Molosse, at least for today, is no longer a proper breed. Perhaps, in fact, the Molossians never were an independent breed. For a long time this term was called a special type of dogs. "Moloss - ready, silently bite," - said Danunzio.
However, there were times when real breeds, that is, breeds in the modern understanding of this term, did not exist at all. Most likely, the word "moloss" called the type of dogs that are being brushed today to the molossoid type.
These are heavy squat dogs, with a short muzzle, covered with folds in those areas where the skin, unlike the skeletal model, did not become shortened. “Not a muzzle, but a face,” Petro Scanziani clarifies in his story in his story “A Journey Around the Moloss”. In fact, the Molossians constantly generate phrases like: "He reflects," "this is a real sage." We again used the term moloss instead of molossoid, because not many dog breeds are typologically related to molossoids. However, not all of them evoke similar feelings.
Pug - also refers to molossoids. However, looking at him I want to smile, and not respectfully tremble. A boxer is also a molossoid of respectable sizes. This is an excellent dog for protection. However, hardly anyone at the sight of him will truly experience horror mixed with reverence. Thus, many dogs belong to molossoids. But the Molossians, we call only those that, only at their one form, cause a mixed feeling of fear and admiration, the desire to have such a dog as a friend and a premonition that can happen if this dog somehow recognizes the enemy in you.
The Mastiff and the Bullmastiff, officially defined by dog handlers as molossoids, are, judging by the impression they make, genuine Molossians and we want to call them that way.. Both of these breeds have a common origin. In fact, the bullmastiff is bred from the mastiff by crossing it with the former bulldog. This is not difficult to guess, even by name.
In the 55th year BC, Caesar’s legions landed on the British Isles, where they were confronted with 2 kinds of dogs. The first were squat, with a huge head compared to the torso and short, but very powerful jaws, which the caviar carried quickly by private legionnaires. It is likely that these dogs were the ancestors of the Bulldogs, as well as partly of modern bullmastiffs. The second type of dog was very large, real lions, not dogs.
These dogs were direct descendants of the Asiro-Babylonian mastiffs, which the Phoenicians brought to England 500 years before the invasion of the Romans. Compared to them, the Imperial Molossians, whom the Romans considered the best fighting dogs, looked like elegant indoor dogs. Having conquered Britain, the Romans departed, taking with them the English dogs that struck them, whom they called fighting British and which they began to use in arenas, forcing them to fight wild animals.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, fighting British dogs were used in the guard, where they were called "chain dogs". Then in the 1200th year, that is, at the turn of the century, these dogs were used to protect the royal hunting grounds. At this time, the name "chain dog" was replaced by a mastino, and then by a mastiff. So we got to the middle ages. In Rome, a story happened to Sir Peer Lee, an English nobleman who was wounded in the battle of Azencourt. For many days his dog Mastiff took care of him and her cares saved his life. The appreciative family of Sir Peer has reared all the descendants of this dog, which thus became the ancestor of the English Mastiff line. In the Renaissance, the mastiff is again used as a fighting dog.
And Queen Elizabeth the 1st, who was a great lover of this spectacle, is guilty of this. It was at this time, wanting to increase the agility of the dog, mastiff crossed with a bulldog. The resulting individuals became the ancestors of the bullmastiff breed. However, it should be recalled that it was not about modern English bulldogs, squat and stocky, but about a medium-sized, agile and long-legged dog. Since that time, both species gradually divided into two distinct species. Nowadays we clearly distinguish them.
The best and worst times of the English Mastiff
In the second half of the 19th century, mastiffs became extremely popular. The club "Old English Mastiff" is the first social organization that started breeding mastiffs and keeping the breed clean. It was founded in 1883. It is one of the oldest specialized English dog clubs.
By this time, mastiffs have already received fairly widespread. At the 1872 exhibition in London, 81 dogs of this breed were represented. And then the crisis began. During the World Wars, the breed was almost negated and was on the verge of extinction. War is always disastrous for large dogs, primarily for economic reasons.
When food is scarce even to humans, dogs automatically become redundant mouths and the biggest mouths disappear first. So after the 2nd World War, the only producer left alive was still able to give offspring. The breed was saved due to the presence of 2 factors: first, at the beginning of the war, some of the dogs were sent to America.
Secondly: Mrs. Nora Dicken, a resident of London, a passionate dog lover of this breed, decided to keep her from disappearing. Mrs. Dicken was just as gracious as her favorite mastiffs. She went to the United States and Canada, found sources of funding and acquired new dogs. She encouraged all members of the club to actively cooperate and financially support, having received 10 pounds from each. Her efforts were crowned with success.
She managed to save the breed. Of course, the problems remained. From this time on, breeding of the breed occurs through imbredding, that is, closely related breeding. Such a dilution can lead to certain genetic defects, which is what happened. Genetic deficiencies are still one of the main problems of mastiffs. However, there was no choice. But it is important to emphasize that modern breeders from year to year improve the breed and the current mastiff, of course correctly bred - it is a strong healthy dog, able to maintain active vitality and excellent health for 10 years.