The Panja Mastiff or just Panja is an experimental breed, yet to go mainstream, the Panja Mastiff's reputation is on shaky ground. Pitbulls were bred with Rottweilers to develop impressive intimidating animals with an 'edge' to cope with extreme situations regardless of the terrors it had to face.
Panja Mastiff History
The Panja also known as the Panja variant of the American Mastiff has a dark origin. Originally they were used (and unfortunately some still are) to guard drug dealer's houses, property, and their merchandise (drugs). Breeding fighting dogs (American Pitbull Terrier is the modern fighting dog incarnated) to guard dogs (Rottweiler = one of the best modern guard dogs) the Panja is a modern bandog/bandogge (a guard dog with some of the gameness and athleticism of a fighting dog); that is somewhat more compact and agile than the bandog creations that use mastiff instead of Rottweiler (the Rottweiler being already a working type of lighter mastiff) as guarding component.
They had to be intimidating and not too "friendly" (in general the American Pitbull Terrier is one of the most people friendly races) with strangers, but allow customer traffic. They have a tendency to be aloof with new people, but (unlike guard dog bred Rottweilers) allow entrance. The Panjas were trained to allow under no circumstances (break and entry) access to property; they were set to guard the merchandise, labs and dealers with their life. The breed first appeared in the Detroit Metro area as a cross breed of several dogs. Especially, American Pitbull Terriers and Rottweilers are known influences of this breed. Before being registered with the DRA in 1996, they were simply known as "rock dogs". However, since the DRA has recognized them, a good number of these dogs are not drug-guarding dogs, but have lighter purposes as loving pets and guard dogs of their loved ones.
Panja Mastiff Appearance
Body: the body of the Panja screams athlete, and sports an impressive musculature. The chest is broad, and overall build is thick, and well boned. Panjas are a true working dog with the muscular body of an athlete. Wide chest with well sprung ribs, slight tuck-up in the mid-section. Front legs must be straight and heavy-boned, with very muscular hind quarters, with slightly angled hocks giving the impression of instant action. Dew claws are removed. The dogs must have a clean presentation. The tail dock when applied is to remove the two thirds of its length seen from the point of the tail (the Rottweiler dock); please note that dogs with tail perform better than those without tail, even weight-matched fighting dogs. Overall, this is a handsome animal.
Head: the Panja has a thoughtfull, alive, curious and alert expression. The small eyes are wide set and almond shaped (usually dark), with a classic broad 60/40 head, widest at the ears. The Panja has a massive head with a broad skull, and robust, square muzzle which has powerful jaws. The neck is substantial with little throatiness. Eyes are set wide apart, and seem small in proportion to the face. They have a strong scissor bite. The Panja should be "dry mouthed" and flews should not protrude, nor his cheeks slobbering. Its ears are usually cropped to give this dog an aggressive appearance. Ear crop if applied is short, often the "fighting" crop is used to make the dogs look even tougher; natural ears are okay: the "button" style (this type of ear stands on it's own; just the top 1/4 to 1/3 is turned down towards the front only) is preferred.
Height at Withers: no standard yet, between Rottweiler and American Pit bull Terrier; in general between 22-26 inches (56-66 cm) for dogs and 20-22.5 inches (50-60 cm) for bitches.
Weight: no standard yet, between Rottweiler and American Pit bull Terrier; in general between 80-100 pounds (36-45 kg.) for dogs and 60-75 pounds (27-34 kg) for bitches.
Coat: the Panja's coat is a hybrid of that of the Rottweiler and that of the American Pitbull Terrier. the Panja has a medium, sleek, glossy and flat coat. They do grow an undercoat (Rottweiler influence) in the winter.
Colors: Black and Tan, Black and Tan dilutions (most often), Fawn, Red, Black, Black dilutions, Blue (ultimately also a dilution of black). Disqualifications: None. Working dog. Plain whites have not been seen up to this day.
