The History of the Bullmastiff
The Bullmastiff was originally called the ‘Gamekeeper’s Night Dog’ as they were used to catch poachers. The base stock of the Bullmastiff was 60% English Mastiff and 40% Bulldog. They were created in the late 1800’s. When the need for gamekeepers and the Bullmastiff declined they were used in sport. Someone would run off into the undergrowth and after a short time a muzzled Bullmastiff would be released to see if the person could be found. They were not trained to maul or kill, but to overpower their target. All the records state the dog never lost. The Kennel Club in Britain first recognized the breed in 1925, and the American Kennel Club gave them recognition in 1933.
The Bullmastiff can be stubborn and firm handling is required from puppyhood. They can also be quite headstrong and boisterous, especially during adolescence.
The Bullmastiff has a very distinctive head that should appear large and square. They have a short muzzle with a broad nose and wide nostrils. The mouth should be level, being slightly undershot is allowed. The eyes should be dark or hazel in colour and of medium size. The ears are V shaped and small, they are also darker than the body. The neck is very thick and muscular, it is almost equal to the circumference of the skull. The chest should be wide and deep, the shoulders muscular and powerful. The top line should be level with a short and straight back. The feet should be well arched with rounded toes. The tail should be high set and carried straight or curved. The colours desired are fawn, red or brindle. A small amount of white is allowed on the chest but nowhere else, the muzzle should be black.
General Physical Appearance
The Bullmastiff is a powerfully built dog. They have large, square heads with large, muscular necks. A compact dog that is muscular all over and naturally large. Their coats are short, hard and weather proof.
Things to consider:
Dogs measure 63.5-68.5cms at the withers and weigh between 50-59kgs. Bitches measure 61-66cms and weigh between 41-50kgs. It is a good idea to remember that when you decide on this dog that it does grow up to be a large, heavy dog.
The breed is affected by cancer and bloat. Hip dysplasia is also a concern, but screening can be carried out on the breeders lines. The Bullmastiff is also prone to skin and eye problems. There does appear to be a hereditary back problem that occurs to various degrees.
Powerful build, symmetrical, showing great strength, but not cumbersome; sound and active.
Powerful, enduring, active and reliable.
High-spirited, alert and faithful.
Head and Skull
Skull large and square, viewed from every angle, fair wrinkle when interested, but not when in repose. Circumference of skull may equal height of dog measured at top of shoulder; broad and deep with well filled cheeks. Pronounced stop. Muzzle short; distance from tip of nose to stop approximately one-third of length from tip of nose to centre of occiput, broad under eyes and sustaining nearly same width to end of nose; blunt and cut off square, forming right angle with upper line of face, and at same time proportionate with skull. Under-jaw broad to end. Nose broad with widely spreading nostrils; flat, neither pointed nor turned up in profile. Flews not pendulous, never hanging below level of lower jaw.
Dark or hazel, of medium size, set apart the width of muzzle with furrow between. Light or yellow eyes highly undesirable.
V-shaped, folded back, set on wide and high, level of occiput giving square appearance to skull which is most important. Small and deeper in colour than body. Point of ear level with eye when alert. Rose ears highly undesirable.
Level desired but slightly undershot allowed but not preferred. Canine teeth large and set wide apart, other teeth strong, even and well placed.
Well arched, moderate length, very muscular and almost equal to skull in circumference.
Chest, wide and deep, well let down between forelegs, with deep brisket. Shoulders muscular, sloping and powerful, not overloaded. Forelegs powerful and straight, well boned, set wide apart, presenting a straight front. Pasterns straight and strong.
Back short and straight, giving compact carriage, but not so short as to interfere with activity. Roach and sway backs highly undesirable.
Loins wide and muscular with fair depth of flank. Hind legs strong and muscular, with well developed second thighs, denoting power and activity, not cumbersome. Hocks moderately bent. Cow hocks highly undesirable.
Well arched, cat-like, with rounded toes, pads hard. Dark toenails desirable. Splayed feet highly undesirable.
Set high, strong at root and tapering, reaching to hocks, carried straight or curved, but not hound-fashion. Crank tails highly undesirable.
Movement indicates power and sense of purpose. When moving straight neither front nor hind legs should cross or plait, right front and left rear leg rising and falling at same time. A firm backline unimpaired by powerful thrust from hind legs denoting a balanced and harmonious movement.
Short and hard, weather-resistant, lying flat to body. Long, silky or woolly coats highly undesirable.
Any shade of brindle, fawn or red; colour to be pure and clear. A slight white marking on chest permissible. Other white markings undesirable. Black muzzle essential, toning off towards eyes, with dark markings around eyes contributing to expression.
Height at shoulder: dogs: 64-69 cms (25-27 ins); bitches 61-66 cm (24-26 ins). Weight: dogs: 50-59 kgs (110-130 lbs); bitches: 41-50 kgs (90-110 lbs).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
For us, the Bullmastiff is an amazing and confident dog and will be loyal to his master and household even at the expense of his life. They are quite good with the family.