Bullmastiff dog breed is so massive in size, with a strong and powerful body, that their sweet temperament may come as a surprise. They are ideal for those who want a large dog to guard their family, at the same do not want to have an aggressive animal at hand. These intelligent dogs generally keep a calm and even-tempered demeanor. However, they need confident owners who are assertive enough to offer consistent leadership.
Bullmastiff dog breed is not as old as the Mastiff dog breed. Even though there were attempts to cross breed the English Bulldogs and Mastiffs in the 18th century, the development of this breed on a regular basis began only in the last years of the 19th century. They were mainly developed with the intention of protecting large estates of the wealthy English gentlemen who were troubled by poachers.
The English Bulldog and the Mastiffs were already on duty in these estates, but even though Bulldogs were tenacious, they were too small to be effective. Mastiffs were known for their imposing size and strength, but they were too slow for the poachers. The gamekeepers preferred the Bullmastiffs resulting from the crossbreeding of these two dog. They offered strength and speed, with size to reckon with, which in itself was a deterrent to poachers.
Moreover, the Bullmastiffs were silent workers, waiting quietly for the poachers and attacking only when the command was given. This made them excellent guardians of the estate and the best ally of the gamekeepers.
Eventually, instead of regularly crossbreeding the parent dogs, breeders preferred to breed the Bullmastiffs as a separate breed. The preferred combination was 60-70 percent Mastiff and the remaining Bulldog. This new breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1920, and official recognition from the AKC came in 1933.
The breed enjoys popularity as a watch dog due to its protective nature, and a family pet because of its non-threatening attitude.
Bull mastiff dog breed is large-sized, measuring 25 to 27 inches at the withers and weighing more than 110 pounds. Females are slightly smaller. They have a short muzzle, and their short coat may range in color from different shades of fawn to red and brindle patterns. There’s often some black around the mouth, eyes and the ears, and occasionally a white patch on the chest. Ears are small and folded; the tail is thin and long, and held close to the body.
The Bullmastiff dog breed is gentle and quiet, barking rarely. They have a laid back attitude, but it can be quiet deceiving. Though they are not easily aroused, once they perceive danger, they can transform into a formidable character in the flick of a second, and take on the aggressor fearlessly. This makes them one of the best dogs for guarding and protecting the family.
Bullmastiffs can be aggressive with other animals and strange dogs. Even though they are good with children, it is essential that they be introduced into a family with kids when they are puppies. When adopted as an adult, their tolerance of kids and other pets cannot be guaranteed.
Training Bullmastiffs requires firm handling and consistency. They should have thorough obedience training to realize their potential. The owner should always remain the leader of the pack, otherwise these dogs can become difficult to handle. Training this dog takes some ingenuity as they are not interested in repetitive activities.
Grooming and exercise
The short coat of Bullmastiffs is easy to groom; all it needs is a light brushing once a week to get rid of loose hair.
These large-sized dogs need regular exercise and activities to remain healthy, especially when they are otherwise leading a sedentary life indoors with plenty of food. There’s the risk of them becoming obese and lethargic unless daily walks and other exercises in the yard are not strictly enforced.
Bullmastiffs generally feel at home in cold weather, but they cannot tolerate heat. If they are spending time outdoors, they should have access to the house or a cool area at all times. Being short-muzzled, these dogs may snore and drool. They are best kept indoors as a family dog, and should have their own bed for sleeping.
Common health issues of Bullmastiff dog breed
Bullmastiff dog breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and eye problems, including progressive retinal atrophy that can leave them blind. Hypothyroidism and SAS may occur in some dogs. They are at risk for developing gastric torsion which can be life threatening. This breed is predisposed to several types of cancers such as osteosarcoma, lymphosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma.
With regular health checkups and early medical interventions Bull mastiffs can a lead a healthy life. Their life expectancy is around 10 years.