Bullmastiff Breed Magazine - Showsight

it incorrect. The standard description is what it is because that is what worked best for what the dog was developed to do. Anyone wishing something differ- ent needs to find a different breed. This is a marvelous breed for some and definitely not for others. In today’s social climate where the rural life is not what most Bullmastiffs live in, where responsibility for one’s self and one’s children doesn’t seem to be the norm, owners of large dogs need to be espe- cially careful to insist on proper behav- ior for their dogs and to keep them under control and in a safe place for the reputation and safety of the breed itself. It doesn’t matter if a large dog doesn’t initiate a confrontation. It will always be blamed. Breed specific laws are a danger to the very existence of a breed. One almost never sees a media report on how wonderful a breed is but one incident, little or big, is a headline. Very often news reports don’t even cor- rectly identify a breed but just pick one of the guard breeds. By the time that is rectified it is way too late. If one loves the breed one has to always be on alert to see that the dog is well trained and under control. The big problem for this breed is the dog park. Especially off lead parks. One never knows the tem- perament of the dogs that use it or their vaccine record. No matter what hap- pens, no matter who starts it, the big dogs will be blamed. There are plenty of ways to socialize with your dog with- out turning it loose amongst a bunch of dogs of totally unknown health and temperament. A good straightforward

obedience class, in which you attend with your dog, not send it out to be trained by someone else, is ideal for a long, happy relationship with a Bullmastiff. I think in covering the Bullmastiff as related to society today it would be remiss not to cover the responsibility of breeder and buyer. It is the respon- sibility of the breeder to produce dogs healthy in mind and body. Also, to be sure of the home one is sending their puppy to. Breeders are also responsible for how the buyer, as well as the general public, view the breed and the fanciers as a whole. People who see a Bullmas- tiff puppy forget all sense and can’t seem to live without that one baby. Think before you buy contracts can be a real problem as some are constructed. People should read carefully before committing. Everyone’s agreements are not the same. A bad experience with one person colors the buyer’s percep- tion of all breeders. Buyers need to be totally honest about their lifestyle, accommodation for the dog in their home that makes sure the dog is safe, their ability to be the owner and not the dog’s buddy. They need to be clear if they want to show or just have a family companion. One should not sign up for mandatory showing and breeding if that is not what one is comfortable with. Honesty on both sides of the transfer of owner- ship makes for happy buyers and sellers and protects the breed’s reputation. Over the years, as the breed has become more populous there has

been more emphasis placed on healthy minds and bodies. When I first became a Bullmastiff owner people seemed to be happy if the dog could walk. Muscle tone, angulation, proper movement, structure, temperament and longev- ity were not big points of discussion. Gradually some breeders became more interested in stressing these points. Cer- tainly, as a working dog, these were all important to the dog being able to func- tion as it was developed to do. Today a proper Bullmastiff can hold its own on quality and soundness with any of the working breeds. In the 1960s there were only two Bullmastiffs that held Utility Dog degrees and not many had achieved even a CD. This breed is very strong willed and many people that owned them really weren’t quite as bright as the dog was. Bullmastiffs developed a reputation for being a bit stupid while actually doing exactly what they want- ed. Who is stupid: the person who can’t get the dog to do what he wants it to or the dog that does what it pleases? Over the last dozen years, there has been a huge upswing in owners inter- ested in competing with their Bullmas- tiffs in a number of working events. Many have basic obedience degrees and Canine Good Citizen degrees. The Bullmastiff National Specialty has a Triathalon event—conformation, obedi- ence, and agility. Agility events are see- ing many more Bullmastiffs. Tracking now has its share of Bullmastiff titlists. Bullmastiffs were always smart enough to do these things. They just needed

“TODAY A PROPER BULLMASTIFF CAN HOLD ITS OWN ON QUALITY AND SOUNDNESS WITH ANY OF THE WORKING BREEDS.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2017 • 241

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