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While in Spain and Portugal the “Perros de Toros” disappeared after the Laws that prohibited bullfighting dogs to be used in the arena, in Great Britain the Gamekeepers were seeking for a multipurpose dog of immense work capability and endurance, to follow for hours or days the scent of poachers and their lurchers, in total silence, resistant enough to walk and swim through sheer drops, ravines, gullies, rocks and hills, rivers and creeks, under different climate situations. One that would lie in wait for as long as necessary and then knock down and immobilize the thief, while being severely bitten by his aggressive little dogs.
Darwin de Castro-Castalia
It was clear from the start for these Gamekeepers that the dog they were in seek for, had to be extremely faithful and obedient, loyal and controllable, easy to teach, intelligent, meek and docile with his master and his master’s family, particularly with children, and at the same time not as aggressive as to hurt its prey to death. The dog was meant to chase and corner the thieves but not to wound them, according to the Forest Laws.
Ankara de Castro-Castalia
This is the personality the Gamekeeper’s needed to develop in their Night Dogs, and this is the personality that the Bullmastiff holds still today. A dog that is extraordinarily calm, sure of itself, powerful and yet soft, quiet and discreet, capable of an immense discernment, obedient and loyal, devoted to his master and the whole family, particularly patient with children and extremely home-loving.
And in fact, when compared with other molosser breeds, the Bullmastiff is the only one that will not use the power of his mouth and the strength of his jaw to bite and injure its prey randomly. Very much on the contrary he hardly ever bites and will rather use the impulse of his strong body to knock down the opponent and let it flat on the floor, like he was taught by the Gamekeepers two hundred years ago.
Nabucco de Castro-Castalia
These traits in his character are what make him the extraordinary gentle giant he is. A dog that is social and caring, kind and sweet, devoted to his family, obedient and considerate, particularly attentive and patient with babies and young kids, with elderly people and with those that have some sort of physical or mental impediment. All this explains why Bullmastiffs, other than being a great family and companion dog, have proved to be excellent Therapy dogs in many countries.
Zen de Castro-Castalia
I personally feel, after being around the breed all my life and after having bred Bullmastiffs on a permanent basis for almost 20 years, that it is important that the puppies remain together with the litter-mates and the dam for as long as possible; anything from 12 to 14 weeks.
Trampas de Castro-Castalia e Ines
As a breeder I have emphasized this procedure for well over a decade and more and I can assert that by doing so, my puppies are better prepared to join their new families once they leave the nest; they are less immature and plenty more confident as they part. This is very interesting not only to ensure that they will easily cope with a long trip, for instance, but also because while together with mom and brothers and sisters, the puppies have had the chance to learn many social skills that need to be taught, so that they become well behaved and good natured adults in the future, capable of establishing the right connections with other dogs, no matter the size, the breed or the sex.
When I started doing this, many years ago, I was criticized by many; I feel that those who did not accept my belief, were probably the same that will rather get their puppies out of the house as soon as possible, before they start eating too much, doing too much pooh, making too much noise, playing heavily and very destructively and needing to have extra runs of vaccination and worming – simple because if they keep them too long, they will not cash sufficient money in return. They rather neglect socialization and have the owner take the responsibility, although by doing so the puppies are deprived of the possibility of interacting with other dogs from an early age, since they must remain locked in the house, to avoid infectious diseases since they are not properly vaccinated yet.
When I chose to go into breeding Bullmastiffs, I felt that my priority was to breed healthy, typical and balanced dogs. And a dog that is to be perfectly balanced, reliable and trustworthy in every aspect, needs to be correctly socialised, other than well educated. And primary socialization starts with the dam and the littermates and lasts until 3,5 months of age.
Chris y Caramba de Castro-Castalia
In the Christina´s books, EL BULLMASTIFF and EL GRAN LIBRO DE LOS BULLMASTIFF I devote many pages to the description of the personality of this gentle giant, so if you are fluent in Spanish, do take the time to read them because you will find plenty of interesting information.
(Texto original, escrito por Christina de Lima-Netto y Federico Baudin específicamente para esta página Web y protegido con Copyright. No puede ser reproducido ni total ni parcialmente por ningún medio, sin el expreso consentimiento de Castro-Castalia por escrito).