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Country of origin
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Molossus was an ancient, extinct breed of dog that is commonly considered to be the ancestor 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, it is noted as being instrumental in the development of modern breeds such as the St. Bernard, Rottweiler, and Bernese Mountain Dog.


Some scholars contend that the Molossus was a dog used by the Greeks 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. They consider the Molossus a forefather of the Neopolitan Mastiff.

Others argue that it was primarily a lightweight dog used for hunting and herding with physical characteristics more akin to Greyhounds or possibly the versatile Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Most scholars agree the Molossus originated with the Molossi people in the mountainous regions of northwest Greece and Southern Albania before the Common Era.

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