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Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Short Glance at the Modern Bandog History in Greece by Stelios Sdrolias

My quest for the strongest protection dog -regardless of breed - prompted me to meet and test many breeds, both in Greece and abroad. The first to deal with these dogs in Greece was Mr. Panagiotis Tsikouris, owner of Molosser Gate kennels. His first Bandog was imported from Romania on 1993-94 for Mr.Dimitrios Gletzakos (Top applied martial arts instructor and expert in VIP bodyguarding). Due to Mr.Gletzakos relocation, the dog ended up at Molosser Gate kennels. People who saw the dog work said the dog was a mediocre specimen temperament wise. Maybe this what pushed Mr.Tsikouris to create his own line from his existing stock of APBT and Neapolitan Mastiffs. A new line was created,which became very famous all over Greece.The most famous ones were: Hades, Lulu Bell, Boss and Kronos. Offspring from those dogs were used for protection and breeding purposes.

A protection dog trainer from the UK who trained dogs and K9 handlers for security agencies shared his experience on Bandogs in a private circle of people. He had personal experience with these dogs since his partner owned the famous 'Zane'. His views sparked a flame for many who were searching for the ultimate defense dog for Personal Protection and Patrol Work. One of the most notable UK breeders of that era was John Young (J7 Security). His dogs defined the beginning of the re-birth of the Bandogge in the UK.

In 1999 I had the opportunity to discuss more about Bandogs with an American Bandog breeder in California (I was attending a technical seminar in San Diego at the time). I tried to personally meet the most significant breeder of our time, Joseph Lucero III, but it was not feasible at that time. We kept a good contact which proved to be priceless in the future.

In 2000 I contacted Mr.Tsikouris and visited his kennel numerous times. I tested his Bandogs and it was the first live encounter I had with these dogs. The most impressive specimen was -for me - Boss (First generation Bandog). Although I bought my first Bandog named Kalma in 2001 from his kennel, my quest for a more complete Bandog had just begun. This was the time I met Nikos Meligkounakis - a non-commissioned officer of the Greek Air Force and dog trainer- who saw Kalma for the first time in 2002. Thrilled by her temperament, we started exchanging ideas and views about Bandogs and similar breeds. After a while he was converted from a Cane Corso fan to a Bandog one.

My next step was to import straight from Mr. Lucero's kennel (Working Class K9) 2 puppies in 2002. The male pup was named Rony, which Nikos asked me to import as his personal future dog, and a female pup named Mila for my late dear friend Alexandros Antiochos.

In 2003 I was contacted by a Bandog breeder, Mario Governale owner of Thunderdome Kennels NY, who was kind enough to offer me a pup for free after acknowledging my dedication for Bandogs. It was then when Nikos asked me again to import 2 more pups (a male for his brother and a female for him). Due to the excellent relationship I had with Mr.Governale, I managed to import 3 pups from his kennel. Thunderdome's Zara, Lara and Atlas.

This created a core of good Bandogs from selected kennels in Greece.

In 2004 and after extensive training scenarios and tests, it became obvious that Rony was not a dog that I could base� a breeding line the way I had imagined it. It was then that I asked for Mr.Lucero's help again. His response was phenomenal. He bought back a dog from his very successful bloodline, a full brother to the famous Lucero's Curly (TV: Fear Factor, Movie: Hulk, Don't mess with the Zohan).

His name was Lucero's Dude and he was owned by the famous dog trainer Mr. Tom Richie. Before the dog was sent to Greece, Mr.Lucero told me to make clear to Nikos that Rony should be -at least- neutered, so he could never be bred. A perfectly sound demand from someone who believes that only the supreme quality specimens should be allowed to be bred.

On July 4th, 2004, Dude arrived in my country. It was the same day that Greece won over CZ Republic in the renowned Euro 2004 Football Championship. A typical Lucero Bandogge in both type and temperament. I changed his name from Dude to Judo.

At that period I could not keep another dog in my house, so Judo was kept under co-ownership terms by Nikos in his house.

Unfortunately my collaboration with Nikos (Bandog Farm) was terminated in August 2008. The main reasons that led me to end our partnership was that he was breeding for financial purposes, but mainly because he lied to me repeatedly, violating our agreement on the number and frequency of breeding of the dogs. A prime example of that is Thunderdome's Lara who was bred at least 6 times by the time she was 7 years old and sometimes without resting between litters. He also violated the agreement on Rony's non-breeding status, who he bred for financial gain, putting my relationship with Mr.Lucero on the line. Needless to say that Mr.Lucero was extremely disappointed by Nikos's ethics and asked that Nikos Meligkounakis (BandogFarm) should not use his name in his advertisements of his so-called kennel. Again, with the utmost disrespect, Nikos still heavily uses Lucero's name to sell puppies to unqualified owners.

Some might consider this testimony as a personal attack against Nikos. I can assure you that this is not the case. I gave far too many chances to him to step back on the right track, but he chose to become a puppy producing farm. It is obvious that education and moral values are the driving forces of our actions. It is those actions that will ultimately provide a judgment against the passing of time. I cannot ethically afford to associate my name with the mass producing of Bandogs. I feel committed to myself and to the people that supported me in raising, training and breeding these dogs.

