivation, retching without vomiting, and distress. Preventative measures include feeding your Bullmastiff two to three smaller meals a day instead of one large meal, discouraging rapid eating, avoiding heavy exercise around meal times, and keeping stress levels low during feeding times. Elevated feeders were once recommended but have shown mixed results in studies; consult with your veterinarian for the best feeding setup for your dog. Understanding the signs of bloat and seeking immediate veterinary care if you suspect bloat can be life-saving. Some owners consider preventative surgery, known as gastropexy, which can be discussed with your vet, especially if your dog or their relatives have a history of GDV.

15. How can I improve my Bullmastiff’s mental health?

Improving your Bullmastiff’s mental health involves regular engagement, stimulation, and positive social interactions. Mental health is as crucial as physical health for a well-rounded and happy Bullmastiff. Activities that stimulate their mind, such as puzzle toys, training sessions that teach new tricks or reinforce old ones, and interactive playtime, can keep boredom at bay and prevent anxiety or destructive behaviours. Socialization with people and other dogs, when done safely and positively, enriches their mental well-being and helps develop a confident, calm demeanour. Ensuring your Bullmastiff feels secure and loved, with plenty of attention and affection, supports their emotional health. Creating a routine that includes these activities and maintaining a calm, stable environment at home can significantly contribute to your Bullmastiff’s mental health, leading to more content and potentially longer life.

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