In the Middle Ages, a bandogge was a guard dog, usually a type of mastiff, that was let loose at night to guard property. Contemporary breeders have attempted to recreate that dog. The American Bandogge is not a breed as the word is usually defined. He can be a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier or American Bulldog and a Neapolitan Mastiff or a Mastiff. Some breeders take the offspring of one of those crosses and breed them together. American Bandogges have a big head, a large, muscular body, and a short coat that can be brindle, black, blue, red or fawn.
Is the American Bandogge the Right Dog for You?
The American Bandogge is not the best choice for an inexperienced dog owner. He is large, strong, intelligent, active and protective. An American Bandogge needs a leader who can guide him with firmness and consistency and without using force or cruelty.
The American Bandogge has a protective personality and is suspicious of strangers, although affectionate with his own family. He can get along well with children and other pets if he is brought up with them, but he may be too large for families with toddlers.
Early, frequent socialization is essential. Purchase an American Bandogge puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people, before they go off to their new homes. Continue socializing your American Bandogge throughout his life by taking him to puppy kindergarten class, visits to friends and neighbors, and outings to local shops and businesses. This is the only way he can learn to be discriminating, recognizing what is normal and what is truly a threat.
Begin training as soon as you bring your American Bandogge puppy home, while he is still at a manageable size. He is smart and trainable but has a mind of his own. A nothing-in-life-is-free program, requiring puppies to “work” for everything they get by performing a command before receiving meals, toys, treats or play, often works well with this breed. He also responds well to any type of positive reinforcement training using rewards such as praise, play and treats.
It’s always a good idea to take an American Bandogge to puppy kindergarten followed by basic obedience class, especially if you are working with a trainer who understands the American Bandogge mindset.
The American Bandogge has a moderate activity level and needs a job to do, which can be anything from being your walking companion to daily training activities. Expect to walk him at least a mile daily, in addition to 20 minutes or so of training practice. If you’re interested and talented at training, he can participate in such dog sports as agility, obedience and rally. American Bandogges can also have the potential to make great therapy dogs.
Always keep him on leash when you’re walking him. The American Bandogge has a high prey drive and a territorial nature, so he needs a strong, solid fence at least six feet high to keep him on his own property. An underground electronic fence is never appropriate for this breed.
Like any dog, American Bandogge puppies are inveterate chewers and because of their size can do a whole lot of damage. Don’t give them the run of the house until they’ve reached trustworthy maturity. And keep your American Bandogge puppy busy with training, play and socialization experiences. A bored American Bandogge is a destructive American Bandogge.
The American Bandogge should spend plenty of time with his family. Chaining an American Bandogge out in the yard and giving him little or no attention is not only cruel, it can also lead to aggression and destructive behavior
The American Bandogge has a smooth coat that sheds. Brush him at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Clean the ears and trim the nails as needed, and bathe the American Bandogge on the rare occasions that he’s dirty.
If your American Bandogge has facial wrinkles, it’s important to keep them clean and dry. Wipe them out with a damp washcloth or baby wipe, dry the folds thoroughly, and apply baby powder or corn starch to help them stay dry. He may also do a little drooling, so be prepared to wipe his mouth after he eats or drinks.
5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy American Bandogge Puppy
- Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible.
- Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in American Bandogges aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, American Bandogges can live 10 or more years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.
- Puppy or adult, take your American Bandogge to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
- Don’t ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You’re more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
- Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Health Issues Common to American Bandogges
All hybrid dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as purebred dogs can and just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the American Bandogge is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the American Bandogge and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
American Bandogges may develop health conditions common to APBTs and mastiff-type breeds, especially if you aren’t cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, autoimmune thyroiditis, epilepsy, various types of cancer, and skin problems. Because of his deep chest, the American Bandogge is also prone to gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as gastric torsion or bloat.
Select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won’t carry the genetic diseases common to APBTs and mastiff-type breeds. And while there are no guarantees in life, it’s also a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills in the future.
Ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy’s parents have hip and elbow clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PennHIP and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy.
Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.
Pet Insurance for American Bandogges
Pet insurance for American Bandogges costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because American Bandogges are a more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which American Bandogges are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your American Bandogge is when he’s a healthy puppy. You can’t predict what will happen in the future and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.