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Don't be put off by their size. Don't be put off by the intimidating name "Molossos" (i.e. Mastiff), which refers to strong guard and protection dogs.
Modern "Great Danes" can strike fear into the hearts of the uninitiated. In reality, however, they are gentle, docile, sociable, calm animals who will fit right in to your small home!

The German Molossian is one of the most elegant giant breeds. Its noble appearance combines a large, powerful body of solid construction with pride, harmony, elegance and a particularly expressive face. It is considered the Apollo of dogs.

The English standard of the breed describes it as impetuous and bold, which means that the breed must always be alert to go anywhere and do anything. But at the same time Great Danes are expected to be gentle, outgoing, friendly and of course, for dogs of this size, nervousness and aggression are not acceptable traits.
What if they used to hunt wild boar? Modern Molossians are particularly calm and adapt easily to a relatively sedentary life.
They are excellent companions, highly social, loving the whole family and getting on famously well with other animals.


A Quiet Giant



The English name of the breed (Great Dane) causes much confusion as to its origins. Depictions of animals resembling Molossians have been found in Egyptian temples dating back to 3,000 BC, as well as in even older Babylonian artefacts, where dogs were accompanied by Assyrians. According to British morphology critic Andrew Brace, these dogs had the same bulky bodies and tall, strong legs as today's Molossians.
The Assyrians traded these large dogs with Greek and Roman traders, and the Romans seem to have crossed these animals with British guard dogs. For this reason, the ancient English Mastiff is thought to be the ancestor of the modern Molossian. Some argue that the Irish Wolfhound was also involved.
The Molossus has existed as a separate breed in Germany for over 400 years, where it was originally known as the English Dogge and was used to hunt wild boar - the once European boar had a reputation for being particularly ferocious, agile, dynamic and well armed, and hunting it required a super dog.
The first official standard for the breed was drawn up in Germany in 1891, where most modern enthusiasts still trace the ancestry of this elegant, well-balanced dog.

Did you know this about Molossos?
The English name is a translation of the French name "Grand Danois", given to the breed by the Frenchman Buffon on a trip to Denmark, claiming that the local climate had helped to "transform" the boar hound into a Grand Danois. The name stuck, even though Denmark had nothing to do with the development of the breed.
It has changed its official name many times, including Dogue Allemand (German Mastiff), Mastiff (for the English), Dogue or Dogo (in Latin), Deutsche Dogge (in German) and Alano (Mastiff), as the Italians still call it.
In Greece it is known as "Molossos" - Mastiff. All these names mean essentially the same thing: a huge dog, of sturdy build, with a heavy head and hunting, fighting and guarding abilities.
It is one of the largest breeds in the world, along with the Irish Wolfhound, English Whip, Borzoi, Anatolian Karabas (Turkish Shepherd) and St. Bernard. All of these breeds can reach 90cm at the withers.
The earliest written description of a dog resembling Molossos was found in Chinese literature in a text dated 1121 BC, according to Dr G. Ciaburri in a 1929 edition of the Italian Great Dane Club.
The world's tallest recorded dog is a Molossian from Sacramento, USA, Gibson, who reached a standing height of 2.13 meters.
Captain Kirk in the film Star Trek had a Molossian named Butler.


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