Powerful, Protective, Docile and Friendly.
Out of all the Mastiffs – the Bull Mastiff is hands down my favourite and the one that I would recommend for families with children.
The Bull’s head and face is to die for; they are squishy & soft and made of steel all at the same time. These guys are considered a generally ‘new’ breed – only bred in the 19th century by British landowners to protect estates.
As menacing and big as the Bull Mastiff appears, it is not a temperamental or easily provoked dog – unless their family is threatened. They would rather not have to fight unless forced to do so – and once they do it would be a good idea not to stand in their way.
Surprisingly, one of the most common mistakes that people make when bringing home a Bull-Mastiff is not fully comprehending how big they will become. A male will easily reach 140lb and a female 100 – 120 lbs.
As big as they are, I would argue that the Bull-Mastiff is the most child-friendly out of all the mastiffs. They are patient, kind, and careful with children particularly when raised with them and boundaries have been set (both for children and for dog).
The dog show that I attended had almost as many children present as mastiffs – they all got along in perfect harmony and slobbery smooches were going on all around.
The term ‘Big Baby’ very quickly came to mind. Although they don’t bark very often – once they do it is a sound to behold.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- These are guard dogs & they will protect their family without hesitation.
- They are BIG.
- Great with children. Females in particular.
- Slobber level 1000. Sorting & Grunting level 1000.
- Will try to sit on you or your feet.
- Not particularly good with other dogs
- Surprisingly they can shed quite a lot although their coat is easy to brush.
- They are reliable and friendly with strangers
- Stubborn. They are not particularly easy to train ; they don’t really care about pleasing & they need a dominant owner who is physically able to control 50-70kg of muscle mass.
- Often fussy eaters
TEMPERAMENT & CHILDREN
As with any breed of dog, in particular Giant breeds such as Mastiffs – careful socialisation needs to happen with children and other pets starting at a young age. A badly socialised mastiff can be a threat to other dogs, and children simply because of their size.
Also, if they are not exercised sufficiently they will become manic and hyper ; traits that you do not want combined with 70kg of mass. I highlight again, you need to be very aware of how quickly these guys will grow – and how big they will become.
Males can be far more temperamental than females.
An adolescent male Bull-Mastiff would be a handful for the most experienced dog trainers – predominantly because of their strength and size.
Everything is heightened – every naughty behaviour is multiplied by a 1000 because he is so bloody big. You better have upper body strength and you better be willing and ready to get dirty.
Once matured and properly trained these guys will turn into lazy, yet always alert, great family pets. However remember again – training these guys is not easy. I did not see a single Bull listen to their owner when they were asked to sit. Selective hearing at its best.
As with most big dogs, owning a garden is of utmost importance. It will make your exercise regime with your Bull so much easier. They do not need excessive amounts of energy, and they are known to get fatigued quite quickly.
I would personally not keep a Bull mastiff off lead in a park – unless they were old and slow (slower than a normal human’s walking pace). If they knock over a child or an elderly person (can easily happen) then you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. Also, from my experience I would not trust them fully around other dogs unless it was a dog that was raised with them.
HEALTH & GROOMING
Bull’s are pretty easy to keep looking spim & spam. They require occasional brushing but you will definitely not be needing to spend any extra cash for professional grooming services.
For some reason they often get hotspots – I can’t count how many Bull’s I’ve met with hotspots !
In general these are quite healthy dogs, yet due to their size they are naturally prone to some bone and joint related problems such as dysplasia. Never ever ever acquire a Mastiff from a breeder who is unwilling to show health certificates. Bull Mastiff’s are also prone to heart diseases and problems such as pulmonic stenosis.
MY EXPERIENCE AT DOG SHOW
My first and foremost observation? Very few dogs were allowed to mingle with each other for long periods of time.
Many owners present would tense up visibly or become alert when another (not to mention same sex) dog walked past their dog. Definitely witnessed a few lunges, growls, and barks. However they were all wonderful with children.
There was this this little girl at the show (she is pictured above & below), and she literally just walked around the entire area saying hello to every single dog – and they absolutely adored her! Myself included.
Turned out that this girl was mini-me except slightly cooler than me. If you can handle all these 100lb+ mastiffs at the age of 8; girl you’re going places!
All in all, my experiences are that Bull-Mastiffs are wonderful dogs that require low to medium amounts of exercise, they are easy to groom, and are gentle giants who are ideal for a family household.