On/Off Bandogs Greece remains true to the policy 'few selected breedings for few selected owners'. My love for these dogs and my mission to perfect them has no room for financially driven mass production of dogs for the general public. Dogs from my breeding's have found their way to the USA, Italy,Denmark, Holland, Norway, Finland, Slovakia even Madagascar, gaining excellent testimonials even from other Bandog breeders. This is my payback for the the effort I place upon these dogs.

We are the only kennel in Greece (and quite possibly the world) that has access to dogs from the Lucero bloodline for breeding purposes with values and guidelines. Mr.Lucero's friendship, guidance and of course his dogs will continue to be a huge part of our program.

Stelios Sdrolias
On/Off Bandogs Greece

Saturday, January 24, 2009

courtesy of Dan UK

The Dog

Captain James Dickie

Hutchinson & Co Limited, 1933

The Mastiff

In ancient days there existed a dog called a Molossus, or Dog of Molosiss in Greece, and from this dog both the bulldog and the mastiff, possibly also the pug, descend. Edmund de Langley, writing in the fourteenth century, mentions the Molossus (mastiff) and the Aluant (bulldog). This appears to be the first occasion when the breeds were mentioned separately. Dr. Caius, on the other hand, mentions only one breed “ the Mastive or Bandogge ” in a book written about 1570, so we presume that, in the Middle Ages, the breeds were frequently cross. I suggest that in future bull-mastiffs be called Bandogges – surely a more attractive name!

The present-day mastiff is an excellent dog from every point of view. He is dignified and is not given to barking, except when necessary, intelligent and very courageous. His traditional job is to act as a guard and companion, and this he does extremely well. In these hard times big dogs which are expensive to keep and do not work for their living (as, for instance, do gun-dogs) are in danger of losing ground as they did during the war. The mastiff is one of our oldest British breeds, a dog possessing the traditional virtues of the Englishman, and it is to be hoped that this breed will not be allowed to suffer.

The Bull-Mastiff (Bandogge or Bandog)

When the Bull-mastiff Club was formed, to standardize a small handy mastiff or large old-fashioned bulldog, there was a dispute as to the name: some wished to call them night-dogs, some bull-mastiffs, some bandogs. Queen Elizabeth or her physician, Doctor Caius, would have been in no doubt at all : bandog is the traditional name.

Though earlier writers distinguished between the Alaunt or Canis Anglicus (bulldog) and the Canis Molossus (mastiff) Caius fails to mention the smaller variety: the “ mastive of bandogge ” was “ An huge dogge, stubborne, eager, burthenous of body and therefore of but little swift-nesse, terrible and fearful to behold and more fierce and fell than any Archadian curre. ”

In Vero Shaw’s opinion this description refers to the bulldog rather than to the Canis Molossus or “mastive” of Edmund de Langley which, being supposed to be of Greek origin, was doubtless the “Arcadian cur.”

In any event, the bulldog and the mastiff were freely interbred between the fourteeth and the nineteenth centuries; the hard and fast line of demarcation appears to be of fairly recent date.

The present-day bull-mastiff, considered simply as a dog, is a magnificent beast.

He was evolved by crossing the old type bulldog (not the toad-like variety) with the mastiff. The result was a dog similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Spanish bulldog (both, it is believed, descended from English bulldogs of the old type).

Some have “ crank ” tails, but the majority of tails are straight.

The dog has enormously powerful jaws, the more so because they are short (the “punishing jaw” business is nonsense from the purely mechanical as well as the practical point of view), an excellent nose and plenty of brain room. For his size he is active. He has a sense of property and is game
without being quarrelsome.

His only fault as a guard might be over-friendliness.

The Bulldog

THREE varieties of “ Alauntz ” are mentioned in The Mayster of Game, written in the fourteen century: “ The which men clepyn Alauntz gentil. Other there byn that men clepyn Alauntz ventreres. Other byn Alauntz of the bocherie.”

The first variety is so “gentil ” that Edmund de Langley, in giving a list of the animals which it would attack, mentions oxen, sheep and swine, “ or to men or to other hounds, for men have seen Alauntz sle her mayster.”

Evidently a nice pet to leave with the children. This variety was shaped like a “ greyhounde ” except the head, “ which shuld be greet and short.”

The second and third varieties were evidently more heavily built, and “ Thei holde fast of here nature.”

They were used for bull-baiting and boar-hunting in company with greyhounds.
Edmund de Langley alludes to mastiffs in addition, but it is fairly clear that they and bulldogs descend from the same parent strain.

Bull- and bear-baiting continued up till about 1850, and it was believed that to bait a bull before slaughtering improved his flesh : to this day many people believe that the flesh of a coursed hare is better than that of a shot one. It may be so.

In old pictures of bull- and bear-baiting the dogs shown are like small, active mastiffs. They were magnificent specimens physically and, necessarily, brave to a fault.

When bull-baiting became unfashionable the dogs were kept only by the lowest classes until, about 1860, they first appeared at shows.

