In the late 1800s, strong, protective dogs were used to protect England’s large estates from poachers. When the old English Bulldogs were crossed with the Old English Mastiff, the result was a dog who could remain quiet as poachers approached and then take the poachers down and hold them until help arrived. Because most poaching happened at night, the breed was also known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog.
Bullmastiffs become intensely attached to their families.
The Bullmastiff is an imposing dog, giving the impression of great strength. The head is broad, the eyes dark and expressive. The ears are V-shaped and dropped. The body is longer than the dog is tall at the shoulders, with a deep, wide chest and heavy-boned legs. The tail is long, reaching the hocks. The coat is short and smooth and may be red, fawn, or brindle, with a black mask. The Bullmastiff’s short coat can easily be groomed with a soft bristle brush or curry comb a couple of times per week. Having a small towel at hand is usually wise, as Bullmastiffs do drool. The Bullmastiff does not need a lot of exercise.
Although these dogs can move quickly when they wish, this is not a breed made for running. Puppies may want to play some games with you, but adults usually outgrow such silliness. Keep in mind that the breed was designed to protect property against poachers and remains wary of strangers. Early exposure to a variety of people will help establish a good relationship with the human race. Training is needed, too, as these very large, strong dogs could easily overpower a person. Bullmastiffs have a stubborn streak, though, so training can be a challenge. Bullmastiffs are calm companion dogs. They can be good with children when raised with them. If not raised with kids, they tend to think children are something other than people. Bullmastiffs are not always good with other dogs; males especially can be dogaggressive. When raised with other pets, Bullmastiffs will be good with them, but interactions should be supervised. Health concerns include bloat, torsion, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.
A Bullmastiff should be confident, yet docile. A Bullmastiff is courageous, extremely loyal to its family, calm, and loving. Bullmastiffs can also get along with other dogs, but it is common for males not to get along with other males, they also may get along with the family house cat but, not with other strange animals. The Bullmastiff can get along extremely well with children provided the dog has been properly trained and socialized. Parental supervision must be maintained when they are with children; as with most large dogs, they may knock smaller children down accidentally.
A Bullmastiff, because of its history, is a very independent dog, and likes to make its own decisions. However, with good training, a Bullmastiff will look to its owner for “permission” to act on its instincts. Early socialization and obedience training with all members of the family will teach the dog to look to them before taking action. They are very athletic and muscular, making them incredibly fast and agile. They were never bred for hunting purposes, and rarely show signs of aggression. The Bullmastiff is a sweet-natured breed.
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