This big girl from Denmark (she’s also known as the Danish Mastiff) is one of a group of breeds that fall under the Molosser category, named for the region of their common ancestor. The Molosser dogs have in common their large size, powerful bone structure, floppy ears, and short neck and muzzle. The Broholmer shares the physical characteristics of her progenitor.
The Broholmer’s more recent ancestors (probably going back to the 18th century) are believed to be an English mastiff and several local German breeds. She is named for Sehested of Broholm, a gamekeeper of that period. The Broholmer has been used for centuries as a guard dog for the well-to-do in Denmark. Old family portraits show King Frederick VII posed with his Broholmers.
As happened with so many dog breeds, the Broholmer nearly passed from existence during World War II. A dedicated group of breed fanciers found several in the 1970s and were able to restore the breed. She is little known in America but was first introduced to Great Britain in 2009.
Make no mistake, this is a giant dog. Males are about 29.5 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 110 to 150 pounds. Females are only slightly smaller, standing about 27.5 inches and weighing 90 to 130 pounds.
Broholmers have short, rough coats that can be light or brownish yellow, or black, with possible white markings or a black mask.
Broholmers are naturally friendly and usually relaxed. They enjoy family life and can get along with children, but they are cautious with newcomers at first. As with all dogs, puppy training and/or basic obedience training is recommended to keep your dog a calm, compliant member of the family.
Broholmer owners report that despite their history as guard dogs, today’s Broholmers are too gentle to be a threatening guard dog. Owners say they are cuddly dogs who seem unaware of their own size and want to sleep or sit as near their families as possible.
However, having been bred as guard dogs, Broholmers do have an independent streak. Training should be firm but not harsh and should employ positive reinforcement.
The Broholmer can be expected to live between seven and 12 years. For adult Broholmers, a daily walk should provide sufficient exercise, but puppies should be walked for shorter periods, as a strenuous routine could harm their developing bones and joints.
Health problems that have been seen in the Broholmer are the same as those found in many large-breed dogs: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and patellar luxation, a condition in which the dog’s kneecap moves out of its natural position. As your dog grows, work with your vet to watch for signs of these musculoskeletal issues.
Your Broholmer has a smooth, short coat, so a weekly brushing with a dog brush or hound glove should keep him looking shiny. Bathing can be as-needed. The dog’s ears should be watched for signs of infection: redness, excessive wax, etc. Your vet can offer both a remedy for the infection and a gentle ear cleaner you can use weekly with a cotton ball to prevent further infections. Their nails are fast-growing; consider using a groomer to care for your Broholmer’s nails by not only cutting but also grinding down the tips to prevent splitting and cracking.
Broholmer puppies may need to be switched to adult food at 9 months to prevent them from growing too fast, which can subject them to injury. They will eventually reach their full height and weight!
The website www.rightpet.com includes the names of reputatble rescue organizations, even for breeds as rare as the Broholmer.