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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bandogge as defined by Thunderdome:

We use the term Bandogge to describe a dog made up of Bulldog and Mastiff blood. In our 15 years experience with the Bandogge breed, it is our opinion that more important than the breeds used to create a Bandogge, are the individual dogs you use. We have not limited ourselves to one particular cross, but have utilized excellent dogs from different mastiff breeds. The fact that we are not tied down by a breed standard allows us to breed dogs that will add the most to our breeding program. We are not breeding dogs for economics, this is our passion.

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 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) 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.


Thunderdome Bandogs (click picture to go to picture gallery)

~Originally posted on Thunderdome Bandogs previous website
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