The Bullmastiff Manual (The World of Dogs)


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Bullmastiffs were developed as guard dogs and for catching poachers. They are part Mastiff, crossed with the ancestor of Bulldogs. They are not quite as tall or as calm as Mastiffs, though they are calmer than most bull terriers. They are strong-willed dogs which tend to bond strongly with their human family, and love attention. This desire for attention can be harnessed in training them. Well-trained and well-socialized Bullmastiffs tend to be very good with children, though they are not always well-behaved with other dogs, even after socialization as pups.

These dogs are natural guard dogs, and will detain intruders. They should not be taught to distrust strangers. Even well-socialized Bullmastiffs tend to be reserved with strangers, and are bold and fearless if threatened. They are large, powerful dogs. Extensive and ongoing socialization is important, as is training, so you can get your dog to leave people alone when you ask. They need to have house rules made clear to them from when they are pups, and taught not to jump up or pull on the leash, from when they are little, because they don't stay little for long. They can switch off if they are shouted at in training, and benefit from working with a calm, even-tempered trainer.

Bullmastiffs are best kept by people who have a lot of space, because they need exercise to stay fit, and it's not always easy to take such big dogs out on walks, especially if they take a dislike to some of the local pooches. They do benefit enormously from going out and about though, even if you have to time your walks so they don't have to meet a lot of other dogs. Bullmastiffs don't do well in outdoor kennels, tending to prefer the company of their human family. They are not dogs to leave tied up unattended on a chain, since they don't stand sun or cold well, they suffer if they are left isolated, and are not safe from being teased by people at a distance. Anyone who teases and comes close to a chained Bullmastiff could be hurt, and seriously hurt in the case of a child. A Bullmastiff left outside unattended a lot is also likely to develop behavioural problems.

Common health problems include tumours, hip dysplasia, bloat, heart disease hypothyroidism, and eye trouble such as entropion. Like most members of the bulldog family, they may suffer from breathing difficulties and snore, as well as drool. They also tend to suffer from extremes of heat or cold. They do need exercise, but are not running-around dogs, and prefer to walk at a dignified pace with their owners. Bullmastiff pups shouldn't be pushed into overexerting themselves by jumping a lot, since this can affect their bone growth.

This book is a classic which has been revised and updated, There is help on all aspects of Bullmastiff ownership, as well as a lot of information about the breed and how it is kept. It's clearly written, and is very helpful for novice Bullmastiff owners, as well as being informative enough to interest experienced owners, It's also very well illustrated.