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10 Dog Breeds Similar to Bullmastiffs

Written by: Ejay C.
| Published on February 20, 2024

Bullmastiffs are a powerful and imposing breed, known for their physical strength, protective instincts, and gentle temperament with their families. Originating in the 19th century in England, they were bred by gamekeepers to assist in guarding estates and deterring poachers with their size and courage, rather than aggression. Weighing up to 130 pounds, Bullmastiffs are a blend of agility, intelligence, and loyalty, making them excellent family guardians and companions. Their short coat, muscular build, and distinctive black-masked face set them apart. For those who appreciate the Bullmastiff’s unique combination of attributes but are curious about similar breeds—whether it’s their guardian nature, physical presence, or affectionate demeanor with family—several breeds share these admirable qualities. This article explores 10 dog breeds similar to Bullmastiffs, focusing on their physical attributes, temperament, and suitability as both protectors and companions.

1. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are known for their strength, endurance, and loyalty, making them comparable to Bullmastiffs in many ways. Originally bred to drive cattle and pull carts for butchers, they have a natural protective instinct that makes them excellent guard dogs. Rottweilers are highly intelligent and trainable, with a calm and confident demeanor when properly socialized. Their devotion to their families is immense, showing a softer side in the home environment, much like Bullmastiffs.

2. Mastiff

Mastiffs, one of the largest dog breeds, share the Bullmastiff’s imposing stature and gentle nature with their families. They have a rich history as guard dogs and were used in ancient times to protect against wildlife and in warfare. Mastiffs are known for their calm and affectionate temperament, preferring to use their size to intimidate rather than to aggress. They form strong bonds with their families and are known for their patience with children.

3. Boxer

Boxers, with their muscular build and boundless energy, share the Bullmastiff’s protective instincts and love for their families. They were originally bred in Germany for hunting and as working dogs. Boxers are known for their playful nature and patience with children, making them excellent family pets. Their loyalty and courage make them natural guardians of the home, always alert to potential threats.

4. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers are sleek, powerful dogs known for their intelligence, loyalty, and guardian capabilities. Like Bullmastiffs, they have a strong protective instinct, making them vigilant watchdogs. Dobermans are highly trainable and excel in obedience, making them versatile working dogs. Their affectionate nature with their families contrasts with their imposing presence, making them similar to Bullmastiffs in balancing protection with companionship.

5. Cane Corso

Cane Corsos are Italian mastiffs known for their impressive physique and protective nature. They share the Bullmastiff’s history as guard dogs, with a strong instinct to protect their home and family. Cane Corsos are intelligent, assertive, and confident, requiring consistent training and socialization. Their loyalty and affection towards their family are profound, making them devoted companions.

6. Great Dane

Great Danes, known as the “Apollo of Dogs” for their noble appearance, share the gentle giant persona with Bullmastiffs. Despite their towering size, they are friendly, affectionate, and patient with children. Great Danes were originally bred for hunting large prey, and while they may not have the same guarding instinct as Bullmastiffs, their sheer size offers a deterrent to intruders.

7. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are famous for their role as rescue dogs in the Swiss Alps, but they also share the Bullmastiff’s protective and gentle nature. Known for their immense size and kind demeanor, Saint Bernards are patient and loving with their families. They may be less inclined to guard than Bullmastiffs, but their loyalty and presence make them excellent companions.

8. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks, originally bred to hunt lions in Africa, share the Bullmastiff’s bravery and protective nature. They are known for their independence, intelligence, and loyalty. Ridgebacks are affectionate with their families and reserved with strangers, making them effective watchdogs. Their athleticism and need for exercise surpass that of Bullmastiffs, making them suitable for active families.

9. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs, with their distinctive wrinkled skin and massive build, share the Bullmastiff’s imposing presence and guardian instincts. Originating from Italy, they were used as guard dogs on estates. Neapolitan Mastiffs are known for their loyalty and protective nature, forming strong bonds with their families. Their calm and steady temperament makes them excellent protectors and companions.

10. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are known for their work as police and military dogs, showcasing their intelligence, trainability, and protective instincts. While smaller and more agile than Bullmastiffs, Malinois share their dedication to guarding and loyalty to their family. They require significant physical and mental stimulation, making them ideal for active families or those interested in training for specific tasks.

While Bullmastiffs are unique in their combination of guardian instincts, physical presence, and affectionate nature with their families, several breeds offer similar qualities that make them appealing to those who admire these traits. From the loyal and courageous Rottweiler to the gentle and imposing Mastiff, each breed presents an alternative for those seeking a protective companion with a loving disposition. Whether you’re looking for a family guardian, a loyal companion, or a working partner, there’s likely a breed among these ten that will capture your heart and fit seamlessly into your life, embodying the spirit and qualities that make Bullmastiffs so beloved.


What Are Bullmastiffs Like? How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?

Bullmastiffs are a remarkable breed, combining the strength and courage of a guardian dog with the gentleness and loyalty of a family companion. Developed in the late 19th century in England, Bullmastiffs were bred by gamekeepers to assist in guarding estates against poachers. This breed is a cross between the English Mastiff and the now-extinct Old English Bulldog, designed to be faster and more aggressive than the Mastiff, yet larger and more powerful than the Bulldog. Despite their intimidating appearance, Bullmastiffs are known for their affectionate nature towards their families. This article explores the characteristics of Bullmastiffs, highlighting what makes them unique among dog breeds.

Understanding Bullmastiffs

Bullmastiffs are large, muscular dogs, with males standing 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 110 to 130 pounds, and females slightly smaller. They possess a short, dense coat that comes in fawn, red, or brindle, with a distinctive black mask adding to their imposing appearance. Their build is a perfect blend of strength and agility, enabling them to cover ground quickly and effectively when needed.

Temperament and Behavior

The Bullmastiff’s temperament is one of controlled power and loyalty. They are incredibly devoted to their families, often forming a particularly close bond with one member. Despite their size, they are known for being gentle with children and can live peacefully with other pets if properly socialized. Bullmastiffs are natural guardians; their protective instinct is strong, yet they tend to be silent watchers, rarely barking. They prefer to use their size and presence as a deterrent, only acting if they perceive a real threat to their home or family.

Physical Characteristics

The physical presence of a Bullmastiff is one of its most distinguishing traits. They are powerfully built, with a broad, wrinkled forehead and a short, square muzzle. Their body is slightly longer than it is tall, contributing to their imposing stance. Despite their bulk, Bullmastiffs move with surprising grace and agility. Their coat is easy to maintain, requiring only regular brushing to remove loose fur and minimize shedding.

How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?

Bullmastiffs differ from other breeds in several key areas. Their combination of size, strength, and gentle demeanor is relatively rare, making them excellent family protectors who can be trusted with children. Unlike breeds that may be more vocal in their guarding efforts, Bullmastiffs are known for their quiet watchfulness. They also require less exercise than many other large breeds, making them well-suited to a variety of living situations, including suburban homes.

Health and Care

While Bullmastiffs are generally healthy, they are prone to certain genetic conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, lymphoma, and gastric torsion (bloat). Their lifespan typically ranges from 7 to 9 years, and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to avoid stress on their joints and to prevent heart strain. Bullmastiffs benefit from moderate daily exercise to keep them fit and mentally stimulated. Their short coat is low-maintenance, but they can be prone to drooling, so regular cleaning around the mouth may be necessary.

Bullmastiffs in Society

Bullmastiffs have found their place not only as family guardians but also in various service roles, including police and military work, due to their intelligence, strength, and loyalty. Despite their formidable appearance, Bullmastiffs have a calm and loving nature, making them excellent companions. They have also been successful in obedience and agility training, showcasing their versatility and trainability.

Bullmastiffs stand out as a unique blend of guardian and companion, offering families a dog that is both a deterrent to threats and a loving member of the household. Their loyalty, strength, and gentle nature make them a beloved breed for those who can accommodate their size and provide the leadership they require. While Bullmastiffs share some traits with other large breeds, their combination of qualities—quiet vigilance, minimal exercise needs, and a strong yet affectionate temperament—sets them apart, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a protective yet gentle giant.

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