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Bullmastiffs can be expensive to keep. Before you purchase or adopt you must consider the cost of feeding him/her, this can be reduced by buying in bulk. They need to be fed large amounts of good quality food all their life, which must be looked at when considering the costs. 

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The usual time to purchase a suitable puppy is at the age of eight weeks when they are fed four meals per day. The number of meals is gradually weaned down to 2-3 per day at around 1 year of age. This is only a general guideline and varies from dog to dog. Most owners feed their Bullmastiffs twice per day throughout their lives once they reach one year and older. 
Like most large breed dogs they should always be fed off the ground, this helps to aid digestion and prevent gastric torsion, plus this places less strain on the front legs (splayed feet). There are some excellent feeding table?s available at most pet shops and animal wholesalers. 
Complete diets can be costly, using meat and a complete mixer is necessary with supplements added like vetzyme once per day, or SA37, both are excellent products. A garlic capsule or tablet included in the meal once per day with  
1-2 mg of vitamin C will also help the dog?s coat and the prevention of fleas. 
Photo of ?Bonnie? 4 year old bitch. 
The Bullmastiff is a large breed of dog.  
Males should reach the height of 25-27 inches and weigh 130lbs, bitches 24-26 inches and weigh 110lbs. You must try not to allow your dog to become overweight, as this can cause serious problems both with their hearts and their joints. In view of this point, they still need a considerable amount of space to live comfortably. They are not suitable dogs to be living in apartment blocks or flat-lets. Although your garden does not need to be massive, your Bullmastiff does need freedom and regular exercise. These dogs do not need to go out for long walks, in fact little and often each day is much more their style! In the home they will take up a lot of room, in fact given half a chance they will do a takeover bid, they love comfort! Especially of the bed, couch armchairs or anything that looks more comfortable than their own bed. A suggestion is to purchase an old couch if you don?t wish the dog to take over your own personal couch or chair.  
If you have a car, it may be not big enough for your Bullmastiff. So here again you may wish to look at this issue as yet more expense. Some owners have been known to purchase even a larger house to accommodate their dogs, a little extreme I know!  
Bullmastiffs are very sociable, loving human company, so if you are thinking of leaving the dog on his/her own for long periods of time, they can rebel. This manifests itself in destructive behaviour, or by messing in the home, something one does not need after a hard day at work. They are also expert sulkers, and will often sit with their noses in the air refusing to even look at you if they have been told off! They should never be chained up, tethered, or isolated. This will cause and implement antisocial behaviour and possibly aggression. 
 
Bullmastiffs also make excellent gardeners, digging holes and eating the plants is one of their favourite pastimes. My own has a penchant for the rose garden! As with any breed some will chew anything and everything, but this tends to happen only if they are bored or lonely and left isolated from human company. 
They can also be very good jumpers so you do need to have a fairly high fence or enclosure around your garden, a minimum height of at least five feet tall. You would be surprised at some of the holes and gaps they can squeeze themselves through so a secure garden is vital. They are very playful, but also can become over protective, so a lot of socialization, as a puppy is essential. 
Healthcare 
 
As with most pedigree dogs, Bullmastiffs have their share of health problems. Hip dysplasia being just one most common. Several kennels regularly hip score their dogs, but not all breeders do, so to protect yourself it is highly advisable to purchase your puppy from a recognised and reputable breeder, or ask the seller of the puppies to see proof that the parents have been hip scored. Elbow dysplasia is also known, as is vaginal hyperplasia in bitches. Entropian (inward turning of the eyelid) can also occur and although it is only a small operation to rectify, these animals should not be bred from. Ear infections are quite common amongst this breed, as is gastric torsion, which is well known in most breeds of deep chested dogs if your Bullmastiff is ill or in pain it can be quite difficult to detect, as they are most definitely not wimps! They are capable of enduring a great deal of discomfort before you may spot anything wrong, so it is paramount to make regular checkups at your veterinary practice a routine matter.  
The majority of these dogs have very healthy lives, the average life span being about ten years. Of course as with any breed this can be extended if they are well cared for, my own Bullmastiff is now approaching twelve years, so this can be placed to a certain degree on how well you care for your dog. Finally, yes they do slobber! Not in copious amounts (like the Neapolitan Mastiffs) unless there is food around, and this is easily wiped away. It is advisable to wipe their noses after they have eaten as food can get stuck there eventually causing dry and chapped skin on the nose. When you have lived with this breed of dog for a while it is something that ceases to bother you. 
Still Interested? Then read on to discover the positive side to living with a bullmastiff. 
Character 
 