The shows did the dogs more harm than the bulls, bears of Bill Sikes. Lest I be accused of prejudice, I will quote the Natural History Museum : “ Other characteristics are the short, wide skull, the small loins and hind limbs and the strength of the forequarters. These features are exaggerated in the present breed, which is useless for fighting. The skull for instance (as shown by the specimen in the table case), is so broad and underhung as to be a monstrosity, while the outward bending of the legs is excessive.”

It may be noted that the specimen alluded to (a show champion whelped in 1901) is far less of a monstrosity than present-day champions.

The present-day bulldog is born old ; he is a wheezy amiable creature, useless for any purpose, but, usually still retains the indomitable courage of his ancestors.

Doubtless, if a club were formed to revive the old breed it could be done. It would only be necessary to pick out and breed from the least deformed puppies produced by parents themselves not too inbred.

The rapidity with which dogs will throw back to ancestral and natural type is proved by the Brancaster Basset hounds Q. V.

Revive the National Dog

I HAVE been accused by no less a person than the secretary of the London Bulldog Society: he said that I had tried to discredit the National Dog.

I replied that my regret was that the national dog is extinct, or almost so, and has been replaced by a useless, wheezing monstrosity. Underslinging of chassis may improve motor-cars, but it does not improve dogs.

Meanwhile, a correspondent wants a mate for a bull-terrier bitch which is a throw-back to the old bulldog, and there seem to be no bulldogs of the authentic type. Here is a head study of a typical bulldog of seventy years ago : the fact that his ears are cropped gives him a somewhat ferocious appearance, but he has a kind, intelligent eye and plenty of brain-room ; he has a powerful jaw (none of your useless “punishing” length), and terrific muscles to work it.

He has a good nose, too: the flews are not too tight and the nose itself is big, with wide-open nostrils, rather like a Gordon setter’s.

Altogether a magnificent head for a companion dog. His body was equally good.

His courage was proverbial : such dogs attached and were killed by lions and bears in the “good old” cruel days.

This is the Alaunt of old days – the real National Dog of England.

Above is a picture of a bulldog from Jesse’s Anecdotes of dogs (1846). The accompanying text says : “ The bull-dog has been called the most courageous animal in the world …His strength is so great that, in pinning a bull, one of these breed …has been known, by giving a strong muscular twist of his body, to bring the bull flat on his side.

“In consequence also of his high courage and perseverance, a bulldog has gone a greater distance in swimming than any other dog has been known to do. In a match that was made for the purpose, one of these animals fought and beat two powerful Newfoundland dogs.”

All of these statements may be true. The body of the dog has enormous power and heart room for his size ; his build shows speed and agility, only his poor broken face is ugly.

The “ smashed-in face ” was produced by methods that would not be tolerated to-day (cutting of ligaments and beating with a mallet) and has been exaggerated and perpetuated by “ the fancy.” The correct head was illustrated in my last article.

Is this magnificent breed of dog to be allowed to become extinct?


UNFORTUNATELY for the whole race of dogs, nearly all breeders want to sell their puppies as expensively as possible.

The public will give more money for the progeny of a show champion than for an ordinary dog. Naturally, therefore, the breeder caters for the demand regardless of other matters.

Actually it is the sire of the champion who has proved a success, from the breeding point of view, not the champion himself, whose stock may be of indifferent quality.

Logically, therefore, if one wants champions, one should breed from the sires and dams of champions rather than from champions.

Whether from the show or the working point of view, there are many factors, other than the actual parents and their history, to be considered. In race-horses, where pedigrees are more carefully kept than is normally the case with dogs, many horses, themselves big winners, have failed at the stud.

Points to Consider

Presuming, for the moment, that we are breeding for points (in my opinion an undesirable proceeding if carried to excess), we should first consider the dam’s faults.

Suppose we find that our Labrador is long in the back and flat-sided, but has an excellent head and an exceptionally strong foreface, it would appear obvious that she should be mated to a short-coupled, well-ribbed up dog.

Not only that, but the sire should come of a family of strong-bodied dogs.

If his head is faulty, the question arises whether the ugly head is a family trait ; above all, whether he is inbred to an ugly-headed dog. If so, the ugly head will be a pre-potent trait, which will certainly show itself in the pups.

If his ugly head is purely a personal affair, and his good body a family matter, we have our perfect sire, all else being equal, a great deal a better sire than a champion who happened to be the only strong-bodied dog of a weak family.

Once in twice out, is the traditional rule in breeding dogs and horses ; breeding out and out tends to cause reversion to original type. Inbreeding in fact, accentuates peculiarities, outbreeding tends to eliminate them.

It must be remembered, however, that inbreeding tends to accentuate and fix bad points as well as good ones. Physical or nervous weakness, especially the latter, may become dominant and ineradicable from future generations.

In Scottish terriers, for instance, there is a nervous strain ; they are charming and plucky little dogs as a rule, but many years ago someone inbred to a nervous dog and his characteristics still keep cropping up.

