Bullmastiff: Everything You Need to Know

Bullmastiff is a responsible watchman and indefatigable companion, descending from English Bulldogs and Mastiffs. Infinitely affectionate towards the owner and his family members, but always wary of strangers.

Bullmastiff is a keen athlete and security guard, clearly distinguishing between work and rest. As a true native of Foggy Albion, this charismatic robust man has his own independent opinion on any phenomenon, therefore, only a strong-willed and persistent owner can convince him of anything. However, to call the bullmastiff an incorrigible obstinate would be a clear exaggeration. The breed does not like to enter into confrontation with the owner, preferring pleasant partnership and mutual understanding to useless confrontation.

The bullmastiff breed began to form at the turn of the 17th-18th centuries. By this time, laws aimed at eradicating poaching were tightened in the UK, and natural areas were carefully protected. And since the English huntsmen could not cope with the lovers of unauthorized hunting alone, there was a need for strong, sturdy dogs capable of catching up and detaining the intruder before the arrival of reinforcements.

Experiments to create an ideal forest watchman dragged on for a long time, and about a dozen species took part in them. As a result: in every bullmastiff today there is a particle of the blood of a Bloodhound, St. Bernard, and even a Great Dane. And this even though the official progenitors of the breed continue to be the English Bulldog and Mastiff.

At first, amateur breeders from the people were in charge of breeding bullmastiffs, so the population of dogs was extremely heterogeneous. But in the 19th century, professionals like J. Briggs and W. Hollander were carried away by the “pumping” of the breed phenotype, which significantly increased the exterior and performance of animals. In particular, bullmastiffs became more impetuous in movement, without losing their natural viciousness and bulldog grip.

In 1924, the breed was officially registered by the English Kennel Club, and a year later they also proposed the first standard of appearance for its representatives. By that time, bullmastiffs had managed to retrain from assistant rangers into police and army dogs, which they remain in the United States, as well as in several other Western countries. By the way, it is the bullmastiffs that are used by the De Beers corporation to protect their diamond deposits in South Africa. And this is in the homeland of the fierce Boerboels!

In 1933, the breed was imported to America, where a year later the AKC published a new standard for it, slightly but still different from English. As for the Soviet breeders, they met the descendants of mastiffs and bulldogs only in 1988. Nevertheless, it took the bullmastiffs very little time to adapt to Russian realities. In particular, since 1997, domestic livestock has already been in full control at international exhibitions, collecting all kinds of awards and champion titles.

The Bullmastiff is a tight, compact weightlifter with a melancholic, seemingly slightly weary look. However, the distant expression of the eyes is nothing more than a cunning trick. In fact, the bullmastiff is in a state of permanent alertness, as evidenced by the folds on his face. These impromptu wrinkles are straightened only in a state of complete rest and tranquility, which is a dog that occurs only during periods of sleep.

Bullmastiff is a breed with pronounced gender dimorphism. Hence – especially relief forms and emphasized brutal image in males and refined-elegant figures in females. The height at the withers in males is 63-69 cm, females are slightly lower – 61-66 cm. The weight categories of “girls” and “boys” are also different. The maximum that a female can gain without harm to health and exterior is 50 kg, while for a dog this bodyweight is the maximum permissible minimum.

The bullmastiff’s skull is massive, almost square. The muzzle is short, obtuse-angled, more voluminous under the eyes, with a well-defined stop. The skin on the bullmastiff’s head is stretched loosely, and in a dog interested in any phenomenon, it forms shallow folds.

The nose is flat, wide enough, with large nostrils. The bullmastiff’s lips are developed, but not pendulous, and moderately hooded.

The eyes of a bullmastiff are hazel or dark hazel, relatively wide apart and bordered by black “glasses”.

The ears are characterized by a high set, which enhances the angularity of the skull, and the shape of an isosceles triangle. The auricle is small, close to the cheekbones, and tinted darker than the rest of the body.

The bullmastiff’s neck is incredibly muscular, of moderate length, equal in thickness to the circumference of the head.

The dog’s body is massive but compact. The back is short and straight. The chest is strongly drooping down, with a wide, deep chest. The bullmastiff’s rump is slightly arched and slightly sloping.

The legs of a pedigree bullmastiff should give the impression of hidden power and strength. Set wide apart, with muscular shoulders, straight patterns, and flexible strong legs, they allow the animal to move at a free, energetic trot with good reach of the forelimbs. The paws of the bullmastiff have a pronounced curved shape and firm pads. The nails are preferable in dark color.

