Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

American Bandogge: Info, Characteristics, Facts & Pictures

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

American Bandogge

Height: 19-30 inches
Weight: 85-140 pounds
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Colors: Brindle, blue, merle, fawn, red, golden, and black
Suitable for: Those looking for an aggressive and fierce guard dog, experienced dog owners
Temperament: Domineering, aggressive, and strong-willed. With the right owner, they can also be loving and loyal companions

The American Bandogge, also known as the American Bandogge Mastiff, Mastibull, American Mastiff, Swinford Bandog, and American Masti-bull is an intimidating hybrid dog that is the result of crossing an American Pitbull Terrier and a Mastiff (of any kind).

The detailed history of the breed is a bit of a mystery; however, the term Bandogge is quite old and originates in England in the 1200s. Back then, the term was used to describe large mixed breed working and guard dogs owned and used by gamekeepers for hunting and fighting.

More recently, in the 1960s, an American veterinarian by the name of John Swinford attempted to standardize the breed and develop the ultimate guard dog. Dr. Swinford’s bandog was based on crossing an American Pitbull Terrier with a Neapolitan Mastiff. However, despite his best efforts, the breed remains a hodgepodge of large, muscular breeds.

Divider 1

American Bandogge Puppies

bandog puppy
Image Credit: fjord77, Pixabay

Before purchasing an American Bandogge, you should be aware that ownership of these dogs has been restricted or outright banned in some countries and areas of the United States. Take the time to do lots of research regarding breeders and ownership rights before anything else.

The American Bandogge is a controversial breed that is considered by many people to be unstable and dangerous. Currently, the breed (regardless of the name it goes by) is banned in both Switzerland and Romania, and ownership is restricted or prohibited in some parts of the United States. As such, it is highly advisable to research the laws of your area before agreeing to purchase one of these dogs.

Divider 8

3 Little-Known Facts About the American Bandogge

1. The American Bandogge is Considered By Many to be the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Canine World

Without a doubt, the American Bandogge can be a dangerous breed. However, much of the danger comes not from the fact they are always aggressive, but rather from the fact that they are often quite gentle and loving pets that can change into snarling and aggressive dogs at the drop of a hat.

Those who own them, and know the temperament of their dog, will often argue that this aggressive behavior is easy to predict and control. However, to the uninitiated, or in the hands of the wrong owner, the American Bandogge can be a disaster waiting to happen.

2. As Guard Dogs, American Bandogges Are More Bite Than Bark

Most dog breeds that are effective guard dogs have a loud and aggressive bark that they use to ward off potential intruders before they enter your property. However, when it comes to the American Bandogge, the first time an intruder is likely to know the dog is there is when it attacks them.

While American Bandogges can bark, they usually choose not to, and will violently and aggressively defend their territory and without warning and without backing down. For this reason, these dogs are also often favored by some criminal elements of the community who use these dogs to deter or slow down any law enforcement officers attempting to enter their property, as well as to protect their illegal contraband from other crime groups.

3. Despite Their Aggressive Nature,  These Dogs Are Not Solitary Animals

Even though many American Bandogges spend much of their life working as guard dogs, they are not solitary animals. In fact, they are generally much more placid and affectionate dogs when they are not left alone for long periods.

Image Credit: Libor Hladik, Shutterstock

Divider 2

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Bandogge 🧠

As already discussed, the American Bandogge has a reputation for being an aggressive and dangerous breed. There are, however, also extremely intelligent and driven dogs that are good at reading their owner and acting in a way that appears to please them.

Yet, this does not mean that the American Bandogge is always willing to please. This may be true if they are in the hands of an owner that doesn’t provide strong and consistent guidance. These dogs will quickly assume an ‘alpha’ or ‘top dog’ position and will become both impossible to manage and extremely dangerous.

For this reason, the American Bandogge requires a highly experienced dog owner who is both competent and confident enough to give them the love, guidance, and leadership that they require.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

While many American Bandogges live happily with families, we cannot in good conscience recommend this dog to anybody that has children in their family. The breed does have a reputation for aggression, and while many may be gentle and protective of children, the chance of serious injury if the dog loses patience with a child is too much of a risk.

Having said that, should you still wish to bring one of these dogs into a household with children, it is highly recommended that you ensure your dog is both socialized from a young age and well trained. Yet, regardless of how well trained and socialized your dog is, you should never leave a child unsupervised with a large dog of any breed—a critically important point to remember about the American Bandogge.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The American Bandogge is not known for its ability to get on well with other animals, and aside from another large dog, you are likely to have some issues getting your dog to play nice with any other pet that you have in your household.

In particular, you should avoid keeping an American Bandogge with small rodent-like animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs, as your dog will likely see these animals as prey and fair game for chasing and killing.

