About the Breed
The Purpose of The Breed Creation
Bullmastiff is a very popular English breed. As the name says the breed appeared by crossing mastiff and bulldog.
First of all, a bullmastiff breed is much older than one might consider.
Douglas Oliff that had gathered facts of history piece by piece found that the analogous dogs had already existed in England at the beginning of XVI-XVII century. Most people new them as "Night Gamekeeper's Dog", "Mastiff with a touch of Bulldog", "Big Bulldog", "Miniature Mastiff", "Mongrel Mastiff".
Mastiff. English painter Richard Ansdell (1815-1885)
"A Bullmastiff breed creation was dictated by needs of people, who guarded private forests, in other words, foresters. It took several centuries till the breed was formed. The selection by functional characteristics and mental qualities went in the direction to get a brawny, strong, persistent and sturdy dog that has a medium size and weight in order to cope with one or few armed men at the moment they are being arrested and at the same time to let the master control him. These traits have been refining through many generations of people and all the time have been testing during detaining of poachers and in fights with bulls and wild animals". V. Piliugin "Foresters and gamekeepers preferred to keep dogs that were as good guards as a mastiff, as persistent as a bulldog and have the same scent and sturdiness as a hound. Only this kind of dog could cope with the duty given. One should not forget also about the perfect fighting qualities of the four-legged helper. Death was the punishment for killing of a King's dear in medieval England, and therefore an armed poacher desperately defended himself at an attempt to detain him. Working abilities of these dogs were perfected during trainings and then examined in the traditional testing that had been held until XX century. The point of testing was that some volunteer went to the forest and after some time a dog in a muzzle was let go after him. The man was free to choose a tool and a way to defend himself, except for cold steel, and the dog had to hold the victim without injuring him until the master came.
One dog, called Thornwood Terror, a brindle colored male, became very famous during these competitions. He was taken to different parts of country in a steel cage. The master of the dog that never lost the competition was Mr. Barton. Beside competitions, Terror took part in fights held till 1905 within the walls of the old Westminster aquarium. During these fights everyone who wished to try his strength could meet the dog face to face. Here Terror never lost as well. Mr. Barton used a special training. His system he stated in his article "Keeping and Raising of An Athletic Dog", published in 1905 and used by cynologists of the British army and police for practical work. It's worth marking that the "Thornwood" kennel was situated near Nottingham, in one of the forestlands of Sherwood forest, famous for poacher traditions".
A.I. Inshakov, E.G. Tsigelsky