A Bullmastiff is a tall, proud, courageous and yet one of the gentle giants of the canine world. With the bloodlines going back to the English Mastiff and the English Bull Dog, Bull Mastiffs were originated in the 19th century in England. Their fierce formidable appearance has made them a popular choice for Diamond Mine owners in Africa to keep Bullmastiffs as guard dogs for their prized Diamond Mines. Bullmastiffs fall in the category of dogs that bark very less. Even while on guard, they would not bite their prey but rather pin them down for as long as required. Bull mastiffs are confident and trustworthy dogs that make them excellent companions and great family dogs. They are also known to be the “Best Kissers” of the canine world. One of the most popular Hollywood movies Rocky, starring Mr Sylvester Stallone in the lead role had Butkus, who also happens to be Mr Stallone’s dog, featured as a faithful companion to Rocky. Hollywood movies such as See Spot Run and Little Black Book have featured Bullmastiffs. If you are a proud owner of this majestic breed or if you are planning to get a Bullmastiff as a family pet, you are making an incredible decision. We bring to you all the aspects that you will have to keep in mind before getting a Bullmastiff so that you are able to provide an environment that develops a healthy dog and a long lasting companionship.History
Bullmastiffs are a relatively modern dog breed that originated in the early 19th century in England, mostly by English gamekeepers who needed large formidable looking dogs that were fast and courageous to track down poachers and also somebody who had the strength to hold them down.The Bullmastiff was obtained by crossing 60% Mastiffs with 40% Bulldogs in the country of England. In the Diamond Society of South Africa, mine owners also sought Bullmastiffs to keep guard of the diamond mines and protect them from thieves and poachers. In 1924, England Kennel Club recognised Bullmastiff as a breed and it was in 1933 that the American Kennel Club followed suit. One of the first Bullmastiffs to be registered by the American Kennel Club was Fascination of Felons Fear in 1934.In present times, Bullmastiffs rank 40th amongst the 157 breeds and varieties registered under the American Kennel Club.Unique Aspects
One of the most unique features of a Bullmastiff is that these dogs hardly bark. Unless alarmed, Bullmastiffs can go on days without barking. This unique aspect also gives them the name of “barkless dogs” Another unique aspect of this dog is that despite their large size and formidable built they are one of the most gentle dogs around. Their large size also makes them low energy lazy dogs.Bullmastiffs are also known to drool a lot. So if you are planning to get a Bullmastiff it will be a good idea to stock up on hand towels. Pet parents to a Bullmastiff will also have to be careful about the temperatures and climate control as Bullmastiffs are prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In case you are in a city with extreme climates, care will have to be taken to provide appropriate cooling and air conditioning especially during extreme heat.
The Bullmastiff rose to prominence with the movie Rocky, an action packed movie featuring Sylvester Stallone. Ever since then they have been featured in various movies and in most of them they have been portrayed as fun family pets.
One of the most adorable Bull Mastiff to be featured in a movie was for Rocky. Along with this they have played pivotal roles in See Spot Run, License to Wed, Hound of Baskervilles and The Little Black Book.
Celebrity Bullmastiff owners
These gentle giants has not only made their place in the movies but have also made a space in the hearts of many celebrities as well. The list includes Sylvester Stallone himself. Along with him famous singers Robbie William and Christina Aguilera also own one.Closer home Salman Khan, a superstar and ardent dog lover had two Bull Mastiffs named Myson and Myjaan who he lost few years back. Though he has got more pets post the tragedy.
Bullmastiffs are one of the easiest dogs to maintain and groom. Their short dense coat offers protection from rain and cold and comes in three colours - red, fawn or brindle. Occasionally a Bullmastiff will have a small white mark on his / her chest. Bullmastiffs do not shed a lot, so grooming or brushing the coat with a brush is suitable. Bathing is recommended as and when needed. As a part of grooming process, weekly cleaning and check up of ears is imperative.Using a soft cleaning ear pad, the ears can be wiped clean and veterinary help can be sought to clean the wax buildup in the ears.For comfort in walking, it will be imperative to trim the nails of the dog regularly. Long nails can be extremely painful for the dog and also a deterrent to walking.Dental grooming is also a must for the Bullmastiff. Regular brushing will ensure that there is no tartar or plaque buildup and the mouth of the Bullmastiff remains clean and there are no chances of the onset of any periodontal problems.While grooming, check for any rashes or redness in the skin, especially between the paws and the ears. A good grooming regime begins from an early age. Introducing your dog to dental, grooming and bathing regimes will ensure that the puppy gets accustomed to the routine and is comfortable with it.
Bullmastiffs are generally a healthy breed of dog. However, before getting a new puppy it will be advised that all medical history of the parents of the pup is referred to rule out any genetic or hereditary disorder that might inflict the pup. Some of the common health issues that Bullmastiffs might be prone are:
Cancer / Tumours - For reasons unknown, Bullmastiffs are more prone to cancer and tumours than any other breed. Some of the common forms of cancer that may inflict a Bullmastiff are lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumours, osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma. For certain forms of cancer, surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation may be considered a successful treatment.
Hip Dysplasia - Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder where the hip bone has a defect in connecting with the hip joint as a result of which the dog may experience pain or lameness in either of the rear legs. As the dog grows, he / she may also develop arthritis. Before getting a puppy, check the medical documents of the parents to rule out hip dysplasia.
Elbow Dysplasia - Elbow Dysplasia is a genetic disorder where the bones that comprise the elbow do not join uniformly in the elbow joint causing joint laxity and painful lameness.
