Not a Dog for a Meek Owner, The Bullmastiff is Bred To Protect
Dog and man have formed a unique alliance so long ago that your own behavioral tendencies tend to have a direct impact on your dog and his personality—and vice versa. One breed that demonstrates such interactive tendencies is the Bullmastiff. This breed was built to protect – to keep large estates and reserves free from trespassers (an acute problem experienced while trying to keep poachers off enormous properties. ) That was as far back as 1860 in England. In need of a fearless dog that would attack on command, the breeders combined the loyalty and intelligence of the bulldog with the docile nature and self-confidence of the mastiff, which resulted in the birth of the "Bullmastiff. "
This breed was known for some time as the "gamekeeper’s night dog" because of his protective purpose and stealth of movement. The Bullmastiff is composed of 60% Mastiff for its size, and 40% Bulldog for its ferocity. The result is a dog that can hold down trespassers but does not maul them. These rare and unique qualities endear most dog lovers to the Bullmastiff. Even the police and military prepared the Bullmastiff to be preferred companions in their line of duty. Today, the Bullmastiff is used as a hunting dog and guard dog, as well as an aid in military operations and law enforcement. The Diamond Society of South Africa uses it as a watchdog. The Bullmastiff was accepted as a recognized breed of the American Kennel Club in October, 1933.
The general appearance of the Bullmastiff consists of wrinkled skin on the surface, and a broadshaped body, but often short in height. The keen expressive dark eyes of medium size and "V"- shaped ears are set widely apart and high on the head, which combines a flat forehead with a solid, very muscular neck of medium length almost equal in circumference to the skull. The Bullmastiff has a short back; deep, compact chest; prominent ribs between its forelegs; and a highly-placed tail.
Training is a must in order to maximize the full potential of this wonder dog with its impressive ability to track quietly, cover long distances quickly, and pin down trespassers without chewing them to pieces. The dog’s gait is free, smooth, and powerful as it moves in a straight line. The Bullmastiff is even-tempered, fearless, and agile, yet miraculously docile. It displays a unique combination of reliance, intelligence, and a willingness to please. Training for the Bullmastiff is believed to be tricky but with consistent and early attention, you will have the pleasure of owning not just a dog, but a protector and life-long friend. It is advisable to seek out the help of a professional trainer if your skills are limited and your dog turns out to be too much of an undertaking on your own.
The Bullmastiff is often referred to as a "wash and wear" breed. Still, like all dogs, it must be well cared for and well groomed. Daily brushing to keep off dead hair and keep the coat smooth is recommended. Also, this dog requires regular care and cleaning of the teeth, ears, and toenails to curb potential ear infections, splayed feet, and several other common infections.
All dogs are prone to health issues and the Bullmastiff is no exception. Common health issues are: cancer, bloat, thyroid problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, and entropion – the inversion, or the turning inward, of all or part of the edge of an eyelid, resulting in an irritation of the corneal and conjunctival surfaces of the eye by contact with the outer hair-bearing skin. This causes varying degrees of friction, corneal abrasion and potentially severe damage to affected eyes.
The lifespan varies from eight to ten years and the Bullmastiff doesn’t stop growing until it’s about three and a half years old. They are prone to be crippled by bone and joint diseases or cancer at a very early age. Daily exercising is one of the best and productive ways to develop and maintain the best of this breed, enhance their performance, and also improve their health and well-being.
Despite their ferocious appearance and size, the Bullmastiff does well kept as an indoor pet. They can be very soft and affectionate towards their loved ones. Although they do not require a lot of exercise, some daily exercise is necessary – a romp in the yard or good daily walks will keep them at their peak.
They are intolerant of heat because of their shortened muzzles, so be careful not to let them get too warm during typical hot summer days. Providing a cool floor to rest on can be very helpful to these dogs.
Also, due to the fact that Bullmastiffs can be adventurous and wander easily, they should not be left to roam the environment alone because of their guarding instincts, which increase as their territory expands. They should be properly watched and protected at all times.
Cost of Ownership
Things like the cost of upkeep and medication need to be considered. Larger dogs seem to cost more when visiting the veterinarian for special needs and for routine medication. Other things to consider are the purchase of high quality food, supplies, and toys.