The representatives of the breed have a very strong tail with a strong tip, noticeably thickened at the base. In movement and at rest, the tail is carried straight or slightly bent but never assumes an upright position.

The ideal “clothing” for a bullmastiff is a glossy short and stiff dog that tightly wraps around the body. The presence of the undercoat depends on the color of the dog. It has been noticed: the majority of tiger individuals have no undercoat, while light-colored animals have it.

Бульмастифы могут быть обладателями шерсти красного (как светлые, так и темные тона), коричневого и тигрового окрасов. Все перечисленные варианты должны быть однотонными, без намека на соболиность (серое напыление) и осветленность на отдельных участках тела. Обязательные пункты: темная маска на морде и такая же окантовка глаз. Приемлемо также наличие небольшого белого пятна на груди.

Шелковистый блеск, присущий шерсти бульмастифов, имеет разную интенсивность и часто привязан к типу окраса. В частности, самая блестящая псовина у темно-рыжих и тигровых собак и гораздо более тусклая у животных палевого и песочного окрасов.

Disqualifying vices:

  • Yellow eyes.
  • A brown mask on the face or its complete absence.
  • Behavioral deviations: cowardice, unreasonable aggression.
  • Obvious physical defects call into question the breed of the animal.

Bullmastiffs are dogs woven from a million contradictions and the same amount of state changes. Only a bullmastiff can simultaneously combine fearlessness and caution, playfulness and sluggish relaxation, endless good nature, and malicious suspicion. The breeders themselves like to call the breed thinking, which means that it will not work to push around it with representatives. But with a dog with such a rich inner world is many times more interesting than with a service dog constantly looking back at you and freezing in anticipation of the command.

Contrary to the popular cliche, modern bullmastiffs are not some “Schwarzeneggers in a dog’s body” who are ready to tear the offender to shreds. A properly trained dog will never run towards a stranger walking peacefully and will definitely not bark at him. Yes, these well-fed “brutal” always keep their ears on top of their heads, but it is not in their nature to play it safe and throw themselves at any live target. The bullmastiff attacks only when the threat becomes too obvious, and even then only with the tacit consent of the owner. By the way, this is noticeable even when viewed from the side: before defending someone’s safety, the dog will definitely make eye contact with the owner to ask permission at a telepathic level.

The completed work and resting bullmastiff is a completely different dog. At home, the gallant watchman and security guard quickly forgets about the harsh profession and begins to revel in the full program, that is, fool around, play naughty, and also capture the softest surfaces, including the master’s bed and the beloved grandmother’s chair. In addition, it perfectly disguises itself, so it is often possible to guess that a pet has occupied the bed only by funny snoring from under the blanket.

Bullmastiffs are social creatures, but they follow the herd hierarchy and are patronizing towards those who are weaker. As a result, representatives of this breed make good babysitters and children’s animators – good-natured, forgiving, careful. Of course, to hedge the game of the animal and the children, it is better to control, although the overwhelming majority of bullmastiffs have developed a stable immunity to children’s harm and jokes. The breed does not pose a threat to pets either. Seeing a cat walking, the bullmastiff will not fall into ecstasy and will not drag the owner who could not bear such prowess through the puddles. The dog will undoubtedly be interested in the fluffy “sailor”, but not to such an extent as to fly after him in full sail.

Dog handlers recommend starting to train a bullmastiff no earlier than the dog is 6-7 months old since the breed has a slower pace of maturation. In this regard, the question arises: what to do with the puppy before the onset of age? It’s simple: up to six months kids are brought up, that is, by the time the bullmastiff is “ripe” for a full-fledged training course, he must respond to the nickname, know his place in the house and calmly respond to periodic “landing” in a cage or aviary. Be sure to work on weaning the puppy from the habit of biting your legs, as well as from the excessive manifestation of emotions, expressed in swoops on a person. Yes, yes, all this is rather funny than painful, but exactly as long as the puppy is small. A playful bite on the heel from an adult bullmastiff causes a flurry of completely different emotions.

