The Bullmastiff was developed in England in the 19th century by cross-breeding Olde English Bulldogs and English Mastiffs. This dog was bred to not only track down, but also keep down, poachers and intruders without much aggression or injury. This dog breed was the ideal ‘Gamekeeper’s Nightdog’.
They were bred with a dark color to provide camouflage and will only bark when alarmed. When this breed was no longer needed to prevent poaching, a lighter brown color was introduced.
While still popular as hunting dogs, today the Bullmastiffs are a favorite for police work, as guard dogs, army aids and as therapy dogs.
The Bullmastiff was recognized as a purebred in 1924 by the English Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1933.
The original Bullmastiff was intimidating and fierce, but would seldom bite. The modern Bullmastiff is a gentle domestic dog, a fiercely protective family companion and a loyal watchdog.
Being large and strong, this breed has all the characteristics of a Mollosser-type dog.
This dog breed has:
- A powerful appearance and a muscular build.
- A broad, wrinkled face, with a short muzzle and a black nose.
- Hazel eyes.
- V-shaped, wide-set dark ears
- A short coat
- A tapered tail.
- Larger teeth with a slight under-bite.
The breed comes in three colors: red, brindle and fawn.
Their appearance is sometimes confused with other breeds such as the Boerboel, the Mastiff and the Boxer.
The general behavioral tendencies of this dog breed are:
- Protective nature
- Highly territorial instinct
- Excellent guarding ability
- Highly trainable
- Sensitive to his owner’s mood and voice
- Moderate tendency to aggression
- Quiet and calm
- Good with children
- Willing to please
This breed is alert, docile, fearless, intelligent, devoted, even-tempered, loving and craves affection. The temperament of this dog breed is determined by both the breed’s characteristics and the dog’s environment. Training and socialization bring out the best temperament in these dogs.
The Bullmastiff is generally a healthy breed, but the breed is prone to certain hereditary conditions, such as:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy that causes blindness
Like most large and heavy dogs, the feet of this breed need to be checked regularly and the nails should be kept trimmed.
Bullmastiffs have a tendency to develop painful boils and tumors, but you will only notice serious discomfort when the condition is far along, because of this dog’s tough nature.
This breed snores and drools profusely.
For the general health of this dog breed and to prevent serious health issues it is advisable to schedule regular veterinary check-ups.
The average life span of a Bullmastiff is 8 to 10 years.
The Bullmastiff has a short-haired coat that requires little care. This dog breed is a light shedder and can be brushed with a firm brush and washed only when strictly necessary.
The common colors for this breed are red,brindle and fawn.
The Bullmastiff is only allowed a small white patch on the chest.
The Bullmastiff should receive training from an early age, ideally 4 months old. For this breed consistency is of the utmost importance. Good obedience training will teach them that his owner is the alpha human.
Proper training is necessary for this breed to learn to get along with strangers and other pets. These dogs make great pets for older children. They typically do not need guard training because this is instinctive for the breed.
Variety in training is a key factor of success. The Bullmastiff is very sensitive to their owner’s tone of voice and mood. They can clearly distinguish praise from reprimand.
Bullmastiff’s love and seek attention, but also tolerate being alone when the family is away during the day.
To avoid strain on ligaments and joints, a Bullmastiff puppy should not be subjected to demanding activities or exercise during the first months of their life.
Adult Bullmastiffs need frequent exercise to maintain them at a healthy weight. The Bullmastiff is a large dog and consumes a considerable amount of food. They tend to gain weight easily and a healthy lifestyle will keep them healthy and trim.
This dog breed needs room to move around and because of their large size are not well-suited to apartment dwelling. A country environment or home with a large fenced yard of at least 6 feet tall is best.
Bullmastiffs love being with their family and need consistent playtime with their owners.
These dogs excel at obedience training, carting and tracking.