Long-Haired, Rough Coat Bullmastiffs
Turn the page (Website Authors note: scroll down). What is this darling but different-looking pup of a type you've probably never seen before? It's a longhaired Bullmastiff. I bred him - not on purpose, but here he is!
Some fanciers don't know this coat type exists in our breed. Others know and try to forget. But once you produce one, you must never breed its parents together again. This coat is a result of breeding two dogs with perfectly normal coats that carry the recessive gene. Both parents must carry the gene to gene to produce it. In the case of my longhaired puppy, my bitch had a litter of 10 by another sire 18 months ago; all had normal coats. The dog I bred my bitch to had previously sired four litters with no longhairs. Thus, the sire of my bitch's first litter wasn't a carrier, but the sire of the second litter was, and the bitches he previously bred were not carriers.
Many people who produce this coat either put the pup to sleep or hide it, which is silly, since no one tries to produce this coat. The pup is a Bullmastiff in every sense, but is has an unacceptable coat for breeding or showing, so we try not to produce them.
Another genetic anomaly in our breed is the dudley, a Bullmastiffs with a red mask, red or liver-colored nose, and yellow eyes. It is a genetic dilute color factor named for Lord Dudley, who produced Bulldogs with these traits. I've also seen dogs with blue or blue-gray noses and blue-gray masks with yellow eyes. This anomaly is probably best understood by looking at black Dobermans, and then red or blue Dobermans, whose colors are dilute factors of the black dogs. To understand how there can be longhaired Bullmastiffs, consider the Saint Bernard.
Longhaired doesn't mean a normal texture but a courser and slightly longer coat than usual. The pups have a coat like a Newfoundland. The texture is silky, sometimes wavy. At birth, the pups have a silkier feel and are generally shinier than normal-coated pups. Usually within a few days, fringe-like hair appears on the edges of the lips and ears. Another characteristic is a heavy black overlay in their birth coat.
Pups with genetic anomalies should be placed in homes with special people who will love them for themselves and realize they're perfectly normal Bullmastiffs in heart and mind. I tell the buyers of the normal-appearing littermates there is a good chance they carry the gene for the anomaly and to be meticulously careful in choosing a mate if they decide to breed.
Breed improvement requires that we share our failures as well as our triumphs. If you rust someone enough to sell them one of your puppies, you want them to do the best they can with it, but how can they, unless they know all the possibilities? It's like giving someone a copy of your favorite recipe and leaving out an ingredient. They can't reproduce the dish using a flawed recipe. If you really want the best for the breed, share your knowledge. - CB
Carol, thanks for this interesting and important article.
Another heritable trait in our breed is the crank tail, a throwback to the Bulldog. This anomaly can range from a short tail with a crank at the end to a corkscrew-shaped tail.
If you breed a Bullmastiff with a genetic anomaly, place it as a pet and be sure it is never bred. Also, be sure it's parents are never bred together again by sharing with other breeders the fact of what the pair produced. I'm assuming the sire and dam are unaffected carriers of the anomaly. Of course, known carriers of any genetic defect or anomaly should never be bred together.
We will never eliminate recessive traits unless we know about unaffected carriers and their parents' genetic backgrounds. That's why responsible owners shall all the facts with people who buy a littermate of a Bullmastiff with a genetic anomaly for a possible breeding. - Helen Neitsch.
The following article was written by Carol Beans and Helen Neitsch and appeared in the July, 1997 issue of the AKC Gazette, then re-published in the Bullmastiff Bulletin. It is being included on this website for educational purposes and all pictures have been graciously contributed to show coat examples of what to look for in order to determine what a Long-Haired, Rough Coat Bullmastiff looks like.
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