From the breeding point of view mental characteristics are more important than appearance. Scientific selective breeding will alter the appearance of a race of dogs in a few generations, but disposition is far more difficult to influence. There are, for instance, untrainable strains of show gun-dogs, which breed true-all useless and untrainable.

A Case in Point

Generally speaking, the sire is the stronger influence as regards type ; the dam influences size and disposition. Remember the mule and the jennet. The mule is big, like his dam, but otherwise like his donkey sire; the jennet is in every way more like a pony than a donkey, but is small, like his donkey dam. The same principle applies to dogs.

Do not worry, therefore, if the sire is on the small side ; a big dam will usually compensate.

When it is desired to breed from an old dog the mate should be young. I once mated a Labrador aged eight to her own great-great-grand-nephew ; she had a large and healthy litter. If I had mated her to a dog of her own age she would probably have had fewer and less healthy pups.

Breeding for Type

MOST breeders breed for appearance, some for qualities combined with “correct” type, a few –the wise ones- bother little about appearance and breed for qualities.

Except, however, in the case of working dogs, this last category is almost non-existent. For this reason a pup from a working strain usually makes the best companion.

It is this point which is forgotten by a correspondent who suggest reviving the old English bulldog by crossing in the German “boxer” instead of breeding out and out from those available puppies which are anatomically sound and so “worst” from a show point of view.

Doubtless the boxer cross would be a short cut as regards appearance, but if the idea is to revive the national dog, why introduce outside blood?

Especially is this so when it is the dog’s courage and tenacity which we wish to preserve; any outside blood might bring in a change of disposition which would persist in the breed long after all appearance of the foreign blood had been bred out.

Many gun-dog breeders have found out this fact to their cost by crossing into a working strain useless show blood, with the idea of improving the appearance of their dogs; the result in such vases has frequently been to spoil the strain from both points of view.

Beware, in gun-dogs, of the holder of many challenge certificates who is not a champion ; there is only one reason-he is untrainable.


TELEGONY is “ The (hypothetical) influence of a previous sire seen in the progeny of a subsequent sire from the same mother” (Oxford Dictionary), and is widely believed in by dog breeders.

It is, in fact, a very ancient belief, but scientists (who do not deny its possibility) have, so far, failed to trace a single indubitable case of it in any animal.

An example, quoted in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is that of the Baron de Parana, who breeds thousands of mules.

In hundreds of cases mares (dams of mules) subsequently produce pure-bred foals with no trace whatever of mule about them.

Sir Everard Millais experimented for thirty years with cats, rabbits, mice, sheep, cattle, fowls and pigeons, and never saw a certain case of telegony.

My Own Experience

Many cases are, of course, duly vouched for. I bred a litter of Gordon setters myself; two of twelve were all tan, the remainder black and tan. Both parents were in the Kennel Club Stud Book. Had the dam ever been mated to an Irish setter here would have been a clear case of telegony, but she never had been so mated and had never had a tan or red pup in her life!

The tan pups, in fact, were either sports or throw-backs: the probable explanation is that, as Gordons were very scarce in war-time, an Irish dog had been crossed in and that this dog was an ancestor of both sire and dam.

All unknowingly, I was probably inbreeding to an Irish dog seven or eight generations back.

The incident, in fact, was not a case of telegony but a warning against crossing outside blood into any breed.

Breeding – Some Theories and Facts

MANY scientists deny the possibility that acquired characteristics can be transmitted to puppies by parents: docked dogs for instance, do not produce ready-docked puppies: mental characteristics, however, seem to be different and to be transmissible. Thus a trained retriever dog will sire more easily trained puppies than his untrained litter brother –this, at least, is the opinion of every breeder I have ever consulted. Scientifically minded readers (if any) will find that Weissman admits the possibility of modification of the germ plasm in the body of the individual host.

Another point: purely female characteristics are transmitted through the sire: thus, a cock from a good laying strain sires prolific hens, a bull from a good milking strain, sires cows which give a lot of milk. Similarly, a dog from a prolific strain will sire bitches which will have big litters.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bandogges History A Breed in Progress by Martin J. Leiberman

**With New Commentary Below**

Bandogges History A Breed in Progress
by: Martin J. Leiberman

In the middle nineteen sixties John Bayard Swinford, VMD began crossing American Pit Bull Terriers with English Mastiffs. I had a similar ideology and we were eventually introduced by a mutual acquaintance. John and I remained friendly for over three years. During that time we combined ideas and collaborated on a number of breed specific issues. Our goal was to breed a large super Mastiff, "a dog fearing nothing made of flesh." Our work began by crossing English Mastiffs with Pit Bulls. However, over time it became apparent that garnering English Mastiffs for this project was increasingly difficult. We needed to bring in an infusion of outside blood. We looked at our options and came up with the Italian Bull Dog, an ancient European Mastiff.