Hypothyroidism - Hypothyroidism is another condition that inflicts Bullmastiffs. In hypothyroidism, the hormone gland of the dog does not function well and as a result, the growth and the development of the dog gets affected. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include dull fur, extreme lethargy, obesity / weight loss and mental dullness. A full blood check up will be required to diagnose the problem.
Aortic Stenosis - Aortic Stenosis is a cardiac defect that is found in most Bullmastiffs. Due to Aortic Stenosis, the dog may feel lethargic all the time and have have episodes of fainting. When a dog has Aortic Stenosis, the heart works at twice the normal rate to pump blood. The defect in the aorta narrows the aortic valve to enable a smooth blood supply. When you get a boxer have a veterinary doctor check the heart for any murmur. Aortic Stenosis can prove lethal for the dog.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or Bloat - This is a common problem in deep chested dogs. Bloat can be lethal in nature if not detected early as it causes organ, especially gastric failure. In case of Bloat, there is a sudden buildup of gas in the digestive system and then causes the organ to twist.
Entropion - Entropion is a condition that causes the eyelid to roll inwards thereby irritating and injuring the eyeball. Surgical intervention may be required to correct the problem.
Cystinuria - Bullmastiffs are prone to cystinuria, i.e. the inability of the kidneys to reabsorb cysteines, an amino acid, back into the kidney lubes. It is a genetic disorder and can cause life threatening problems such as kidney or bladder stones and blockages in the urinary tract.
Rupture of Ligaments - Ligament tears especially in the knee is a common problem with large young dogs and generally happens during playtime. In this case there maybe a sudden onset of lameness and if not treated soon enough can lead to the onset of arthritis.
Skin Allergies - Bullmastiffs have a very sensitive skin and are prone to developing rashes and sores due to certain allergens present in the air. Many Bullmastiffs are known to be on a lifelong antibiotic regime to keep allergies at bay.
Bullmastiffs are also called the gentle giants of the canine world. They are confident, trustworthy and very protective of their family thereby making them excellent family companions. Bullmastiffs are known to be affectionate and caring, but also extremely fearless if provoked or threatened. being even tempered and loyal, Bullmastiffs crave for human companionship.Despite their large size, Bullmastiffs are not a high energy dog. A couple of short walks during the day are sufficient for Bullmastiffs. They would rather laze on a couch rather than run about the house. Since they are powerful dogs, Bullmastiffs need a firm and confident leader to handle them. Like all dog breeds, early socialisation with children, other human beings and pets will ensure a well developed and gentle temperament.Environment
Bullmastiffs are not a high energy dog and are suitable for both apartment and large condominium living. Though, if living in an apartment one would have to be careful of their large built which may knock off things while moving about in the house. In case you are in a large house which has a yard or a garden, do ensure that there is a tall fence that prevents the dog from expanding his territory by going ahead and exploring the surroundings.Regular short exercises are a must for the overall health of the Bullmastiff. In case you live in a place where there are extreme temperatures, it will be imperative to make arrangements for appropriate cooling especially during the summers as Bullmastiffs are prone to heat exhaustion and heat strokes.Training & Intelligence
Bullmastiffs are one of the easier dog breeds to train as they are very intelligent and crave for human companionship. A strict training regime will be ideal to train the Bullmastiffs. First time owners of a Bullmastiff may want to seek professional help from Canine behaviorists or Dog Trainers to ensure that a comprehensive training regime is designed keeps the dog engaged and active. Bullmastiffs respond extremely well to positive reinforcements and activities that allow it to think independently. Bullmastiffs are also sensitive dogs and require firm, yet gentle handling. Bullmastiffs excel in agility, conformation, obedience and tracking and due to their calm and composed nature they make excellent therapy dogs. All forms of training for your Bullmastiff puppy should start at an early age. It will be imperative for new pet parents to start house training as soon as the puppy arrives so that there are fewer incidents inside the house.
Bullmastiffs are a healthy and sturdy breed and become mature by the age of 18 months. If you are going to mate and breed your Bullmastiff, make sure that you understand thoroughly the medical histories of his / her mating partner and also the medical history of the Bullmastiff’s parents so make sure that they are not suffering from any serious genetic disorder that may be deterrent to the overall growth of the new puppies. If you are a first time pet parent, seek medical advice to ensure that the mating and breeding process is comfortable for both the dogs.Puppies
An average litter size of a Bullmastiff varies between 6 - 9 puppies with an average life expectancy of 8 - 10 years. Even as puppies, the Bullmastiffs are slightly bigger than the puppies of any other breed. They are a high bundle of energy and would love to gnaw and chew on furniture, shoes and toys.When the puppies are born, it will be imperative to vaccinate them and to train them from early own as they are extremely active and if not monitored may destroy furniture and other things that might catch their attention.
Bullmastiffs are a large breed, formidable looking dogs and their imposing size gains a lot of attention wherever they go. A full grown male may stand anywhere between 25-27 inches and weigh anywhere between 50 - 60 kgs while a female Bullmastiff may stand anywhere between 24-26 inches and weigh between 45 - 54 kgs.Their large built means that Bullmastiffs can consume up to three pints of food a day. Bullmastiffs have a broad and enormous head with a pronounced stop. Bullmastiffs also have deep and broad chests with straight forelegs and a powerful body to carry their entire weight. The tail of a bullmastiff is set high and is long and tapering. The ears are small and set high apart from each other. Bullmastiffs have a short coat that is easy to groom.