A bullmastiff is a very large breed of dogs that descended from the cross-breeding of the English mastiff and the Old English bulldog. Owners originally bred and used these dogs for guarding and hunting purposes. A purebred bullmastiff has a short coat that appears in fawn, red or brindled colors, and occasionally sports a patch of white on its chest just below its neck.
Bullmastiffs shed regularly in all seasons. These dogs are large, standing at 24 to 27 inches at the withers, and weigh between 110 lb. and 130 lb. Hair covers most of this large surface area. Though short, these hairs will quickly accumulate in carpeting, in clumps on hardwood floors and on tile. The bullmastiff's hairs will also stick to all types of fabric, upholstery and clothing. According to the Bullmastiff Advisory, owners will need to vacuum up their bullmastiff's hair every other day.
The bullmastiff can suffer from allergies that cause it to lose excessive amounts of hair. These allergies can include grass, pollen and fleas, as well as food-based allergies. Any one of these allergic reactions can prompt hair loss, which you should not confuse with the dog's normal shedding. If you suspect allergy-caused shedding, then take your bullmastiff to a veterinarian; the vet will run skin tests to determine the specific allergen leading to the hair loss. Treatment may include a change in diet and over-the-counter antihistamines. Severe cases may require prescription anti-inflammatory medicines or allergy shots.
Bullmastiffs can suffer from hypothyroidism, a disease in which the dog's thyroid fails to produce enough hormones for normal metabolism. This disease affects every type of cell in the dog's body, and can lead to excessive hair loss, which falls out in patches on the dog's side or from its tail. When the hair falls out due to hypothyroidism, it will grow back slowly. Other symptoms include obesity, other skin and coat problems, constant fatigue, obesity and aggression. A veterinarian can diagnose hypothyroidism through a blood test and prescribe thyroid supplementation. Hypothyroidism can occur in bullmastiffs as young as 2 or 3 years old.
You can proactively limit your bullmastiff's shedding by grooming your dog at least once a week and brushing it every day. You can wear a grooming mitt or use a short-haired dog brush and brush down the length of the mastiff's body in even, firm strokes while periodically removing clumps of hair that build up in the brush or mitt. The bullmastiff does not require shampooing, which can harm the dog's skin by removing natural oils and drying it out. Bathing a bullmastiff consists of rubbing the dog's coat with hot water and a soft cloth to remove dust, dirt and odor.
Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.