the left our little Sophie as a puppy. We purchased Sophie
from our friend and fellow American
Bulldog and Bandogge breeder Daniel Blasco over at Blasco
Family Bulldogs©. Sophie is 1/2 English Mastiff
and 1/2 Turkmen Alabai. She is a simply gorgeous, exotic
and truly a very rare female Bandogge.
When Sophie wants something she walks in front of me, looks
at me in the eyes, and then looks at what she wants. Have
you ever had an untrained puppy look at you and then the
door when she wants to be let outside? I sure haven't and
I've seen some very smart dogs. I didn't train Sophie to
do this at all, she just does it. Her father taught himself
to open doors, so I'm told. I don't doubt it. Sophie has
a level of intelligence and understanding of things, people,
expectations and the world around her that until I owned
her I would have told you were not possible for a dog -
certainly not without significant training. This dog is
just remarkably smart, at a level that few dog owners will
ever experience with their dogs - regardless of the breed
or the training investment.
Correct Old World Bandogge Temperament
A Perfect Dichotomy: A Gentle & Friendly Family
Similar to an American Bulldog with regards to her temperament,
Sophie is a natural protection dog, protective of her family,
territorial and always on guard whether at home or out in
public. When she's in the house her nose and ears are always
tuned in to what's going on outside. A deep chested bark
and snarl says loud and clear, Sophie means business.
This Bandogge girl is so instinctively protective that when
she was younger she assumed everyone was a threat and made
sure they knew what she felt about them.
No worries though. We worked with Sophie for just one
week on this issue and it stopped. We socialized her.
We took her around a ton of strangers. We had people come
to our house and yard. We corrected her when she behaved
outside the parameters of our desire. In just a few days
she started learning that most people are good and loving
and she became accepting of them.
similar to our American Bulldogs, our Sophie's natural Bandogge
charm is just irresistible. She is unbelievably sweet, gentle
and loving towards her people, especially our children.
I mean there has simply never been a time that inappropriate
aggression with family members has been any concern at all.
We have four children ranging from four to nine years of
age. Sophie is perfect with all of them. My four year old
once lost his balance and stepped on her. Sophie's response
was to go check on him to make sure he was ok.
is also much more than simply "stable" or "safe"
in public. She is a friendly and outgoing dog, very
happy to meet and be pet by strangers - again with a
special careful gentleness towards children. This is
vitally important for any Personal Protection dog an owner
or handler intends to actually have in public with them.
An unfriendly Personal Protection dog is a serious public
safety risk and a major management problem if you take the
dog anywhere. Personal Protection dogs need to be friendly
if you're going to have them with you - and obviously
your Personal Protection dog needs to be with you in public
places if the dog is actually going to protect you.
Imagine loading your kids and groceries in the car, while
simultaneously struggling to keep an overtly aggressive
100+ pound dog from yanking your arm out of socket as it
surges forward trying to "protect you" from everyone
else walking through the parking lot. That's the exact situation
we see with many people's theoretically very well trained
family guard dogs and the result...? The dog is left home
and cannot be used in public. Personal Protection dogs need
to be friendly...
is very friendly. Local leash laws require that dogs
in public be kept on leashes, but that's the only reason
you see Sophie leashed in these pics. She is a perfectly
lovely, well disciplined and friendly natural guard
However, what does that term mean, "natural"
guard dog...? What it means is that while many dogs can
be trained to guard things and people, some dogs have these
tendencies at a natural, instinctual level... entirely untrained.
For example, when I am getting something out of the back
seat of my car, Sophie just instinctively puts her back
to mine and calmly watches everyone. She's not comfortable
if I have my back to the world so she takes it upon herself
to guard my back for me. Obviously CBRK provides
professional dog training, but I never taught Sophie this.
She just does it.
I am facing in a direction and people suddenly move behind
me Sophie will turn and face them in order to guard me.
She doesn't growl or bark if people get too close. There's
no big, unnecessary threat display. She just watches closely
- a continuously unthreatened and unthreatening
state of readiness. Sophie is always on guard,
always "on the job," always watching.
If you have a dog you want trained this way, give CBRK
a call, but the fact is that I did not train Sophie for
these behaviors. These are the instinctual, the completely
natural behaviors of natural guard dogs...
As a professional dog trainer I can also tell you with
some authority, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and most
other breeds of dogs commonly used as guard dogs are just
not like this. They do not just naturally guard your
back, naturally watch people, always remaining in
a calm and confident state of alert - not without
significant training - and then depending on the particualr
dog and its drives, it still might not be so effective.
Let's talk a bit about the reason for that...
Left please forgive the quality of the pic. It comes originally
from a family's home security camera, their highly trained
German Shepherd, purchased as a puppy, raised its entire
life around children, attacking their own child in his own
German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and in fact most breeds
of guard or police type dogs go through extensive and intense
training to make them fear and distrust strangers
and then transfer their self-protection response to the
handler through further training. These breeds do not actually
tend to be very protective of their people without that
training. However, when it's been done they tend to be sharply
protective. Then even more training is generally required
to rein in that conditioned fear response and prey
drive to make the protection trained German Shepherds, Belgian
Malinois, Doberman, Rottweilers and most other Personal
Protection type breeds safe around people in normal
situations. Obviously this is not the ideal with
a family companion protection dog. It's a big deal that
natural protection dogs like most Bandogges and American
Bulldogs have a natural inclination towards legitimate
protection of their human families, but also a natural
inclination towards family bonding and friendly, socially
acceptable behavior with calm self-control. It's a dichotomy
that most other dogs must undergo a great deal of training
to achieve - not always with success.
demonstrates those more sophisticated behaviors you want
in a mature, well trained Personal Protection dog, but she's
been doing it since she was a puppy with basically no training
at all, just good socialization and obedience. Surely we'll
train her more formally as an adult, but it will be a simpler,
more holistic, natural process just reinforcing Sophie's
own natural tendencies - the natural dichotomy of drives
seen in natural guardian breeds: The Mastiffs, Bandogges
and American Bulldogs - all being descendants of the ancient
That dichotomy is what these breeds have been specifically
bred for over thousands of years. You can read more about
it in CBRK's What
is a Bandogge or Bandog article.
