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The Bullmastiff is a large-sized breed of domestic dog, with a solid build and a short muzzle. The Bullmastiff is mastiff type dog, and was originally developed by 19th-century gamekeepers to guard estates. The breed was created by crossing the English Mastiff with the now extinct Old English Bulldog. It was recognized as a purebred dog by the English Kennel Club in 1924.
Bullmastiffs are a large working breed originating in Britain in the mid-1800s as estate guardians to ward off poachers. They were bred by gamekeepers for strength, size and speed using a cross of the tough, heavy and aggressive Bulldog of the 19th century with the large, strong, less aggressive Mastiff. As a result, the Bullmastiff is known as the Gamekeeper's Night Dog. The preferred color, by gamekeepers, was brindle, as this color works as a more effective camouflage, especially at night.
The Bullmastiff breed was deemed pure by the English Kennel Club in 1924, with a genetic background of approximately 60% Mastiff and 40% Bulldog. In 1934, the AKC recognized the Bullmastiff. The first standard for the breed was approved in 1935. The standard has undergone several revisions since then; the most current version is available on the AKC website.
In 1928, the diamond mining company De Beers imported Bullmastiffs to South Africa to guard the mines.
The Bullmastiff breed was bred to tackle and pin a poacher that comes on their land. An issue people have with the breed is that the dog may jump onto an unfamiliar person and tackle them until told to stop. This is why Bullmastiff owners must greet newcomers to the dog at their first interaction.