The Bullmastiff is a large sized dog breed. It is a domestic dog that was originally bred by gamekeepers for the purpose of guarding estates. Their origin goes back to the 19th century and includes them being developed from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog.
It has the characteristics of a molosser dog. Officially the breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1924.
History & Origins
The history of Bullmastiff dogs goes back to the 19th century. They were bred by gamekeepers in Britain to fend off poachers. They were bred because of their strength, speed and size. The breeders decided to use a mixture of Bulldogs, which were aggressive and really heavy, with Mastiff dogs, which were equally strong but less aggressive. The result was a dog which they called “The Gamekeeper’s Night Dog” which is close to the breed that we have today. Gamekeepers also preferred brindle ones as it acted as a sort of a camouflage for dogs that protected property at night.
The English Kennel Club accepted the breed as a pure breed in 1924 and established its genetically background as 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog. In 1934 AKC officially recognized the Bullmastiff breed and the first standards were approved only a year later.
Bullmastiff Characteristics & Temperament
A Bullmastiff is a strong and muscular dog. But at the same time, it can be very sensitive and if you train it properly you will end up with a really well-mannered dog. As far as its training goes, you have to take a special approach. Of course, it is important to train it and socialize as early on, but you will equally have to introduce other forms of ranging and exercises. It will help the dog be obedient, well-rounded and good with children. You will get a great family dog in a Bullmastiff that will protect the property and the members of the family.
Since they are guard dogs by nature, you do not have to introduce any specific additional training for them. They will most certainly protect your homes and the members of the family. But do not try to introduce repeating exercises for them as they do not work. This is the part of the training that the Bullmastiff hates the most.
Appearance, Colors, Size
The Bullmastiff is a lager type of a dog. The male specimens usually grow to somewhere between 25 and 27 inches in height while they weigh between 110 and 130 pounds. The female dogs are 24 to 26 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 120 pounds.
The AKC accepts only three color variants for Bullmastiff dogs eligible for any competition. These are red, fawn and brindle. There are variations between individual colors as the fawn can range from light to almost reddish-brown. The Red can go from red-fawn and go on to appear very dark. While brindle specimens are usually striped with fawn or red.
A Bullmastiff is a medium-sized dog and it will keep growing until it is about three years old. According to the latest survey done, the dog will has an average lifespan for its size. It will live somewhere between 7.5 to 8 years. But as with many mastiff dogs and bulldogs, there are some similar health issues that this dog may suffer from. They highest and most dangerous cause of death is cancer, but you also have to watch out for other problems. Conditions that affect these dogs include hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, progressive retinal atrophy, and a relatively high incidence of lymphoma and mast cell tumors.
Grooming & Shedding
Shedding is not a problem for Bullmastiff dogs. They have a short coat and do to shed so much. It is in fact pretty manageable and you will probably not notice it. But what can be a problem is that the dog drools a lot. You might have to carry a towel at all times with you so you can clean the mess that it makes.
Due to the nature of their coats, it is easy to maintain them. They are short and they are hard to get dirty. But grooming may including brushing their coats on a daily basis and giving them baths. These dogs do not have a strong doggy odor but frequent baths are not so important. They will need only a few baths a year or if they get excessively dirty. But dental hygiene is important in with these dogs and should be done on a weekly basis. Trimming their nails is an additional factor when grooming a Bullmastiff.
Bullmastiff Price and Breeders
Quality breeders for Bullmastiffs are sometimes hard to come by. But luckily, major countries have developed a line and are breeding these dogs in good conditions. So if you are dealing with a great Kennel you do not have to worry about getting a healthy dog. The price is a bit high but pretty fair for this dog size. A single puppy will cost between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars.
Rescue groups are a completely acceptable substitute for getting a Bullmastiff dog. There are various ones which are looking for shelter and which are in need of a family. If you want to provide a home for a puppy or a larger dog you can contact The American Bullmastiff Association, Bullmastiff Rescue of Canada or Pacific Northwest Bullmastiff Fanciers for more information.