The Bullmastiff is a responsible watchman and tireless companion, he traces its origins from English bulldog and mastiff. It is infinitely fond of the owner and his family, but always wary of strangers.
Bullmastiff is prone to athletic and guard body structure and clearly distinguishes between work and leisure. Like a true native of The Foggy Albion, this charismatic slugger has his own independent opinion on any subject, so that only a strong-willed and persistent owner can persuade him of anything. However, it would be an exaggeration to call the bullmastiff irredeemable stubborn. Representatives of this breed do not like to confront their owners and prefer pleasant partnership as opposed to useless confrontation.
The bullmastiff breed began to form between the 17th and 18th centuries. By this time, the laws against poaching had been tightened in the UK, and natural lands were being carefully protected. As the English gamekeepers were unable to deal alone with unauthorized hunting funs, there was a need for strong, tough dogs to catch and detain the intruder until reinforcements arrived.
The experiments to create the ideal forest keeper took a long time and involved about a dozen breeds. As a result, today every bullmastiff has a bit of blood of bloodhound, St Bernard, and even a German dog. This is even though the fact that the official ancestors of the breed are still believed to be English bulldogs and mastiffs.
At the first time, the breeding of bullmastiffs been held by amateur breeders from the people, so the number of dogs was very heterogeneous. However, in the XIX century professionals like J. Briggs and W. Hollander were interested in this breed. It significantly improved the exterior and working skills of dogs. In particular, bullmastiffs have become more rapid in motion, without losing their natural ferocity and bulldog grip.
In 1924, the breed was officially registered by the English Kennel Club, and a year later it offered the first standard of appearance for its representatives. By this time, the bullmastiffs had been able to retrain from being gamekeepers’ helpers to police and army dogs, which status these animals still use in the USA and several European countries. The De Beers Corporation is using bullmastiffs to secure its diamond deposits in the Republic of South Africa. Which is the country of origin of the boerboel breed, by the way.
The breed was imported to America in 1933, where American Kennel Club published a new standard for it next year – the standard was not considerably different from English one. As for breeders from USSR, they met descendants of mastiffs and bulldogs in 1988. Nevertheless, the breed didn’t take long to adapt to the Russian reality. In particular, Russian bullmastiffs were already taking part in worldwide exhibitions since 1997 and collecting all kinds of awards and championships.
Bullmastiff is a chubby, but well-built weightlifter with a melancholic and slightly tired view. However, his detached eyes are nothing more than a subtle ruse. Bullmastiff’s actually in a state of permanent apprehension, as evidenced by the pleats on his face. These improvised wrinkles are only smoothed in a state of complete peace and tranquility, which come during sleeping.
Bullmastiff is a breed with pronounced sexual dimorphism. Because of that, males have relief forms and exaggeratedly brutal image, females have elegant figures. Height at the shoulder ranges from 63 to 69 centimeters for males and from 61 to 66 centimeters for females. The weight categories of these «girls» and «boys» are also different. The maximum that a female can gain without detriment to health and exterior is 50 kg, while for a male this body mass is barely permissible.
Bullmastiffs’ braincase is massive, almost square. The snout is short, obtuse, voluminous under the eyes, and well-defined. The skin on the head of the bullmastiff is stretched freely and, when the dog is interested in anything, it’s got little wrinkles.
The lobe is flat, wide enough, with large nostrils. The lips of bullmastiff are strong and floppy, cheeks are average size.
The teeth are strong, the canines are massive, and they are widely laid out. Preferred bite types: straight, mild, tight.
Bullmastiff usually hazel or has a color of pecan, it is bordered with black «glasses» and spaced.
Bullmastiff has high-set ears that make his skull more angular. Ears have an isosceles triangle shape. Each ear is small and tight around the dog’s cheekbone. Bullmastiff’s ears are a much darker color than the rest of the body.
The neck of a bullmastiff is incredibly muscular, moderately long, its width is equal to the circumference of the head.
This dog’s body is massive but compact. The back is short and flat. The chest is quite lowered, with a wide, deep thorax. The croup is slightly bent and sloping.
The legs of a true bullmastiff give the impression of latent strength and power. This dog’s hind limbs are widely spaced, with muscular feet and strong, active tibias, so it let the animal move freely and energetically and with a wide breadth of forelimbs. The paws of the bullmastiff are expressly curved and have soft paw pads. Claws must be dark-colored.
The breed has a very strong tail, that noticeably thick at the base, with a strong tip. In the moving and the resting state, the tail is horizontal or slightly curved, but never vertical.
The ideal «clothes» for a bullmastiff is a glossy short and rigid fur that tightly covers the body. The presence of the underwool depends on the color of the dog. Most often, dogs with brindle-colored fur haven’t underwool, while lightly colored animals have.
