Bullmastiff was developed to be a guard dog. In the late 1800s, strong, protective dogs were used to protect England’s large estates from poachers. When the old English Bulldogs were crossed with the Old English Mastiff, the result was a dog who could remain quiet as poachers approached and then take the poachers down and hold them until help arrived. Because most poaching happened at night, the breed was also known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog.
The Bullmastiff is an imposing dog, giving the impression of great strength. Standing 24 to 27 inches tall and weighing between 100 and 130 pounds. The head is broad, the eyes dark and expressive. The ears are V-shaped and dropped. The body is longer than the dog is tall at the shoulders, with a deep, wide chest and heavy-boned legs. The tail is long, reaching the hocks.
The Bullmastiff coat is short and smooth and may be red, fawn, or brindle, with a black mask. The Bullmastiff ’s short coat can easily be groomed with a soft bristle brush or curry comb a couple of times per week. Having a small towel at hand is usually wise, as Bullmastiffs do drool. The Bullmastiff does not need a lot of exercise. Although these dogs can move quickly when they wish, this is not a breed made for running. Bullmastiff puppies may want to play some games with you, but adults usually outgrow such silliness. Keep in mind that the Bullmastiff dog breed was designed to protect property against poachers and remains wary of strangers.
Early exposure to a variety of people will help establish a good relationship with the human race. Training is needed, too, as these very large, strong dogs could easily overpower a person. Bullmastiffs have a stubborn streak, though, so training can be a challenge. Bullmastiffs are calm companion dogs. They can be good with children when raised with them. If not raised with kids, they tend to think children are something other than people.
Bullmastiffs are not always good with other dogs; males especially can be dogaggressive. When raised with other pets, Bullmastiffs will be good with them, but interactions should be supervised. Health concerns include bloat, torsion, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.
7 replies on “Bullmastiff”
We have a rescue, Hazel is now 2 1/2 years old. Except for her size, she resembles a BullMastiff. She is a lot smaller. We really don’t care what she is, she is a wonderful dog. But we are very curious about her traits, wondering where she could have gotten them. From a very early age, she poked. When she wanted one of us, dog, cat, person,goat, donkey horse and even rabbit she poked and prodded us in that direction.
Friend of mine (with herding dogs) said that is the sign of a herder. For the past week, we were babysitting a dog with NO social skills and issues. Hazel kept herself between Guest and our cats and other dogs constantly; as if she sensed trouble. Well when the GUEST attacked our wolf/pyrenees (who defends himself by laying on top of the attacker) Hazel went for Guest’s lower jaw, and did not let go until Guest had let go of our big dog.
This has been a long story, but our question is : Would these by typical traits for a BullMastiff? Thank you in advance. JJ
How a bullmastiif react if he met with intruder in his property?
The typical sequence of bullmastiff guard behaviours include running up to a suspicious character, maybe slam the front feet into the ground, and take a stand, maybe growling and/or barking, thus threatening the perceived danger first. Typically, the dog then takes a moment or two to evaluate the problem before taking further action. A bullmastiff exhibiting a threatening posture is usually enough for any person with malicious intent to decide on a hasty departure rather than confrontation. When confronted and threatened back, the bullmastiff will use his weight to shove, and/or bite to take care of the perceived problem. Thus biting is the last in a sequence of guard behaviours of the bullmastiff, and it happens rarely. Hope this answers your question.
Though usually mild-mannered, the powerful Bullmastiff is also serious and self-assured. He is afraid of nothing, and once aroused will seldom back down.
Bullmastiff puppies (up to two or three years old) can be rambunctious and have an aversion to keeping all four feet on the ground at the same time.
Fortunately, adults are calm and quiet and need only moderate exercise to maintain their impressive muscle tone.
This breed is intensely loyal to his family and doesn’t like being left outside. If he doesn’t get enough companionship or personal attention, he may walk through fences just to be with people.
Though sensible with strangers, the Bullmastiff does have well-established protective and territorial instincts. He must be thoroughly socialized at an early age so that he learns to distinguish friend from foe.
He can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex, and though he may be fine with the family cat, strange animals will not be accepted onto his property.
Tremendously strong and stubborn, Bullmastiffs are inclined to do things their own way and will test members of the family. However, he will respond to early, consistent obedience training that includes leadership, cheerful praise, and food rewards.
Overall, he’s a splendid, capable companion for assertive owners, but without ongoing time and effort, socialization and supervision, he is too much to handle.
Are you looking for a protection dog for your home? You got it. But don’t expect a bullmastiff to snarl, bark, and generally carry on. They will WATCH. They will walk through your house a dozen times a night, without making a sound. They will wrinkle their ears, and cock their head. And unless there is a serious problem that’s all you get. But IF someone breaks into your house, and attacks a member of the family, you will be amazed at your couch potato. If someone comes to harm your family, THIS IS WHEN YOU WILL SEE A WHOLE NEW SIDE OF YOUR BULLMASTIFF.
