The term Bandog (also known as Bandogge) originated around 1250-1300 in Middle England, referring to a mastiff type dog that was bound by a chain during the daytime and was released at night to guard against intruders. In 1576 Johannes Caius published a book called Of English Dogs in which he described Bandog as a vast, stubborn, ugly, eager dog of heavy body.
William Harrison, in his description of England during 1586, first mentions the type 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.
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."
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.
A 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 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. 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.
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.