Bullmastiffs are colored different. Their fur can be red (both light and dark tones), brown, and brindle. All these variants must be monotone, without even a hint of grey spraying and lightness on individual areas of the body. Snouts are always had a dark mask and edging around eyes.
The silky luster of bullmastiff’s fur has different intensities and often depends on the type of coloration. In particular, the brightest fur has dark red and brindle dogs, and pale and sandy animals have more dim fur.
Bullmastiffs are dogs that can boast million contradictions in their characters and about frequent changes of mood. The only bullmastiff can combine fearlessness and wariness, playfulness and sluggish enervation, infinite goodness, and malicious suspicion at the same time. The breeders like to call dogs of this breed “thinkers”, which means they can’t be pushed around. On the other hand, a dog with such a rich inner world is a lot more interesting than a constantly looking back at you and a dead service dog waiting for a command.
Contrary to the common cliché, the modern bullmastiff is not some «Schwarzenegger in a dog body» ready to rip the abuser on pieces. A well-mannered dog would never run to cut peaceful walking stranger off and would certainly not bark at him. This fat brutal guy always keeps his wits sharp, but it is not in his nature to be safe enough to throw at any live target. Bullmastiff attacks when his threat is fully established, and then only with the acquiescence of his owner. By the way, it is noticeable even from the outside – before defending someone’s safety, the dog will make eye contact with the owner to ask for the permission on a telepathic level.
Bullmastiff that has dealt with the matter and began resting is a totally different animal. In the home, the brave caretaker and guard quickly forget about the harsh profession and begin to enjoy hardly in the form of messing around, play pranks, and jumping around each surface in the home, including the owner’s bed or grandma’s favorite chair. In addition, he has an excellent disguise, so it is often possible to guess that the pet occupied the bed only by funny snoring under the blanket.
Dogs of this breed are social creatures, but they respectful of the pack hierarchy and patronizing those who are weaker. As a result, these dogs are excellent babysitters and children’s entertainers because they are nice, forgiving, and cautious. Of course, it is better to control animals and children for keeping their plays safe, even though most bullmastiffs have developed a stable immunity to childhood mischief and jokes. The breed also has no threat to other home pets. Bullmastiff will not fall into ecstasy and will not drag an unsuccessful owner, that who can’t handle slugger’s power, through the puddles. Fluffy kitty will definitely generate interest in a curious dog, but not to the extent to run wild to a fuzzy crumb.
Cynologists are recommended to start training bullmastiff not earlier than he turned six month, because the breed has a slower growth rate. The owners are consequently wondered – what to do with a puppy before the appropriate age? It’s simple. Up to six months, the puppies are parented and when the bullmastiff will grow into an adult dog that can be successfully trained, he must respond to the name, know his place in the house and calmly react to the periodic «placement» in the cage or aviary. The owner got to work on the puppy’s education and wean him off the biting owner by the legs and excessive displays of emotions. Of course, it’s more fun than painful, but this will go on as long as the puppy is small. A playful bite owner’s heel of an adult bullmastiff will cause completely different emotions.
A six-month-old puppy should be able to get along with children, walk on a leash, and correctly understand the prohibiting commands. A dog should be socialized and be able to not shudder because of unaccepted loud sounds. Puppy pranks are inevitable, so the owner must feel himself to need of renovation his flat after the puppy will grow up. A cage can be minimizing the damage from a lonely puppy, but it is a radical measure. The puppy can sit in a limited space for one hour, then a little rascal begins to express his displeasure by annoying howling, so the best way to avoid destruction in the flat is to make the pet accept solitude. For this purpose, the owner must leave the animal alone with his thoughts, and it makes more sense to start with a short interval in a few minutes. These intervals should be increased to an hour or two.
The owner of a six-month bullmastiff can move to the general course of training. However, it feasible if the pet learned to work for affection and treat. Without positive motivation, this breed will not trouble itself. It’s better to work with a dog on the playground. One-year-old bullmastiffs are in puberty, and they’re trying to fight with adult male dogs. The work on the playground will help the pet to occupy his place in the dog’s collective more quickly, and it will also help him to form the correct understanding of hierarchy and leadership.
If you don’t have a service dog, you don’t have to pass the Guard and Secure Training. In ordinary life, it is quite difficult to find the use of the skills from this tough course, especially since if necessary bullmastiff will easily protect you without special training. The pet is able to catch up with the bully, fall him down and hold him until help arrives. Bullmastiffs can do it without special training. In 99% of cases, owners don’t need this training if they don’t want to be held accountable for exceeding the limits of defense. The owner who wants to pass the Guard and Secure Training must wait until their bullmastiffs will be two years old. Until the age of two, this breed’s dogs have a psyche that will not allow them to learn the basic skills of the program sufficient. It’s better to entrust training like this to a specialist who can develop an individual course of guard and secure for the pet.
