The bullmastiff is a large breed of domestic dog, with a solid build and a short muzzle. The bullmastiff shares the characteristics of Molosser dogs, and was originally developed in 19th century to guard estates. The breed’s bloodlines are drawn from the English Mastiff and Old English Bulldog. It was recognized as a purebred dog by the Kennel club in 1924. They are quiet dogs and rarely bark.
The bullmastiff is also known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog, because it was bred by the English gamekeepers in 19th century to assist English wardens or guard estates and capture poachers. It was a cross of 40% Old English bulldog and 60% English Mastiff for its size, loyalty and strength. They bark rarely, but do bark on alarms.
It was recognized as a purebred dog by the English Kennel club in 1924. In 1934, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the bullmastiff. The first standard for this breed was approved in 1935. The standard has undergone several revisions since then. The most current version can be looked for on the AKC website.
Males should be 25 to 28 inches (64 to 71 cm) tall and 110 to 130 pounds (50 to 59 kg) in weight. Females should be 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm) and 100 to 120 pounds (45 to 54 kg) in weight. These dimensions should not exceed.
A bullmastiff’s coat may appear in fawn, red or brindle. These are the only acceptable colours in the AKC standards. The fawn can be changed from very light brown to a reddish brown. Red can change from a light red-fawn to a dark rich red. Brindles are a striped overlay of the fawn or red. A bullmastiff should have no white markings, except from that of the chest where a little white is allowed.
They are strong, powerful but sensitive dogs. A consistent training is required to make the bullmastiff a well-behaved family member. Training and socialisation is highly required for the breed to be independent. Dogs of this breed are natural guardian of their home and owners. No special guard training is required by the dog to react, if its family is endangered. It requires a special approach during training because these dogs do not like to repeat the same actions again and again. They enjoy obedience, agility, tracking and carting.
A UK Survey puts the median life cycle of a bullmastiff as 7 to 8 years old. They do not stop growing until they are three and a half years old. They are also prone to some of the hereditary disaeses like:
- Hip dysplasia, affecting 24.5% of the individuals
- Elbow dysplasia, affecting 13.8% of the individuals
- Hypothyroidism, affecting 2.8% of the individuals
- Lymphoma cancer
- Progressive retinal atrophy, a particular problem, because the trait is an autosomal dominant one.
Cosmetic genetic problems include longhairs and “Dudleys”. Both are recessives and not common. The “Dudley”, named after a notable Bulldog breeder of the 19th century, the Earl of Dudley, is actually a lack of pigment n the mask. It could be liver coloured or simply not present.