Imagine owning a piece of history. While there are many dog breeds that go back for decades if not centuries, it’s rare that any which are recognized today are still around. Bandogs are one of the few exceptions, depending on your commitment to accuracy. They’re an old and obscure breed of dog that are known for superior guarding skills and lots of love.
1. The bandog is a historic dog whose specific breed is debatable. It’s generally assumed to be a hybrid, created by breeding a bulldog with a mastiff.
Today, the most commonly known breed is the Bandog Mastiff which is sometimes also called the American Bandogge Mastiff. Other variations of the bandog include the Neopolitan mastiff and American pit bull terrier.
2. The Bandog Mastiff can be indistinguishable from mastiffs or bulldogs if you don’t know what you’re looking at.
Usually they’re built stocky like a bulldog, carrying up to a massive 140 lbs of bulk. They tend to have pointed ears and drooping lips. Its coat could be several colors: black, blue, brindle, fawn, or red. Sometimes they could have white accents, but it’s rare to have a fully white dog. This is the standard for American Bandogge Mastiffs, remember. Others can claim to have a bandog and it may look different because of its ancestry.
3. The origins of the bandog date back to medieval times, hence the obscurity surround the breed.
Ancient texts refer to dogs who were trained to be active guard dogs at night, when a grand house went to sleep and didn’t have HD security cameras and automatic outdoor lights. Chained throughout the day, the dogs were let loose in the darkness to prowl about and chase off any potential intruders.
4. The bandog was so named because it was banded, or chained, up until put on duty.
It’s hard to tell exactly what breed these bandogs were. Breed standards didn’t exist back then and many dogs were name after their jobs – hence retrievers, pit bulls, and sheepdogs to name a few.
The general consensus is that the medieval breed was somewhere in between bulldog and mastiff, hence the American Bandogge Mastiff.
5. The American Bandog was first bred in the ‘60s.
John Swinford, a vet, wanted to create the ideal guard dog. He allegedly mated a pit bull terrier with and English mastiff. His sudden death put a halt to crossbreeding attempts, though, until modern day breeders settled on the American Bandog.
6. Though there can be several purposes for breeding a bandog, the most common one without a doubt is to be a guard dog.
The two breeds mated to create the Bandog Mastiff are known for their aptitude for vigilance, making the hybrid a compound of their skills. It’s important to note that they are bred for guarding, not watching, meaning that if they sense an intruder they will face the problem themselves, rather than coming to warn you about the situation.
7. As with many hybrids, the Bandog Mastiff can suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia, putting uneven pressure on the joints connecting their legs and spine.
They can also suffer from bloating which can be counteracted if you monitor your dog’s meals (several small ones each day) and how quickly s/he eats them.
8. Its temperament largely depends on its ancestors.
If we’re talking about a Bandog Mastiff, they’re a stubborn lot. While they can be trained, it will take quite a bit of effort on your part. A firm tone is needed in reinforcement so they respect you being the alpha. They are extremely loyal though, once they’re indoctrinated into your family … to the point of dependency. They will follow you around and relax at your side. This could cause separation anxiety issues and bad behavior if they’re left alone for too long.
9. A bandog is only as aggressive as it is trained to be. Bad masters make for bad dogs.
Many breeds of dogs get bad raps because of human record. The way some people have raised their dog in the past has been questionable. Inhumane dog fights and fiercely trained guard dogs has given rise to some shocking stories. Happily, with ever-growing regulations and a more compassionate understanding of man’s best friend, dogs originally seen as dangerous or destructive are being welcomed in to homes with open arms. The same story goes for bandogs. In the past they have been known to be trained for fighting or indiscriminatory guarding. That reputation has lingered with them, the same way pit bulls are viewed as aggressive dogs.
10. Bandogs are perfectly acceptable family pets. They fall under the category of gentle giants.
Though they may be trained to work hard, they can also play hard and being loving companions.
They are best to adopt if you already have experience with dogs. First-time owners may struggle with dominance. Understanding the limits of your dog helps you train it properly to fit in with the family. The best way to add a bandog to the family is by easing it in with encouraged social interactions best done when they’re young. Since they’re not hunting dogs, there’s not the same predator worry you may have with other about bandogs getting along with other dogs, small dogs, or cats.
11. Bandogs don’t bark very much at all, even when they’re “on duty.”
This makes them more formidable guard dogs, as they won’t even let out a few warning barks before carrying out their protective duties. Anyone caught unawares could be faced with an attack.
12. A dog this size needs a decent bit of exercise.
It’s good to get them up to 45 minutes of outside time per day.
It’s not impossible to keep a bandog in an apartment, as long as they get daily walks to stretch. When they’re inside they don’t do much, so it could be good to have even a small yard to let them run around in on top of their daily walk to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
13. Because of its antiquated reputation, the bandog is banned in some European countries.
Belarus, Romania, and Switzerland have all banned it. They’re not illegal in the U.S., though. There are several dog hybrid associations who recognize it as a breed.
14. There are plenty of breeders who offer bandog puppies and adults for sale.
Sometimes you have to get your Google search right, as breeders use a variety of names for the dog. Any mix of “American” “bandog” “bandogge” and “mastiff” should do the trick. Several breeders across the country sell them. Puppies average $1,500. This price doesn’t always include shipping costs if you live far from the breeder.
As we’ve always been told, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The bandog’s powerful and fierce appearance doesn’t represent the true nature of this lovable dog. This beautiful bulldog-mastiff cross is a loyal pet that can bring you safety and security. The unfortunate reputation it got before doesn’t have to be true anymore. Anyone with a big heart can make a perfect pooch out of one of these pups.