We liked the primitive over done appearance of the dog. We liked the natural suspicion exhibited by the breed. In addition, we liked the hard bonding characteristic of the breed. We didn't like the differential in skull size between the bitches and dogs. We also had a problem with the breed's lack of (prominent) dentition. Plus, many of the Italian Bull Dog bitches have a condition called cat face. These dogs lack length of muzzle (often times) and it impedes endurance and the ability to bite. The late Luigi Forina bred Italian Bull dogs, as they were affectionately called in those days. That was well before folks called them Neapolitan Mastiffs. Senior Forino lived on Logan Street in Brooklyn, not far from the queen's border. Luigi, allowed us to harvest blood from a well-made 240-pound stud dog. This blood was crossed back into our (existing) brood bitches.

We now had the fresh blood our project needed. The impact of the hybrid-vigor factor surfaced immediately. Without question we had created a superior mastiff. This being the first responsibility of the Bandogge project. Conversely, we also created an inferior American Pit Bull Terrier. However, the goal of the Bandogge breeder should not be to improve the Pit Bull Terrier, as this would prove to be futile. However, to improve the mastiff, with their many faults would be a reasonable challenge. Our primary focus would be to improve motor skills, to thicken nerves and capture a higher degree of gameness. One must never loose sight of an important historical fact. It took three hundred years to create the perfect bull and terrier cross. Having said this, it is also safe to assume the larger the dog the longer the journey to perfection.

One must view the Bandogge as an ongoing work in progress of a breed in progress. It is my opinion that our first generation breeding produced pups that were vastly superior to their Mastiff parents. This is not arrogance, but fact. Ergo, I am comfortable stating that the first segment of our genetic journey was a success. The breeding that followed continued to demonstrate reasonable gains. John Swinford died in the fall of 1972. I continued to breed and promote our project well into the next decade. I guess I became distracted by responsibility. I have not put pups on the ground for many years. In truth, I no longer have the temperament to deal with the voluminous numbers of un-coachable puppy buyers. Today's breeding environment has endless options. The modern breeder of Bandogges has a wealth of outside blood to infuse into his or her kennel. Rare breeds are no longer rare! The world has become smaller, more transparent and less mysterious.

In terms of the Bandogge project, I feel the best has yet to come! It is nice to see young people like Mario and Vicki Governale realize the true potential of the Bandogge. More importantly they are willing to run with the torch and tackle (endless daily) kennel chores. Mario and Vicki own the Thunder Dome facility. The kennel is spacious; the atmosphere is feral and clean. I am pleased that folks like Mario and Vicki are so passionate about the development of the Bandogge. I am certain it would please John Swinford as well.


"John and I remained friendly for over three years" - This shows that Mr. Leiberman's efforts occurred both independent of, concurrently to and thereafter Dr. Swinford's. It shows that whilst they did indeed collaborate, it was for a relatively brief period of time (certainly by dog breeding standards in respect to the fixing of a line(s)) in view of common perceptions and that whilst there were shared elements in terms of standards, Mr. Leiberman's views should be treated as both distinct to and equal of Dr. Swinford's, yet Swinford is seemingly attributed with a disproportionate degree of credit as a result of fame garnered through the books released by one Carl Semenic.

The entire "Swinford concept" was embraced to varying degrees by a number of individuals both in terms of breeding the actual 'Swinford' dogs (Swinford, Leiberman, the Grimm family etc.) and in terms of furnishing the component breeds (Kelly, Ashton, the Sottile family). With Swinford's passing, the concept continued on as it had done for hundreds of years beforehand in Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond, yet the specific Swinford program itself was not sustained, despite the fact others maintained an affinity toward the concept. There will no doubt be opinions as to why this might be, but one part of the explanation must be that insufficient progress had been made to produce a consistent, worthwhile line to preserve or even to play a significant role within the continuing programs of others:

The Sottile family were one of the earliest to import numbers of rare breed mastiff and continued to own and breed these dogs; Neapolitans and Cane Corso amongst them.

The Pitbull fraternity continued along their path as before, with the concept holding little to no interest for 'serious dog men'

The Grimm family were never sufficiently happy with the Swinford dogs and later gave them up upon discovery of the American Bulldog, which was described as being that which the Swinford was always meant to be; so much so that this sentiment was conveyed by the family through David Putnam's popular publication, "The Working American Bulldog".

Mr. Leiberman's efforts continued on for a period after Swinford's death; "I continued to breed and promote our project well into the next decade" and he also went on to set-up a very successful business within the pet/working dog industry, which in part may explain in part how he "became distracted by responsibility".

As pertains to the use of the Neapolitan, Mr. Leiberman makes quite clear his likes and dislikes in the aforementioned article. He also clearly states the the majority of issues pertained to the females of the breed and that they made use of a male for purposes of their breeding. The effect of this infusion of Neapolitan into the existing EM and APBT combinations was that "Without question we had created a superior mastiff."

Whilst it is mentioned that "Conversely, we also created an inferior American Pit Bull Terrier" it must be remembered that at this time, dog fighting was by and large a "tolerated activity" by the authorities and still a persistent albeit small part of 'popular male culture'. The only context in which this comment holds any pertinence is in the context of the 'box' or fighting dog. However, as Leiberman clearly goes on to state, "the goal of the Bandogge breeder should not be to improve the Pit Bull Terrier" instead it is to "...improve the mastiff".

