1) Ancient Molossus
The Molossus of Epirus is a dog breed with a very long history. It is believed, that they were developed by a Greek tribe called Molossians in a region called Epirus, which can be found in northwestern Greece and Southwestern Albania. These dogs were used as skilled livestock guardians, but also as war dogs.
2) Two types
Molossians bred and kept two types of Molossus dog. The first one was bred for hunting and it had broader muzzle. This dog is today considered to be ancestor of modern mastiff dogs. The second type was bred for protecting the livestock, which is the type of Molossus of Epirus we know today. BTW, the Molossus of Epirus is the only living descendant of the extinct Molossus and it is closely related to Greek Shepherd. This is truly very old and unique dog breed.
This is very big and strong dog with massive head. On average, these dogs are 65-75 cm tall, which is 25-30 inch and weight is usually between 40-65 kg, which is 88-143 pounds. For such a large dog, the Molossus of Epirus is not cumbersome, this is quite agile dog.
The first thing you will probably notice about this breed is its very very big head. But they also have muscular and powerful body. They have relativel small dark eyes, powerful jaw, small ears that hangs down and thick neck. The chest is deep and they have densely furry medium sized tail.
These dogs were bred to guard livestock from very dangerous predators such as wolves or even bears and they still have high protective instinct even today. This is very confident and brave dog that would protect its people if needed.
The Molossus of Epirus is not only known as great protector and worker, they are also known as absolutely faithful and loyal companions. They love its people and is very friendly to its whole family. On the other hand, they are known to be suspicious and alert towards strangers and it can také some time before a complete stranger will gain a trust of this dog. The Molossus of Epirus is also intelligent and quite peaceful dog when it is at home.
The Molossus of Epirus was bred to be able to work alone and make its own decision when protecting the livestock. This is why this breed is independent and they know how to be little bit headstrong. This does not mean they are not smart, they are very intelligent, but they are not total pushovers to train. This is not a dog for a novices or unexperienced owner, because they need proper patient, firm and consistent training and early socialization from the puppyhood.
This is pretty low maintenance breed. Even without any brushing and grooming, they will keep the coat in good condition. They also do not need much bathing, only if its really necessary. Of course, you should regularly exercise the dog, so it stays in good shape, healthy and happy. Just like with all dogs, you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
The Molossus of Epirus is not recognized by the largest kennel clubs such as FCI or AKC, but it is officially recognized by Kennel Club of Greece, where you can also find their breed standard. They also have a breed club since the 2006, which is trying to increase this breeds population. The club is called Molossus of Epirus Rescue Organization.
Thanks to the long existence and development, this is usually extremely healthy dog breed, especially for its size. The average lifespan is around 15 years, which is just amazing in comparsion to other big dog breeds.