“Bullmastiff Dog. The Origin of the Thief Catcher!”
The Bullmastiff was originally bred during the course of time with a definite goal in mind – that of building and maintaining a lineage which people could readily recognize, comprehend and appreciate.
The bullmastiff found its origin in Britain and is actually a part of the most ancient breeds of dogs from England, which is the Mastiff, even though its family tree isn’t as long and illustrious as that of some other breeds.
The Mastiff itself is a member of the Alaunt and Molosser family and it is popularly believed that this variety of dog first came to Old England almost 2000 years earlier.
The Bullmastiff is a product of crossbreeding between the Bulldog from Old England and the Mastiff.
The first Bullmastiff came into being only after 1860. About 60 per cent of the Mastiff was mixed with 40 per cent of the Bulldog in order to help the gamekeepers in their job.
The properties of the gamekeepers and their stock of animals were under constant threat from poachers who killed the deer and a sturdy guard dog was needed to protect the property.
The bulldog wasn’t effective for this work since it was tinier in size than was necessary and the Mastiff also was not fast enough to do the job well; hence the birth of the Bullmastiff.
The Bullmastiff, also known as the ‘Mastiff with a touch of Bull’ was much appreciated by the gamekeepers.
The dog itself had a dark colored coat of hair and was surprisingly quiet which was required in order for it to suddenly spring upon the encroaching poachers.
The dog would watch the property and when it came upon the poachers it would pin down the victim to the earth dexterously and didn’t bite or attack the poacher as such.
Thus the Bullmastiff came to be known as the “gamekeeper’s night dog” and was originally bred to come of use in this practical manner.
breeding history of this gentle-giant dog breed
Although it was originally intended to serve as a guard dog for the gamekeepers, with time it came to used for sentry duty, guarding in general and was also used by the police personnel and the army.
The 60 and 40 per cent miraculous mixing of the Mastiff and the Bulldog continued to be used for all practical purposes but finally, after some time passed, a purebred lineage came into being.
The English Kennel Club officially recognized the Bullmastiff in the year 1924 after some amount of consistency came to be maintained regarding the breeding of this dog.
In 1933 the Bullmastiff was recognized officially by the American Kennel Club as well.
This breed came in quite handy as guard dogs and became illustrious as a guard dog in many a prominent place. The south African Mines of De Beer Diamonds was guarded by the Bullmastiff as well the New York property of John D. Rockefeller.
Bullmastiffs were also used in extreme situations and emergencies such as the Kenyan Mau-Mau unrest. The purpose of breeding a Bullmastiff was very specific – they were trained to pin men down to the earth without mauling them or biting them till the time the owner of the guard dog appeared.
Many poachers started wreaking havoc on the properties of England during the 19th Century. A lot of estate animals and livestock came to be stolen and the Bullmastiff was used to put an end to all this poaching.
The Bullmastiff was perfect because it was huge and threatening to look at and yet surprisingly calm and used only to capture the victim and hold him down.
This very strong variety of dog was thereby a result of crossbreeding between the powerful races of Mastiffs and Bulldogs with 60 per cent of Mastiff and 40 per cent of Bulldog used for the first basic variety.
It was popularly called the “gamekeepers Night Dog” in the beginning which was a common term usually attributed to almost all of the big and sturdy dogs which were used by the gamekeepers for guarding the estates.
But in time these dogs were bred with more caution and more carefully and finally came to be known as the Bullmastiff – by which name it is known even today.
A Bullmastiff has straight legs in the front which is different from a normal Bulldog’s.
The head of such a dog is square in shape and quite large in size and the brows are somewhat wrinkled. The nostrils are turned upward to some extent and it also has a short muzzle which is quite broad. The neck and the head of the Bullmastiff is almost as broad and square as the head and the shoulders of this guard dog are also strong.
The hind portion is quite short even though the chest has depth. Therefore we may safely say that the body of a Bullmastiff is almost square in appearance. The dog itself is the epitome of strength and vigor. The dog weighs usually something between 110 to 130 pounds and at the withers is about 24 to 27 inches.
The build of the Bullmastiff is smaller than a Mastiff’s but it looks more sturdy and stocky in comparison to the Mastiff which is more rangy and has more height.
The Bullmastiff may be fawn or red in color or even brindle. It generally has a short and thick coat of hair and has a face which has a black mark across it.
The bullmastiff is truly a wonderful dog.
They are however, not for everybody, but a perfect companion for the right owner. Some mastiff owners say the gamekeeper’s night dog is their best friend in the whole world!
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