Bullmastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight


F orm follows function and the correct Bullmastiff is a prime example. It was developed in England for the express purpose of assisting gamekeepers on the vast estates of the nobility and gen- try. Poaching was a serious problem for landowners. The punishment was being transported (sent to a penal colo- ny in Australia) or even possibly death. Poachers wouldn’t mind doing in the gamekeeper to avoid such a fate. Some were individuals and others came in groups. Hunting dogs could also be in the mix. Gamekeepers needed a dog that was powerful but manageable. The idea was for them to down and hold the poacher for the gamekeeper. They were also capable of dealing with any dogs that came along. The Mastiff was too large and the Bulldog of the time was too aggressive so a blend was developed that was agile, powerful and tractable that came out to a 60–40 balance of Mastiff and Bulldog. That can be defined as leaning slightly more to the Mastiff. They worked predominantly at night and were originally referred to as The Gamekeepers’ Night Dog. They made a tremendous difference in the safety and efficiency of the gamekeeper. Nowadays very few do the work on vast estates for which they were origi- nally intended. That does not mean they should not maintain the traits and instincts for which they were devel- oped. Bullmastiffs have an amazing ability to sort out the good person from the ones with bad intent. A Bullmastiff without those traits is not a Bullmas- tiff. Unfortunately, people seem to buy a dog for the way it looks without any consideration of its temperament. A large, working and guarding breed is not for the weak–willed. They like to think for themselves. They have a ten- dency to do that to this day so either the

owner runs the home or the dog does. The Bullmastiff, properly raised, can be an exceptional family dog that only goes into guard mode when it is neces- sary. I have owned them for over half a century, raised my children with them and they raised theirs with Bullmastiffs without incident. The breed standard describes males as 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and 110 to 130 pounds. Please note the proper weight to height balance is that the 25–inch dog would weigh 110 pounds and the 27–inch dog would

weigh 130 pounds. Bitches are 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and 100 to 120 pounds with the same ratio apply- ing. Not only in this breed but others there is a tendency by some to think that if something is good a lot more would be better: taller, heavier, bigger head, etc. Because of their athleticism and temperament, a Bullmastiff at the smaller end of the standard can do the job just as well as the ones at the larger end. A tendency to go for over bully or size ranging into the small Mastiff does not make a Bullmastiff better. It makes


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