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A brief history of the original breed
Molossus was the war-dog bred by the ancient Greek Molossi tribe to guard their flocks. It was unleashed on their enemies during war. An ancient warrior takes courage from the dog that leads him. Strong, fearless dogs, armed with fangs, claws and spiked collars, made formidable foes. The breed was native to Greece and rest of the Balkans. That was more than 2000 years ago. It later migrated to Italy and found place there through the colonial Greek Hellenic people as big game hunter and guard dog. Even there Molossus found great popularity due to bravery and physical superiority. Popularity of dog fights and animal baiting added to their popularity. Writing evidences of dog fights and animal baiting can be found throughout history, and such events are held in popular places such as the Roman Amphitheater to Travelling caravan arenas of the nineteenth century (UK).
However, modern molosser-type breeds have full of contradictory origins. Some are of the view that they originated from Mesopotamia. They were then concluded from several sources that they were divided into two groups - one group had broader muzzle (undeshot jaw), while the other group had longer and narrower muzzle as shown in Greek sculpture. The broad muzzled-dogs were taken to central asia while the other group was taken to greece. Today, Tibetan Mastiffs (Do Kyi) are considered to be the direct descendants of central Asian Molossus most probably as a result of the Silk route. But with so much of the Tibetan Mastiff sub-breeds it is difficult to say which of them still follow the true lineage. Whatever the conclusion is, the name 'Molossus' still renders its name from the ancient Greek tribe and we are going to stick to it.
List of molosser breeds
Modern small, medium to large molosser breeds are arranged in alphabetical order :
A - Akabaksh, Alano Espanol, Alphalpha Blue Blood Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, American Bandogge Mastiff (Pitbull Mastiff or Neapolitan), American Mastiff or Panja, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Bulldog, Appenzeller Mountain Dog, Aryan Molossus.
B - Banter Bulldog, Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennehund), Belgian Masstiff, Blue Paul, Boerboel, Boston Terrier, Bouledogue Francaise (French Bulldog), Boxer, Broholmer, Branchiero Siciliano, Bucciriscu Calabrese, Buldogue Campeiro, Bulldog (English Bulldog), Bullenbeisser, Bullmastiff, Bull Terrier, Bully Kutta (Pakistani Mastiff), Bull Terrier.
C - Ca de Bou, Ca de Bestiar, Cane Carso Italiano, Caucasian Owtcarka (probably descended from other prehistoric mollasses), Canne di Mannera, Cane Garouf, Cani Pertiatzu, Cao da Serra da Estrela (Estrella Mountain Dog), Cao de Castro Laboreiro, Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel, Cao de fila da Terceira, Cao de Gado Transmontano, Catalahua Bulldog, Chien de Trait (Belgian Mastiff), Chien de Montague Des Pyrenees (Great Pyreneese), Coban copeigi (Anatolian Shephard Dog), Cypro Kukur (Kumaon Mastiff).
D - Dalbohund, Dogo Argentino, Dogo Cubano, Dogo Guatamalteco, Dogue Brasilero, Dogue de Boreaux, Do Khyi/Tasang Khyi (Tibetan Mastiff), Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldog.
E - Entelbucher(Entelbuch Mountain Dog), English Mastiff.
F - Fila Brasilero.
G - Gran Mastin De Borinquen(Puerto Rican Mastiff), Great Dane, Grosser Schweizer Sennehund (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog), Gull Terr (Bull Terr or Gull Dong), Giant Maso Mastiff (new breed).
I - Indian Mastiff (Sindhi Mastiff), Irish staffordshire Bull Terrier.
K - Kangal, Karakachan Dog, Kel Tal-Gleit (Maltese Bulldog), Kuvasz, Korean Dosa Mastiff (Dosa).
L - Landseer (ECT),Leonberger, Lion d'Occitanie (Lion).
M - Maremma Sheepdog, Mastiff (English Mastiff), Mastin del Pirineo (Pyrenean Mastiff), Mastin Espanol (Spanish Mastiff), Mastino Napoletano (Neapolitan Mastiff), Medelyanskaya Sobaka (Russian Mastiff), Molossus tis Epirou (Molosser from Epirou), Moskoskaya Strozhevaya Sobaka (Moscow Watchdog).
N - Nauthund/Fehund (Norsedogge), Newfoundland.
