The Most Common Health Concerns of the Bullmastiff


A large dog that intimidates and makes you feel protected simply because of its presence is very often what most dog owners are looking for. Families often want a large dog that’s great with kids, protective and scary looking simply because that’s what is going to make them feel that they are safe in their home. Strangers aren’t fans of dogs as general rule, and big dogs tend to be a lot more intimidating than smaller dogs. For example, bullmastiffs are very friendly, affectionate dogs that just so happen to be large. They’re just as friendly and affectionate as a smaller dog, such as a Maltese, but far more intimidating in appearance simply because of their size. That’s what makes the bullmastiff such a lovely dog; its size is terrifying to those who don’t know him.

The bullmastiff makes a wonderful pet. This is an animal that has so much to offer families in terms of love and affection, good behavior and even their sweet nature. They’re big dogs who are protective, but they’re very quiet. They’re not barking unless they feel it’s a complete necessity (good news for homeowners with a lot of squirrels running around the yard). They’re large, but they are agile. They’re very intelligent, which makes them easy to train and easy to work with. Now that you’re completely convinced this giant teddy bear of a dog is right for you, it’s time to learn what to expect as far as health problems with a dog this size.

Big dogs come with their own set of health problems, but they’re not especially prone to anything that will harm their life span. For example, the bullmastiff is just as prone as the Maltese or the poodle or the pitbull to cancer and other health problems. It doesn’t matter what type of dog you get, any of them could one day be diagnosed with these health issues. And while the health issues of the bullmastiff are not specific to this breed, there are some health problems that are a bit more of a problem with this breed due to its size, its genetics and its health. Knowing what to look for, what to potentially expect and what to do to help your dog is imperative when it comes to his or her health.


The bullmastiff does have some allergy problems, and you might spend a significant amount of time working with your vet to make these allergies disappear. The solution could be as simple as changing your bullmastiff’s diet and eliminating the allergic trigger in the food. Or it could be a bit more complicated and can entail something a bit more drastic, such as the realization that your dog is allergic to pollen or grass. This will mean finding other ways to protect your dog from allergies when he has to go outside for walks, bathroom breaks and exercise. If your dog seems to have watery eyes that are turning red, hair loss, dry skin, flaky skin or foul-smelling discharge from the ears, it could indicate allergies. Your vet can help you figure out what the issue is and how to solve it, perhaps with an antihistamine or a lifestyle change.


This is an issue with the eyes that is very common in dogs that have heavy wrinkles, which means it could very well be an issue you deal with as a bullmastiff owner. Essentially, the condition is one that causes the dog’s eyelid to invert. This allows the lashes to continuously scratch the dog’s cornea and cause significant vision problems. Injury or simple genetics can cause this health issue, and it should be treated immediately. Your dog might experience red, watery eyes, issues with vision and discharge from the eye. Call the vet immediately. Additionally, check with your breeder to see if the parents to the dog you’re looking to purchase have suffered from this problem. Since it is genetic, this will give you an even bigger indication whether or not your dog might develop the same issue.

Cardiac Issues

All dogs are prone to develop cardiac issues, as it can happen as a result of their environment and their health. Bullmastiffs, however, are known to develop very specific cardiac issues such as cardiomyopathy and heart murmurs. Because the bullmastiff is such a large dog, the typical tests to find out whether or not the dog suffers from heart issues might not always work. For example, listening to the heart for an abnormal murmur might not work so well with this dog, according to the American Kennel Club. Some heart conditions are congenital and others are developed over time. As with any heart issue, one not easily detected or detected early enough could potentially result in sudden death. For this reason, it’s especially important that you speak to your dog’s breeder about the health history of the parent dogs. You can acquire a significant amount of valuable information from simply seeing these records, which could save your dog’s life.

Fleas and Ticks

While not technically considered a “health” problem, these are absolutely health problems. They’re not new or isolated to the bullmastiff. They can affect any dog that goes outside. However, it can be very dangerous to leave either untreated. If your dog suffers from fleas, it’s imperative that you treat the dog, your home and your yard for these creatures. If your dog acquires a tick, it should be taken immediately to the vet. Ticks carry with them disease that can not only affect your dog, but your family as well. Lyme disease is a very real, very dangerous health issue. Your dog could bring in a tick from the outdoors that might bite a member of you family, transmitting the disease. It’s imperative that you have all dogs with ticks checked out; it also does not hurt to see your own doctor if you suspect ticks have been present in your home or you find them in your home. While they typically affix themselves to the skin, this is not always the case and anyone could have been given the disease without even realizing it happened.

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

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