The Molossians’ (sense 1) region
The “Jennings Dog”, a Roman copy of a lost Greek bronze statue of the Molossian hound (sense 2), on display in the British Museum



From Molossia +‎ -n.[1]



Molossian (plural Molossians)

  1. A member of the ancient Epirote ethnos which Olympias came from.
  2. A breed of large dog of classical antiquity native to Epirus, resembling a mastiff and used as a hunting dog and guard dog.
    Synonyms: Molossian dog, Molossian hound, Molossus
    • 1896, Henryk Sienkiewicz, chapter LV, in Jeremiah Curtin, transl., “Quo Vadis.” A Narrative of the Time of Nero., Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, and Company, page 432:
      But meanwhile a new grating was opened, and into the arena rushed, with mad speed and barking, whole packs of dogs,—gigantic, yellow Molossians from the Peloponnesus, pied dogs from the Pyrenees, and wolf-like hounds from Hibernia, purposely famished; their sides were lank, and their eyes bloodshot.
    • 1975, Roger Longrigg, The History of Foxhunting, page 14:
      The hounds were Indian, Cretan or Locrian; there were also Molossians (mastiffs) and Spartans (big greyhounds).
    • 2012, Michael Bryant, 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope, Viking:
      One constituent spent an hour educating me on the history of pit bulls: the Molossians, the Mastiffs; the Greeks, Romans, Brits, Tibetans, and Germans; the crossbreeds. A common theme ran throughout their history: they were the fiercest of fighters, and eventually bred to fight—in wars during antiquity, in dog fights for centuries. Regardless, they were again and again attacking other dogs and people.
    • 2017, Mary Dove, “Quintus”, in The End of Seven, Dog Ear Publishing, →ISBN, page 194:
      He loved dogs, indulged by Antius’ kennel composed of Neapolitan mastiffs and molossians, original Roman war dogs.





Molossian (comparative more Molossian, superlative most Molossian)

  1. Of or relating to Molossia or Molossians.


  1. ^ Molossian”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.

Further reading