The bullmastiff is a working dog bred to deter and track down poachers. It is a cross between the large mastiff and the tenacious bulldog. The bullmastiff is smart, fast and obedient, which make them perfect guard dogs. It is a quiet watchdog that barks only when necessary. Its intimidating appearance and size is a deterrent to people with ill intentions. The bullmastiff weighs 100–120 pounds and stands 61–69 centimetres at the withers. Its short coat that clings to its skin makes it easy to groom. The bullmastiff is not a high-energy dog and adapts well enough to any environment.
Are you looking for an excellent guard dog like the bullmastiff? Here is a brief background to help you decide.
The bullmastiff is a modern breed originating in Britain in the mid-1800s. It was bred as a working dog developed primarily to deter poachers off estates. Known as the Gamekeeper's Night Dog, the bullmastiff worked alongside the English estate gamekeeper and his family. The bullmastiff came about when gamekeepers crossed the large and strong mastiff with the fearless and aggressive bulldog to develop a breed with the right strength, speed, and size to fit the role.
The twentieth century saw a decline in the poaching, so bullmastiffs were put to work for different purposes as sentries and guards alongside the police and military. In 1924, the bullmastiff was recognised as a breed by England's the Kennel Club. The same year, the British Bullmastiff League was founded, which established the first official breed standard.
Appearance and Grooming
The bullmastiff is a large muscular dog that weighs 100–120 pounds and stands 61–69 centimetres tall at the withers. The bullmastiff is bred for strength, endurance, and speed. It has a broad, square head, a wrinkled face, a very pronounced stop with a dark short muzzle, and a slightly undershot bite. Ears are V-shaped that are a little darker in colour than the rest of the body. The bullmastiff has a broad chest, a thick and muscular brisket, and sloping, powerful shoulders. Its tail is set high on the body and tapers slightly to the tip, reaching the dog's hocks. The bullmastiff wears a short coat that may appear as fawn, red, or brindle, the accepted breed colours for the Kennel Club registrations. The coat should have no white markings except a little on the chest. Its coat is short and extremely weather-resistant, which should be easy to groom. This means a weekly grooming using a mitt will suffice to keep the dead hair off and maintain a healthy-looking and clean coat.
It is crucial to keep an eye on bullmastiff's face and muzzle as the folds may cause potential skin issues. Include the cleaning of its creases in your grooming routine to prevent any bacteria from thriving and causing infections. The rest is basic care such as regular brushing of the teeth, nail trimming, and ear checks.
Temperament and Intelligence
Bullmastiff is an impressive-looking dog that is remarkably loyal and obedient to its owners. It is a smart dog breed that tends to think for itself, but also has an eager-to-please personality. The bullmastiff forms strong ties with its families and may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for longer periods.
Bred as a watch/guard dog, its protective nature allows it to respond quickly to any threats to its family. It is wary around people outside the family circle, but will generally tolerate being around strangers that are introduced to them by its owners.
The bullmastiff dog breed is not ideal for first-time owners as it tends to show its dominant nature in the household if not properly trained to know its place in the pack. It needs experienced handlers who can establish authority and can give it the right training from an early age.
The bullmastiff is not ideal for families with small children since this dog is not tolerant of little ones compared to other dog breeds. Anyone who already has a bullmastiff and children at home must make sure that interaction (e.g., playtime) is supervised, as with any other dog breed.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult bullmastiff is four to five cups of high-quality dog food daily. Keep in mind that each dog is going to be slightly different, with some requiring more calories than others.
Typical calorie needs of an adult bullmastiff per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 1,970 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 2,210 calories daily
- Physically active/working dog: up to 2,450 calories daily
The bullmastiff needs healthy amounts of lean protein to keep it lean. It also needs a gluten-free diet for better digestion and avoid conditions like bloat. To keep its coat healthy and shiny, don't forget to add omega-3 fatty acids in its diet. Fruits and vegetables are also super important for its overall health.
Health and Exercise
The bullmastiff is a healthy dog, but like any dog, it is also predisposed to certain health conditions. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, entropion, subaortic stenosis, cystinuria, bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus, panosteitis, and allergies.
The bullmastiff needs at least one to two hours of exercise daily such as long walks or a romp around a securely fenced yard. Avoid taking your bullmastiff outdoor when it's hot. This dog breed has a short muzzle, which makes it prone to exhaustion and heatstroke.
Cost of Ownership
A Bullmastiff puppy costs anywhere from £800 to £1,000. Expect to pay more for a well-bred puppy from a KC-registered breeder. You have to spend about £200 for essential dog supplies and equipment including leashes, collars, crates, beds, bowls, toys, and grooming products.
High-quality dog food and treats will cost you £50-£80 a month to ensure that your Bullmastiff gets his nutritional requirements to keep him healthy. You also have to factor in regular check-ups, vaccination, boosters, flea/worming treatments, and preventive care, which can cost £1,400 a year. As a safety net for unexpected vet expenses, get pet insurance which will cost you £60 a month for basic cover or £120 for lifetime cover.
Bullmastiff Breed Highlights
- The bullmastiff is loyal, protective, and a natural guard dog.
- It only barks to alert its owner or when necessary.
- It is ideal for owners who are experienced in training dogs.
- It may not the best choice for families with small children.
- Its exercise needs are not that demanding.
Are you sure the Bullmastiff is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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