by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 6, 2009)
As his name suggests, the Bullmastiff is a cross between a Bulldog and a Mastiff. It is therefore not possible to separate his history from that of the other two dogs any more than it is possible to separate those of the Bulldog and the Mastiff themselves. For both of the parents of the Bullmastiff appear to have come from the same parent stock, and both were used for bull and bear baiting.
It would appear that, about 1890, when the huge Mastiff was on the decline, an effort was made to breed a somewhat smaller dog. Mastiffs were at that time used as guard dogs by gamekeepers on the great estates of the British Isles.
One cross which was tried was that of the Mastiff and the Bulldog, thus bringing together two strains which had been quite close together in previous centuries. The result was a dog, smaller than the Mastiff, very heavy, and yet very agile. In addition, the dog proved quiet. That is, when prowling the grounds in search of poachers, he would remain quiet until told to attack.
The Bullmastiff grew steadily in popularity during the nineteen twenties. His more moderate size, quietness, great strength, and agility, made him a success from the start. He also showed an aptitude for police work, plus eagerness to learn.
The general appearance of the Bullmastiff is a symmetrical animal that shows great strength and is powerfully built as well as active. He is fearless, and still docile with both endurance and alertness. The Bullmastiff is sixty% Mastiff and forty% Bulldog.
The male Bullmastiff should be twenty-five to twenty-seven inches at shoulder and weigh about 115 pounds. The female is twenty-four to twenty-six inches at the shoulder and weighs about a hundred pounds. The coat is short and dense, giving good weather protection with any shade of color of fawn or brindle.
As to the size of the breed, the reason for the creation of the Bullmastiff was the desire for a dog smaller than the old English Mastiff and more active, but one still big enough to throw and hold a man. Therefore, a dog of a hundred pounds who is sound and active is greatly to be preferred to a dog of 125 pounds who looks like a weedy Mastiff. It is only in the case that these two animals are equal in all other respects, that the larger may be preferred. To sum up, let us say that we want sound, active dogs, capable of protecting life and property, of throwing and holding a man.
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