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In an attempt to decrease the massive size of the English Mastiff, the Bullmastiff was created through crosses with the Bulldog during the late 1800s. This resulted in a more agile, quiet tracker, which retained much of his larger progenitor's power and enabled the Bullmastiff to cover short distances quickly. The Bullmastiff s similarity to the Dogue de Bordeaux, which is centuries older, brings to mind the various Mastiff crosses made throughout history.
These dogs were originally called Gamekeeper's Night Dogs and were set against poachers. Since poaching in England carried the death penalty, those choosing the profession were pre-pared to murder the gamekeepers pursuing them. This called for a tough, fearless, absolutely silent canine assistant.
As the 20th century approached, the need for gamekeepers and their dogs waned. Staged contests were still held, however, to see if a man could outwit the animal. The volunteer was given a head start in woods or moors and, after a few minutes, the muzzled pursuer was slipped off lead. Upon catching his quarry, the dog knocked down the poacher and kept his captive on the ground until the handler arrived. As far as the records show, it was always the dog that won.
Recognition in its homeland came in 1925, and AKC followed suit in 1933. The dark brin-dles so desirable for night work in its original profession gave way to fawns. British fanciers prefer a dog that appears to have half-Mastiff and half-Bulldog influence from the 19th-century crosses, while Americans seem to desire a 60/40 ratio, with the Mastiff dominating. Hollywood welcomed the Bullmastiff, with both Douglas Fairbanks and producer Harry M. Warner as admirers of the breed.
Nowadays, the Bullmastiff is a calm, though alert, pet. A young dog is often clumsy and demonstrates normal puppy naughtiness. These activities must be "nipped in the butt" before the dog's full size and strength are reached. He is protective of children, other pets and property. These tendencies require a firm, loving owner.



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