10 Things Every Molosser Owner Should Know
Whether you’ve owned Molossers for forever, just got your first puppy, or admire these breeds from afar, here are 10 things every Molosser lover should know:
1. You own a piece of history.
Sure, a lot of the Molosser lore you hear is dewy myth at best, and outright fabrication at worst. But what is certain is that a certain type of big boned, heavy headed, thick-skin dog has been bred and valued for millennia. You are, for better or worse, the next link in this chain. Make sure it is for better.
2. The downside – in a good way.
When you think Molosser, you think big. But while every Molosser should by definition be substantial – there are no wisps in these precincts – not all are tall. As Molosser fanciers get older, they often turn to the “mini-Molossers” – French Bulldogs and Pugs among them – to get that big-dog experience in a far smaller package.
3. Avoid extremes.
Eve had her apple, and Molosser breeders are constantly faced with the temptation to push the envelope. If wrinkle or bone or size is good, then more must be better. But remember that Molossers are supposed to be functional dogs, too, and should be fit and well conditioned. No mastodons, please.
4. Don’t be a bargain hunter.
Simply put, Molossers aren’t cheap: Just feeding one can put a big crimp in your budget, and their large size means equally robust vet bills. Many Molosser breeds are difficult to get to procreate, and if the puppies finally do arrive, everything about them is supersized – especially price tags.
5. Sociability counts.
Early socialization is important for every puppy, but with Molossers, it’s crucial. Programmed to see the world to some degree as “us” versus “them,” our dogs need a flexible sense of the latter. And the best way to build that is with early and frequent exposure to all kinds of people, animals and life experiences.
6. Bigger is not always better.
Yes, most Molossers are known for their size – or, more accurately, their mass and substance in relation to their size. Height isn’t the only barometer for gauging “massiveness.” What good is a 38-inch Mastiff if he has the bone of a Greyhound?
7. Drool happens.
The looser the lip, the more saliva leaves the mouth – the mathematics are quite simple. Molosser breeds with pendulous lips are more likely to make like a faucet. If a little bit of the frothy white stuff sets you into a tailspin, do a little soul-searching.
8. Pedigrees aren’t perfect.
Before there was gotcha DNA testing, purebred dog breeders operated on an honor system – and some were more honorable than others. In quite a few Molosser breeds, pedigrees aren’t worth the paper they are printed on; you’ll need an experienced mentor to tell you fact from fiction.
9. Remember your distant cousins.
Perhaps more than any other fanciers, Molosser lovers have a sense of interconnectedness. So many Molosser breeds share common roots – think Mastiff and Bullmastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff and Cane Corso – and fanciers tend to be interested in all branches of the family tree. The more you learn about other dog breeds – but especially fellow Molossers – the more that knowledge will illuminate your own.
10. Every Molosser is an ambassador.
Because of their size or power, some guardian breeds have gotten an undeservedly bad rap. Your dog’s behavior goes beyond just him: It sets public perception for his breed. At the very least, you need to ensure he is bomb proof in any social setting. Leave the spooks and haters at home, where they are happiest anyway, and bring out only your finest for the world to see.