Bullmastiffs are universal watchdogs in terms of their maintenance. They feel fine in the house, flat, and even in the outdoor aviary. That’s assuming the dog will not sit in it all day. The only requirement is don’t place a dog to backbones or chain him up. It is a curious and sociable breed, so isolation like that will offend and upset its representatives. These former helpers of gamekeepers can boast about modest behavior in flat life and usually doze on the sofa, so the owner won’t stumble on the pet.
A short and moderately rigid coat will bring no unpleasant surprises. The molting of dogs is seasonal and not very abundant, and their fur hardly smells. Typically, fur care consists of regular brushing and washing. Brushing should be conducted daily during the molting period and once a week for the rest of the time. Dog’s washing too often is contraindicated. Pets are only taken to the bathroom when they’re dirty. In the winter, it is better to replace standard washing with dry cleaning with special shampoo. In the summer, most bullmastiffs would like to go into the open water, and that’s acceptable. But the owner must always wash the dog’s fur with running water to flush away the algae and parasites.
Otherwise, caring for a bullmastiff is simple and requires no special skills. The pet’s eyes are examined daily to remove the accumulated mucus off. In order to avoid mucous acidification, it is possible to wipe the eyes every few days with a napkin wetted with strong tea or ophthalmic phyto lotion. Dog’s ears must be examined and cleaned weekly. The dental plaque should be removed every 2-3 days with a brush or nozzle and toothpaste for dogs. Of course, the owner should not forget the snout. Bullmastiffs have gained moderate salivation from bulldogs, so after eating and walking the dog’s lips and chin should be wiped with a cotton napkin.
Bullmastiffs are very energetic, so forget the turtle tempo and the park bench. Only active games and intense training, only hardcore! Of course, you don’t have to change your principles and can go waltzing around with a pet in a quiet alley, but then you have the risk of raising an aggressive fighter. This is relevant for owners of young males, who will look for someone to bully with and what to eat from the nasty things lying under their feet.
To blow off steam, the average bullmastiff takes 3-4 hours of walking daily. If your dog is a “girl”, and reduce the duration of the walking by half an hour. Females in this regard are less demanding and active. Some owners make their bullmastiffs to dragging weight, but overall it is not the best breed for weight pulling. However, small weights for adults are good for them. The main thing is not to exaggerate the physical abilities of the pet.
Jumping through obstacles is not easy for bullmastiffs, so it is better not to introduce the animal to this sport until he was one-year-old. And it makes sense to attract adults to it only when it is interesting to them. If you need to properly load the dog, it is better to take him out of town and drive him over rough terrain and uphill. Bullmastiffs are well worn out by handling objects, jogging on loose ground, or sand on the beach. Swimming is good too.
Bullmastiff’s natural menu is a classic diet of any large dog – nutritious food that is enhanced with mineral supplements. The standard daily ration of natural food for an adult dog is 2 kilograms, from, which 1.2 kilograms are meat or fish and 800 grams is a combination of grain, bran, and vegetables. By the way, the owner must choose sinewy, low-fat meat with lots of cartilage. These components give the dog a complex of useful substances, including the collagen that necessary for the breed. Raising bullmastiff on dry feeds is also an acceptable method. However, dry food will have to moisten with wet preserves.
What owner shouldn’t do?
Bullmastiff puppies quickly gain body weight and have a wolfish appetite. The owner needs to feed them hard, but without fanaticism, so as not to overload the fragile ligaments and joints. Also, the owner will have to additionally feed the puppy with complexes that contain chondroitin and glucosamine.
An important point is that bullmastiffs often refuse food in the heat and it’s useless to running after them with a bowl. It is better to provide the dog with nonfat fermented milk and water. This will help the dog to get through heat more easily.
Bullmastiffs are quite strong dogs, but they are not long-livers. So, the average lifespan of a healthy individual is 8-9 years. As for diseases, bullmastiffs are prone to volvulus, hip dysplasia, and congenital elbow dislocation. Other ailments that can be diagnosed in these dogs include food allergies, urolithiasis, eyelid anomalies, and lymphoma. Varieties of dermatitis, as well as eczema, spoil the life of dogs in a very hard way.
Many bullmastiffs are vulnerable to calluses on the elbows and hocks. This is the scourge of all large and heavy breeds, which, however, can be fought with. Most often, bullmastiffs that sleep on vulnerable to calluses on hard surfaces, although any bullmastiff is not immune from its appearance. If the pet has calloused areas on the elbows, the owner should not wait that everything will resolve itself. Take a solution of Dioxide and treat the lesion, then apply an oily solution of vitamins A, E, and D3 to the dog’s skin. Usually, this treatment is conducted three times a day.
A vaccinated pet-class puppy with all the necessary documents will cost 250-400 dollars. Bullmastiff that will participate in exhibitions will cost 550-1100 dollars for one.