The bullmastiff was bred to assist Gamekeepers of the mid-1800's English Estates. A cross of 60% docile English Mastiff and 40% overdriven Old English Bulldogg was bred to create the stock Bullmastiff. They held the ability to track a poacher with quick and quiet stealth, and once found were able to pounce and hold the person until the Gamekeeper arrived. As a working dog, the Bullmastiff obtained just the amount of tenacity that the Gamekeepers needed to get the job done! (Note that this same stubbornness is very present in the breed today, and we highly suggest you do your due diligence in training your pup!) The Bullmastiff became an English Kennel Club recognized breed in 1924 and an American Kennel Club recognized breed in 1934.
It is also noted that the Bullmastiff is a loyal and brave dog. They are easy-going and do not NEED a job to be happy. We find that our dogs are happiest casing the yard to check for visitors and babysitting the kiddos. Considering we do not own an estate, that is just enough of a "job" for them!
The AKC recognizes 6 colors as Red, Red Brindle, Red Fawn, Red Fawn Brindle, Fawn, Fawn Brindle. A darker brindle was the preferred coat of the Gamekeeper as it was harder to spot. The only white that is recognized as acceptable is a white marking on the chest.
One of the most sought after characteristics in a dog is protection. The Bullmastiff is not know to bite**. The breed is known for remaining at it's owners side and putting it's self in-between the owner and stranger if need be. For example, our dogs are walked by our grandkids, and one day at the park Brionna was walking ahead of me with both Maggy and Molly. (yes, a 6 year old walking 200lbs worth of dog.. PICTURE IT!) In an innocent gesture a man who was walking with his children started to approach the dogs to comment on their beauty. Both girls immediately stopped walking and sat directly in front of Brionna's feet. Politely I asked the man to wait for me to approach, as my girls were just waiting and protecting their baby. As soon as I shook his hand, they stood back up and welcomed the attention. The moral of this story is this: should I have been hesitant to allow my child or myself near the man, my dogs would have been unaccepting of his approach. WOULD YOU approach a 120lb dog who is staring you down? I wouldn't.
For more information please look to this AKC page on the history and characteristics of the Bullmastiff Breed.
** A Bullmastiff is not known to bite, but that is not saying that they will not. As breeders we stress early socialization and professional training (especially for owners' who are new to the breed).