Many American Molossus dog breeders are trying to recreate the American Molossus dog which can be considered as the founder of the Mastiff breed. This is a large dog breed and naturally they need an experienced owner to handle them. While almost extinct, there are people interested in recreating this warrior breed that is not registered by the AKC. However, the interest in these dogs is at an all time high as many Americans are curious about this fighter dog. You might have even come across the term Molossus of Epirus. History informs us that Molossus was the name of a great King who lived in Epirus, the Greece mountainous region surrounded by the hills of Selli or Suli. The dogs in this area became famous as Molossis dogs and they were known to be excellent guard dogs for livestock as well as fighter dogs. Let us study the great American Molossus in detail.
Interesting Facts about the Molossus
- Experts believe that the American Molossus may have directly been the result of cross between wolf and large breed of dog. It is nearly 5000 years old! Some historical reports state that Alexander The Great might have contributed to this breed’s creation when he crossed war dogs with short haired Indian dogs.
- The country of origin of this ancient, extinct breed is Greece. In fact; it is one of the best known breeds of Greco-Roman antiquity.
- Today, all mastiff type dogs are termed as Molossus or Molossers.
- A few American Molossus breeders are trying to recreate this breed which is nearly extinct. However, the Molossus can be accredited of creating several popular modern dog breeds including Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, and the Bernese Mountain Dog. Even the Romanian Shepherd dogs are said to be direct descendents of the Molossian mastiff.
- In early days, Molossus dogs were trained to battle. Roman warriors attached spiky metal collars around their necks and arranged them in attack formations. Even the ancient Greeks used Molossian mastiffs for attack and defense purposes. The dogs were even trained to battle with wild and ferocious animals such as lions, tigers, elephants etc.
- Other jobs performed by the Molossian Mastiff included guarding livestock and cattle, hunting and herding etc. Molossian shepherds living in the Epirus region (Albania and Greece today) used these ferocious dogs to guard their sheep.
- Many poets and scholars including Aristotle have praised and mentioned this ancient dog breed in their literary works.
- As the breed’s popularity grew, they spread to other parts of the world, including Italy’s Neapolitan region. Italy has even erected a statue in the breed’s honor at the famous Boboli Gardens. In Italy, the breed is also known as Neapolitan Mastiff.
- Molossus has a lifespan of 8-10 years.
American Molossus size – This is a large dog breed with wide muzzle and heavy dewlap. They have loose skin and an enormous body. The coat is smooth, short and dense. Ideal height and weight will be comparable to the Cane Corso or Romanian Shepherd with height ranging from 23.5 to 25 inches and weight being about 110 pounds. Ancient Mesopotamian Molossus had dark, brindled coat with an intimidating personality. Recently was born, the world’s largest puppy–a Molossus with amazing physical statistics like height of 6 feet and weight of 12 stone. This puppy is being considered as the closest genetic descendent of the 5000 year old breed Mesopotamian Molossus. You can read all about the world’s largest puppy here.
Where can you find an American Molossus dog?
As stated above, a few reputable American Molossus breeders are trying to create the breed. You should check potential breeders thoroughly. Contact ASPCA if in doubt. Before you buy, do observe the puppy well in its litter in order to get an insight into its temperament. If possible, meet the puppy’s parents too. Some breeders have a waitlist for Molossus puppies and you might even have to pay a $500 deposit for reserving one. Creating Molossian puppies is often difficult task as most bitches need cesarean surgery to deliver such large pups. In UK, nearly 36.4% litters were delivered through C-section.
This is not an attack dog unlike the common misconception about it. If well trained and socialized from an early age, you can mold your pet into a loyal, loving guard dog. Always remember the history of the breed. This was a dog that was created to protect women and children when the men went to war. Also, this breed was taught to fight and attack. Naturally, you might see some of these traits in your pet. A Molossus puppy and adult might have a high prey drive and may not necessarily get along well with other animals. Here are some more desirable characteristic and temperament features of a well trained and socialized Molossus:
- Loyal, gentle and loving.
- They are devoted to their family members but wary of strangers.
- Molossian mastiffs are not recommended for families with young children owing to their large size.
- They drool heavily.
- Molossus dogs do well in cool climates.
- This dog needs plenty of space and are highly unsuitable for apartments.
The Molossian mastiff is prone to health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, patella luxation as well as hypothyroidism. It is important to provide exercise to your puppy twice a day and also opportunities to run and play several times a day. Older dogs also need 1 hour of walking. Many owners simply let their dogs out in the yard. The dog simply goes outdoors, sniffs a few spots and then sits in the yard which hardly provides any exercise. So make sure you have a strict walking routine established from an early age.
Grooming and shedding
They have a short coat of 1” which does not need too much brushing or grooming. Bathing is recommended at least once a month. Dogs in hot humid climate will shed more. Most vets and breeders still recommend daily combing and grooming as this will help you bond with your pet and also help you examine its paws, tail, teeth, eyes and ears to catch minor issues.
Understanding the basics about right nutrition as well as learning to read food labels is essential in getting the right balance for your canine companion. Many people believe that such a large dog will need variety in its diet. The fact is: your Molossus will love to eat the same food as long as it is meeting all its dietary requirements. Speak to your breeder or vet as to the best brand of dog food for your American Molossus dog.