This returns to the point of breeding in the modern age. Thunderdome Bandogges made use of the very same combinations of breeds employed by Dr. Swinford and Mr. Leiberman; indeed the EM, Neo, Bull & Terrier and also the American Bulldog combined to produce the very dogs that Mr. Lieberman referred directly to in his glowing endorsement of the Thunderdome programme with owners "so passionate about the development of the Bandogge" producing dogs to such a standard that, as Mr. Leiberman himself puts it "I am certain it would please John Swinford as well."

Mr. Leiberman's thoughts clearly were not in isolation, as the dogs Mr. Leibermans comments were based upon (amongst them Thunderdome's Silver Belle, Bodacious Bo, Hurricane Rosie and Mad Max) and their descendants (Gator, Harden's CJ, Blockbuster's Porsche, Taboo, Atlas, Lara, Zara and through cooperation with DK9; Storm Bruin, Richie's Hondo etc.) have actively been sought out and used to provide foundation stock for numerous programs around N. America (Blockbuster, Jim Harden, DK9 to name but three) and around the world (for example: Bandog Farm and On/Off Bandogges in Greece).


Whilst other kennels have enjoyed relative success, only two other programs from N. America have exerted such an influence over quite literally, "the Bandogge world", these are:

Working Class Kennels (WCK9) of California, who have also shipped dogs internationally (Canada, Peurto Rico, America) for commercial and personal security applications. In addition, to along with Hardball Kennels, WCK9 also provided the foundation stock for Elite Kennels and also coincidentally, has more recently contributed fresh blood to the Thunderdome program not to mention gained notoriety for the abilities of its foundation stock to perform in the entertainment industry for Movies such as 'Hulk' and TV including 'Fear Factor'.

Mr. James Walsh, who has seen demand for his dogs as far afield as Denmark, Holland and Italy where they have proven themselves useful not only for security, but also in the arena of weightpull competitions.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bandog from Wikipedia

This is the Wikipedia Bandog article. Below the article is some input from Dan Balderson (DanUK) on the validity of the text.

(also known as Bandogge) is a name derived from early English and refers to a dog that was bound by a chain until it was released at night in order to guard property. The fact that the modern day Bandog is also large, is a guard dog, and is composed of some Mastiff and some Bulldog, as was the original Bandog, is all that the Bandog of old and the modern Bandog have in common.

History of the bandog

Most writers are of the opinion that all dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) originated from the wolf (Canis lupus); however, the exact development of the original Bandogs still remains a mystery. Although, it is impossible to say exactly how the Bandog originated, it is certain the original Bandogs were bred with a functional purpose, as were all working breeds, and for the Bandog this purpose revolved around guarding and protecting. [citation needed]

Early incarnations of the Bandog probably had bloodlines from bull baiting dogs and the Guardian Mastiffs or the cross of both like the war dogs used in the Crusades.

William Harrison, in his description of England during 1586, first mentions the breed in his statement, "Bandogge which is a huge dog, stubborn, uglier, eager, burthenouse of bodie, terrible and fearful to behold and often more fierce and fell than any Archadian or Corsican cur." It is assumed that the word "Bandogge" originated from the use of strong bonds and chains to secure the dogs.[citation needed]

In 1576, Dr. Caius states that, among others characteristics, the "Mastiff or Bandogge is serviceable against the fox and the badger, to drive wild and tame swine out of meadows, and pastures, to bite and take the bull by the ears, when occasion so required."[citation needed]

The Bandogs of old were strictly working dogs, often of various crosses and various sizes. Usually these dogs were coarse-haired hunters, fighters and property protectors without a strictly set type, developed from eastern shepherds and mastiffs crossed with western Bullenbeissers and hounds, with a few local bloodlines eventually being established as specific types in some regions, such as Britain, Spain, Germany, Poland and elsewhere in Europe. One of the most famous Bandog programs in England led to the establishment of a recognized breed, the Bullmastiff.

Modern Breed Description

When describing Bandogs, it should be noted there have been many variations of such programs under a variety of names, but the breed commonly accepted as the Bandog today was developed in the 1960's by American veterinarian John Swinford, who set out to create a guardian dog superior to all others. Though many breeders of Bandogs today disagree on just what breeds went into Swinford's original breeding scheme, it has been proven that the basis of his program was largely derived from 50% American Pit Bull Terrier and 50% English Mastiff. Unfortunately, Swinford died in October of 1971 at an early age and his version of the Bandog, although very successful, was never perfected or recognized as a purebred during Swinford's time. Eventually, all the original Swinford dogs died out. .

Dogwork 02:06, 13 October 2007 (UTC)Another notable developer of working class Bandogs is Joe Lucero. Lucero refers to his dogs as American Bandogge Mastiff. There are other bandog strains in existence under different names, but the Swinford and Lucero lines are the most famous celebrated for their stable temperaments and outstanding working qualities. Many people believe these dogs to be the perfect protection and working class guard dogs.

