On the subject of high-maintenance dogs, the German Shepherd might not be among the first breeds…
Among the most popular dogs to cross with German Shepherds is the Bullmastiff. This is because of their similar size and the unique traits each breed has to offer. But is the Bullmastiff German Shepherd mix a good dog to have?
About The German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherd is one of the world’s most recognizable dogs.
They are particularly known for their tan coats with black saddles, but they come in a variety of colors including liver and white. No matter the physical appearance, however, these dogs are known as remarkable working dogs that excel in a wide variety of roles.
As household companions, German Shepherds are loyal and protective of their family members. With proper socialization, they are wonderful with children, other pets, and even guests. Without exposure, training, and confident handling, they can grow up to be self-willed and stubborn.
About The Bullmastiff Breed
The Bullmastiff is the result of the careful combination of the Bulldog and the original Mastiff breed. Although it began as a mutt (as most breeds do), the AKC recognized it as its own breed in 1934.
Bullmastiffs are best known for their muscular bodies and broad muzzles. Their wrinkly faces give them a thoughtful expression that’s both foreboding and irresistibly handsome at the same time.
They are also excellent working dogs that are especially good at protection work because of their vigilant nature combined with braveness and confidence.
Why Cross A Bullmastiff With A German Shepherd?
Few people cross Bullmastiffs with German Shepherds on purpose. But when they do, they find that it’s actually a good match because of their similar size and the unique combination these two breeds bring into a single cross.
The Bullmastiff-German Shepherd is a low-maintenance dog compared to a purebred GSD, especially in terms of coat care and general grooming. They are also better family dogs because they are equally affectionate but are gentler with children than the average purebred Bullmastiff.
Additionally, they have a lower drive but the same protective nature as each of these two breeds.
General Characteristics Of A Bullmastiff German Shepherd Mix
It might not seem like it but German Shepherds and Bullmastiffs actually have several traits in common. Nevertheless, it is their differences that make the Bullmastiff-German Shepherd dog such a unique dog.
Although each dog will exhibit different traits based on which parent is more dominant, here are some characteristics you can expect:
The Bullmastiff and the German Shepherd are similar in size, but the Bullmastiff is much heavier thanks to its solid build and dense musculature.
Here’s how the two breeds compare in terms of height and weight:
|Breed||Height (in.)||Weight (lbs.)|
|German Shepherd Dog||24 – 26||22 – 24||65 – 90||50 - 70|
|Bullmastiff||25 - 27||24 - 26||110 - 130||100 - 120|
Given these figures, you can expect any German Shepherd – Bullmastiff mix to be at least 22 inches tall and weigh at least 50 pounds. On average, they will be approximately 25 inches tall and weigh around 91 pounds.
The coat of the German Shepherd Bullmastiff cross differs between individual dogs. This will depend heavily on which parent it takes after.
Crosses that mostly take their coat after the Bullmastiff parent will have a smooth and short coat. They could be brindled or solid-colored and will either be fawn, red, or red fawn.
On the other hand, the mix that takes its coat after the GSD parent will have medium to long hair and a double coat. The color will depend on the actual color of the parent as well as the recessive genes it carries.
Like coat color and appearance, the grooming needs of the Bullmastiff-German Shepherd cross will depend on the type of coat it inherits.
A mutt that inherits the Bullmastiff’s short coat will need very little maintenance as shedding will be minimal. Thorough brushing will only be required at least once a month.
In contrast, maintaining the German Shepherd’s coat requires more work. Brushing will be needed at least once a week. You can expect them to shed throughout the year and blow off their undercoats twice a year.
During the shedding seasons, the GSD coat will need daily brushing and specialized tools for undercoat maintenance.
As for all other grooming needs, the German Shepherd-Bullmastiff cross is like any other large dog. You’ll need to check their nails at least every other week and brush their teeth as frequently as possible.
Also, make sure you keep their ears clean and dry, especially if they inherit the Bullmastiff’s high set but floppy triangular ears.