True Working Dog Structure, Vitality
Where Sophie Comes From & What Makes Her So Special...
Sophie is also very good structurally and while she is
very calm, laid back and has excellent self-control, Sophie
has an energy level that competes with any Jack Russell
Terrier; she simply does not wear out. These are unusual
characteristics in larger breeds of dogs.
Good structure is an issue of importance for any dog, but
only rarely seen in the larger breeds, especially in the taller,
longer-legged dogs like Sophie. When I first saw this exotic
Bandogge girl move I thought to myself, she is majestic, poetry
in motion as the saying goes. Our Sophie glides fast,
free and unencumbered over mixed woodland terrain like oil
True working dog structure and athleticism really is an
amazing characteristic to see in such a tall dog. Most Great
Danes, the Irish Wolfhounds and other very tall breeds of
dog by comparison are very clumsy, at least throughout the
first year or so of development. They almost never have
good structural qualities and high athleticism. Sophie is
roughly the size and has basically the same growth pattern
of the average Great Dane, but she was never clumsy.
This dog runs and leaps like a deer, pivots and spins on
her own axis as well as any American Bulldog and Sophie
is far from lazy.
Sophie has a level of vitality and fitness you basically
just never see in really large dogs. Being one of the F1
hybrids produced by Blasco
Family Bulldogs Sophie has a lot of meaningful advantages
in life. Dan Blasco began with two dogs of unusually good
structure and health...
is Sophie's father The Mighty Kahn, Dan's purebred Turkman
Alabai. In this shot Kahn is only nine months old, 30 inches
tall to the shoulders, 120 pounds. As an adult Kahn is now
a full 33 inches tall and over 140 pounds of smooth running,
high energy dog.
Kahn comes from one of the few European Grand Champion
and ancient working Alabai bloodlines actually imported
from Eastern Europe. The Turkman Alabai (as opposed to other
Alabai dogs) is the most ancient Alabai sub-type. Kahn's
Eikmen bloodline is the most ancient and revered within
that sub-type, recognized as being the genetic founder breed
of all the other sub-types. Further still, it's not just
a distant blood relationship Kahn has to those ancient dogs.
Kahn is the real deal, a Turkman Alabai only one generation
removed from actual 24/7/365 guard duty over mountain
herds from Eurasian wolves. Kahn is not a distant "descendant"
of the ancient Eikmen Turkman Alabai, 20 generations bred,
raised and domesticated in eastern European cities. Kahn's
direct progentors and cousins live on mountain tops guarding
sheep and goats from wolves in Turkmenistan. If you are
familiar at all with the ancient and primitive eastern European
founder breeds of dogs, you know you are quite literally
looking at some of the most prestigeous dog royalty on earth
Kahn has nearly perfect structure and is a long running,
high jumping, remarkably intelligent animal. You should
also know that unlike our western world breeds, the Turkman
Alabai is known for no genetic diseases whatsoever
- none, no dysplasia, cancers, heart murmors, syndromes
or sicknesses - none, nada, one of the healthiest
breeds of dog on the planet earth and Kahn himself
is the pinnacle ambassador of this incredibly rare ancient
Eurasian Mastiff breed.
The Mighty Kahn also happens to be one of the Blasco family's
primary personal, home and property protection dogs... and
Kahn has never been trained for that.
mother is Dan's purebred English Mastiff girl Helen of Troy
de Picazo. The guy searched for this dog for more than five
years and you can see why he finally chose her. Helen is
what Mastiffs were many hundreds of years ago - long
before WWI and WWII nearly wiped them out, long before dog
registries even existed, back when they were home and property
guardians and heavy hound hunters of large game.
Helen has incredible structure. Look at how she stands
erect in this pic, legs, hips and shoulders making a perfectly
straight line from head to heals. See our little Sophie
off to the left, still only a couple months old...? Hold
onto that thought and now try to find the extra fat, the
baby weight on Helen. It's not there. Helen has no extra
fat, has excellent, tight musculature and not 90 days after
carrying, birthing and still actively whelping a litter
of giant hybrid puppies. Helen is about 33 inches tall at
the shoulders and 150 pounds. That's one big, strong dog...
Notable also is that very few English Mastiffs actually
"run" at all. They are more known for sort of
trotting along at a brisk pace for a few minutes if really
excited (which they rarely are) and then taking long
naps. Helen runs for hours every day, often running full
speed across acres of Rocky Mountain woodland and she's
a highly proactive, always alert guard dog who is friendly
with strangers... also entirely untrained.
Sophie As An Adult
Sophie is now 30 inches to the shoulders in height, 130
pounds and still growing. If anything she has become
even faster and more agile as she's developed. There are
not many people born in the last few centuries who have
ever seen a dog this large move as fast and gracefully as
Sophie does. She's like a Greyhound, except that she's big
and heavy enough to over power much larger game than rabits
- like hogs... or men.