In the early 19th century, English gamekeepers created this noble breed by crossing the courageous Mastiff with the tenacious Bulldog to create fleet-footed, powerful dogs for protection against poachers. Originally called the “Gamekeepers Night Dog,” these dogs combined tremendous strength and guarding instinct with an affectionate disposition and devotion to their master. Fleetness of foot and the instinct to pursue have remained definite characteristics of the Bullmastiff, even today.
It was not until the early part of the twentieth century that any real effort was made to standardize the breed in the UK. Originally 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog, the Bullmastiff was recognized in England in 1924, and by the American Kennel Club in 1933.
The first bullmastiff was registered in the United States in 1934. John D. Rockefeller imported five dogs for his Tarrytown estate in the late 1930s. The breed’s popularity has continued to grow in the United States. Through diligent efforts of some vary serious breeders, Bullmastiffs have enjoyed great recognition in the show ring and as superb family companions.