A Bullmastiff may take up to three years to get his adult body – the substance, depth of chest, spring of rib that typifies a Bullmastiff. His head will take almost as long to mature. The dog’s head at a year will be a lot narrower than it will be at two years, and at two years of age with more width to the back skull, the muzzle will appear shorter and the stop may be more defined.
The bullmastiff as a guard dog: The bullmastiff as a breed was developed in England in the late 19th century to help gamekeepers catch poachers. There was a need for a powerful, fast, rather silent dog that could work as a team with the gamekeeper and take care of both the poacher and the poachers dogs. The foundation for the breed is a cross between the mastiff and the 19th century type of bulldog.
The behavioural heritage of this breed contains a strong affinity for family members and their friends, as well as a strong guard instinct. The breed was developed to work closely with a small group of people, so this is a people dog. A bullmastiff needs to belong to people and live with people, and the dog needs his family to take leadership over the family pack.
The combination of affinity for people and a strong guard ability makes for a dog that is excellent in discriminating between friend and foe. The bullmastiff is a good judge of people and good at identifying people who are up to no good. This makes it important to expose a young bullmastiff puppy to lots of different people when the puppy is very young, so that the puppy learns all about good guys. Then,
when maturity and guard instincts appear later, the dog will automatically identify bad guys.
Typically, a bullmastiff displays very friendly behaviours to family members, and tends to be a bit off standish and moderately friendly to strangers. When the dog gets suspicious, he typically takes the time to investigate before deciding what to do about it.
First and foremost the bullmastiff is a guard dog, and it is a type of guard dog that is more protective of territory than anything else. The typical sequence of bullmastiff guard behaviours include running up to a suspicious character, maybe slam the front feet into the ground, and take a stand, maybe growling and/or barking, thus threatening the perceived danger first. Typically, the dog then takes a moment or two to
evaluate the problem before taking further action. A bullmastiff exhibiting a threatening posture is usually enough for any person with malicious intent to decide on a hasty departure rather than confrontation. When confronted and threatened back, the bullmastiff will use his weight to shove, and/or bite to take care of the perceived problem. Thus biting is the last in a sequence of guard behaviours of the bullmastiff, and it happens rarely.This type of guard behaviour is quite different from that of herding breeds, like the German Shepherd, and the Belgian Malinois. The typical herding breed guard sequence involves a chase and catch and bite part, with the shepherd jumping and biting and letting go and running around and biting some more.
In order to better understand these behaviours it is useful to look at the evolution of dogs and the behaviours that underlie guard behaviours in todays breeds. Over the course of thousands of years since the domestication of the wolf to a dog, the dogs guard behaviours developed from the predatory behaviours of the ancestral wolf. Wolves exhibit a chain of behaviours in hunting for food: eyeing the prey – alert – stalk – chase – bite – kill. This sequence was tapped in developing herding dogs, where the kill part was selected for extinction and the bite part was selected for softness and control. Herding thus involve selected predatory behaviours. These breeds are also good guard dogs, and their guard behaviours are like a predatory chain without the final kill: being aware and vigilant – alert by barking – stalk – chase – bite. They show a strong prey-drive and they tend to like retrieving objects.
The guard behaviour of the bullmastiff is quite different from that of herding dogs. Their guarding is closer related to that of the large flock guarding breeds, like the Maremma, and the Kuvasz. These dogs tend to stay with the livestock, and they do not prey on livestock. They also protect their flock from predators. Their guard behaviours do not involve chasing and catching, as much as interrupting the predators behaviours by interrupting and deflecting. These dogs have a low prey-drive, and they are not interested in chasing and catching objects. They tend to stand their ground to protect their territory and to prevent a predator from getting close to the livestock – or the family.
Looking at guard behaviours this way gives us an understanding of aggressive behaviours in different breeds and why uncontrolled aggression is more serious in a flock guarding type of dog than in a herding type of dog. The herding dog tends to bite quicker and at a lower level of provocation. When they bite, the bite tends to be of the slash and run type. A flock guarding type of dog tolerates more provocation,
and makes more use of threats before he bites. When this type of dog does bite, there tends to be a lack of inherited and inbred inhibitions, making these bites more serious.
One important conclusion is of course the necessity of early socialisation to people and places and strong obedience training later for any type of guard breed. Anybody who chooses to acquire a guard breed would be advised to understand this, given todays litigious society.
Early socialisation involves taking your young 2-4 month old puppy out to meet people and see places, Obviously, take care not to expose the puppy to unknown dogs. But the lack of vaccination cannot, in my opinion, be an excuse for using common sense in exposing the puppy to selected places and people. Obedience training a guard breed should involve a lot more than just a basic obedience class. In addition to the basics, the guard dog needs to be taken to a more advanced level of obedience, where the dog listens when off leash, has solid down-stays, sits anywhere, comes when called under distractions, and pays attention on demand.
When a guard dog is properly socialised to todays society, and properly obedience trained, they will be under control and pose no threat to the general public.They do not go into guard mode unless provoked, and their size alone tends to act as a deterrent against bad guys. They are typically friendly to family and friends, and excellent family companions.