Did you know?
According to tests conducted by the Institute for the Study of Animal Problems in Washington DC, dogs and cats, like people, are either right-handed or left-handed; that is, they favor either their right or left paws.
I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world. – Samuel Johnson
Developed in England by gamekeepers in the late nineteenth century, the Bullmastiff was created by crossing the large, strong English Mastiff with the more aggressive Old English Bulldog (now extinct).
Estate owners wanted a dog who would remain quiet as poachers approached and who would attack on command. Mastiffs proved too large and slow while Bulldogs were too small and aggressive. Combining the two breeds proved the perfect combination. The foundation breeding of the modern purebred was 60 per cent Mastiff and 40 per cent Bulldog.
Bred to warn the gamekeeper of poachers who would rather kill than face the death penalty for poaching, the Bullmastiff can attack and hold a poacher without harming him.
This massive dog has been used as a police, guard, and army dog. In 1928, the De Beers company brought Bullmastiffs to South Africa to guard their diamond mines.
Photos displayed courtesy of Renee Pollon, AllyRae Bullmastiffs, Alberta
Tthe Bullmastiff is a large, compact and powerful dog standing 25 to 27 inches (63-69 cm) at the shoulder and weighing 100 to 130 pounds (50-59 kg). Bullmastiffs have a black face mask and the short dense coat may be red, fawn, or brindle. The most common colour is now fawn. Grooming is minimal.
Known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog, the preferred colouring originally was brindle as this colour being a natural camouflage, effectively concealed the dog from his targets particularly at night. Attacking silently and on command, the Bullmastiff could take down a poacher before he could even reach for his gun.
He typically reaches his full height and weight at about three and one-half years old. While in the puppy phase of his life, the Bullmastiff can be surprisingly rambunctious so it is important to begin training early. These dogs have very well developed guardian instincts and the independence of mind to act on perceived threats. You must have control of him.
Although Bullmastiffs are not a high-energy dog, they should have lots of exercise and a balanced diet to prevent a tendency to obesity. They are a good family pet but not the dog for the neat freak. Bullmastiffs drool! They also snort, snuffle, wheeze, grunt, and snore.
Bullmastiffs need a strong, confident master. This is a large, powerful animal. It is imperative that the owner gains control at a young age. Training must begin early and be consistent so that the Bullmastiff puppy grows into a well-behaved member of the family. Instinctively natural guardians of the home and their masters, no special guard training is necessary for a Bullmastiff to recognize and react to an outside threat.
The Bullmastiff shows great strength, endurance and alertness. He combines power, speed, and a keen sense of smell with courage and aggression. He will not back down from a fight.
In spite of that, his temperament is affectionate towards his owner. He is a very gentle, calm, and devoted companion at home.
Early training and socialization is particularly important for such a large, powerful dog. During training, a Bullmastiff requires a special approach, as they will become easily bored by repitition. He may tolerate other pets in the house but can be aggressive with dogs of the same sex.
Fans of Sylvester Stallone will be interested to learn that the actor used his 140 lb pet Bullmastiff, Butkus, in the movies Rocky and Rocky II.
As is typical among the larger breeds, the Bullmastiff has a shorter life span, averaging about 7.5 years.