The Bullmastiff is a solid, powerful and bold dog whose modern history started in around 1860 in England. Originally it was entrusted with protection of game from poachers on magnificent English estates but in these days it enjoys vast popularity as a ferocious guardian and even-tempered companion dog. Its character traits also include unwavering loyalty to its owners and great intelligence.
The Bullmastiff was created in the middle of XIX century by English gamekeeper who desperately required strong and courageous dog to keep vast territories of wealthy estates free from poachers. At first the Mastiff got the nod but it turned out to be too massive and sluggish to suit this role and also lacked essential aggressiveness. The English Bulldog was put to the test next, but it had too unstable temperament at that point of its development and was too small to buckle with a grown-up man. Finally it was found out that the cross of the Mastiff with the English Bulldog produced the dog with ideal combination of qualities for the tasks needed of it.
The resulting canine variety became known as «the Gamekeeper’s Night-Dog» and was capable of tracking its «prey» independently and silently in record time. Then it would grab and keep a poacher without bruising him. The Bullmastiff was a ferocious yet docile hunter, which instantly released its quarry on command of a gamekeeper. The breed was a true professional at handling poachers, especially the dark brindle specimens who were virtually undistinguishable under the cover of night.
As the XIX century wore off, the necessity for game-keeping dogs fell noticeably, which was the reason of significant drop in the population of the Bullmastiff. Nonetheless it was quickly re-trained into a property guardian. Gradually more Mastiff blood was introduced to this breed so its constitution became more slender and preferable coloration changed from brindle to fawn.
The Bullmastiff was granted with status of a purebred dog only in the beginning of the XX century. The English Kennel Club (KC) recognised the breed in 1924. It received the official acceptance of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1933. The breed proved to be useful in army and police work and currently it’s actively utilised as a watcher by the Diamond Society of South Africa. The Bullmastiff has earned appreciation of dog fanciers who prefer to have a companion dog with strong protective instinct.
The disposition of the Bullmastiff allows it to perform it primary guarding duties in the most efficient way. The breed is marked by thoroughgoing faithfulness to its masters and it will stop at nothing to defend its human pack from any sort of danger. This companionable dog seeks to be included in an each and every family activity although various specimens tend to demonstrate their affection with different levels of intensity. In most cases it’s quite compatible with older kids and can get over a great deal of rough housing from them. Be mindful though that proper socialisation assumes the outmost importance for this dog if you plan to keep it together with children.
It’s worth to mention that under no circumstances the Bullmastiff will be friendly with strangers. Even the well-trained dog will give a newcomer in your house a cold reception and will remain extremely watchful in his/her presence. However the Bullmastiff can be described as inherently vicious as it resorts to aggressive actions only when it’s absolutely necessary. Thanks to its high protective drive, fearlessness and exceptional loyalty the breed won the repute of one of the best canine guardians. It also makes an outstanding watcher, which will never fail to warn its masters about the approach of an unwelcomed guest.
The Bullmastiff is notoriously famous for its aggressive attitude towards other animals, including other dogs. Both males and females of this breed are prone to treat all unfamiliar canines as potential threats to their territory or dominative status. At the same time it will most likely enjoy the company of those dogs with which it has grown up in the same homestead. The dog usually makes a passionate cat killer so it should always stay safely leashed and advisably muzzled in public places. In general it gets on with individual non-canine pets if it has had a chance to interact with them since a young age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· gastric torsion;
· rapid and excessive weight gain;
· excessive flatulence;
· breathing difficulties;
· eye problems;
· skeletal growth abnormalities;
· canine hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· heart failure;
· skin infections;
· ear infections;
· boils on the lips.
The Bullmastiff has very low grooming requirements. The master should brush the sleek and short coat of his pet on a regular basis to keep shedding process under control. The breed is considered as a light to average shedder, but because of its giant size it tends to lose more hair than majority of dogs.
It’s also essential to clean facial wrinkles of the Bullmastiff daily from food, water, dirt and other debris, which are easily caught between them. Bathe your dog only when it’s absolutely necessary.
The rest care is rather routine and consists of periodic nail clipping and weekly teeth brushing. Start brushing, nail trimming, teeth cleaning and bathing your pup as early as possible so it won’t dread these procedures in the adulthood.
The training of the Bullmastiff usually becomes a highly arduous task. Despite its keen intelligence it lacks willingness to pleasure its master and has strong will and independent character. It’s rather pointless to expect from this dog implicit obedience. Moreover the trainer should earn the pets’ confidence and respect if he wants his efforts to pay off.
Reward-based techniques works best for this dog. On the contrary, screaming and physical coercion will only make it absolutely uncontrollable and even aggressive. Be mindful that without appropriate obedience training the Bullmastiff will never become a well-mannered family member.
The Bullmastiff is a tough yet calm and somewhat lazy dog, which needs only moderate amount of physical activity on a daily basis. Actually long and vigorous walk is usually sufficient to keep this dog in a good shape and happy. Adult specimens of this breed prefer to lead a conventional life and don’t require regular playtime in a securely fenced area.
Bear in mind that too intense physical activity may do more harm than good for this dog and its owner should never take his pet for a walk right after feeding or in the extremely hot weather. In general the Bullmastiff can be kept equally successfully both in an apartment and in a spacious country house.