Meet the American Molossus, a resurrection of the ancient Mesopotamian guard dog breed that existed as far back as 2000-5000BC. Heavy-boned, massive, muscular, and intimidating, the original Molossus was charged with protecting villages, people, children, and other animals from predators and enemies.
Fast forward more than 7,000 years and the Molossus is making a comeback thanks to Marcus Curtis, a dog breeder from California who fell in love with the breed after reading about them.
“I’ve been breeding dogs since 99,” explains Curtis. “I first got into breeding Rottweilers and then I got into the Neapolitan Mastiffs and then, through research, I just became completely enamored with the Molossus and was dedicated to bringing them back.”
Setting up his own breeding business called Old World Molossus, Curtis quickly got to work trying to figure out how to recreate this ancient breed. “When I started, I invested all my time and money to get the best from Italy and it was years of hard work to try and produce a dog that resembled him.”
All that hard work paid off for Curtis and his wife Yvette with five dog registrees now officially recognizing the American Molossus as a resurrected breed. While their imposing size and intimidating appearance can make people nervous, Curtis is keen to reassure the world that these gentle giants aren’t naturally aggressive.
“They have an intimidating look, but when they’re well socialized, they’re gentle,” he says. “They do what they’re supposed to do and they will only push their weight around if they have to.” And when it comes to weight, the American Molossus has plenty of it to throw around.
“The biggest dog we own to date is Sasquatch, being huge at 212lbs at 18 months. They generally continue to grow until they’re about four years old.”
For Marcus and Yvette, getting bombarded with questions while they’re out walking Sasquatch is a daily occurrence, but neither mind the attention and are happy to help educate people on the breed that has stolen their hearts.
“The reaction is always a spectacle,” Curtis says with a gentle smile. “People are in shock and amazement when they see these giant beasts. They’ve never seen nothing like it, so it’s like you’re a movie star. People get afraid, but once they know they’re socialized and can be pet, it’s like seeing a prehistoric animal, so it’s fun.”
While imposing molloser breeds like the American Molossus and Cane Corso aren’t anywhere near as popular as cutsie small breed dogs like the Pomeranian or Pug, Curtis says there’s enough demand to warrant an ongoing waiting list.
So, if you’re wanting to welcome an American Molossus into your home, exactly how much will it set you back? “The American Molossus puppies currently sell off the waiting list for $5,000.” When you consider that the tiny French Bulldog can command as much as $3,000, that probably doesn’t seem like a lot, but factor in their colossal food bill and it’s clear to see why this gentle giant will likely remain rare.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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