The Bullmastiff is one of the youngest dog breeds in the world. While this sturdy giant in his homeland of England once made life difficult for poachers, today this loyal and child-loving dog is primarily bred as a family dog. However the Bullmastiff in some countries is on the list of dog breeds dangerous.
Undoubtedly, this big and strong dog can be a little intimidating. His watchful gaze and heavy build are proof of his watchdog past, which was not meant to be provoked. Fortunately, however, today the Bullmastiff has a very high stimulus threshold, which guarantees that the dog will never attack humans or other animals for no reason. This characteristic combined with good socialization and constant education from an early age makes the Bullmastiff a calm, calm and adaptable dog, which with these premises can be safely kept in a family with children.
Despite his size he is very sweet and compliant with children. Thanks to his strong nerves and a strong self-awareness, he does not allow himself to be provoked by other dogs during daily walks. Frequent or nervous barking is unrelated to this breed. While on the outside he looks like a lively dog, full of temperament and playful, he will greatly appreciate the tranquility of his four walls and will spend most of the hours when his owner leaves him alone at home sleeping.
Despite his balance and his good nature, the Bullmastiff also has a very stubborn side: at times he obeys his master’s commands only with a certain delay and in the case of commands, which in his eyes do not make sense, his calmness can also transform. in stubbornness. In all cases, absolute obedience should not be expected from a Bullmastiff and this also depends on the fact that this breed does not submit easily. Intelligence and the ability to quickly assess situations make the Bullmastiff an equal companion. However, he is very attached to his family and remains by his side in every situation. Despite his self-awareness, he is always good-natured, benevolent and fond of his master.
At first he confronts strangers with a skeptical and detached attitude; with her intelligence she is mostly able to effectively recognize the man’s intentions and soon welcomes harmless and peaceful guests to her family. Instead, the possible intruders quickly discover that it is better not to fight with the real “landlord”. Even according to the FCI standard “his courage and his protection from intruders are legendary. In fact, in the Bullstiff a strong protective instinct is innate that does not require further stimuli. The same goes for his guard instinct, which is as innate as his keen senses of smell and hearing.
Optically, physically and mentally, the Bullmastiff is naturally endowed with everything a protection and guard dog needs. Therefore it needs early socialization and education by an experienced owner, in order to bring out its good-natured and calm character and to take off that image of a fighting dog, which certainly does not do justice to this benevolent and versatile dog.
With a maximum height of 69 cm at the withers and a weight that can reach 60 kg in males, the Bullmastiff is undoubtedly a large and powerful dog. Despite the stocky figure and the considerable weight, dogs of this breed are never clumsy. On the contrary, their muscular body impresses in terms of strength and agility. This imposing appearance is accentuated by the square shape of the head, which results from the high set, V-shaped, folded back ears.
The forehead is wrinkle-free when the dog is at rest. However, as soon as something arouses his interest, he immediately introduces many, which silently signal to the owner that something noteworthy has occurred and that they have become a hallmark of this young dog breed.
As for the color, the Bullmastiff can have shades of red, brindle or deer brown. All Bullmastiffs have a black muzzle, which fades towards the eyes and completes the typical expression of the muzzle. No less impressive is the very muscular neck, whose circumference is almost equal to that of the skull. The broad chest is well descended between the forelegs well spaced and upright. A slight white patch on the chest is accepted, while according to the FCI standard other white patches are not.
Since it is a relatively young breed, dating back to the 19th century, its history is confidently reconstructed. Unlike many older dog breeds, which derive from rather “random” crosses from antiquity or the Middle Ages, the Bullmastiff was bred from the very beginning in a targeted manner. From the crossing of an Old English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog, the English gamekeepers of the 19th century expected an ideal protection dog to be born, which could effectively protect them from poachers.
Although hunting theft at the time was punished with the death penalty, many were those who saw poaching as a last way out. The increase in poverty and the growing desperation of poachers made the life of the gamekeepers more and more dangerous, who had to protect the game of the lords. To escape the death penalty following the capture by a gamekeeper, some poachers did not even hesitate to resort to murder. Large-sized hunting dogs such as the Irish Greyhound, initially used by gamekeepers to deal with poachers, did not perform the task entrusted to them as hoped for. These dogs with a very strong hunting instinct often injured poachers so badly that they killed them. It was a real large-scale public execution, which frightened the other poachers, but which could not continue. The need was therefore felt for a strong and robust dog, which would face the poachers silently and courageously, but in a controlled manner, in order to avoid the succession of unpleasant events. This result was soon achieved thanks to the crossing of Mastiff (approx. 60%) and English Bulldog (approx. 40%). Thanks to a targeted selection of the breed, a formidable protection dog was born, which had all the desired characteristics. With the subsequent crossing of the Bloodhound (or St. Hubert’s Dog) the sense of smell and therefore the hound skills of the „Gamekeeper’s Nightdog“, name given to the breed at first, were further improved.
On the evening of Christmas Eve 1924 the new breed was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club with the name of Bullmastiff. The new name was the result of the combination of the names of his ancestors, the Old English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog.
With the leveling of social classes and a general change in English possessions, in the twentieth century the Bullstiff was no longer in demand as a guard dog for gamekeepers. However, due to his exceptional hound skills and menacing appearance, he was soon promoted to a typically English “police dog” and soon the American authorities also began to appreciate this multi-purpose service dog.
In his homeland, England, as well as in many other countries, the faithful and reliable Bullmastiff also became a popular companion and family dog.
Race and health
The greatest contribution to the worldwide popularity of the Bullmastiff is due to breeder SE Moseley with the Farcroft kennel. Its progenitor, Farcroft Fidelity, today he is considered one of the best known representatives of the original Bullmastiff breed.
Thanks to his calmness, high threshold of stimulus and self-awareness, the Bullstiff was soon appreciated for his work in the police, as an aid to the blind and for rescue. Moseley, the first president of the National-Bull-Mastiff-Police-Dog-Club, identified in the dog’s calmness and good-naturedness also the optimal conditions for its use as a family dog. So in 1925 he began to transform the pure protection dog also into a dog for the family and a show dog.
Basically Bullmastiffs are considered to be very healthy animals with a limited number of breed specific diseases. Like the other large Molossers, of which the Bullmastiff is a part, this dog is prone to hip dysplasia (HD) and other diseases of the motor system as well as heart disease. If a disease is diagnosed, you will need to give your Bullmastiff a veterinary food specific to your needs.
Care and breeding
The Bullmastiff’s coat is rather easy to manage. Being short, smooth and close to the body, it is sufficient to brush it occasionally, to remove the dirt that may have deposited during outdoor walks.
The owner of a Bullmastiff will have to devote more time to his education. The stubbornness of this four-legged head, its sturdy size and not least the fact that in some countries it is listed in the list of dangerous dogs, requires an expert hand, who knows how to impart a loving but consistent education to the dog. The ideal would be for the mother and the breeder to start educating the puppy immediately after birth and for the new owner to continue throughout his life. A good integration of education is represented by classical training in subordination. This activity makes the former working dog happier than many walks do. Having an average need for movement, these quiet dogs despite their size can also live well in a city apartment. However, the Bullmastiff, to be completely satisfied, must be able to move once or twice a day.
Ultimately, the dog that is physically and mentally stimulated will willingly follow the commands of his master. With proper training and sufficient rewards, like some sweet tooth chewable snack, the former protection dog and police dog will become a loving and pleasant member of the family, who will not only reliably protect his owners, but will also be loyally by their side throughout their lives.