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White Greek Shepherd Dog

The legendary White Moloss of Greece is believed by many to be just a colour variant of the Hellenikos Poimenikos, but difference in key physical features and personality suggest otherwise. Probably descended from Turkish Akbash dogs crossed with white Balkan Molossers, like the Merdzan Sarplaninac and the white-coated variety of Skilos tou Pyrrou, the White Greek Shepherd Dog is neither a herder nor a flock guardian, like the much smaller Hellenikos Poimenikos, but rather a true dog of the shepherds, concerned only with its master's safety and commands.

Always used in a pair consisting of a male and a female dog, the Olympus Wolfhounds appear somewhat lazy and sluggish when there's no apparent danger to their owner, but are capable of great speeds and tenacity when needed. It should be noted that even though the breed is sometimes referred to as the Olympus Dog, it actually has no ties to Mount Olympus and can be found in all regions of Greece.

Sometimes employed as fighting dogs to settle petty disputes between shepherders, as well as to hunt thieves and kill wolves, the White Hellenic Moloss is also thought to posess magical powers and even healing abilities. The right ear of the male dog is always either cropped or completely cut off, said to improve the animal's hearing and ward off evil spirits. In some regions, the females are left unaltered, but most working bitches have had their left ear removed as puppies, to distinguish them from males at an early age. Children are encouraged to take care of the puppies which in turn are said to transfer health and strength into their young souls. It's not uncommon to see children carrying an ear of their dog as a good luck charm. The White Greek Shepherd Dog is a resilient and powerful breed, lupoid in head type and posessing very large teeth and strong jaws.

The coat is slightly wavy and has rich feathering on the legs and tail, always solid white in colour, either in ivory or milky shades and with a strong dark skin pigmentation. Poorly pigmented and albino dogs have traditionally been destroyed, but in recent years certain allowances have been made in order to increase the population, so some specimens with flesh-coloured noses can be seen, although they're disliked by the breed purists. Male dogs are much taller and more massive than their female counterparts.

Average height is around 31 inches, although smaller examples exist.

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