Bandog or Bandogge is a large mastiff or Molosser type dog that is almost extinct. The breed isn’t recognized by any club but fanciers and breeders are still making attempts to keep it going. Common nicknames for Bandogs are American Mastiffs and Swinford Bandogs.
Let us study this large bully dog breed in detail.
Cool facts about Bandogs
- The word Bandogge is derived from Old Saxon word ‘banda’ meaning chains. Bandogges were kept chained during the day time and let loose only at night to guard their owner’s property. They could easily keep foxes, badgers, wild swine, and even bulls out of the meadows, sometimes even biting these animals if the occasion demanded. Bandogges excelled at bull and bear baiting and were distinguished from other mastiffs for being kept chained.
- The term Swinford Bandogs was used as an homage to the American veterinary doctor, Dr. John Swinford who, in the 1960s, initiated a breeding program to bring back larges dogs having capabilities of the bandogges of the yesteryears. Swinford wanted to create the ultimate ‘protection dog’. For this purpose, he crossed American pit bull males with large Neapolitan mastiff females. With Swinford’s untimely death, this program came to an abrupt stop and the breed started dwindling in numbers.
- Modern-day Bandogges and those of the yester years have only a few things in common: their large size and ferocious nature apart from the ancestry mix of mastiff and bulldog.
- Currently, Bandogs are created by breeding American pit bulls with either a bull mastiff or Neapolitan mastiff. Whichever breeding plan is employed, it is necessary to have an American Pit bull terrier included.
- Since these dogs do not belong to any specific canine club, there is no standardization for them. However, the Swinford bandogs are considered closest to the ideal.
- Physically, male dogs measure between 24-29 inches at withers. They have a prominent musculature and angulation that is characteristic of this breed and gives them an athletic, intimidating, and agile look. Weight for male bandogs is between 98-138 lb and for bitches, it is between 83 lb and up. Since these are not purebred dogs, the sizes vary greatly. That is also why there are variations in prices and temperament as well.
- Bandog breeders are crossbreeding the crosses to maintain purity and standardization to some extent. The question most people ask is why a Bandog is not created by crossing a Bandog with a Bandog. The answer is that the result of bandogge–bandogge cross is rarely a Bandog and breeders are still far from creating a perfect pure breed.
Where to find a Bandog
The problem with finding a good breeder when it comes to any extinct breed is that there are too many backyard breeders who do not adhere to ethics and rules when it comes to breeding programs. It is very important that you find a serious, knowledgeable breeder if you are looking for a Bandog puppy. After all; the future of this breed is at stake and when ethical, good breeders work together, they are committed to protecting the breed’s characteristics and care for its welfare.
As a buyer, you must research Bandog breeders before making a decision. Unfortunately, there is no Club dedicated to these dogs. However, in our search, we came across the American Bully Association that invites breeders to register their Bandogge litters.
Once you have shortlisted a breeder, try and visit their kennels. Ensure that the facilities are well-maintained. Ask to meet the parents of your potential puppy. Swinford bandogs were known to be intelligent, confident, and subservient. However, some dog breeders want these dogs to be intimidating and aggressive. Talk to your breeder and discuss your goals. If you are looking for a guard dog for your property, a Bandog can be an intruder’s nightmare. The average price of a Bandogge puppy ranges between $1000 and $2000.
The temperament of a Bandog depends, to a great extent, on the breeder from whom you purchase your pet. Some backyard breeders who unethically breed Bandogges develop them with the intention of creating an aggressive, fighting dog. However, if you are looking for a family dog to guard the property, then you can get an even-tempered bandog that is intelligent, loyal, and also dedicated to protecting his family.
This large breed does not need too much exercise but you may want to ensure that your pet walks or runs around a secure yard at least once or twice a day. Consider adding a 30-45 minute walk to your pet’s routine, once or twice a day. This way; he will not be bored and indulge in unwanted behavior. This is a working dog; so, give him a job to do and he will be happy.
Grooming your Bandog
Aside from light weekly brushing, your hardy Bandogge does not need any specialized grooming. Use a natural bristle brush or a hound glove to rub down your pet’s coat. Bathe your pet about once a month. It is important to check his ears and eyes from time to time to prevent infections. Clip your pet’s toenails as well. Oral hygiene is very important to prevent dental problems.
Since the AKC does not recognize the breed and also owing to their fewer numbers, not many Bandogge specific health issues have been registered. Like all bully breeds, Bandogs are brachycephalic. Their short muzzles lead to many health issues like breathing trouble, excess snoring, skin and eye problems, elongated palate, and an intolerance to heat. The lifespan of Bandogges is about 10 years.