Much has been written about the early Bullmastiff, and its' development from the Game Keeper's Night Dog.
In many bibliographies of the Breed it is written that the Breed Type was set by the Farcroft Kennel, mating successive Bulldogs and Mastiffs in such a ratio that the final progeny possessed 40% Bulldog and 60% Mastiff.
To us, this seems over simplified, and does not explain some of the characteristics in today's breed that neither of the ancestory breeds possess, for instance a good scenting nose. Although, without doubt, the Farcroft Kennels' work helped fix the Breed Type, allowing the breed to be registered as a distinct and separate breed with the Kennel Club, this version of the breed history ignores much of what went before.
Wherever the truth lie, the foundation of the breed is clear. The breed was developed to perform a duty on the large farming and game Estates of the 1800's and 1900's. The role was to support the Game Keeper in the protection of the valuable Game on those Estates from poachers that wished to benefit from the theft of that game.
The poachers would generally work at night, with their own dogs, trying to outwit the Game Keeper to trap, shoot or fish for their ill-gotten-game. The characteristics the Game Keeper required in his dogs to foil the poacher was a fearless, courageous, heavy yet agile dog with controlled aggression, that could move silently and unseen and when called upon, to first dispatch the poacher's own dogs and then bring down and hold the poacher himself until the Game Keeper was able to apprehend him.
The Game Keeper's Night dog was rightly feared by the poacher. And just their presence on an Estate was often enough to deter the poacher from trespassing the Estates grounds.
Much of the characteristics required by the Game Keeper are still present in today's breed: The fearless, courageous nature that would defend his keeper with his life; The independent thinker, that has the confidence to decide on the course of action for any given situation; the silent nature in both movement and bark leading in general to a dog that when barks should be taken notice of; a breed of substantial size still able to cover ground with surprising speed and endurance; the controlled aggression that although dampened by recent years of breeding for the pet home and the Show Ring is still there to be called upon when required.
It is these characteristics that draw many of us towards the breeds Ownership, but with these characteristics comes a responsibility to that Ownership. The Bullmastiff must be well socialised and trained. To neglect this part of a dogs up-bringing could potentially lead to a dog that is not fit for the home environment.
The confident, dominant nature of the breed can, in some circumstances, lead it to dislike other dogs that are not part of its' pack. Good socialisation and training can manage that dislike such that in all circumstances the Bullmastiff is tolerant of other dogs that are respectful towards it.
The Bullmastiff requires clear boundaries, and will continue to push those boundaries throughout its life. It requires consistent feedback, and a firm approach, but not physically firm. Nothing is truer than the often heard phrase "you can not bully a Bully". Training the Bullmastiff is more about enticement and reward. The Bullmastiff owners' reward for getting this right is to have a sociable, powerful, fearless, confident and loyal dog that is stable and trustworthy in all circumstances.
If you feel you are up to the responsibility of Ownership and can provide the right home for one of this breed to develop into a rounded individual then feel free to contact us with regards our breeding plans.