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The Molosser Breed

Updated on February 27, 2012
Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiff

Moloser Dog Breed


Molosser is the name for the group of dogs that contain several different breeds of large, muscular dogs that all descended from the same basic dog. The name, Molosser is derived from Molossia, which is the modern day Albania.

The dogs within this group are commonly referred to as ‘mastiffs,' which when used in its proper sense, "Mastiff," refers to the English Mastiff. But, anyway, you may, also, hear the terms, "Mastin," "dogge," "dogue," and "dogo," when referring to the Molosser breed.

General Appearance of the Molosser

These dogs typically have thick, heavy bones, pendant ears, a relatively short neck, and a short muzzle. They are very muscular dogs that have been used for search and rescue, guard and protection, herding, and cart dogs.

Origin of the Molosser


This particular group of dog breeds have a debated origin.

It is said that the Molossians came from Epirus, which is northwest Greece, where they were given their name, "Molosser" because of the Molossi tribes.

These people wanted a dog that could serve as a guardian dog and a war dog, and selectively bred the "Canis Molossi," which is thought to be the early Tibetan Mastiff.

However, the origin of the Molosser breeds is not known, some of the breeds occur in various legends. For example, Zeus supposedly created a breed of strong dogs with similar characteristics of the Molossers.

But, with traders, warriors, and other people who found themselves traveling over the continent of Europe, the first true Molosser is unknown.


Training and Temperament of the Molosser Breeds

These dogs, collectively are great breeds. They tend to have wonderful temperaments with people of all ages.

BUT, they are known for their

  • Dominance streak
  • Stubbornness
  • Strong will
  • Devotion
  • Loyalty
  • Eagerness to please

The breeds in the Molosser category, tend to need a strong, firm hand in charge, otherwise they feel the need to take the role of 'Alpha Dog.'

Early socialization and training is the key to living with a Molosser happily ever after.

As many of the breeds in this category are considerably larger dogs, one must watch interaction between children and the dogs, as the children may be accidentally injured during play due to the large size of the dog.

Pictures of Molossers

Boxer (left) and Bullmastiff (right)
Boxer (left) and Bullmastiff (right)
Dogo Argentino
Dogo Argentino
Neopolitan Mastiff
Neopolitan Mastiff
French Bulldog (left) and French Mastiff (right)
French Bulldog (left) and French Mastiff (right)
English Bulldog
English Bulldog
Shar Pei puppies
Shar Pei puppies
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees

Molosser Breeds

  • Akbash Dog
  • Alano Espanol
  • Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
  • Alp Mastif
  • American Bulldog
  • American Mastiff
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Antebellum Bulldog
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Appenzeller Sennenhund
  • Argentine Dogo
  • Bandog
  • Bergamasco
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Boerbowl
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Branchiero Sicliano
  • Brazilian Bullmastiff
  • Broholmer
  • Bucciriscu Calabrese
  • Bulldog
  • Buldogue Campeiro
  • Bullmastiff
  • Bully Kutta (Pakistani Mastiff)
  • Ca de Bou
  • Cane Corso
  • Cao do Serra da Estrela
  • Cao de Castro Laboreiro
  • Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel
  • Cao de Gado Transmontano
  • Catahoula Bulldog
  • Catahoula Shepherd Dog
  • Central Asia Shepherd Dog
  • Dose Inu
  • Dogue de Bordeau (French Mastiff)
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Dog Cubano
  • Dogo Guatemalteco
  • Dog Serdesco
  • English Mastiff
  • Entlebucher Sennenhund
  • Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)
  • Gran Mastin de Borinquen
  • Great Dane
  • Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog)
  • Gull Terr
  • Hovawart
  • Himalayan Sheepdog
  • Indian Mastiff
  • Kangal Dog
  • Kuvasz
  • Landseer (sometimes considered a Newfoundland)
  • Leonberger
  • Moscovskaya Storozevaya Sobaka (Moscow Watchdog)
  • Neopolitan Mastiff
  • Nebolish Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Old English Bulldogge
  • Pakistani Mastiff
  • Perro Cimarron
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Perro de Tore
  • Pit Bull
  • Polish Tatra Sheepdog
  • Presa Canario
  • Pyrenean Mastiff
  • Pyrenean Mountain Dog (Great Pyrenees)
  • Rafeiro do Alentejo
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Sage Koochee (Afghan Sheepdog)
  • Saint Bernard
  • Shar Pei
  • Spanish Mastiff
  • Saint Bernard (Alpine Mastiff)
  • Tibetan Kyi Apso
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Tose
  • Valley Bulldog
  • Vucciriscu
  • Xochaso


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    • Beege215e profile image


      8 years ago

      I am a fan of the French Mastiff, having fallen in love with one about 15 years ago. I did not know their history so you have educated me well. Good Hub a big vote up

    • equinelover909 profile image


      8 years ago

      great article! and I especially love the pic of the Great Pyrenees, it truly is gorgeous!

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia

      The breed has been added. Thank you for catching that.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I find it interesting that one of the oldest Molosser breeds, Sarplaninac (pronounced Sharplanneenats), is not included in your list. Sarps are credited with having been the great dogs associated with Alexander the Great's mother. They have guarded the flocks in the Sar Planina mountains for millenia and may be related to Tibetan Mastiffs. Might want to add them, as no list of Molossers is complete without the amazing Sarplaninac.

    • lmmartin profile image


      9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi, nice article. I think my logo tells you where my heart lies. Nice to find another fan of the ancient, devoted, hard working molossus breeds.

    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 

      9 years ago from kentucky

      It seems that the breeds i prefer come from the Moloser group of dogs. Among my favorite breeds are APBT, Boxers and Boston Terriers.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      My son's Great Pyrenees is almost 14 and the best and most alert lady ever. They are a great breed.

      Great HUB Whitney

      regards Zsuzsy


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