Panja Mastiff Temperament
Character: the Panja has an easy going attitude. They love to be around their people; and with proper socialization, they are excellent travel buddies that make sure you will feel secure wherever dark road your journey will take you. The most impressive thing about these dogs is their guarding habits; they know when your guests are welcome in your home, and treat them as family. They are an active breed and love to play.
Social Build: this happy couch potato does best living close to the family; to feel part of your family keeps them happiest. They do not like to be left alone, and some may become very destructive while their owner are gone. Keeping them in a crate while their owners are away is recommended by some breeders. Beware of burglars, tresspassers could very well not survive a meeting with a strong guard dog, the Panja definately has the force and guarding instinct to be reckoned with. Both the American Pit Bull Terrier's and the Rottweiler's make-up have contributed to the dominance of the Panja towards other dogs (especially from the same sex) and the resulting dominance aggression towards other dogs and the accompanying damage they can and will deliver and thus the responsibility of the Panja's owner. Please keep this in mind when considering the Panja.
Panja Mastiff Socially
They are very devoted to their families and are excellent with children when they are raised with them from puppyhood and/or properly socialized. The Panja will take on the responsibility of watching over everything in your home, including the cat; they think everything has to be protected.
Care: Panjas do not require special attention to any areas for grooming. Daily brushing will keep the stray hairs under control in the shedding season. However, shedding for this breed is minimal. Panjas do not require special attention to any areas for grooming; just a good bath if needed and a rub-down once a month will keep the Panja's coat in top condition. They need a strong leader as their owner. If you have very little experience with guard dogs or you are insecure/ physically non-able then this is not the breed for you. Anyone considering this breed would be advised to have experience with other large dominant breeds. Not a breed for the meek owner, needs a pack leader alpha owner.
Education: Panjas are strong-willed and try to become the alpha (the pack leader); that is what makes a great guard dog. They need an owner who knows how to show strong leadership and fulfill the alpha role (pack leader). Lines must be clearly defined by the pack leader and rules are set for the entire pack (family of humans and dogs). The pack leader and all members of his human family must be higher up in the rank than dogs. Early socialization with other dogs and people, help to get a more social Panja. Obedience training and an owner how knows how to display authority over the dog is strongly recommended to channel their protective instincts. As with most intelligent dogs, the Panja tend to get bored very easily and can be prone to chewing with it's massive jaws that is going to cause damage. These dogs require a firm handler. Despite their background, in an experienced household the Panja is a well mannered, devoted family companion. As with all dominant breeds, consistent training combined with socialization creates exceptional animals. These oversized couch potatoes are outstanding with children they were raised with.
Activity: The Panja needs a yard/property, even if it's a smaller lot. They are suited for all climates: tolerating the various weather conditions, provided like almost all dogs that there is shelter from rain, snow, heat and enough fresh drinking water available. They are athletic and need to be taken on long daily walks. They love to run; if they are kept in a smaller yard, a trip to the park will help them to unleash their energy and athletic potential. The Panja can live acceptably in a small household or apartment if they are properly exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and have a propensity to become lazy, so it's important that their owners initiate some healthy activity. Panjas can get destructive if left alone indoors, so keeping them in a crate while the owners are away is often recommended (please note that in a crate he won't be the hard-hitting manstopper).
Usability: Guard dog, defense dog, property protection, intimidation dog, these breedings could also work as a catch dog on swines or cattle (both american pitbull terrier and rottweiler share their cattledog butcher history).
Panja Mastiff Quotes / Trivia
The name Panja is derived from Panja Kennels (Flint MI, USA): a former Mastiff kennel. Hence the addition of the name Panja Mastiff and gradual infusion of Mastiff (bigger is better does not apply here) to the original Panja (APBT x Rottweiler). We of By Spartan Law prefer the original Panja to the Mastiff-infused version.
Below a Panja Mastiff with (more) mastiff blood infused (we at By Spartan Law kennel prefer the more agile APBT-Rottweiler Panja).