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Skilos Tou Pyrrou

The original Molosser. This is THE dog of Molossia. As its name implies, this was the favourite breed of the legendary Molossian King Pyrros. The Molossian mountain dogs came in two main types, the almost wild Molossos tis Epirou and the mild-mannered Skilos tou Pyrrou. An ancient breed, it is believed to be the ancestor of all dogs by many Greeks. This of course is highly debatable, but there's no doubt that this is the first Molosser and, along with the great Molossus tis Epirou, is where all the others got their name from. If we were to go just by the origin of the Moloss name, only a handful of Greek breeds would qualify, but today the meaning of Moloss refers to a type of dog, rather than origin. An interesting fact about the Skilos tou Pyrrou is that it has a large, but fairly lupoid head, not what we today would call a "true" molossoid type, which further proves that the meaning of the word Moloss has changed over the years. It should be noted that there was a number of types among Molossian dogs, including bearded shepherds and leaner hounds. The Skilos tou Pyrrou is said to be the only Moloss that was bred to a distinct appearance standard, without variations in type. Some believe that the White Greek Shepherd Dog is the ancestor of this breed, while others claim it is its descendant. Many fanciers of its northern cousin, the great Sarplaninac, claim that the white and lighter-coloured Mount Shara dogs are directly descended from the Skilos tou Pyrrou. Like other rare indigenous sheepdogs of Greece, the Skilos tou Pyrrou is unjustly seen by many as simply being a type of the Ellinikos Poimenikos breed. Some reports of revival efforts have been mentioned over the years, but this ancient Moloss will likely become assimilated into the greater Molossos tis Epirou breed in the future.

This is a breed of great intelligence, easy to train and not at all vicious. Not the ferocious war-dog the Molossos tis Epirou was, the King Pyrros Dog was used as a companion, a livestock guardian and an alert farmdog. The breed is not dog-aggressive, seeing how it was bred so it would work with other dogs when chasing away predators. They would chase the intruders as far away as possible from the herd or property without actually hurting them. When the desired distance was reached, the dogs would turn around and head back. This breed is friendly with people, but it will do a good job of protecting its territory if it feels threatened. The tail is sometimes docked and many examples have either one or both of their ears cropped, but unaltered dogs can be encountered as well.

Strongly built, wide-chested and tall, the Skilos tou Pyrrou has a coat of medium length, which comes in solid shades of pearl white, ivory, cream and fawn, although today bicoloured dogs are common, thought to be an influence of the Ellinikos Poimenikos. Average height is around 30 inches.

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