By the age of 6 months, a bullmastiff puppy must learn to get along with children, adequately perceive walking on a leash, and correctly understand the command “No!” The dog should be socialized and not shy away from sudden harsh sounds. Puppy pranks are inevitable, so take it easy on the need for redecoration after your ward grows up. The cage will also help minimize the damage from a bored alone baby, but this is a radical measure. A bullmastiff puppy can sit in a confined space for a maximum of an hour, then the little bully will begin to express displeasure by annoying howling, so the best way to avoid destruction in the apartment is to teach the pet to put up with loneliness. To do this, often leave the animal alone with your own thoughts, and it is wiser to start with short intervals of a couple of minutes, gradually increasing the period to an hour or two.

At 6-7 months with a bullmastiff, it is allowed to go to the OKD, however, on condition that the pet has learned to work for a treat and affection. Without positive motivation, this breed will not bother. It is better to deal with the dog on the site. By the age of one year, bullmastiffs begin puberty, and they try to arrange a showdown with mature males. Working on the site will help the pet to quickly find its niche in the canine collective, as well as form in him the correct ideas about hierarchy and leadership.

Passage of the ZKS, if you do not have a service dog, is not necessary. In everyday life, it is quite difficult to find an application for the skills from this harsh course, especially since, if necessary, the bullmastiff will easily protect you without training. The pet can catch up with the offender, knock him down and hold him until help arrives in time, without preliminary training. In 99% of cases, more is not required: you do not want to then be responsible for exceeding the limits of permissible defense. If there is absolutely nothing without ZKS, wait until the bullmastiff turns at least a couple of years old. Until the age of two, the breed has a puppy mentality, which will not allow it to fully master the basic skills of the program. It is better to entrust such training to a specialist who can develop an individual protective or protective course for the pet.

In terms of keeping, bullmastiffs are universal guard dogs. They feel great both in the house and in the apartment, and even in the outdoor enclosure (provided that the animals do not sit in it for days). The only requirement is no backyards and chains chained to the booths. The Bullmastiff is a curious and sociable breed, so this isolation offends and upsets her. In the apartments, the ex-assistants of the gamekeepers behave modestly, preferring to sleep peacefully on the sofas, so you are unlikely to stumble over the pet.

The short, moderately hard coat of a bullmastiff does not present any unpleasant surprises. Dogs shed seasonally and not very profusely, and their hair practically does not smell. Caring for a dog usually consists of systematically combine it with a rubber mitten (daily during the molting period and once a week for the rest of the time) and periodic washing. Do not abuse bathing. Pets are taken to the bathroom only when they are dirty, and show individuals – a couple of days before the show. In cold weather, it is better to replace standard washing with dry cleaning using a special shampoo. In the summer, most bullmastiffs like to roll around in the open water, and that’s okay. But after bathing, always rinse your dog’s coat under running water to remove algae and parasites.

Otherwise, caring for a bullmastiff is simple and does not require special skills. An examination of the pet’s eyes is carried out daily to remove mucus accumulated in the corners. To avoid acidification of the mucous membrane, you can wipe your eyes every few days with a napkin moistened with strong tea or ophthalmic Phyto-lotion. The ears should be examined and cleaned weekly. In addition, it is recommended to remove plaque every 2-3 days with a brush or brush head and dog toothpaste. And of course, don’t forget about the muzzle. Bullmastiffs inherited moderate drooling from bulldogs, so after eating and walking, wipe the dog’s lips and chin with a cotton cloth.

Bullmastiffs are energized, so forget about walking at a snail’s pace and sitting on park benches. Only active games and intense training, only harder! Of course, you can not change your own principles and walk imposingly with your pet along quiet alleys, but then there is a risk of raising an aggressive fighter. This is especially true for the owners of young males, who, out of boredom, will look for someone to bully with and what to eat from the nasty things lying under their feet.

To let off steam, the average bullmastiff takes 3-4 hours of walking a day. If you have a “girl”, you can be a little lazy and reduce the duration of the promenade by half an hour or an hour. Females in this regard are less demanding and active. Some owners involve bullmastiffs in hauling loads, but overall this is not the best breed for weight pulling. However, harnesses with small weights are only good for adults. The main thing is not to exaggerate the physical capabilities of the pet and do not go over the weight of the load.

Jumping over obstacles is not easy for bullmastiffs, so it is better not to introduce the animal to this sport until one year old. And it makes sense to attract adults to it only if 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 the loose ground (sand on the beach and snowdrifts are even better), as well as swimming.

