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yellow with black mask, golden red, black
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Pros Cons
  • great family companion
  • easy to groom
  • excellent watch and guard dog     
  • independent
  • shed heavily when seasons change
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment

The Broholmer is a large versatile dog with its homeland in Denmark. It has barely survived two World Wars but now it is slowly re-establishing its former position of a highly popular breed in its native country. The dog is valued for its lovely character and excellent protectiveness, along with even temperament and affability.

The Broholmer appeared as a result the work of multiple generations of breeders and appeared many centuries ago. Due to the absence of written records of this process the exact origin of this breed can be hardly reconstructed in details but it’s certainly possible to make several probable suggestions on the matter. It’s commonly thought that several groups of dogs contributed mostly in its creation. The first group is native Danish dogs, which have inhabited this land for many thousands of years. They were mixed with various foreign dogs that were imported to this region several times throughout its history. Thus the Vikings introduced to Denmark large and protective mastiff-type dogs and German nobility brought there their Germanic Mastiffs. Although it remains a mystery as to what exact breeds participated in the development of the Broholmer it’s rather safe to suggest that the English Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Great Dane, and the now-extinct Bullenbeiser definitely played a certain role.

The Broholmer rightly deserved its description as a multipurpose dog because it was usually trusted to perform a wide variety of tasks. The Danish affluent people exploited it to guard luxurious mansions as well as their masters. The dog was also used by them to hunt such ferocious beasts as boar, bear, and wolf. The Broholmer had many fanciers among Danish monarchs. In particular King Frederick VII was completely enchanted by this breed and was always accompanied by one of its members. Common people also found this dog very useful. For example, Danish peasants used it as a helper in handling their livestock.

The XIX century was marked for Denmark with noticeable political and social changes. Danish aristocracy was deprived of much of its influence and wealth and very few individuals could afford the expenses of keeping such a large dog. Actually the population of the Broholmer decreased to the point when it could be considered almost extinct. The breed was saved by the Danish nobleman Niels Frederik Sehested, who bred its stock at his dominions, the Broholm Castle, and engaged several other breeders in his breeding process. The breed was granted its current name in honour of his contributions. Two World Wars interrupted this restoration process of the breed’s population and it was once again pushed to the verge of extinction.

In 1974 the Dansk Kennel Club launched a special campaign to rehabilitate this revered ancient dog in its native country. Its efforts were a complete success and in 1982 the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) gave its full recognition to the Broholmer. In 2006 the United Kennel Club (UKC) also officially recognised the breed. Nowadays its position is pretty secured with nearly 800 specimens living worldwide. Nevertheless most dogs still reside in their native Denmark and only small part has been recently imported in Italy and the United Kingdom.

The Broholmer possesses a demeanour of a typical Mastiff-type dog but it’s somewhat more vigorous than majority of Mastiffs. The breed is also calm and stable by nature and creates an impression of a highly confident animal. It forms close bonds with its family and hates when it’s left alone for long periods of time. Majority of its members is quite all right with children provided they have been properly socialised. Nonetheless young Broholmer sometimes isn’t able to control its buoyant temperament so it’s ill-suited for families with toddlers.

The Broholmer inherited from its mastiff-type forefathers strong protective instinct so it behaves cautiously and reservedly when it meets an unknown person. It’s imperative to teach this dog to see the difference between a real threat and an imaginary one. This watchful and observant animal will become an outstanding watchdog. Its formidable size and natural protectiveness make it an almost ideal guardian, both personal and for a property.

Breeders of the Broholmer put forth great efforts to remove aggressive issues from this dog. This implies that it’s very tolerable towards other canines. Some specimens though tend to become very territorial, possessive and dominant particularly this concerns unneutered males. To avoid these problems it’s better to keep male members in a single dog home. The Broholmer should be properly and timely introduced to other non-canine animal in order to treat it with due respect. The breed is notable for an average prey drive but untrained dog will certainly pursue and kill a stray cat and other creatures at the earliest opportunity.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• cardiac disease;
• eye problems;
• skeletal growth abnormalities;
• defective back;
• arthritis;
• heat intolerance.

The Broholmer is considered to be a low maintenance breed. Its owner should only regularly brush its hair, preferably every other day. The dog loses its fur permanently in small portions but several times a year it completely replaces its undercoat. During these periods shedding greatly intensifies and thick layer of the dogs’ hair will cover your carpets, furniture and other stuff. The Broholmer should be also schooled in such common procedures as nail clipping and bathing since the early age as it’s rather challenging to introduce this sort of actions to an adult specimen.

The Broholmer is an independent thinker, which implies considerable difficulties in its training. It’s deprived of usual dog’s desire to please so it will comply only with the person whose authority it fully acknowledges. Training techniques should be based on principles of consistency, positive reinforcement and repetitiveness.

The Broholmer reacts better to more tangible incentives than a simple kind word so make sure to have plenty of its favourite treats handy while working with it. This breed doesn’t respond at all to brutal methods of stimulation, which should be avoided as much as possible.

The Broholmer is known to be a moderately active dog, which will be quite content with a daily long walk. It certainly prefers walking over other types of physical activity but it will be grateful for an occasional chance to run unrestrained in a securely enclosed territory. The lack of exercise will spoil its nice demeanour and turn it into a destructive, hyper active, fidgety animal.

The Broholmer distinguishes among other mastiffs with greater endurance so it will easily sustain long and challenging hikes. Due to its massiveness and substantial exercise need it will be a bad choice for an apartment dweller or a sedentary person.