The Bullmastiff is a massive breed of dog. Despite its size, it is not a cumbersome dog, or lazy. They are active, powerful and agile dogs that love to play and exercise. Originally bred in England by gamekeepers for protection against poachers, Mastiffs have great endurance and strength. They love to play games, especially those that utilize their agility and thinking skills. They’re an intelligent breed and highly trainable, and love to please their owner. Mastiffs are somewhat calm in nature, and although they have a soft-spot for their owners, they can be a bit cautious of strangers. Caring for a Mastiff is fairly easy. They do not require much grooming in order to keep them neat and clean, however, they do require good nutrition from puppyhood on through their adult years in order to keep them healthy and happy. They are typically a healthy breed of dog with few health issues that they can be prone to as they age. One of the biggest health concerns for a Mastiff, is weight gain. Feedings should be monitored and broken into 2-3 small meals a day, using a highly nutritious diet. If you’re interested in a Bullmastiff as your next dog, there are things you should know. Here are seven important questions you should ask a Bullmastiff breeder before you purchase a puppy.
1. How is the health of the parents?
Knowing the health of the puppy’s parents and other relatives is important. You will want to know if both parents have been cleared of all health issues. The breeder should be able to tell you what health conditions have been seen running in the family and who has it; mother, father, brothers, sisters, etc. Ask the breeder if they hold any health awards for the lineage and ask to see them. It’s also important to review the vet records for the parents, and the puppies from the breeding to make sure they have a clean bill of health. Review the records to see which tests and screenings are required and make sure they were all completed and what the results of the tests and screenings were.
2. How old is the dam?
Information about the dam is important when considering buying a new puppy. Dams should only be bred at certain times in their lifetime. Knowing the dam’s breeding history will let you know how responsible the breeder has been with breeding. Ask the breeder the age of the dam and how many times she has been bred. A breeder should not breed a Mastiff bitch before she is 22 months old and should not breed her again after she turns 7 years old. She should also never be bred closer than months apart. There are exceptions to that, and if it happened with the breeder’s dam, be sure to know what the circumstances were for the close breeding cycles.
3. Reasons for breeding
Breeders should always have a reason for each breeding and it should not include simply wanting puppies to sell. Breeders typically breed their Mastiffs in order to keep certain traits running in the family or as a means of improving on certain traits. Ask the breeder what their purpose for breeding was. They should be able to tell you what characteristics of the lineage they are trying to continue, and which ones they are trying to improve on. They should not mind explaining their reasons for breeding and they should be able to explain in detail, their dam and sire’s breeding history.
4. Downfalls of the dam and sire
Every dog has its faults or downfalls. Bullmastiffs are no different. The breeder should know which parent has what fault. Ask the breeder about the sire and dam and what they would say their faults are. Ask them how breeding is helping to correct the fault and if they anticipate that it will help. Your breeder should be able to describe both parents’ characteristics in detail, labeling their strong and weak characteristics, from their physical to personality traits.
5. What clubs does the breeder associate with?
Mastiff breeders should be involved with clubs that support other Mastiff breeders. Your breeder should belong to at least one Mastiff club, if only the MCOA. Clubs show the breeder has an interest in following the Mastiff breeding code of ethics, and they welcome the input, support and guidance of the clubs and other breeders in an effort to continue breeding healthy Bullmastiffs. Serious breeders of any breed of dog, will be very involved with the breed and with other breeders and organizations, both locally and nationally.
6. What are the Mastiff pups being fed?
You will want to know all about feeding your Mastiff pup; what the breeder has been feeding them and what you should be feeding them when you get your pup home. The breeder should explain all of the pup’s nutritional requirements from puppyhood to adulthood, what to feed him and how often, and are they on any supplements. The breeder should also be able to tell you if they expect your pup to reach its genetically predisposition height and weight; if so, the best way to achieve this is by way of a healthy diet. Slow and steady growth by way of a healthy diet is the best way to help your pup reach his optimum height and weight.
7. What type of living quarters have the pups been raised in?
It is always a good idea to ask to see the living quarters of the pups. A neat, clean and tidy living quarters means a lot for the health of puppies. Seeing how the breeder keeps the living quarters of the puppies can tell you a lot about the breeder and may give you some insight to the health of the puppies. The area where the puppies are kept, should not only be neat and clean, but it should also supply the pups with plenty of room for play and exercise. A breeder who is not willing to show you where the pups live and roam, should be taken into consideration, that something may not be up to par.