Bullmastiff’s natural menu is a classic diet of any large dog: nutritious, high in protein, enhanced with mineral supplements. The daily norm of natural food for a 50-kg individual is 2 kg, of which 1.2 kg is for animal protein (meat, fish) and 800 g for a combination of cereals, bran, and vegetables. Speaking of meat, choose sinewy, lean varieties with lots of cartilage for your bullmastiff. They saturate the dog’s body with a complex of useful substances, including collagen necessary for the breed. Growing a bullmastiff on industrial feed is also an acceptable option. True, dry croquettes will have to periodically “taste” wet canned food.

What not to do:

  • mix raw food with thermally processed food in one feeding;
  • independently prescribe vitamins and dietary supplements to the dog;
  • for experimental purposes, transfer the pet from natural nutrition to “drying” and vice versa;
  • feed the bullmastiff before or immediately after a walk.

Bullmastiff puppies quickly gain body weight and have a wolfish appetite. They need to be fed intensively, but without fanaticism, so as not to overload the fragile ligaments and joints. In addition, you will have to additionally feed the baby with complexes with chondroitin and glucosamine.

An important point: in the heat, bullmastiffs often refuse food, and there is no point in running after them with a bowl. It is better to provide the dog with enough fat-free kefir, fermented baked milk, and water. This will help her cope with the heat more easily.

Bullmastiffs are quite strong dogs, but not long-livers: the average life span of a healthy individual is 8-9 years. As for diseases, everything is the same as in other large breeds. In particular, bullmastiffs are prone to volvulus, hip dysplasia, and congenital dislocation of the elbows. Other ailments that can be diagnosed in animals include food allergies, urolithiasis, eyelid anomalies, and lymphoma. A variety of dermatitis (most often interdigital and atopic), as well as eczema, spoil the life of dogs.

Many bullmastiffs develop calluses on the elbows and hocks. This is the scourge of all large, heavy breeds, which, however, can be fought with. Most often, calluses make themselves felt in dogs sleeping on hard surfaces, although any bullmastiff is not immune from their appearance. If your pet has calloused areas on the elbows, do not expect that everything will resolve itself. Take a solution of Dioxide (20-30%) and treat the lesion, then apply an oily solution of vitamins A, E, and D3 to the skin. Usually, the procedure is carried out three times a day, smearing the corn with lanolin or glycerin ointment at night.

How to choose a puppy?

  • Bullmastiff males look more textured than females but also have a dominant and independent character. In addition, dogs are more prone to allergies and, as a result, atopic dermatitis.
  • “Girls” have a less expressive exterior, but they are more contactable, more loyal to children, and easier to learn. And they can also be taken in pairs, which cannot be said about males.
  • Bullmastiff puppies are quite plump and heavy. The weight of a healthy two-month-old baby should be at least 9-10 kg, a three-month-old – from 17 kg. If the “specimen” you like has a low body weight, this signals illness and poor care.
  • It is better to take a puppy for exhibitions at the age of 7-8 months when its breed features are clearly visible. If you need a companion or a security guard, you should not delay: 1.5-3 months is the best period for moving to a new family.
  • Check to see if the litter breeders have been tested for genetic diseases, especially dysplasia. Be sure to check how the female and the dog are doing with food allergies. Her young bullmastiffs often inherit from their parents.
  • Always inspect all puppies if the breeder provides such an opportunity. This will help you compare animals and make a choice in favor of the smartest baby.
  • Assess the uniformity of the litter. A healthy breeding female does not have too large / too small puppies.
  • Feel the little bullmastiff’s tail carefully. Often, puppies have creases at the tip, which enterprising breeders remove promptly. When such a baby grows up, his tail will be shorter than that of his fellows, which will cut off his way to exhibitions.
  • Look in your puppy’s mouth. If there are more milk incisors than the dental formula requires, this is not a defect. Much worse if they are not enough.
  • A thoroughbred bullmastiff puppy has U-shaped front paws. If at the top of the limbs converge to form an inverted V, the animal is regarded as an embrace.
  • Two-month-old bullmastiff puppies always have dark blue or brown eyes and never blue.
  • For ZKS, it is better to choose puppies with a light type of constitution, an elongated body, and such a type of bite as an undershot bite. In addition, the baby should be in a leading position in the pack. If the dog is purchased as a pet in a family with children, it is wiser to opt for a phlegmatic puppy.
  • Individuals with a brindle color are ideal as apartment pets: they have practically no undercoat and they do not shed so much. Fawn and brown puppies have a thin layer of undercoat and tolerate cold better, but they also have more wool.
Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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