term Bandogge first appeared in literature around 12501300
in Middle England, referring
to a Mastiff type dog bound by chain during the day and
released at night to guard against intruders, or released
to hunt large game such as wild hogs, wolves and even lions.
Bandogges of old were working dogs of various crosses
with common function. They were infamous dogs
of war, fierce home and property protectors and peacetime
hunters of large game. There was no set "standard"
beyond their overwhelming size, broad jaws and brachycephalic
heads, great athleticism, drive and a proven ability to
perform the most difficult tasks mankind has ever asked
of our dogs.
Bandogge Vs Bandog
The Old World Type Vs the Modern Type
Writing in association with my friend, fellow
Bulldog and Bandogge breeder Daniel Blasco over at Blasco
Family Bulldogs© let's take a few minutes
to discuss the Bandogge in detail...
Today if you're looking for Bandogge/Bandog
puppies, you'll see a great many Pitbulls crossed to
Neapolitan Mastiffs. While this is certainly a type of Bandogge
(and often quite lovely and highly functional), it is far
from the only type of Bandogge.
Historically the Bandogge was a common type
of dog kept by farmers and royalty alike and even maintained
by armies across numerous continents - and this for many
centuries before the Pitbull even existed. Using Pitbulls
to create Bandogges is in fact a very new practice
within the Bandogges' richly diverse history. We refer to
those newer versions of the dog utilizing Pitbull blood
as "Bandogs" while we use the more ancient spelling
"Bandogges" to reference the more ancient versions
which did not and do not contain Pitbull blood.
Because the etymology of the term "Bandogge"
finds its roots in ancient Britannia (and in fact predates
the English word "Mastiff") it is a common misconception
that Bandogges were a strictly English "breed"
using only English dogs. While it is true that the word
"Bandogge" is English and also true that the English
did develop Bandogges it is simply an English word describing
a type of dog that has been seen throughout the world.
An Englishman of the time period from about
1250-1300 to the mid to late 1700s would have referred to
all such dogs as either "Bandogges" or "Mastiffs,"
just as he would have called an apple from Asia or apples
from France or England all apples. Much as a horse is a
horse regardless of what names it might be called by in
other languages, "Bandogge" is an English word
that describes a type of dog - not the name of a dog
breed from ancient Britannia
The Progenitors of Many Dogs
Bandogges are descendants of an extinct dog
known as Alaunts and the Alaunts were the primary descendants
of the Molossus (or Molosuser), both dogs originating in
the mountains of Asia. The Alaunt itself should arguably
be considered among the first clearly defined "Bandogge"
types, but in any event many early Bandogges were developed
by crossing eastern
shepherds and Mastiff-like
Bullenbeissers and hounds. Later many local bloodlines
were established and specific types then emerged in some
regions, such as Britain, Spain, Germany, Poland, Greece
and elsewhere across Europe and Eurasia.
In time the worldwide breeding of Bandogges
produced many breeds that exist even today, such as the
Alano of Spain, of course the English Mastiff of Great
Britain, the Perro
de Presa Canario of the Canary Islands, the Neapolitan
Mastiff and Cane
Corso of Italy, the Dogue
de Bordeaux of France, the Bullmastiff
of England, still much later the South
African Boerboel, the Dogo
Argentino and many others. All of these breeds
of Mastiff-like dogs are direct descendants of the ancient
Alaunts which descended down from the ancient Molossus -
and all were once interchangeably called "Bandogges,"
"Mastiffs" or "Molossers" by anyone
of The Ancient Bandogges:
War Dogs, Castle & Farm Guardians, Large Game Hunters
Some of the most interesting study you can do on dogs comes
through art, where the historical timeline of guardian and
war dogs, their most preferred phenotypes, and their various
uses throughout the world are clearly demonstrated visually.
We've learned and continue to learn a lot in this regard.
Two facts (just for example) have influenced CBRK
greatly. First is the fact that the widespread use of
German Shepherd Dogs and their cousin breeds like the Belgian
Malinois as war and guardian dogs is a fairly recent practice
from an historical perspective. These are
simply not the breeds developed for thousands
of years as war dogs, homestead protection and large game
Second is the fact that it is a fairly recent development
in history that working dogs tend to have singular utility
specialties with in-home family stability not always
a defining characteristic. The ancient and the fiercest
war dogs in history also hunted large game, yet
also guarded livestock animals and these same were also
kept as house pets, very typically handled by
the children of a family. Imagine owning a modern Dutch
Shepherd trained to be a highly effective dog of war and
handing the leash over to a 10 year old child in a public
place. Most owner/handlers of such dogs would call that
irresponsible, and for good reason.
Roll over the five pics below to read about the ancient
war and guard dogs. They are from five different periods
in history, five distinct warrior cultures, from five different
locations throughout the world, all five dogs sharing a
distinctly similar phenotype: Very large, short haired,
dogs, the ancient
progenitors of Mastiffs and American Bulldogs...
For thousands of years throughout the world the preferred
dog for professional guarding and warfare was the Alaunt
and its progeny. The Alaunts are the direct progenitors,
still very clearly seen in the phenotypes of the various
Mastiff breeds, Bullmastiffs and American Bulldogs. While
the combat resume of these dogs is many times longer than
that of the Shepherd breeds, for that entire history these
same dogs have simultaneously been loving, in-home family
As mentioned elsewhere, our Bandogge girl Sophie
is half English Mastiff and half Turkman Alabai. The
Alabai is a very large and ancient eastern mastiff breed,
used by shepherds even to this day throughout Turkmenistan
and surrounding areas. In breeding Sophie to our American
Bulldog boy Camo, we have repeated a very similar process
to that of the ancient Bandogge breeders, combining English
and eastern Mastiff blood, with that of the Bullenbeisser.
Temperament of such Bandogge puppies is quite
predictable. All three breeds are particularly well known
as calm and stable, natural family guardians. Adult size
will range from just over 115 pounds, to 140+ pounds, with
all dogs a minimum of 27" tall at the shoulders. If
you're looking for a Bandogge puppy check out our Available
To learn more about our Bandogge
girl Sophie visit her page here. And if you'd
like to learn about why Bandogges are genetically superior
to purebred breeds of dog read our article: What
is Hybrid Breeding & Why Should Breeders Do It...?
You're probably going to be surprised by what you learn...