Not everyone has the strength to physically handle an 80-120# American Sentinel when it is in a high drive state of mind such as hog work or protection training. My daughter, Courtney, is a small young lady and has problems with her shoulder as well. Even though she does handle a few of our American Sentinels, the smaller APBT is considerably easier for her to manage being they are only about half the size of the American Sentinel.
When selecting various lines of APBTs, we chose to stick with dogs from game bred lines due to their exceptional athleticism, drive, and health. We also demanded that these dogs display phenomenal stability, thereby ensuring the dogs would maintain clarity of mind even when doing intense work such as hog catch or protection training...after all, these dogs were going to be working with my family. As a result, we opted to go with lines primarily founded upon Redboy/Jocko. Dogs that were selected where then screened in terms of working ability and hip x-ray exams (only keeping dogs with "good" or "excellent" ratings). Not every dog met our requirements, and some were returned to the breeders.
Most game bred APBT range in the 30-55# range when in good physical condition; however, the Redboy/Jocko dogs are often on the larger side of game bred dogs (males generally being 45-65#, females generally being 40-55#) and maintain what we consider to be minimal sufficient mass for most hog catch or protection work applications. While they are considerably smaller than and obviously not as powerful as the dogs in our American Sentinel program, the game bred APBT is considered by some people to be the most powerful and durable breed of dogs in existence when looked at on a "per pound" basis. Pound for pound, few breeds can compare to this mid-sized breed, and when properly bred and handled by responsible owners, these mid-size dogs are very capable, healthy, and stable dogs.
Primary differences between the APBT and the American Sentinel
1. As stated above, the APBT as a breed is limited in size and power, as it is rare to find true APBTs that are in shape that hit honestly hit the scales over the 60-65#s range. While there are people out there advertising "XL" pit bulls and such, those dogs are not pure bred APBTs, and unlike bandogs, the "XL pit bull" dogs are bred for looks, not health or performance; therefore, they tend to have health issues and also lack drives and confidence that is expected of the true APBT. Of course, healthy examples of XLs exist, but they are not very common.
2. The APBT as a breed generally lacks the traits needed to be a good family protection dog or sentry dog, as they tend to like people, including strangers. They still can be trained for protection work, but they generally have to be trained with prey drive alone. Some however do balance nicely and can still be very successful at such work when properly trained, but I would not claim the APBT as a naturally protective breed. They do have very high prey drive however and like the American Sentinel they tend to make excellent hog catch dogs.
3. The biggest weakness in the APBT as a breed is public opinion. Due to being owned by so many irresponsible people; however, they are generally great dogs if they are owned by responsible people and when they are bred by people that know how to eliminate undesired traits, such as mental instability.
4. If we only include good examples of the APBT, their efficiency is legendary however. Of course, every breed is going to have dogs that do not live up to expectations, but when one finds high quality game bred APBTs, they are basically the Olympic athletes in the canine world. In fact, one of the primary goals of the American Sentinel program has been to improve bandogs by not just selecting for the proper protectiveness and power found in quality bandogs but also to improve the efficiency of the bandog to match the level of efficiency seen in performance bred APBTs. We have made great strides in the American Sentinel in this regard, which is one reason why the American Sentinel is so successful at both catch work and protection work.