Bullmastiff Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The Bullmastiff is a native British breed, developed from crosses between Bulldogs and the Old English Mastiff, and although there are many references in canine literature to dogs of Bullmastiff type, his history can only be traced with certainty from 1860 when he became known as the “Gamekeeper’s Night Dog” because of his function of tracking and restraining poachers. In the days of transportation of wrongdoers for fairly mild breaches of the law poachers had much to lose if caught and they would have been fighting for their lives against capture; it was essential therefore for the dog to be powerful and fearless if he was not only going to do the job he was bred for, but survive encounters with desperate men.
The use of mastiffs, kept hungry and turned loose in the grounds at night is a recurring theme in the Sherlock Holmes stories. In the “Adventure of the Copper Beeches” our heroine is introduced to the resident guard dog thus:-
“It’s only Carlo, my mastiff. … We feed him once a day, and not too much then, so he is always as keen as mustard. Toller lets him loose every night, and God help the trespasser whom he lays his fangs upon. … “. Some nights later she is looking out of her window and sees the dog. ”It was a giant dog, as large as a calf, tawny tinted, with hanging jowl, black muzzle and huge projecting bones.”
Training and Management
Today’s dog, not starved or maltreated to make him vicious is a different animal altogether. He remains a very large and strong dog and would certainly be forbidding to strangers, but he is amenable to discipline and with early firm and consistent handling makes an excellent housedog, devoted to his family and with a very steady and reliable temperament.
Looking at a Bullmastiff you would see a balanced dog, covering a lot of ground and looking powerful though not at all cumbersome; at up to 66cm and weighing 130lbs, heavy as he is he carries his weight lightly. His coat is weatherproof; short, hard and flat needing minimum care; the colours are any shade of brindle, fawn or red with a black mask. Colours should be pure and clear. They have been recognised by the Kennel Club since 1925 and have earned themselves a very strong following.
Rescue and Rehoming
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.