Breed of the Week: Bullmastiff 02/29/2016

Bullmastiff 1

Breed Stats

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Average Height: Male 25-27 inches (63.5-68.5 cm), Female 24-26 inches (61-66 cm)

Average Weight: Male 110-130 lbs (50-59 kg), Female 100-120 lbs (45-54 kg)

Average Lifespan: 8-10 years

Coat: Short and quite dense coat that provides good protection against cold.

Colour: Red, fawn or brindle, sometimes a small white marking on the chest.

History

            The Bullmastiff is a relatively young breed of dog that was developed in England in the 1860s.  At the time, gamekeepers were having trouble with keeping poachers off of their estates, so they developed a dog breed to help them out. They needed a dog that was big, fearless and still fast enough to catch and hold a poacher.  There was probably much experimentation but in the end, a mix of 60% English Mastiff and 40% Old English Bulldog proved to be the perfect combination.  The English Mastiff is large but not aggressive enough and the Old English Bulldog had the aggression but was not big enough to knock down and hold a person.  This original cross was named the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog and Brindle colouring was the most desired at the time as the darker colours would blend in during the night.  Over the years, as poaching declined, the fawn coat with a black mask has become much more common.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the Bullmastiff was considered its own pure breed instead of a crossbreed.  England’s Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1924 and the AKC did the same in 1933.  Nowadays the breed is mostly kept as a companion, but in some cases they are still used to guard.

Classifications

FCI: Group 2 Section 2 #157

AKC: Working

UKC: Guardian Breeds

CKC: Group 3 – Working Breeds

KC (UK): Working

Temperament

            First and foremost, the Bullmastiff is a devoted guard dog with an overall good-natured temperament.  Despite this, they tend to not bark as much as other breeds, and are more likely to hold down an intruder than to actually attack.  They are also very calm, loyal and intelligent dogs that love human interaction.  They are generally very gentle with children and make great family companions.  Due to their large size, the Bullmastiff requires a firm but not aggressive owner that will set consistent rules upon the dog.  Early training and socialization is very important as well.  They can sometimes be dominant with other pets, but firm leadership can easily overcome this.

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