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  • Writer's pictureSteve Rigden


The Broholmer, also known as the Danish Broholmer or Danish Mastiff, is a large breed of dog that has its roots deep in the history of Denmark. This breed is characterized by its imposing size, a strong, robust body, and a calm, friendly temperament, making it an excellent guardian as well as a companion dog. The history of the Broholmer is a fascinating tale of royal patronage, near extinction, and successful revival efforts.

The Broholmer breed dates back to the Middle Ages, where it was primarily used as a guard dog and for hunting large game, such as stag and boar. Its lineage is thought to include dogs brought over by the Vikings, as well as later influences from other large breeds, such as Mastiffs, brought back from England and other countries by Danish nobles. The name "Broholmer" itself is derived from the Broholm Estate in Denmark, where the breed was extensively nurtured and developed in the 18th century.

Sehested of Broholm, a Danish count, played a significant role in defining the breed standard in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He aimed to preserve the breed's qualities by keeping meticulous breeding records, a practice that contributed significantly to the Broholmer's development. The breed was favored by Danish royalty and nobility for its prowess as a guard dog and its noble appearance, becoming a symbol of status and wealth.

However, the turn of the 20th century brought hard times for the Broholmer. The two World Wars and changing social conditions in Europe led to a drastic decline in the breed's population. By the mid-20th century, the Broholmer was on the brink of extinction, with only a few specimens remaining.

The revival of the Broholmer is a testament to the dedication of Danish dog enthusiasts and the Danish Kennel Club. In the 1970s, a concerted effort was made to locate surviving dogs that had the characteristics of the traditional Broholmer. Through careful and selective breeding, enthusiasts were able to increase the population gradually, all the while maintaining the breed's historical traits and temperament.

In 1982, the Danish Kennel Club officially recognized the Broholmer as a breed, marking a significant milestone in the breed's revival. This recognition was followed by efforts to promote the breed both in Denmark and internationally, ensuring the Broholmer's survival and growth.

Today, the Broholmer is celebrated not just for its historical significance in Denmark, but also for its gentle nature, loyalty, and protective instincts. While still relatively rare outside of Denmark, the breed has a dedicated following and is increasingly recognized and appreciated by dog enthusiasts around the world.

The story of the Broholmer is a compelling narrative of resilience and dedication. From its origins as a noble guardian and hunter, through the peril of near extinction, to its current status as a cherished companion and living piece of Danish heritage, the Broholmer continues to be a symbol of perseverance and the enduring bond between humans and their canine friends.

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