I recently stumbled across a fat-heavy pup who loves to sleep all day long as if Tse Tse had bitten him. I decided to consult a dog trainer who’s a friend of mine. Here is what I dug up.
Bullmastiff German Shepherd Mixes is a cross between a Mastiff- a dog breed that made life unbearable for medieval English poachers – and a German Shepherd. German Shepherds are armoured dogs that can be used in WW1 pun intended.
What is a Bullmastiff German Shepherd Mix?
It is a rare hybrid resulting from crossing a GSD and a mastiff. Its hue and physical appearance widely vary from one mix to another.
Common Bullmastiff German Shepherd mix features include:
- Large abdomen
- Large paws
- Large and robust muzzle
- Folded ears
- Standing adult height is between 0.6m-0.9m though females are smaller and lighter than males.
- Coat colors vary between shades of red, gray, brown, and black. It is also possible to achieve lighter hues such as silver and sandy, depending on the parent genes.
- English and Neapolitan Mastiff German shepherd mix usually have a streaked coat.
- Eye color is primarily dark brown.
- Life span 8-12 years for full-grown dogs depending on genes, health, and how well they are taken care of.
- Price ranges anywhere between 350 to 1100 US dollars.
Bullmastiff GSD Mix History
GSD cross Mastiff breed is relatively new, which makes it difficult to pinpoint exact dates. However, we can go down memory lane and retrace the genealogy of the parent breeds.
German Shepherds originated in Germany. Captain Max von Stephanitz is credited with coming up with the breed. He wanted to develop a strong and agile dog for police and military use. The result was an impressive mixture of fine looks, versatility, and intelligence.
German Shepherds were used by the Germans during WW1. These beautiful canines braved anything from land mines, machine-gun fire, and even tanks to deliver food and other necessary supplies to the German soldiers hidden deep in the frontline trenches.
However useful that was, it did not augur well with the Allied powers. It ruined the breed’s image among the Allied Powers, especially here in the USA, since it was associated with the enemy.
After the war, movies featured German shepherds such as Rin Tin Tin and Shepherd Strongheart, which went a long way in appeasing American hearts. With the new, improved image, German Shepherds became one of the country’s most popular dog breeds.
Bull Mastiff may have originated in mountainous Central Asia a couple of thousand years ago. From Tibet or probably north India, they may have spread through the Middle East, Mediterranean, Russia, or China with the help of nomads and long-distance traders to the rest of the world.
Mastiffs have been insinuated or depicted in the Ancient Egyptians pyramid wall paintings as massive dogs. Greek myths tell of a three-headed mastiff-like dog that is the guardian of the underworld. They were used as battle dogs by Greeks, German and other Europeans up to the 16th century.
In medieval times mastiffs beefed up security in rich estates where they conducted frequent patrols and alerted the owners in case of any incoming poachers.
Modern mastiffs, as we know them, date back to English 1835. Their emergence coincided with outlawing of dogfighting which changed the breed’s temperament for good.
Bullmastiff German Shepherd Mix Training
Is training all that necessary? Most dogs will figure things naturally as time goes by, so is this breed different?
The answer is quite simple. We have to put in the work to get impressive results despite whatever dog breed we are raising. Every dog breed has to be adequately trained to obey, socialize and protect the family members. Training these mixed pups is usually is, but they can be very stubborn when their Mastiff habits resurface.
Mastiffs were not known for their intelligence which means GSM mix can sometimes be hard to train. They have to be correctly trained as early as possible to counter this problem though they are lazy and prefer to sleep all day long as puppies.
It is essential to begin training them at 12 months. Training includes introducing them to those they are supposed to protect or family members to avoid “friendly” attacks in the future. Well-trained mastiffs make good companions since they are intelligent and very protective.
Feeding is done chiefly per dog basis since each dog is unique and needs an individual diet requirement. Generally, overfeeding any dog is a bad idea. They tend to become obese, lazy, heavy lousy. The excess weight may amplify other health problems.
Obesity causes dysplasia of the hip and elbow, which the Mastiff cross is particularly prone to. A diet made up of fish oil, chondroitin, or glucosamine supplements is advised.
German Shepherd Bullmastiff Mix Health
Every dog breed has the potential to develop health problems depending on genes. Some breeds are more prone to some diseases than others. Elbow and hip dysplasia are the most common health problems affecting both breeds. This means that there is a high possibility of the hybrid developing similar health problems.
Canine and elbow hip dysplasia is a skeletal deformity usually affecting huge or giant breed dogs. It occurs during growth and can affect smaller breeds too. To understand how this condition comes about, we must first understand the skeletal anatomy of the pet.
The elbow and hip joints are the ball and socket type of joints. The thigh bone or the femur ends in a ball. The pelvis or acetabulum terminates into a socket. The two fit together to make a joint that can possibly rotate in all directions. Both parts of the joints must grow equally.
Hip and elbow dysplasia simply means that the growth did not occur uniformly, causing the loose joint. The body will try to correct this situation and bring stability to the lax hip joint, an attempt that causes degenerative joint disease or, in some cases, osteoarthritis.
Surprisingly the bullmastiff cross may not show any lameness, with the extent of damage shown by the x-ray being much different from the physical. Some canines may experience lots of pain and lameness, but most of them do not exhibit any clinical signs or significant changes.
Symptoms of the Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
Most of the canines do not usually exhibit visible physical changes. If the hip or elbow x-ray showed minimal symptoms, they might develop a little bit of arthritis without any physical symptoms until they age.
The most common signs to watch for is that the dog will feel weak and experience pain in the hind legs. The dog will be reluctant to shift from a lying or sitting position. This mainly occurs in one or two-year-old dogs but can also occur in puppies.
Elbow and hip dysplasia are diagnosed by observing the signs mentioned above, although radiography with anesthesia is a much more accurate method.
Treatment of the Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
Treatment depends on the clinical signs the pet is exhibiting or how uncomfortable the pet is. Usually, anti-inflammatory drugs that do not contain steroids are used since they have few side effects.
Treatments are per dog basis meaning that what works for one dog may not work for the other. The medication choice will be made by the veterinary doctor, who may take several trials before coming up with an effective treatment.
The dog should also be fed on chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, or approved fish oil supplements. Elbow and hip dysplasia caused by obesity can be treated by weight loss. Getting the dog to do moderate exercise that excludes jumping will help keep the pet mobile and flexible.
Other Health Problems
This is an unsightly and unpleasant eye condition in Mastiff Shepherds. The pet’s third internal eyelid may protrude and leave a visible red swelling almost at the corner of the dog’s eye.
Although usually painless, this asymptomatic health issue may lead to swelling, dryness, irritation, and inflammation. Sometimes an infection may occur.
Bloating is a digestive malfunction among Mastiff Shepherds that may lead to malnutrition or sudden, unexpected pet death if quick action is not taken. Usually, the stomach will twist on both ends, preventing gas from passing out of the digestive system.
This causes discomfort and indigestion. Bloating symptoms include noticeable swelling of the abdomen, coughing, reluctance to play or exercise, frothy and excessive saliva production, and finally, fatigue.
It is pretty heartbreaking for the pets to undergo the horrendous health malfunctions above. The best way to prevent this is by getting puppies from certified Bullmastiff German Shepherd cross dealers. Professional dealers should service the buyers with all the information concerning the puppies, including their health issues and parent information.