- American Sentinel Bandog
The term "bandogge" dates back nearly a thousand years. Translated to modern English, the prefix comes from "bande" which means to bind (held together). This adjective describes the concept of bandogges as restrained canines worked as sentry dogs, protection dogs, or as catch dogs.
Just as the German Shepherd is one of many types of guard dogs, the American Sentinel is one of many types of bandogs. The resurrection of the ancient term "bandogge" has led to a number of undedicated "breeders" being drawn to the concept of bandogs. Unfortunately, undedicated breeders are unwilling to do the work required to produce and maintain true bandogs (guard dogs and catch dogs). Such fraudulent breeders wrongfully seek to validate their "breeding program" by misleading others in attempt to convince them that "bandog" refers to a certain type of "cross bred dog."
Why would undedicated breeders promote such untruths? The logical explanation is they seek to ride the coat-tails of legends despite not testing the working abilities of their own stock. Such breeders claim their dogs are suitable for protection work by associating their dogs to true working bandogs that worked as guard dogs or catch dogs, even though their own dogs have never been performance tested in either of these venues.
Correcting this myth is a constant battle. Buyer beware.
Take the time to properly study the History of Bandogges. Upon objectively doing so, you will not only learn the true meaning of the term "bandogge," but you will also learn this true meaning dates back nearly a thousand years.
Long before breeds existed, the first domesticated dogs earned their keep by serving and helping people secure food and/or protect their territory. Dogs earned the legendary title of "bandogge" only after they displayed exceptional physical abilities and relentless mental determination to apprehend, control, and subdue their opponent. The practice of tethering such dogs became the basis and justification of the use of the term "bande," which is the root word of the term bandog.
When used correctly, the term "bandog" does not define a breed or cross, but instead defines a "banded" (bound) dog with unique combative skills against man and/or dangerous game when released from binding restraint.
"Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night,
The time of night when Troy was set on fire;
The time when screech-owls cry and ban-dogs howl,
And spirits walk and ghosts break up their graves..."
- William Shakespeare, King Henry VI
Summary of #1 - We know restrained, released, & catch.
Summary of #2 - We believe somewhat mastiff like.
Summary of #3 - Historical bandogs were not necessarily "of mixed breed." They could have been, but it was not part of the defining term, which is more of a title or description of a type of dog more so than a breed.
H. Lee Robinson, M.S.
Historical documents clearly illustrate the term bandog (historically spelled "bandogge") as a working title earned by dogs that fulfilled the duties of particular combative tasks and does not specifically refer to cross bred dogs comprised of specific breed foundations. People who describe bandogs as Molosser crosses display their lack of knowledge on this topic. While bandogs were typically described to have traits seen in some old world Molossers, the focal points of the term "bandog" throughout historical context was not about breed origin or breed composition. Instead, the focal point of the term "bandog" addressed the tasks, demands, and capabilities of the bandog, and referenced the traits displayed by "bandogs" as they fulfilled their duties.
The word "bandog" predates William Shakespeare's use of the term, and the historical context consistently describes a dog restrained ("banded") by chain or leash yet released during combative tasks to catch various types of quarry. Depending upon the need, the bandog's quarry may have been man or beast. Quality bandogs worked as sentry dogs, protection dogs, or as hunting dogs for catching dangerous game, and many bandogs performed so well at such tasks that the bandog earned legendary status as a gladiator. Today's bandogs should not just be mere shadows of the bandogs described throughout history, but instead should remain healthy, capable dogs that may live and work for 10-15 years.
The extraordinary courage possessed by these dogs is hardly believable. Bred from a long line of fighting ancestors, the dogs produced were of such ferocity and courage as to seem almost insensible to pain. In Mr. Edgar Farman's book (1900’s), the Bulldog History specialist wrote:
"The first mentioned word “Bulldog” in literature in the year 1500 was with the other oldest spelling of the word that is “bondogge” and “bolddogge.” Some believe the war dogs used in the Crusaders (medieval battles that took place during the 11th through 13th centuries) were bandogges." The first reference to the word "Bulldog" with the modern spelling is dated 1631 or 1632 in a letter by a man named Preswick Eaton where he writes: "procuer mee two good Bulldogs, and let them be sent by ye first shipp."
The name "bull" was applied because of the dog's use in the sport of bull baiting., where dogs were set onto a bull after wagers were placed on each dog. The dog that grabbed the bull by the nose and pinned it to the ground would be the victor. It was common for a bull to maim or kill several dogs at such events, either by goring, tossing or trampling.
Bull-baiting - along with bear-baiting - reached the peak of their popularity in England in the early 1800s until they were both made illegal by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. This amended the existing legislation to protect animals from mistreatment and included (as 'cattle') bulls, dogs, bears and sheep, so that bull and bear-baiting as well as cockfighting became prohibited. In mid-17th century New York, Bulldogs were used as a part of a city-wide round-up effort led by governor Richard Nicolls. Because cornering and leading wild bulls was dangerous, Bulldogs were trained to seize a bull by its nose long enough for a rope to be secured around its neck.
William Harrison, in his description of England (1586), mentions the word “bandogge” and explained that “many of them are tied up with chains and strong bonds in the day time for doing hurt abroad," and further describes the dog to be "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." Dr. Caius (1576) states that 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.”
During such times, owners could only afford to keep dogs that displayed great loyalty, stability, confidence, exceptional physical performance, efficiency, tolerance to the environment, durability, malleability with working temperament and drives, and excellent bonding characteristics. Accurate investigation about the bandog will clearly illustrate that the bandog's greatness is not a product of hype or unproven claims, but instead results from the bandog proving its performance by displaying an unwavering ability and fearless determination to subdue their quarry. A well-bred bandog may even display no concern for its own well-being when working, yet meanwhile it may display extreme concern to please its family or to complete assigned tasks.
Regardless of what one believes, it is certainly true that Bandogs have been around a long time, perhaps since the development of civilization, as such dogs fulfilled a need and served man very well when it came to putting food on the table or protecting our families, homes, and other valuable assets. However, beware of those that do not work their dogs and only show pictures of them just playing, standing, sitting, or laying around.
Bandogs are largely defined by their character, not just their appearance. Many times, breeders of cross bred dogs parasite off the bandogge's legendary working history and performance. Bandogs are defined by their working ability, malleability, trainability, temperament, drive, stability, and structural soundness. Some breeders try to impress potential buyers by referring to their dogs as "registered bandogs" yet use a registry that does not confirm working ability. Dogs do not read papers. Once the definition of bandog is understood, it is rather clear that a registry cannot honestly refer to dogs as "registered bandogs" without some type of performance measures being part of the registry requirement; therefore, any "Bandog breeder" that tries to use any such registration as a "stamp of authenticity" should be suspect of fraud. Before being impressed with "papers," check to see if the registry requires a demonstration of working ability.
Do not be fooled into having faith a breeding just because you see the names of some good dogs way back in the pedigree. If traits are not tested each generation, then performance is quickly lost. If a breeder does not evaluate the performance of their breeding stock, there is unwise to think a dog from them would be able to perform. Without the use of performance assessment, one is breeding on pedigree alone, which quickly turns winners into losers. When this happens, working breeds are destroyed, for all that remains are shadows of what once was. Ask, can their dogs live up to the pedigree? These dogs are legendary only because of what they have accomplished, and for no other reason. Winners in competition are not made by verbal claims. They are made by proof. Actions speak louder than words, so see what these "bandog breeders" can do before you just take them at their word.
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