The Bullmastiff or Bull Mastiff is a large short-haired, robust, muscular dog developed in England. The Bullmastiff was once used to track down and take hold of poachers. Today, the Bullmastiff is especially used as a watchful guard and family dog.
The Bullmastiff breed, as its name suggests, is a combination of the Bulldog and the Mastiff of around mid-1800s, in the old days people sometimes said: "Mastiff with a touch of Bull" or the "gamekeeper's night dog". It was created in England and it is the only remaining pure guarding breed to originate there.
So the Bullmastiff is a fairly recent breed, though it can be said it was build with the Bandog of old times in mind. Likewise it was created to get the best of both worlds and do a very particular job and to do it well. During the 19th century, Britain's landed gentry which owned large estates in England were besieged with a drastic increase in poaching on their game in their estates. Gamekeepers were employed to oversee and protect the game in the estates and they needed an able assistant. The poachers being a rather dangerous lot since punishment for poaching was hanging. To stop the poachers, groundskeepers needed a fearless dog that could chase down and subdue a poacher, but the working breeds commonly available in Britain at the time were not that particularly well suited for the job. The solution for the Britons, therefore, was to take dogs they already had and combine them into a new, specialized breed. The Mastiff was large and imposing, and was in fact used for this very job for a long time, but it lacked some of the speed and tenacity to quickly take down poachers; conversely, the Bulldog was fast and furious but lacked some of the size and weight to quickly floor the poachers and so make a great guard dog. By combining these dogs, both abundantly available in England at the time, breeders created the perfect night watch dog and sentry, the Bullmastiff.
Eventually, breeders decided that propagating a purebred Bullmastiff was preferable to simply continued pairing of Bulldogs and Mastiffs. This allowed them to use a sixty percent Mastiff and forty percent Bulldog mix and this proved to work most effectively, however they continued to use bastard blood (English Mastiff and English Bulldog) in the process for the best results. This type of dog, eventually called the Bullmastiff, served the needs of the gamekeeper very well. The dog could track a man in the forest at night; work quietly; and, when close enough spring to a hard charge, knocking the man down and holding him there until the gamekeeper arrived. This was no mean feat since the poachers used every trick and tool at their disposal to escape, knowing that they faced hanging. The Bullmastiff had to be very brave and tenacious and more than one suffered death at the hands of a desperate criminal. The breed did their job well and was exactly what the gamekeeper needed.
There is a story about one highly trained dog name Thorneywood Terror who toured England with his owner putting on demonstrations for crowds. The owner would muzzle the dog; give a volunteer 10 minutes head start into the forest; and be any takers that his dog would catch the man. As th3e story goes Thorneywood Terror never failed to catch, down and hold his man and made much money for his owner.
However, as the large estates were broken up and the need for the services of Bullmastiffs dwindled, they were bred for home and family companions. The Bullmastiff was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1924. The breed was concurrently introduced to the United States, where it was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1933.
Body: Bullmastiffs have a compact build with a short and strong back. The muscular loins are wide and the flanks deep. The high set tail narrows to its point. The tail reaches towards the hocks and is carried straight or curved. The chest is broad and deep, with a deep front chest. The straight and powerful front legs are well angled and the muscular hind legs have moderately angled hocks. Bullmastiffs have cat feet. The muscled neck has a moderate length and is well arched. The circumference of the neck is about the same circumference as the skull.
Head: the big square head and shows only wrinkles when the dog is alert. The circumference of the skull should be equal to shoulder height of the dog. The broad muzzle is short (no more than one third of the total length of the head) and makes a square appearance. There is a definite stop and a deep furrow between the eyes. The V-shaped ears are set high and wide apart, this accents the square appearance of the skull. If the dog is alerted the points of the hanging ears are in line with the eyes. The eyes are moderately large. Bullmastiffs have a level bite, slightly undershot is allowed but not desirable.
Height at Withers: the dogs have a shoulderheight of 63.5 up to 68.5 (25 to 27 inches) centimetres and bitches measure 61 up to 66 centimetres (24 to 26 inches).
Weight: for dogs it's between 50 to 63 kg (110 and 138.6 lbs) and bitches are between 40 to 50 kg (88 to 110 lbs).
Coat: the hard, short coat lies close to the body.
Colors: Bullmastiffs come in all shades of brindle, brown or red, always with a black muzzle and ears. The eyes are hazel or brown. A little white on chest is permissible but not desirable. White Bullmastiffs are normally disqualified.
Character: Bull Mastiffs have a very balanced character. They are not easily impressed by something, and usually respond calmly and quietly when facing many different impressions. They are brave and physically very hard on themselves, in contrast, they are quite vulnerable to the mood in the house and are very gentle towards their own family. Although they can be quite active outdoors, they are quiet in house. They bark very little, but certainly make their voice be heard if there is danger. A Bull Mastiff protects his family and possessions very convincingly against imminent danger. Towards the members of their household, these dogs are very affectionate and are generally obedient. Because of their attachment to their owners, they experience life in a kennel as punishment. Residence in a kennel has a negative effect on their character building. They belong at home, surrounded by family life.
Social Build: Bullmastiffs are very tolerant towards children. They go excellently with the little people. When with peers, particularly those of the same sex, this breed acts dominantly, both indoors and on the street. Well socialized Bullmastiffs will give no problems in dealing with other pets such as cats and the like. Your visitors are accepted, especially if the boss says it's good, but 'unwanted visitors' are simply put to halt.
Care: this breed needs relatively little coat care. It is sufficient to brush the coat once a week with a gloss glove or a soft brush. In the shedding period, you can use a rubber massage glove to simply remove the dead hair. Keep the nails short.
Education: Bullmastiffs respond best to fair, stable and consistent training, in full harmony. The Bullmastiff is very sensitive to the intonation of your voice. If you use this well and often the penalties are almost superfluous. This breed is not difficult to handle, but in adulthood because of its strength and dominance towards other dogs definitely needs an owner who has a natural superiority over dogs.
Activity: the Bullmastiff needs an average amount of exercise. A few short walks per day, plus free running and playing a few times a week gives sufficient freedom of movement for the Bullmastiff.
Usability: the breed is nowadays almost exclusively held as a family dog. The breed does have the physical and mental qualities to participate and make an effectively run in various dog sports.
Bullmastiff Quotes / Trivia