American Bandogge Dog
Image Credit: khaleesi, Shutterstock

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning an American Bandogge:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

All dogs require a nutrient-rich and well-balanced diet. While it is possible to design a home-prepared diet for your pet, you will likely be much better off both financially and in time spent in preparation if you choose one of the many high-quality premium dry dog foods that are available for large or giant dogs.

While there are many different brands available, we recommend choosing a premium brand made from high-quality ingredients. However, aside from anything else, the most important thing to look for in dog food is that it provides a complete and balanced diet for adult dogs.

The phrase ‘complete and balanced’ is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials and is only permitted to be used on dog food packaging where the product contains all the necessary nutrients and ingredients needed to meet all of a dog’s dietary requirements. As such, it is this phrase that you should look for on any new dog food you are considering purchasing for your American Bandogge.

Exercise 🐕

American Bandogges are relatively active dogs and need a home where they have a yard in which they run about and play. They are not at all suited to life in an apartment and are, in fact, a dog that is likely best kept outside.

In addition to having plenty of space in which to play, an American Bandogge needs at least a 45-minute walk each day. The importance of a daily walk is as much about providing them with mental stimulation as it is about the actual exercise, as like most dogs they enjoy spending time out of the yard exploring new areas with their owners.

When walking your American Bandogge, it is vitally important to keep your dog on a lead at all times. These are not dogs that should ever be off-leash in public, and as much as you think they might enjoy some playtime at the local dog park, this should be avoided as it would only take a single incident of aggressive behavior from your Bandogge for another dog to be seriously injured or killed.

Depending upon the aggression shown by your dog while out in public, you may also find it beneficial to muzzle your dog when they are out in public.

American Bandogge Mastiff
Image Credit: ChameleonsEye, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

With an American Bandogge, training is not just strongly recommended, but it is essential if you are to have a manageable dog.

You should start your dog’s training very early on, while they are still a small puppy, as this is the best time to ensure they start getting used to being around other people and animals. This early socialization training, specifically exposure to other people and dogs, should continue well into your dog’s adult life. This is the only chance you have of ensuring your dog does not automatically act aggressively towards strangers and unknown dogs.

In addition to socialization, an American Bandogge also needs early and consistent obedience training. While these dogs respond best to firm leadership, it is important to make training a positive experience. They need to be encouraged and rewarded when they get things right, and never scolded or punished for making a mistake with their training.

Grooming ✂️

The American Bandogge is quite low maintenance when it comes to grooming, and they will likely need nothing more than a quick brush every week or two and an occasional bath when they get a little smelly.

They will also need their nails clipped every few weeks, and you should also clean their teeth with canine toothpaste every few days, or at the very least once a week.

It is highly recommended that you should get your dog used to both brushing and bathing when they are young. If they are not comfortable with the process, you will struggle trying to bathe and groom them when they are a large and strong adult dog.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The American Bandogge is generally a strong and healthy dog and provided you feed them well and ensure they get enough physical exercise, there is every chance your dog will live a long and healthy life.

It is also important that they received regular veterinary check-ups and that their vaccinations are kept up to date.

Of course, as with all dogs, there are some health conditions to which the American Bandogge is susceptible. These include:

Minor Conditions
  • Skin lesions
  • Eye infections
  • Eye disease
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
Tri color Pitbull puppy
Image Credit: PPstudio, Shutterstock

Divider 7

Male vs Female

As with all dog breeds, unless you plan on breeding from your American Bandogge, regardless of whether you own a male or female dog, we strongly recommend that you arrange for your dog to be neutered or spayed.

This simple and safe procedure will ensure that not only will you be avoiding any unplanned pregnancies, but also that you will avoid having to deal with many of the behavioral issues often associated with a dog’s natural reproductive cycles.

Usually, we recommend that you are far better off choosing a dog based on their personality rather than their gender.  With extra-large dogs such as the American Bandogge, however, gender is definitely something you should consider.

Male American Bandogges are considerably bigger and stronger than females. Given this size difference, you should give some thought as to your ability to manage and physically control such a large and strong dog. If you have any concerns about your ability in this regard, it is advisable that you pick a female puppy, or alternatively consider purchasing a different, smaller, dog breed.

Divider 3

Final Thoughts

The American Bandogge has a significant reputation as being an aggressive and dangerous dog. Unfortunately, this reputation is not wholly undeserved, as when they are in the wrong hands, these dogs can be extremely dangerous.

These dogs are not a breed that we would recommend for most people, and if you have children in your family, we strongly recommend that you choose a different breed—the chance of a serious injury to a child is just not worth the risk.

In fact, the only people who should own these dogs are highly experienced dog owners who can provide the strong leadership that these dogs require, and that also have the necessary time and experience to ensure their dog is well trained and socialized.

Featured Image Credit: khaleesi, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database