Many programs have used American Pit Bull Terrier (American Staffordshire Terrier) and Neapolitan Mastiff crosses, as has been the case with the Lucero program. Other programs, such as the Swinford program, developed primarily founded upon American Pit Bull Terrier and English Mastiff crosses. A few programs have also used other bully type breeds as well as other mastiff type breeds. Regardless however of which program a breeder selected, if they were breeding dogs true to guarding purposes it has been essential to select dogs suitable for such work. Dogs were bred from strains that have temperament, phenotype, to do home guardian or personal protection. The Bandog is a rugged dog, heavily boned and muscled, intimidating when seen and is ferocious when provoked. The Bandog, any variety, is strictly a working breed and should be a result of serious and dedicated planning, starting from careful selection of parent breeds and more importantly, appropriate representatives of those breeds, with the health and temperament testing being on the top of the list of priorities, while the uniformity in appearance is the last of the breeders' concerns. The intention in each case is to combine the courage and tenacity of an American Pit Bull Terrier with the large size and guarding instinct of a Mastiff.

Broad skull, strong muzzle that is medium to long muzzle depending on the strain, wide shoulder, powerful chest, great agility, intelligence and very well controlled dog.


The hope is that the breeding of these dogs will finally be perfected; however, the Bandog is being bred by many breeders who range from the very serious and knowledgeable to the very amateurish and inexperienced, sometimes called backyard breeders. Like with all dogs, the Bandog can display either the best or the worst characteristics of the parents (or the parent breeds), depending on the knowledge of the breeder and the randomness of genetics. Therefore, a purchaser of a Bandog must do a good deal of investigation to avoid the risk of buying a puppy from a breeder that doesn't understand the necessity of proper selection.

[edit] Appearance

It should be noted that appearance is of least concern to serious bandog breeders, as the purpose of such dogs is first and foremost function. It should also be noted that not all groups currently agree on a universal standard. While some breeders share a general standard, the SSDA has kept their standard for the Swinford type dogs private and for this reason the general standard seen below will vary significantly from their adopted version.

Size: Males and females: Height: 25" or greater. Weight: 100 lbs or greater.

Drives: Natural guardian ability is required. The dog should display prey drive with enthusiasm. Defensive drive should be bold and confident when stimulated. Weakness in any form should be selected against.

Specials characteristic: Effectionate with the family, intelligent, loyal and devoted to their master.

Temperament: Effectionate, loving, and submissive to the master and family (including children), yet fearless adversary to anyone who threatens the Bandog's master or property. Although accepting to welcomed guests, the Bandog should present a guarding disposition towards visitors if his master is not at present.

Disposition: The Bandog protects their master against any danger, even to give their own life to protect him.

Body: Large, but compact. Powerful, but agile. Should represent an athlete.

Color: Different mixes of colors are acceptable, but most common colors are: any brindle color, black, golden fawn, fawn and red. Other colors are allowed too, as is red and black on their noses. Large amounts of white has been frowned upon by some programs due to its lack of being a natural color, inability to camouflage the dog well, and because it is often associated with various genetic defects.

Coat: Short, close and medium fine.

Ears: Cropped or natural.

Neck: Very strong, muscular and robust.

Eyes: Dark preferable, but should bear some relation to coat color.

Tail: Docked or natural.

Faults: Failure to be worked, failure to work successfully, producer of genetic problems in pups, poor immune system, affected by hip and elbow dysplasia. Excessively undershot.

Foundation Breeding

What is reported here is just an estimated expected average range of various foundations breeds commonly seen in various Bandog programs.

The Primary Group , approximate average of 25-75% from American Pit Bull Terrier and/or American Staffordshire Terrier.

The Secondary Group ,approximate average of 25-75% from Mastiff and/or Neapolitan Mastiff.

A Tertiary Group (used in some programs) approximate average of 0-75%: American Bulldog, Boerboel, Bullmastiff, Bulldog Campeiro, Bull Terrier, Cane Corso, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Great Dane, Perro de Presa Canario, and/or the Tosa Inu.


Below by Dan Balderson:

The Wikipedia article still seems a bit off. Bandogges are mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer over a 100 years before William Harrison wrote his works for example. Likewise, the Bandogge pre-dates the ‘sports’ of Bull baiting’ and such like. Bandogges pre-date the Normans, given that it was an Anglo Saxon term that eventually fell foul of the Norman (French) influence that led to the eventual word of ‘mastiff’. A wolfhound / Azores Griffon type dog was employed by the ‘Celts’ and was likely one of the forebears of the earliest Bandogge types. These dogs and the esteem with which they, along with boar and other key elements to that lifestyle are still seen today in the highly stylized forms of traditional ‘Celtic’ works of art, particularly as incorporated into knot work.

There is truth to the point of securing the dog, but the origins, at least as so far back as can be traced to Chaucer, suggest that Bandogge’s were in fact catch dogs that were kept tied whilst on the hunt until the game was in clear view / and at bay upon which time they were released, much akin to many modern hunters employing ‘Bulldogs’ today.

