History of the breed
The Bullmastiff was bred throughout the XVIII and XIX centuries in order to aid English gamekeepers. At that time gamekeepers experimented with the English Mastiff, but they were too slow in order to protect the game on large English estates. Bulldog and Bloodhound dogs were combined in order to “create” a breed that was faster and with a better sense of smell.
In the process of creating this breed, dogs were used in the Iberian Peninsula in fights with bulls and other wild beasts – this means that they had to be powerful, strong and fast, otherwise they would not have a chance against their opponents. When these types of shows were banned, the Bullmastiff was adopted by British gamekeepers in order to protect their estates, tracking poachers for hours or even days. These poachers usually had “Luncher” dogs (which may have originated the current Pit Bull). The Bullmastiff aided in tracking down, finding, tackling and holding poachers, resisting the attack of their ferocious dogs.
It is important to mention that British laws allowed tradesmen to walk through the forests – this means that the Gamekeeper´s dogs needed an innate capacity to distinguish innocent pedestrians. Gamekeepers had to take every precaution in choosing the most capable dogs to fulfill these tasks.
In order to prevent the Bullmastiff from being poisoned, the dogs lived inside the gamekeeper´s house with his wife and children. The house usually had one room which was used as bedroom, kitchen, etc. The Bullmastiff was one of the first breeds to be integrated into human families. This was possible thanks to the selection of the dogs which best fit this lifestyle – forging future generations of dogs with calm, dependable character.
This is what every Bullmastiff lover aims at protecting: the original spirit, the dependable character, the devotion, intelligence and loyalty that make this dog the best friend a man could have.