Lifestyle Needs


The Bullmastiff is a large and powerful dog, often used for guarding.  He is usually devoted to his human family and would be courageous in defending them.  However, he does not make an ideal family pet due to his strength and size, and needs an assertive and experienced owner.  He needs to live in a large house with a large garden and should have plenty of exercise.  The Bullmastiffs’ average lifespan is under 8 years.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 8.7% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Skeletal problems associated with very large size and weightiness:  Arthritis; Cruciate ligament rupture (severe lameness of hind leg)
  • Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)
  • Skin problems due to facial skin folds
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) (Torsion/Bloat)

BVA/KC Health Schemes: www.bva.co.uk/chs

  • Hip dysplasia:  breed 5 year mean score 19 – high (parents should be much lower)
  • Elbow dysplasia:  (ideally O:O)
  • Eye disease:  Persistent pupillary membrane (PPM) (litter screening); Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing) All dogs used for breeding must be screened for eye disease

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Canine multi-focal retinopathy 1 (CMR 1)
  • Canine multi-focal retinopathy 3 (CMR 3)
  • Dominant Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-D)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Heart disease: Pulmonic stenosis
  • Osteochondrosis (hock and shoulder)
  • Cancer: Lymphoma; Mast cell tumours; Osteosarcoma
  • Cerebellar degeneration
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Urolithiasis

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):  www.puppycontract.org.uk

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information