In terms of modern origin, the Bandog / Bandogge still originates from the British Empire; the term was used along with Game Keeper’s Night dog, Bull and Mastiff, and of course Bullmastiff with equal regularity until such time as an official breed was recognised under the latter term. However, Bandog, was also one of the proposed breed names (as they were regularly referred to as such in Print, certainly from around the 1930’s) at the time of acceptance and determination of a modern breed standard. The Bandogge concept was widely employed across the empire, notably in Southern Africa, but also in India where the term ‘Seizers’ came to the fore. These dogs were often mixes of English and German hounds with Bull, Mastiff and (Bull) Terrier breeds, or the latter combined with indigenous dogs, notably hounds such as the Rampur hound for the express purpose of big game hunting.

The Swinford stuff is also not wholly accurate. He worked with a great number of people to achieve his ends, of course Liebermann is known, but the likes of Grimm’s and a few others were equally involved, they simply chose not to gain the same degree of notoriety, nor had the exceptionally privileged background as to be able to conduct themselves as he did. His program was not entirely based on APBT to Neo, as Lee and others are correct to point out, that just happened to be at around the time he was most well-known prior to his death. His program was not successful or long lasting. Families such as the Grimm’s would encounter the American Bulldog and pursue it as everything the combined Swinford program was hoped to be, but was not. This point was even recorded in print when the family was interviewed about their involvement with both types of dog.

The current breeding section is a load of old tosh and frankly dangerously provocative “to combine the courage and tenacity of an American Pit Bull Terrier with the large size and guarding instinct of a Mastiff”. This is not strictly true and as such should not be presented in this context. It is a fallacy perpetuated by the limited and hence poor research of the author Carl Semenic whose primary research early on was gained during his exposure to the illicit world of dog fighting that existed and thrived in his region of the USA .

More accurately, the infusion of the Pitbull terrier is to correct the many structural, biological and temperamental flaws inherent in today’s mastiff breeds, to create a tighter, more functionally sound and active dog without the type of ‘tenacity’ that many folks would associate with the word when used in conjunction with the term ‘pitbull’ …it is not dog fighting aggression or tenacity …which is in many ways anathema to the purpose of a working mastiff. The Pitbull, when selected carefully, contributes a greater degree of bid ability and tolerance even, around people, creating a more fun-loving, less sharp, but very human-focused dog. Equally, inappropriate selection of the Pitbull can cause no end of problems; shyness, fearfulness (toward people) are inherent issues with some lines of these dogs, not specifically avoided because for other purposes (i.e. fighting) such traits were an acceptable hindrance, when they didn’t otherwise impede performance in the illicit world of dog fighting. It is also true that the Pitbull is far from the only breed used or necessary to be used in the development of Bandogs. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are equally employed, though do not produce the same degree of size in the F1 progeny as many lines of Pitbull might, but still develop the same positive qualities. Indeed, the Stafford is documented as having been used in the re(-construction) of the Perro de Presa Canario among other breeds. In sport/pp working bandogs, AmStaff blood is also heavily employed, in part because these dogs are not only bigger, but because many lines have already been bred to perform in avenues such as Schutzhunde for many generations. In animal catching Bandogges, both English Bull Terrier and American Bulldog have also been employed, in particular in regions such as Australia where non-indigenous hogs have reached epidemic proportions and are otherwise prey only to the Saltwater Crocodile once mature.

Not only is the assertion that “why don't breeders simply cross Bandogs with other Bandogs. The answer is at the current stage of Bandog development, when one crosses a Bandog with another of its breed, the final product is not a Bandog. Bandogs do not breed true yet and it seems that Bandog breeders are far from having perfected a purebred dog.” Yet another poor attempt at research by drawing upon the opinion of a frankly unqualified author such as Semenic, it is patently false and in keeping with the ignorance presented prior; the Bandog is most often a tight mastiff/bull mastiff not a large pitbull (petbull/pulldog). The primary breeding practice in the initial generations is to backcross the first filial generation to the mastiff component of the breed, rather than to another F1 or the parent bull & terrier; because again, the effort is to produce a balanced, functional working mastiff, not a large pitbull. This is exactly the same type of process employed in the creation of all breeds and is no different in bandogs. The primary differentiator is the employment of traditional, rather than modern Kennel Club breeding practices that do not preclude selective line and even out-crossing to maintain both performance and health, even if it does sacrifice a degree of type.

I really don’t like the use of the word aggressive in the piece either, it is thrown around without care or attention to the readership, or the effects it might have upon them. In short and without wanting to sound too callous, critical or offensive, it is quite an amateurish piece in many regards when actually scrutinised, and I find it to be lacking. However, having seen the pieces on other breeds, such as the Presa Canario, which I’m reliably told is petitioned regularly by Dogo Canario breeders to ensure it states a view akin with their beliefs, this is one area in which Wikipedia falls down, given a lack of quality references to support submissions.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

FRANKIE, Sch. III, Demo Dog for training and Demo Dog in schools, TV Star, Owned by Chris Carr in Pennsylvania

SCRAPPY GIRL aka "Girl", FR Brevet & FR I , owned by Leri Hanson, California. Sire, Lucero's Mako; Neo x Pit, Dam, AB


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