Both the German Shepherd and the Bullmastiff are incredibly powerful dogs, so it shouldn’t be surprising to know that their offspring would be just as strong. Their size and build make them suited for physically demanding work.
They also have deep muzzles that contribute to a powerful bite force, which they would be courageous enough to use if they’re trained to or if they feel threatened.
Crosses that inherit the Bullmastiff’s beefy physical makeup tend to run much more slowly. However, the ones that take after the German Shepherd parent often inherit their speed as well. On average, purebred GSDs can reach top speeds of 30 miles per hour.
Although the GSD-Bullmastiff mix may not be among the world’s fastest dogs, they can easily outrun any human, which is why they’re an excellent choice for protection and apprehension work.
Bullmastiff-GSD crosses are high-energy dogs that need both physical and mental stimulation in order to thrive. At a minimum, they will need 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day.
Ideally, they would get an hour of exercise and access to a fenced-in space where they can play and explore independently.
German Shepherd-Bullmastiffs also need plenty of opportunities to sharpen their intellect and natural canine abilities. They will benefit from daily training sessions, puzzle games, and household chores.
Bullmastiffs are not known for their intelligence. It may take them up to 80 repetitions to master a new command. Even then, they obey only about 40% of the time.
In contrast, German Shepherds belong to the first tier of canine intelligence. They need fewer than 5 exposures to master commands and will obey no less than 95% of the time.
No matter which parent the GSD-Bullmastiff cross takes after, however, it is expected to be highly trainable. This is because they are generally eager to please anyone with whom they’ve developed a particularly strong bond.
The German Shepherd-Bullmastiff mix is a wonderful household companion. They are affectionate with family and can be good with young children and other animals are given proper training and socialization.
It’s essential to note that these crosses have a strong protective nature. They are alert to threats and wary of strangers. They will, however, warm up to guests when properly introduced.
Possibly among the best outcomes of crossing a Bullmastiff with a German Shepherd is that the offspring are often less vocal than purebred GSDs. The GSD-Bullmastiff mix isn’t prone to whining and they will only bark occasionally to alert of threats.
Like its parents, the Bullmastiff-German Shepherd mix can be prone to bone and joint issues. Breeding stock evaluations can minimize their risk for serious conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, although that’s not always a guarantee.
Additionally, these dogs can suffer from bloat, which is a life-threatening and painful condition of the abdomen. It’s essential to feed them high-quality food and maintain a healthy weight.
The German Shepherd-Bullmastiff can be expected to live about 10-11 years.
If it takes more after the GSD parent, its lifespan could be between 12 and 14 years. But those that take mostly after the Bullmastiff parent could have a shorter life expectancy of 7 to 9 years.
Nevertheless, dogs often outlive their breed’s life expectancies. Any GSD-Bullmastiff cross can live much longer when given a proper diet and plenty of opportunities to exercise. Of course, having good genes is essential.
The American Kennel Club does not recognize the German Shepherd-Bullmastiff mix because it is a crossbreed.
Nevertheless, these mutts can register through the AKC Canine Partners program, which enables hybrid breeds to participate in the club’s events and even compete in sports like Agility, Dock Diving, and Flyball.
How Popular Is The German Shepherd – Bullmastiff Mix?
Among mixed breeds, the German Shepherd – Bullmastiff is actually quite popular. This is probably because they are both popular breeds and their similar size makes them a good physical match.
Even so, you’d be hard-pressed to find professional breeders that produce GSD-Bullmastiff mixes on purpose. This is because each of these breeds is actually more valuable as purebreds. Often, you’ll find these mutts as a result of an accidental mating.
Every Bullmastiff-German Shepherd mix can be different from the other. Their traits will depend heavily on which parent they mostly take after. But no matter the characteristics they inherit, they are definitely strong, large dogs that will require a firm and confident handler.
If you’re not convinced that the German Shepherd Bullmastiff mix is your best option, there are many other large breeds crossed with GSDs. Among them are Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, and Catahoulas.
Or, check out this list of German Shepherd mixes in all sizes.