This ancient dog breed of dog is commonly considered to be the ancestor (in rivalry with the Alaunt, the dog of the Alans) of today's Mastiff-type dogs and of many other modern breeds. Mastiff-type dogs are often referred to as Molossus dogs or Molossers. It is one of the best-known breeds of Greco-Roman antiquity; however, its physical characteristics and function are debated. Though the Molossus breed no longer exists in its original form, this large ancient breed was, along with the Tibetan Mastiff, an important ancestor of modern breeds such as the English Mastiff, St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Newfoundland, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Bernese Mountain Dog.
Most scholars agree that the Molossus originated with the Molossis people in the mountainous regions of north west Ancient Greece and southern Albania. The Molossians were renowned for their vicious hounds, which were used by Molossian shepherds of Epirus in the mountains of northwestern Greece to guard their flocks. The poet Grattius, a contemporary of Ovid, writes "...when serious work has come, when bravery must be shown, and the impetuous War-god calls in the utmost hazard, then you could not but admire the renowned Molossians so much.
The Molossian dog was traditionally a dog who guarded livestock. In addition, the Epirus region was highly depended on farming. Historical documents support this , the best proof comes from Aristotle ( IV century BC ) , the greatest philosopher of ancient Greece , in his work " On the history of animals," he writes : " ... the biggest cows in Epirus , give each a container and a half from both breasts ... " and furthermore he adds " ... besides the donkeys, Epirus produces animals who grow thick and large all over and so do the dogs ... " . So the people of Epirus, historically held alongside other farm animals, dogs as working tools for keeping cattle and livestock out of various harms way.
Some scholars contend that the Molossus was a dog used by the Ancient Illyria also for fighting. They describe it as having a wide, short muzzle and a heavy dewlap (similar to modern Mastiff breeds) that was used to fight tigers, lions, elephants, and men in battle. A Roman copy of a Greek original sculpture of a guard dog (known as the Jennings Dog) is generally considered to represent a Molossus and can be seen at the British Museum.
The first thing to notice on an Molossian is the large head. It is approximately 40% of body height. The height of the dog is about 60-65 cm (2 feet - 2.2 feet), while the length of 110-120 cm (3 3/4 feet - 4 feet). Chest circumference ranges from 85 cm to 95 cm, and width at shoulder 30-35 cm. Body weight around 40-50 kg (99.2 lb - 110 lbs), but even more. So it turns out that he has a massive and powerful body, associated with a large head - Well, this is precisely the characteristic feature of this breed dog. As regards the form of the skull of the head of dogs, there are three basic forms: dolikocefale (eg Saluki breed originating from the Middle East), mezocefale (eg hunting breed originating Pointer English) and brakicefale (p .sh. Boxeri German). Form the head being average mezocefale Mollos is neither long nor narrow, nor short or wide, but powerful. Ballin has wide and slightly round. But in terms of the type of head, it is lupoido - mollosoide. We note that the term "mollosoid" is borrowed from the name exactly such dogs who wore Mollosëve Illyrian tribes in antiquity and used today Cynology science, to show dogs with big body and very strong.
The breed was native to Greece and the rest of the Balkans. It was later spread to Italy and other places in the Greek World by colonizing Hellenic peoples. Virgil says that in ancient Greece the heavier Molossian dogs were often used by the Greeks and Romans for hunting (canis venaticus) and to watch over the house and livestock (canis pastoralis). "Never, with them on guard," says Virgil, "need you fear for your stalls a midnight thief, or onslaught of wolves, or Iberian brigands at your back." Aristotle mentions them in the history of animals and praises their bravery and physical superiority.
One of the most ancient breeds. Historical records of the ancient Romans tell of a large, strong, dependable and intelligent mastiff-type working dog used to drive cattle, provide protection and guard their owner and property. As the Roman armies moved across Europe, these impressive canines accompanied the soldiers, driving the huge cattle herds needed to feed the men. The dogs were also used to protect the camps and food supply from large predators and to help protect outposts of the Roman Empire. As Roman Legions marched through Europe, many of these dogs were left behind and bred with local dogs, producing strong and hardworking canines.
The town of Rottweil sits along the banks of the Neckar River in southwestern Germany. It was founded by the Romans in 73 AD. Butchers and cattle owners were impressed with the working ability and protective instinct of these dogs and saw an advantage to using them. Cattle dealers used dogs with superior driving abilities to herd cattle to market, as well as protect their herds and themselves from thieves and animal predators. The intimidating demeanor of these dogs was so valued by cattle dealers that it became common practice to attach moneybags to their collars to prevent theft. They felt that fastening their money around the neck of a Rottweiler was safer than putting it in a bank. Butchers and farmers used the dogs to pull meat carts and produce to market, and to protect their property.
The breed was first called the Rottweiler Metzgerhund, which means butcher’s dog in German. Eventually, the name was changed to Rottweiler after the town where the breed was developed to have courage, speed, strength, power, herding and guarding ability, and most importantly – intelligence. This is a thinking dog with the ability to assess his environment before taking action. Even though he has an instinct to guard, you still have to train him to properly use his innate skill.
As the industrial revolution settled in across Europe during the 1800s, the Rottweiler saw a huge decline in numbers as their services were no longer needed. Moving cattle by rail was faster and safer. The number of Rottweilers diminished so severely that by 1882 in a dog show in Heilbronn, there was only one very poor representative of the breed.
The usefulness of this breed was once again needed, however, with the outbreak of WWI. It was discovered that these dogs were well suited for life in the German army as military service dogs. With their new role as a guard dog, the Rottweiler saw an increase in their numbers after the war. During the First and Second World Wars, Rottweilers were put into service in various roles, including as messenger, ambulance, draught, and guard dogs.
The Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (DRK, German Rottweiler Club), the first Rottweiler club in Germany, was founded on 13 January 1914, and followed by the creation of the Süddeutscher Rottweiler-Klub (SDRK, South German Rottweiler Club) on 27 April 1915 and eventually became the IRK (International Rottweiler Club). The DRK counted around 500 Rottweilers, and the SDRK 3000 Rottweilers. The goals of the two clubs were different. The DRK aimed to produce working dogs and did not emphasise the morphology of the Rottweiler.
The various German Rottweiler Clubs amalgamated to form the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK, General German Rottweiler Club) in 1921. This was officially recorded in the register of clubs and associations at the district court of Stuttgart on 27 January 1924. The ADRK is recognized worldwide as the home club of the Rottweiler. The breed made its way to America and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935.