Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Bullmatian
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Crossing the Bulldog and Dalmatian has resulted in the creation of a good-tempered, family oriented ‘designer dog’. With good all-over muscling and a strong and sturdy body, the Bullmatian is athletically built. Their face is less snubbed than that of the Bulldog and they may or may not have their distinctive stumpy tail.

Of course the most noteworthy feature of the Dalmatian is their white fur with black spots, but not every Bullmatian will share this trait. In fact, their fur can be a range of colours from brindle or black to brown or white.

About & History

An unusual-looking and rare breed, the Bullmatian is a cross between the English Bulldog and the Dalmatian. Anecdotally, this breed was first created in Afghanistan and then exported to America. Within the last 30 years or so, it has become a real trend to mix purebred dogs together and create ‘designer dogs’. Literally hundreds of new breeds have been created in this manner and the Bullmatian is one of the more recent additions.

With only a few years of history under their belt, there is little to say about the past of the Bullmatian, but we know plenty about its parents. The Dalmatian is a well-known dog breed, popularised by the Walt Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians. Their true origins are hazy, with most agreeing they have been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Their name is thought to be associated with a region in Croatia called Dalmatia. Traditionally, these dogs were used as carriage dogs, running alongside horse-and-carts and clearing their path. Their association with the fire service is because they would also act as carriage dogs for the old-fashioned horse-drawn fire brigades.

The English Bulldog is often cited as a mascot of England and is one of the oldest native dog breeds within the United Kingdom. As is clear from their name, they were used in sports such as bull baiting, as well as competing within dog fights. Once these inhumane sports were banned in the 1800s, the English Bulldog developed a softer personality and was kept as a household pet.


Usually retaining at least some dark spots from the Dalmatian parent, the Bullmatian tends to look like a stockier, shorter Dalmatian with a square-shaped skull. While the Dalmatian is long and lean, crossing it with the well-muscled, robust Bulldog has resulted in a breed with a more compact body and shorter limbs.

The ears of the Bullmatian hang down to the side of their face and are medium in size. Their head is broad, containing almond shaped brown eyes and a black nose. Their muzzle is longer than that of the Bulldog and rarely has any skin folds. Their neck is shorter and stockier than that of the Dalmatian. Their body is rectangular in shape and their limbs are thick and strong. They may either have the long, slim tail of the Dalmatian or the stubby, short tail characteristic of the Bulldog. Adults can range from 35cm to 60cm tall, weighing between 18kg and 30kg.

The coat of the Bullmatian is short and dense, coming in a range of colours. While many are white with black spots, fur can also be fawn, red, brown, brindle or black. Dark spots and patches are typical.

Character & Temperament

While predicting the temperament of any dog can be difficult, it is especially hard to know what personality traits a mixed breed will inherit. On the whole, the Bullmatian is a people lover and is loyal to its family. They are easy-going and laidback and tolerate children quite well. It is not uncommon for the Bullmatian to be protective of their home and family and they are frequently suspicious of strangers, particularly those that encroach on their territory. To prevent any hostile behaviours, try to introduce them to a variety of people when young, both inside and outside the home.

Quite high energy and rambunctious, the Bullmatian should not be expected to be a couch potato and needs lots of attention and stimulation. They dislike being left alone and are happiest when in the middle of any action. Always curious, they are forever sneaking up behind you to check what you are doing!


A smart breed, trainers can have good success when training the Bullmatian. However, they are not always willing participants and some can be stubborn. The trick is to convince them that they want to perform the tasks asked of them and to not make them feel that they are chores. They are quite food responsive so do best with food rewards. Low calorie treats, such as chopped boiled chicken and carrots, work well, though be careful not to overdo it!

They can be trained to tolerate strangers and to not be territorial in the home, though this may take some time and patience in certain individuals. Ensure they are intensely socialised from a young age. Do not tolerate any growling or barking at new guests and create a relaxed environment. Allow the Bullmatian to approach any new arrivals, who could offer them a treat to increase acceptance. Once they learn to accept new guests, they are friendly and welcoming towards them.


There are specific health conditions that plague both the Dalmatian and the Bulldog and the Bullmatian can potentially inherit bad genes from either side. Thankfully, most mixed breeds enjoy better health than their parents, though this does not make them exempt from developing certain illnesses throughout their lifetime.

Ear Infections

Keeping the floppy ears of the Bullmatian clean can pose a challenge and over time, excessive wax and moisture can lead to chronic ear infections. Affected dogs may shake their head or paw at their face. The earlier an infection is treated, the sooner it will clear up. Most animals respond well to medicated drops that contain anti-fungals, antibiotics and small doses of corticosteroids. For many, ear infections are a recurrent and frustrating issue.


Skin inflammation can occur anywhere on the body, though for the Bullmatian, they tend to be afflicted in areas of folded skin, which may be near their muzzle or tail. As the skin here cannot breathe adequately, it becomes moist and warm, leading to a proliferation of yeast and bacteria. For many dogs, they are managed long-term with medicated cleanses and wipes.

Bladder Stones

As the Dalmatian and Bulldog are both prone to developing urate bladder stones, it makes sense that the Bullmatian would be too. Similarly, the Bulldog commonly develops Cystine stones, which may also be seen in the Bullmatian. Urinary stones may cause abdominal discomfort, difficulty urinating, chronic urine infections and blood within the urine.


As only about 70% of the Dalmatian population have normal hearing, it is no surprise that the Bullmatian may have hearing that is worse than average. Thankfully, most affected dogs are not completely deaf, though a screening test should be done to determine the extent of any issue. While deaf dogs can live normal lives, their environment does need to be adapted somewhat to keep them safe and alternate training methods will need to be used as vocal commands wont work.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A medium-sized dog, the Bullmatian enjoys exercising and should be brought on two 45-minute walks each day. With good recall, most can be walked off lead (although this would not be possible with any deaf individual, who should always be kept on a lead when outside). As well as walks and jogs, these dogs are happy to play with children in the garden and love all sorts of ball games.

As most get along well with other dogs, they enjoy being brought to the dog park and play sweetly with their canine companions. As they are often stronger than they realise, caution and supervision is advised when playing with smaller dogs.


The short and smooth coat of the Bullmatian does not shed excessively and just needs a quick brush through once a week to remove any dirt or dead hair. If walked on pavement from time to time, claws should keep themselves trimmed down.

The ears of the Bullmatian require frequent checking and cleaning, and any skin folds should be cleaned and dried on a daily basis. Similarly, if the Bullmatian has inherited the short tail of the Bulldog, any creases must be kept clean. Animal wet wipes come in handy, and owners should make sure to dry the fur thoroughly after cleaning.

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