BROHOLMER: HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
AKA: DANISH BROHOLMER, DANISH MASTIFF
The Broholmer, also known as Danish Broholmer and Danish Mastiff, has been dated back to the late 1500's. The daughter of the Danish King, King Frederick II, married the Scottish King, King James VI. King James VI gave English Mastiff-like dogs to the Danish royalty as a gift. Also, the legendary Danish Vikings, at times, would bring back Mastiff type dogs from their travels during the Middle Ages. These dogs then were mated with local drovers dogs known as slagterhunden or "butcher's dogs". These offspring are referred to as the Old Danish Dog. These dogs are regarded as the start of the Broholmer breed and are also considered as the "real" Great Dane.
The Old Danish Dog was revered by the Danish royalty and aristocrats. These dogs were commonly given as gifts to royalty and aristocrats of other countries around Europe. They were used for guarding castles and estates. They were also used widely for looking after herds and were big, fierce hunting dogs used mainly for stag hunting.
As hunting methods changed, the need for large breed hunting dogs diminished. The fierceness and hunting instinct were bred out of the breed. In time, the Old Danish Dogs became calmer and were only used as guard dogs for castles, estates and large farms. As time went on, the care of such a large breed dog became very expensive. The expensive upkeep, along with the change in hunting methods, led to the decline in interest for the Old Danish Dog. By the mid 1800's, the breed was almost extinct.
With the Old Danish Dog on the brink of extinction, the
Danish nobleman, Niels Frederik Sehested, took it upon
himself to protect this revered breed from extinction. He set up a breeding program to help this once abundant breed thrive again. To promote his program, he presented puppies to people within Denmark, but only if they promised to follow his breeding program. After decades following his strict breeding guidelines, the breed's features standardized and became more defined. Also, the breed began to flourish again. This dog breed was now much appreciated by all social classes, not just aristocrats. Because of his commitment to the breed and inspired by his residence, the Castle Broholm, the breed became know as the Broholmer.
At the beginning fo the 20th century the Broholmer number began declining again due to epidemics, canine distemper and problems with in-breeding. Also, after World Wars I and II, there was little room for affording such a large dog and the Broholmer was on the brink of extinction again. In 1974, the Danish Kennel Club took interest in the Broholmer and began a nationwide search for any remaining Broholmers. A few dogs matching the original breed standard established in 1886 were selected and a strict breeding program was started. The Society for the Reconstruction of the Broholmer Breed was formed to oversee this breeding program. After years of following the strict breeding standards outlined by the Broholmer Society and the
Danish Kennel Club, the Broholmer breed was successfully reinstated. In June of 2009 we imported the first Broholmer into the United States, which is our girl Honor. Honor became the first UKC Champion of the breed by winning several Guardian group placements. Soon we knew we had to start thinking of getting a boy if we were to ever start establishing the breed over here in the United States. So in August of 2011, we imported Zeke. We set our sights on producing the first USA born Broholmer litter in 2013. Well, on August 28, 2013 we welcomed the first litter of Broholmers here in the USA. Honor and Zeke had their first litter. The puppies they produced were better than we even anticipated. They are all the most loving, gentle, affectionate puppies we have ever had. They all look so much alike and have excellent bone and Broholmer structure. We kept a boy, Otis, for our future breeding program, and he also is just a sweet lap dog. In June of 2013 we were able to get the Broholmer AKC FSS Registered. Now we can do AKC performance events! We are very excited,