The character of any breed of dog is so very important, being one the main reasons you are attracted to a particular breed. As a companion the Bullmastiff is second to none, despite their size and strength they possess a reliable and calm nature. The temperament is ideal in a family situation. From puppies they must be trained to respect people, especially children. You must show that you are the boss from the very beginning.  
Bullmastiffs are very intelligent and they can be stubborn. You will need a great deal of patience and determination; therefore it is advisable to start training as soon as you have acquired your young puppy. An unruly dog is no pleasure to live with and in view of the dangerous dog?s act, it is every owner?s responsibility to ensure that they have the dog under full control at all times. This breed can be very tolerant with children, but it?s vitally important that the children are taught to respect the dog, and never allowed to tease him/her especially with food around at meal times, and never left alone with the dog. As with most dogs they will only take and tolerate so much before they turn, even a warning nip from a Bullmastiff can be serious. They will live with other animals if introduced sensibly with them as adults, or as puppies. Bullmastiffs can be very possessive over their food and this you have to be aware of with other animals in the household. 
There is little difference between the temperament of dogs or bitches in this breed, both are equally steady and reliable. A dog is obviously bigger stronger and more powerful which needs to be taken into account if you are a prospective lady considering a male dog. Bullmastiffs are slow to mature, as puppies they are full of intelligent mischief, as adults they are alert and an active family companion. 
 
Exercise  
Bullmastiff puppies should not undertake a lot of exercise. They are heavy for their size and can easily cause strain or damage to their young joints. They do need to go for short walks to strengthen their ligaments and pasterns, also just as importantly to be socialised with people and other animals. 
Your puppy should never be allowed to jump in and out of cars, or run up and down stairs for reasons as mentioned in the last paragraph. As adult dogs they enjoy at least two walks per day, morning and evening. I would also like to reiterate on the point of feeding, that they should be fed off the ground on a feeding bowl stand as he/she gets to around 8 months of age, to help prevent the splaying of their front legs or suffering from gastric torsion, (Bloat) this can help reduce wind as well, there is nothing worse than a smelly bullmastiff, they have been quite well known to clear a room! 
 
Grooming 
 
Bullmastiffs have a very short coat, which is easy to keep in good condition. A few minutes each day is all that?s needed. When the dog is moulting extra grooming helps to change the coat quicker.  
Your dogs ears need to be regularly checked for signs of infection ... redness and heat or brown discharge, this should be treated by your vet, although you can help to prevent this by cleaning the dogs ears on a weekly basis with ear wipes, (available from most good pet shops). Your dogs Teeth should be checked as well for build up of tarter, and cleaned if your pet allows with a toothbrush and paste. Although with the correct diet this problem should not occur. Nails are kept in trim by exercise although they will grow too long if your dog does not get enough hard road surface walking. 
 
Buying Your Puppy 
 
If you decide that your requirement is to purchase a puppy instead of an adult rescue dog, always purchase your puppy from a recognised Bullmastiff Association Breeder. They have a code of ethics designed for the betterment and welfare of the breed. They will give you guidelines and are concerned where their puppies go and to whom. They will also give advice such as the best age to mate a bitch, when puppies should be weaned or sold etc. Every member of the Association receives a copy, If you intend to breed your chosen dog at some stage later.  
A responsible breeder will invite you to see their stock so you can assess quality, colour, and temperament. In most of the establishments you will be able to see the parents of the puppies in their home environment.  
You must also expect to be interviewed, as the concerning breeder needs to be ensured that you are the right type of person for one of their puppies and that you have thought about and read up on the breed characteristics, or owned one previously. Although a knowledgeable breeder will help you and will be available to give you advice throughout the puppy?s life. 
Never purchase a puppy without seeing the parents and always insist on seeing them at the breeder?s residence. The breeder will register the puppies with the kennel club; you will also need a diet sheet, proof of worming and inoculations given and also the pedigree papers to your new puppy from the breeder. Inquire about insurance also for your new puppy from your breeder or veterinary practice. 
The Bullmastiff Association will be able to place you in contact with reputable member breeders in or close by to your chosen area of residence. 


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