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Breed History

The Bullmastiff is large, playful and loyal

The Bullmastiff is a large-sized breed of domestic dog, with a solid build and a short muzzle.

The Bullmastiff is mastiff type dog, and was originally developed by 19th-century gamekeepers to guard estates. The breed’s was bred by crossing the English Mastiff with the now extinct Old English Bulldog.

Bullmastiffs are a large working breed originating in Britain in the mid-1800 as estate guardians to ward off poachers. They were bred by gamekeepers for strength, size and speed using a cross of the tough, heavy and aggressive Bulldog of the 19th century with the large, strong, less aggressive Mastiff. As a result, the Bullmastiff is known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog. The preferred colour, by gamekeepers, was brindle, as this colour works as a more effective camouflage, especially at night.

The Bullmastiff breed was deemed pure by the English Kennel Club in 1924, with a genetic background of approximately 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog (ancestor of today’s modern bulldog). In 1934, the ANKC recognised the Bullmastiff. The first standard for the breed was approved in 1935. The standard has undergone several revisions since then; the most current version is available on the ANKC website.

In 1928, the diamond mining company De Beers imported Bullmastiff’s to South Africa to guard the mines.

The Bullmastiff breed was bred to tackle and pin a poacher that comes on their land. An issue people have with the breed is that the dog may jump onto an unfamiliar person and tackle them until told to stop. This is why Bullmastiff owners must greet newcomers to the dog at their first interaction.

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