The Bullmastiff is a dog whose love must not be compared with its looks! It is sweet and loyal, but also stubborn and independent. If you are planning to get a Bullmastiff home, here’s all about the breed, and how to care for one.
A Bullmastiff likes people and does not like being left alone. It can get lonely and bored. Shower your dog with attention and love, and do not leave it outside or by itself for long hours.
It is cuddly, loving, and very tolerant of children. It will guard and protect those that it holds close to the heart. It loves to eat, and will take you on a guilt trip with its eyes for that piece of cake in your hand! These are just a few quirks of the Bullmastiff breed. A dog with regal looks and a pure heart, it is a delight to have as a pet. It never ceases to amuse in its bid to please its owners. If you are planning on getting a Bullmastiff home, then there are some things that you must know about it. The method of training to use for instance, or its feeding techniques. But first, let’s take a glimpse at how this breed came to be.
The history of the Bullmastiff dates back to Europe in the 1860s. It was developed by gamekeepers to assist them in reducing the menace of poachers. They needed a dog that was quiet, fast, brave, and strong. It was supposed to keep a silent watch and chase and hold down any poachers. Many breeds were crossed with one another to get this perfect dog. The cross that was successful had 60% Mastiff and 40% Old English Bulldog in it, aka the Bullmastiff. Since then, this breed has become extremely popular among families and breeders. The following paragraphs provide some information about the Bullmastiff, and also give you a heads up about what you need to know before getting one.
Height and Weight
When you hear ‘big’, think ‘Bullmastiff’. This is by no means a small dog, so be very sure that you want a big breed before zeroing in on this giant. Bullmastiff males are typically 25 to 27 inches tall, whereas females are 24 to 26 inches tall at the withers (shoulders). The weight ranges from 100 to 130 pounds.
The tail is long, tapering, and can be either straight or curved. The ears are dropped, and darker in shade than the body. The skull is quite broad and flat. The muzzle is short like a Bulldog’s, and will be black in color. Eyes are almond-shaped, and normally brown in color.
The coat is very short, thick, and slightly rough. Coat colors are few; fawn is the most common. There is also red and brindle. The fawn coat has caught up more after this breed’s original purpose of breeding deteriorated. The brindle coat was more helpful in the dark to keep the dog camouflaged.
Stern looks can clearly be deceiving!
Don’t go by the Bullmastiff’s stern expression; this dog has a heart of gold! It will make you fall in love with it in the first go. It is loyal to the core and extremely protective of its family. Even if taught not to attack, it will hold down any intruder or suspicious person who it perceives as a threat to the family. This breed is not prone to barking except when trying to alert. It makes an excellent guard and watchdog.
Now, on the flip side, if you want a dog that rolls around and plays like a puppy, then you will find that here too! The Bullmastiff is extremely loving, playful, gentle, kind, wonderful with children, and loves an occasional cuddle! It is a softie through and through. A dog that will play with the children and also guard them fiercely from any danger; what more could you ask for.
Diet and Exercise
The best food for a Bullmastiff is a good-quality dog food. Consult your vet to draw up a diet chart and plan for your dog. Usually, the frequency of feeding is twice a day, but if you have a dog that does not understand the words ‘calm down’, then it will need to be fed more number of times. This breed is prone to becoming overweight, so keep the feeding in moderation, no matter how guilty that face and those eyes make you feel!
This breed does not require a lot of physical exercise. However, a walk twice a day is mandatory. You can even convert the walk into a jog. As this breed is quite active, it will spend its time playing at home; so you need not worry too much about exercising it (apart from the walks, of course).
Be nice to your dog if you want to avoid this expression!
The Bullmastiff is a very intelligent dog. It has a mind of its own and will tend to stray from the training lessons if bored, so avoid repetitive training at all costs. There are a few important things to remember while training. One, this dog may look stern, but it is VERY SENSITIVE! So when you are talking to it (at any given times, really), make sure that your tone is but kind. Two, you need to be an assertive and firm pack leader. Your dog must know that you are the boss.
Socializing from an early age is very important to have a pleasant-tempered Bullmastiff. Mixing with people as well as other animals (not just dogs … animals) is essential for your dog to get used to others around it. Otherwise, it may end up becoming weary of strangers and intolerant towards any other pets that you may have. Obedience training is also very important. You can sign up for obedience school if you are a first-time owner. Dog parks and other public places are good to visit for getting your dog accustomed to various situations.
The Bullmastiff breed is known to be affected by some common health problems which are listed below. Many of these issues are genetic, and may not show in the dog until it is at least a couple of years old. The lifespan of this breed is less than 10 years, typically 7 to 8. The following is a list of some commonly found health issues.
✦Hip and elbow dysplasia
✦Entropion (turning inwards of the eyelids)
✦Hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency)
✦Gastric torsion (the stomach fills with air and then twists; happens if the dog eats too rapidly or exercises after a meal)
✦Skin problems (food or contact allergies)
✦Subaortic stenosis (narrowing of the aorta, causing the heart to pump harder)
✦Panosteitis (causing sudden lameness due to pain; commonly seen in young dogs)
Due to its coat, the Bullmastiff is a low shedder that requires minimal grooming. Use a stiff brush for the coat. It must be bathed only if absolutely required. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed and short to avoid any injuries to the paws. Also brush the teeth regularly to maintain dental hygiene and prevent tooth decay and tartar deposits.
One thing that every first-time owner must be aware of is that this dog drools quite a bit. That is one inevitable issue that you will have to deal with, so be sure that you don’t mind it. It also tends to snore; very cute unless it is sleeping outside your bedroom, or worse, on your bed! Talk to your vet and find out the best way to come to terms with these issues so that you and your dog have a happy life.
The Bullmastiff is a very adjusting dog that can do just fine in an apartment; it does better in a house with a fenced yard, ‘fenced’ being the important word here. If this dog does not have a boundary, then it can go on expanding its own territory and become weary of any human or animal who encroaches it.
The Bullmastiff is prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To avoid this, keep your dog indoors on a hot and humid day, and make sure that you provide a cool shade and clean drinking water when it is playing outside. Also avoid keeping your dog outside on very cold and chilly days, as it is intolerant to extreme temperatures. Provide your pet with a soft and clean bed to sleep in.
The Bullmastiff is the perfect combination of affection and loyalty. Just like any other dog, it needs to be taken good care of and socialized from puppyhood. Love it with your whole heart, and it will return your love exponentially and make a special place for itself in your heart.