Here are three facts:
- Bullmastiffs are big, powerful, loving dogs that can steal your heart and make you wonder how you ever lived without them.
- Bullmastiffs are big, powerful, loving dogs that require a lot of time, attention and care and make you wonder why you ever got hooked.
- Bullmastiffs are big, powerful, loving dogs that definitely aren’t for everyone.
Did you get that "big, powerful" part? Let’s start there. These dogs weigh from 40 to over 65 kilos of mostly muscle. They’re very confident. Which means they can be very strong willed. Which means there is going to be a battle over who’s in charge. If you’re up to the challenge, then the Bullmastiff may be right for you.
Then there’s that word "loving". Bullmastiffs thrive on sharing family life and affection. They’re faithful, loyal, sensitive, and intelligent. They’re expressive and fun. They make great buddies. They’re courageous, discerning and protective of their family. They make great guardians. They do however need love, affection and inclusion as a family member. If that’s the kind of environment you plan to provide, then the Bullmastiff may be right for you.
Bullmastiffs generally cost $1000 to $2,500 but that’s just the beginning. They can eat 3-6 cups of dry food a day plus mince and a Bullmastiff has never met a treat he didn’t like. (They also love veggies as treat broccoli, carrots, and green beans and they’re better for them.) If you buy a Bullmastiff, you have to buy leashes, collars, (they outgrow them about every 6-8 weeks) and a crate (large portable kennel). Crate training is a must if you expect your house and belongings to survive puppyhood. And don’t forget chew bones, fluffy toys, pig ears, all those spendy little things that empty your wallet but make your bully happy. How about Vet bills? In addition to a series of vaccinations in the puppy’s first 6 months of life, there are always those unexpected little emergencies. Sometimes it’s just easier to offer to make your Vet’s house payment for him. If you’re prepared to make this kind of ongoing investment, the Bullmastiff may be right for you.
Another must - obedience training. At 4 months of age, you’re still bigger and stronger than your Bullmastiff and it’s a lot easier to teach him who’s boss and good manners while he is young then when he weighs 65 or more kilos. Remember, good obedience training really trains YOU how to control your dog. It takes time and effort. It’s not much fun to work all day then go to obedience class at 7:00 PM for two hours so your dog can humiliate you. But, if you have the determination to do it and the will to maintain obedience control, the Bullmastiff may be for you.
Another must…socializing. Actually, this can be fun. It involves getting your Bullmastiff out with other dogs and people. This means taking him anywhere he can meet new people and other dogs, either at obedience, the local dog park, a walk down to the shops. Why is this important? Bullmastiffs, upon maturity (about 18-24 months)IF NOT PROPERLY SOCIALIZED can show signs of dog aggression. Only some Bullmastiffs develop this problem, and proper socialization early on can help combat it. If you like the idea of getting out in public places with your pooch, the Bullmastiff may be for you.
What kind of physical environment will you provide your dog? Bullmastiffs do best when they live WITH the family. Usually, that means in the house - NOT outside in a kennel, NEVER on the end of a chain, and NEVER EVER to run free in the neighborhood. Fenced yards are great if the fence is 6’ or higher and the yard is large enough. If you don’t have a good-sized fenced yard, then your dog (any dog for that matter, not just a Bullmastiff) will need to be walked and exercised. Do you fill the bill in these areas? If so, the Bullmastiff may be for you.
Bullmastiffs are known to be very tolerant with children. Are you prepared to supervise any interaction between child and dog? Bullmastiffs are large dogs and accidents can and will happen when children are involved. If you are prepared to ensure you supervise your dog and children at all times - ensuring there is no rough play, unnecessary teasing or tormenting of the Bullmastiff then, a Bullmastiff may be for you.
Ok, if you’ve made it this far, you’re ready for the final test. How do you feel about drool? Remember the scene in "Turner and Hooch" (Hooch was a Dogue de Bordeaux, similar to a Bullmastiff) when Hooch shook his head and "slingers" flew everywhere? Get the picture? Bullmastiffs drool, some more than others. And when they drink water, they like to come over and share their experience with you afterwards. On the other hand, Bullies are clean dogs, don’t require a lot of grooming, and they are short haired so shedding isn’t too bad.
Oh and one other thing. When they love you, they’ll give their life for you. They will be the best friend you’ll ever have. If all that sounds good, then definitely, the Bullmastiff is the right dog for you.
Original article located atThe Cascade Northwest Bullmastiff Club - some points changed to reflect the Bullmastiff breed and Standard in Australia.