O - Old Boston Bulldog (Boston Bulldog), Olde English Bulldogge (Leavitt's Olde English Bulldogge), Original English Bulldogge (Wilkinsons Original English Bulldogge).
P - Pastore Abruzzese (Abruzzes mastiff), Perro Cimarron, Perrode Toro (Spanish Bulldog), Perro Dogo Canario ( Presa Canario).
R - Rafeiro do alentejo (Portuguese Watchdog), Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler.
S - Sage Koochee (Koochee Dog), Sage Mazandarani(Iranian Ovtcharka), Saint Barnard, Sarplaninac ( IllyrianSheepdog), Skilos tou Alexandrou (Alexander The Great's Dog), Skilos tou Pyrrou (King Pyrros Dog), Sredneasiatskaia Ovtcharka (Central Asian Ovtcharka), Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
T - Tosa Inu (Tosa Ken or Japanese Fighting Dog), Tornjac(Croatian Mountain Dog).
V - Victorian Bulldog (Mollet's), Villano, Vucciriscu.
X - Xochaso ( Madiera Farm Dog).
Temperament of the molosser breeds
South asian breeds like the Bully Kutta, Aryan Molossus, Cypro Kukur tend to be very aggressive and may not be recommended for inexperienced owners. Pitbulls and Tosas can be very gentle depending on how they are brought up and socialised. Mountain and sheep herding dogs may sometimes be overprotective toward their family. Other dogs like the English Mastiffs are exceptionally cool and gentle. Some such as the Neapolitan Mastiffs are very dominant and stubborn, and may be almost untrainable. On the other hand, dogs such as Boxers and Rottweilers are versatile and can be trained for various purposes due to intelligence and obedience. Before buying any dog always ask an expert to suit your lifestyle and even choose the bloodline of a particular breed to suit you (remember every dog takes the trait and characters of its parents) otherwise you'll make both your life miserable.
Modern day molosser : Fighting for unknown cause
Today, most molosser breeds do not have much fights left for them and they are fairly popular as companion and guard dogs. While some (fortunate or unfortunate) do find places in bear-baiting (Pakistan) though the tethered bears, which are ridden of their claws and canines, suffer badly. But this is the main reason why the Bully Kutta and the Gull Terr are popular and bred by wealthy local tribesmen. Dog fighting is another cruel sport which very unfortunate dogs have to inevitably face. In Afghanistan and Turkey, owners prefer Afghan molossus (although in very rare occasions), Kangals and some forms of very large undefined breeds just for the sake of amusement or for honor or even even settling disputes. In the United States and the Latin American countries, Pittbulls and Dogos are generally preferred even as laws forbid dog fights. Dog fighting is the root cause for the extinction of the Fighting Dog of Cordoba (Argentina). Generally, dogs are allowed to fight to the death. However, Tosa fights (Japan particularly Kochi) are never never to the death. Rules and time limits made the combatant dogs look more like mixed martial artists. Doctor stoppages are also common when fights get too dangerous. The only difference with human fight event is that the dogs are not given any chance to plump for any choices. Eastern European country like Russia and Ukraine made Dog fighting legal but under certain conditions. Here, Central Asian Ovtcharka and Caucasian Ovtcharka are preferred. There are still some underground dog fighting community active in Britain. Betting for money up to 40,000 pounds can fetch the owner some easy money with all the toils and pains inflicted upon his poor dog. In India, dog fighting is not practised anymore except in the areas bordering Pakistan. Fighting dogs of Indian origins are so rare that, breeds like the Cypro Kukur are found only in foreign countries today. A handful of Indian Mastiff may still be found in places like Punjab and Haryana. Pakistan maybe a better place to find them.
The dog pictures shown here are Aryan Molossus, Multani Bully kutta, Indian Mastiff and Black Mastiff, guarding dog of Dariush from Persia respectively. Aryan molossus and Indian mastiffs are considered ancient breeds. The Black Persian Mastiff statue (2500 bc) is in Iran Bastan Museum. There are huge Black dogs called Sage-Siah in some part of Iran area. They may be descendants of the original Black Mastiffs. Bully Kutta and Indian Mastiffs may be of any size and color due to extensive crossbreeding with other Western, Eastern and even local dog breeds. Very few, say less than 100 pure breeds are are said to be left in Pakistan.