The majestic Bullmastiff was created in England of the 19th century. As its name indicates, this amazing dog is in fact a combination of two other breeds - the now extinct Old English Bulldog and the English Mastiff. The Bullmastiff was developed by men in desperate need of a better guardian: The gamekeepers of Britain, who were tasked with preventing poachers from hunting illicit game. To assist them, they needed a large, powerful dog, able to track down and apprehend the offenders - until they themselves could arrest them. And whilst the prevalent guardians of the time – the Bulldog and the English Mastiff – were either too aggressive or too slow for what they needed, crossing those two produced the perfect dog for the job. Since then, the Bullmastiff has become one of the most sought-after guard dog breeds on the planet.
Just like the Bullmastiff, the Doberman has also been created as a guardian breed, but in this case, the specific aim was to develop THE perfect personal protection dog: The breed’s “father”, tax collector Karl Dobermann, needed an effective and obedient guardian for himself. A dog whom he could take along on his rounds, but no contemporary breed fit the bill. So, he decided to create the dog he required himself: He crossed Rottweilers, German Hunting Terriers and Pinschers with Great Danes, English Greyhounds and sheepherding dogs. His efforts were met with success: Mr. Dobermann produced an amazing breed - strong, intimidating and yet deeply loyal to its owner. Soon, the Doberman gained recognition all over the world.
DIFFERENCES IN LOOKS
Bullmastiffs are sturdy, large-boned and well-muscled dogs. Their massive blocky heads are framed by uncropped floppy ears. The loose skin on their faces forms deep folds. In colour, the short-coated Bullmastiffs can be brindle, red, or fawn. Adult males reach heights of up to 69 cm – or 27 inches -, with a weight of up to 59 kg, or 130 pounds. The females of both breeds are slightly smaller and lighter than the males.
Contrary to the Bullmastiff, the Doberman is an immensely elegant dog who much resembles its ancestor, the sleek and lightning-fast English Greyhound. The Dobie’s short, single-layered coat is almost exclusively black and tan, or chocolate and tan. Other colours can occur, but are classed as undesirable by breed standards. A male Dobie can reach heights of up to 72 cm at the wither, which is 28 inches. Males weigh up to 45 kilos, which is close to 100 pounds. The Doberman’s head is narrow and elongated with no marked stop and a long muzzle. Traditionally, Dobies used to have cropped ears and docked tails, but this practise has become illegal in many countries.
INTELLIGENCE & TRAINABILITY DIFFERENCES
Although Bullmastiffs are blessed with a sweet and charming personality – when it comes to training them, we are confronted with amazingly high levels of stubbornness. And whilst they ARE intelligent, their tendency to think independently can easily lead to Bullmastiffs completely ignoring commands. These lovable guardians definitely have a mind of their own. And this independence makes Bullmastiffs not the ideal choice for novice owners: This breed greatly benefits from the leadership of a calm, consistent owner - who has the patience and experience needed to train such a strong and strong-willed dog.
Dobermans on the other hand are extremely cooperative: keen and alert, they are always more than happy to work, which makes them one of the easiest guardian breeds to train. Highly intelligent, Dobies live to work and absolutely love using their physical and mental muscles. Which is why lots of mental stimulation should be provided for this active breed. One possibility to keep them sharp mentally is working them in the fields of obedience, tracking, guarding or canine sports. But also, regular walks in areas with lots of different smells, sights and sounds are excellent ways to provide both physical and mental stimulation for your Dobie.
In their temperament, these breeds are very different. Whilst the Bullmastiff is extremely laid-back, calm and easy-going, the untiring Dobie is highly energetic, keen, and alert when playing, walking or working. Both breeds are very affectionate towards their owners, and surprisingly calm and gentle indoors. Measured in their movements, they are not likely to wildly run around the house, chasing kids and cats, or knocking over your possessions. This is why both Bullmastiffs and Dobermans even make good apartment dogs. Of course, they both are loyal natural guardians, who can and will protect you and your home. Whilst either breed gets along great with children, I personally think that the Bullmastiff is THE best family guardian breed on the planet: These large protectors naturally adore children and are astoundingly patient with them.
Both the Bullmastiff and the Doberman are very people-oriented companions who should be allowed to live in the house with their family. When it comes to their behaviour towards strangers, they are wary and reserved. EXERCISE AND GROOMING DIFFERENCES
The beautiful short and shiny coats of the Bullmastiff and the Doberman Pinscher only need one or two brushes a week – which are best done with a soft bristle brush or a grooming mitt for dogs. Should they get dust on their fur, you can simply wipe them down with a damp washcloth. In terms of bathing your Dobie or Mastiff, one bath a month is sufficient. As the Bullmastiff has deep facial wrinkles that can get infected, it is best to clean them daily with a canine wipe or baby wipe.
In terms of exercise – the tireless Dobermans need lots of it: in the form of playtimes, runs off-leash and long walks. To tire them out, you can play fetch with your Dobie, invest in a flirt-pole or teach them run next to your bicycle. Bullmastiffs on the other hand are one of the most sedentary and low-energy breeds around: 3 to 4 short walks a day are enough to keep them happy. Which is not to say that Bullmastiffs do not enjoy play sessions with other dogs and with their owners: They just need far less of them than the untiring Doberman.
And this brings us to the end of our discussion of these incredible guardian breeds - the mighty Bullmastiff and the light-footed Doberman. Both dogs are extremely loyal, affectionate and devoted to their humans and make superb family guardians.